Into the Wild, 2011, 146 x 97 cm
An interview with Aurélie Mathigot, a visual artist whose work with textiles is being shown today at some of the largest galleries and institutions. Navigating between techniques of drawing, knitting, crochet, tapestry and carpeting, the artist is interested in artisanal savoir-faire on a global scale. The artist talks to us today about her work with Parsua, the editing house for contemporary carpets at Galerie Chevalier.
How do you articulate the embroidered photos and objects in your work? What is the path between the representation and the production of objects?
Following my exhibition Into the Wild at Galerie Chevalier in 2012, I went into the countryside with tapestries, which I photographed laying on the grass. I wanted to observe tapestry outdoors, nature observing nature. In 2014, I wanted to enter the tapestry, to zoom inside, to become one. My photographs are always embroidered, pearled and crocheted, giving them the same essence as a weaving.
Tapi dans l’ombre d’un grand chêne, je prends le soleil, embroidered canvas print, 92 x 65 cm
What is your training? How do you choose your subjects? Is there a desire to create a gap between traditional techniques and contemporary/trivial subjects?
I come from a photo/video background, so I pose questions to a medium that can be done and undone forever. So the medium of textiles is imposing, embroidery for flats and crochet for volumes. The theme of food is important to me, the idea of optical illusion and false resemblance, obsolescence and contemporary humor. We don’t eat representations of what we recognize. Hence the roasts in crochet, for example.
How do you organize the production of a carpet or tapestry from one of your models?
For the exhibition Des fils, des histoires, des histoires that showed in 2014, Galerie Chevalier gave me an order for a drawing of a carpet. It is very encouraging to see your creation adapted to a new medium. For this production the gallery chose Iranian artisans who worked with incredible wools from Chiraz valley.
This work reactivated an art practice that is ancient: black and white drawing. The paper illustration here becomes a textile, carpet, and tapestry. It is an encounter between materials with delicateness and quality thanks to Parsua, the edition house of Galerie Chevalier.
How is work with this edition house structured? What does this “slow made” production mode bring to you?
I’ll cite the definition of Mobilier national: “Slow made is a movement, an attitude, a state of mind before all else, cherishing time as its fundamental value and DNA.” That says it all!
The eco-conscious values of Parsua for Galerie Chevalier reveal an intrinsic need for producing carpets produced in the same conditions as those in 17th century Persia: with hand-spun wools, 100% natural vegetable dyes and hand-knotting, sun and water patinas.
It is about making the antiques of tomorrow. It’s an idea that considers atemporality and quality, the rules of art and the rigor of time! Values and concepts that run counter to our over-consumptive society.
Aurélie Mathigot by Parsua, hand-knotted carpet with hand-spun wool dyed with natural products, 2014, 3 x 2 m
You mentioned ancestral savoir-faire, is this an interest or a necessity of production? How do you choose artisans and raw materials?
Techniques requiring expertise and time in tandem with quotidian observation, meeting with specialized artisans and transmission of know-how are concepts that particularly touch me. I have developed two types of collaboration: work with an artisan who masters a certain domain (carpets, tapestries, leatherwork, furniture, ceramics, etc.), and participative works. These take the form of inviting somebody to produce a work within a given framework with precise rules of play.
Notably, I’ve worked with institutions like Le Phénix, the Valencia national theater, the Pompidou Center, MAC VAL, along with a retirement home and an agricultural high school. Currently I am collaborating with Comme des Garçons in leatherwork, with Astier de Villatte, a project with the editing house Moustache, a project in Japan with paper brand Papier Tigre and with the Japanese brand Franky Grow.