Cotton-Chintz, late 19th century
Courtesy: Joss Graham
By the time a T-shirt is offered in the shelves of a retail shop, it has already undergone a complex production process. What are the social and cultural consequences that result from the structures of a globalised textile industry? The death of 1100 people killed in the collapse of a factory in Bangladesh in April is only one of many urgent reasons to critically reflect in the framework of an exhibition on the structures of globalisation.
The exhibition Social Fabric looks at cultural interrelations, using the history of textile trade between India and Europe as an example. Historically, trade in textiles has always been closely connected with colonisation; it was and still is characterised by unequal power relations and protectionism, but at the same time it testifies to the mutual influence through the transfer of forms, colours, materials and technologies.
Conceived by Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts) in London, Social Fabric gives a picture of the tightly-knit network of cultural transfers by relating to several crucial points of the subject. The exhibition includes works by European and Indian artists: The installation "Apparatus for the Osmotic Compensation of the Pressure of Wealth during the Contemplation of Poverty" by German artist Alice Creischer is a central object in the exhibition. Her work is the result of a thorough examination of the social and economic consequences of textile trade within a colonial structure. Another reference point in the exhibition is a large-format painting by Indian artist Sudhir Patwardhan. His work "Lower Parel" deals with industrialisation processes in Mumbai's eponymous industrial quarter. Works by the young Indian artist Prabhakar Pachpute will be presented for the first time in Europe. His drawings were shortlisted for the ART India Breakthrough Artist Award in spring 2013.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a booklet, available for 1,50€.
Curator: Grant Watson, Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts), London
Social Fabric is the fifth exhibition in the series "Cultural Transfers", following the shows Cube or Dome, Political Patterns, Cut & Mix and Another Country. In a loose series of exhibitions, events and publications, "Cultural Transfers" is dedicated to presenting the diverse interrelations in the field of the fine arts in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe.