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FIBER ART: RITZI & PETER JACOBI AND GUENTER WESELER
Fiber Art begins in the 1960s and 70s in a development and discursive context often loosely described as sculpture in the expanded field.i At the same time ethnic materials and postcolonial assertions of inclusion, increasingly challenged the dominant canonical categorisations of Western Art. In the exhibitions like Weich und Plastisch “Soft Art” (Kunsthaus Zurich, 1979), and Magiciens de la Terre (Centre George Pompidou, 1989), the use of pliable, malleable, and/or frangible materials, established autonomous forms of expression, often using wall, floor and ceiling, extended by the use of original forms of installation. While soft objects (sculpture) occurred in earlier art movements like Surrealism
and Pop Art, it was within the globalising and inclusive tendencies of the 1980s and 90s (sometimes framed within the arguments of postmodernism), that fabrics and soft materials were set free and shorn of craft and categories of ethnic determinism. The art materials of feminism in the 1970s also played an active part. Fiber art has established an autonomous and original aesthetic space of creative assimilation, and now challenges former hegemonies afforded to painting and hard sculpture. In presenting 1960s and 70s works by Ritzi & Peter Jacobi, and the unique kinetic and sensory works of Guenter Weseler, DIEHL gallery and Allegra Ravizza Gallery present their works in a postconceptual context, placing a heightened emphasis on material presence and making. The aim is not merely that of visual aesthetic assimilation, but to place the works in a haptic space and to create contemporary engagement while expanding multisensory experience.