Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Fès Festival Fringe - Gallery talk

Textile collector Michel Biehn
On Wednesday June 13 at 6pm at Galerie du Jardin des Biehn, textile collector Michel Biehn and artist Margaret Lanzetta will discuss the works and the connections between them in their joint exhibition, Seven Types of Terrain.

As a Festival fringe event, the theme of a dialogue between two types of media - textiles and paintings, is an appropriate one. While Lanzetta's paintings play with elements of patterns, the colourful embroidered and woven pieces from Biehn's collection show us something of the origins and development of those patterns in the Islamic world.

"I started to collect textiles about 30 years ago," says Michel Biehn. "I was at a dinner party with an historian who was preparing an exhibition on Kashmiri shawls. Suddenly doors opened up, and I realised there were all these stories (behind them) about trade, wars, and wealth. So I began to collect more."

Biehn says in those days textiles were not as valued as they are now, because they were seen as being part of the female realm.

His growing passion for collecting and dealing in textiles took him all over the planet, to Asia and the Middle East, until he had accumulated thousands of pieces. Then his house in Provence was filled with them.

"Textiles started in the East; in China around 3000 BC, with silk, indigo, block prints and weaving techniques. They spread across the Middle East to Europe, through Florence and Venice."

These days Biehn focuses on clothing. "I've sold all the pieces that could be used in a home and kept the costumes - the tunics, hats and veils. They speak of the people who wore them."

Of Seven Types of Terrain, Biehn says he is delighted with how well the show has come up.

"The pieces work very well together," he says. "Most of the textiles are Islamic. It is almost a rule that you have to allow mistakes (when they are being made), because perfection is only from God."

Seven Types of Terrain is on until June 18 at Galerie du Jardin des Biehn, 13 Akbat Sbaa, Douh, Fes Medina. Hear Michel Biehn and Margaret Lanzetta talk about the dialogue between their works tomorrow night (Wednesday) from 6pm.


No comments: