Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo

Soft Pictures

24 October 2013–23 March 2014

Opening: 23 October, 7–9pm

Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo
Via Modane 16
10141 Turin, Italy
Hours: Thursday 7–11pm;
Friday–Sunday 12–7pm

T +39 (0)113797600

Soft Pictures is a group exhibition that explores the use of textile in contemporary art. The show addresses the multiplicity of meanings that the adoption of this medium entails in artistic practice. 

Historically, the use of textile as a material to create art images can be placed halfway between the liberal and applied arts, and its position is still considered a contested issue. Today, artists are going back to textile and its multiple historical, political, social and symbolic meanings—a rich semantic texture, which unfolds through the exhibition.

As a product of human labour, a perfect blend between technique and invention, true skill and a great deal of application, the textile arts may seem distant from the conceptual approach that characterises much of today’s art. Yet, it is these very aspects that have become central in the way modern artists are bringing back the textile tradition. In the contemporary world, choosing fabric as a material and using old techniques to work it represents the first significant, strong gesture to open up a whole range of expressive possibilities for art. 

Artists use textile to reflect on tradition, memory and folklore, a domain in which the work of art has no definite author but carries within it the richness of an entire culture, of countless hands and minds that have shaped it throughout the centuries, handing it down to us. At the same time, the connection between these artefacts and a specific culture and age unearths their political and social implications: A humble household job, mostly carried out by women and serving private needs, is the other side to an art that was fit to celebrate the wealth and power of the great European courts. Hard-wearing and easily transportable, textile was a commodity par excellence, which revolutionised the manufacturing industry. 

Function and decoration, design and art, tradition and modernity: Artists move between these poles, reflecting on the artefact as a cluster of different tensions and symbols. 

Artists: Sanford Biggers, Shannon Bool, Enrico David, Willem De Rooij, Noa Eshkol, Mike Kelley, William Kentridge, Gabriel Kuri, Goshka Macuga, Adele Roeder, Slavs and Tatars, Rosemarie Trockel, Piotr Uklanski, Francesco Vezzoli, Vincent Vulsma, Franz Erhard Walther, Pae White, Andrea Zittel

The exhibition is curated by Irene Calderoni.

About Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo
The Italian contemporary art foundation Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo was founded in 1995 by Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo and is under the artistic directorship of Francesco Bonami. 

The Fondazione’s first exhibition space was set up in 1997 at the Palazzo Re Rebaudengo in Guarene d’Alba, a small town just outside Turin, and their current headquarters, a centre for contemporary art in Turin, was opened in 2002. With a gallery space, bookshop, auditorium, educational department, cafeteria and restaurant, the centre is a flexible structure that produces and presents exhibitions bringing together local, national and international artists such as Maurizio Cattelan, Urs Fischer, Damien Hirst, Artur Zmijewski, Wael Shawky, Goshka Macuga, Gabriel Kuri and Ragnar Kjartansson. The Fondazione also organises a Young Curators Residency Programme and an annual Prize (Premio StellaRe) honouring women’s achievements across the world.

Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo has a wide-ranging programme of activities and events (films, talks, music, theatre, performance and dance) that are organised in parallel and in response to all the main shows. The exhibitions are challenging, often of an experimental and site-responsive nature that cover political, social and philosophical themes and issues.