21 June 2024 - 3 November 2024
Ruarts Foundation

The Ruarts Foundation presents a large-scale exhibition by contemporary Russian artists. ‘Threads’ intertwines three floors of the foundation, comprising an ode to manual labour. Nina Gomiashvili, the project curator, has collected textile works by 39 artists who are united by the phenomenon of rehabilitated techniques and methods that have long been considered artisanal and related to women’s activities.

Textiles have cognitive, perceptual, physical and sensual properties that organically combine art and life. The artists don’t just create art, they use the narrative power of fabric. In fact the word ‘textile’ is linked to both texture, and text. Fabric is transformed in the hands of the authors and the needle replaces the brush, trusting the viewer with intimacy drawn from family life (motherhood, childhood experiences), sexuality (taboo violations, provocations), and the personal stories of the authors. The artists touch upon universal themes of fears, desires, hopes, ideas of mimicry, and the search for roots. In this way the exhibition turned out to be very sincere and accurate, about the important things. Tradition, political and social position, poetics, humour – everything is woven into a single canvas.

 “The exhibition is primarily based on the collection of the Ruarts Foundation, on the polyphony of authors who use textiles as the basis of their visual language,”says the curator. “This collection was formed over a long period of time and includes many textile works without any specific theme, so the only unitary component is technique. But I needed to start from somewhere to make the statement precise, and at the beginning I myself, my personal emotions, became this reference point. I turned to an image from childhood, familiar to many from the fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, ‘The Wild Swans’. I was inspired by the episode about chain mail woven from nettles that could return human form, and this metaphor became central to the exhibition. It brings us back to the present day, in which a sense of instability is hypertrophied, and emphasises the importance of preserving not only appearance, but what is more valuable – the human essence.”

The architectural concept became an integral part of the exhibition. A threaded red line ‘stitches’ the entire space and serves as the symbolic structure. Threads unravel as new stories emerge from them. Using a reflexive and aesthetic approach, the exhibition evokes a direct or indirect response in the sensory field of the beholder. The ‘Threads’ exhibition makes no attempt to create an anthology of Russian textile art, but it seeks, through diverse and complementary works, to make contemporary art resonate around the thread – as a factor of physical and metaphysical connection.

On show are works from the collection of the Ruarts Foundation, supplemented by items from young artists who continue to develop handmade techniques, and some pieces created specifically for the exhibition: AES+F, Maria Arendt, Tanya Akhmetgalieva, Sabina Baysarova, Lyudmila Baronina, Olga Bozhko, Sasha Braulov, Vita Buivid , Alisa Gorshenina, Varvara Grankova, Ulyana Yolkina, Katya Isaeva, Katika, Rodion Kitaev, Polina Koval, Lyudmila Konstantinova, Irina Korina, Andrey Krisanov, Kutya, Anna Lapshinova, Anastasia Litvinova, Artyom Lyapin, Lana Morozova, Timur Novikov, Masha Obukhova, Lisa Olshanskaya, Sergei Parajanov, Kristina Pashkova, Danila Polyakov, Elena Samorodova and Sergey Sonin, Polina Serafimova, Vitaly Tyurlik, Egor Fedorichev, Olga Florenskaya, Chaim Sokol, Dmitry Tsvetkov, Elena Sharganova, Ustina Yakovleva, Zoom.

Exhibition curator: Nina Gomiashvili