In the night, artificial lights from neon signs, traffic lights, shops and advertising signs start to trace their own magic patterns and forms. By inventing in 2005 a technique making it possible for the first time in history to translate photographic pixels into threads, Grethe Sørensen has innovated the field of textile art with her video-generated large scale Jacquard weavings. By combining new high-tech methods with 40 years of experience with hand- woven textiles, Sørensen proves the undeniable fact that new tools create new possibilities of expression.
While generated from photos, theses tapestries are yet very different in texture and feeling, creating by their silence and slowness an appealing contrast to the busy subject matter of the pulsating urban city lights. Video recordings from Shanghai, New York and Copenhagen form the basis of these unique wall tapestries, where the unfocused camera transforms the realism of the traffic lights into soft patterns of multi-colored, half-transparent light surfaces – visions of urban dream landscapes. The artist manufactured these wall tapestries at the Tilburg Textile Museum between 2010 and 2013.
Born in Viborg, Denmark, in 1947 Grethe Sørensen is considered as an important pioneer in the field of contemporary textile art, and her works are part of important private and public collections.
Grethe Sørensen’s ability to see possibilities in new technologies is manifest in the video animations she creates together with film director Bo Hovgaard which she displays in the exhibitions next to her large scale wall tapestries. These video recordings of flickering city lights and water reflections play a double role, both as sketches for the unique tapestries, woven by the artist at the Tilburg Textile Museum, and as counterparts to the weavings, revealing within the same motif interesting variations on time and perception.
While, at distance, the tapestries may appear quite similar to photographs, they become significantly different at closer hold. The woven pixels provoke a vibrating illusion of three-dimensionality, in which the light reflections are modulated into soft and vaporous reliefs through the artist’s virtuous use of threads in cotton, wool and polyester. Time seems to gain a slow pace, while the beholder is gradually discovering the amazing detail richness of the weavings, in which each pixel is translated into threads. Yet, within this myriad of points, Grethe Sørensen demonstrates her great sense of composition and control, creating timeless images of ephemeral light, not unlike Georges Seurat’s quiet, yet majestic pointillist paintings.
Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, New York / Textilmuseet Borås, Sweden. / Designmuseum Denmark / Ny Carlsberg Foundation / The Danish Arts Foundation / Middelfart Art Foundation / Ribe Amts Art Foundation / Trapholt Art Museum / 21st Century Museum Hotel
2017 ‘Nordic Award in Textiles 2017 / ‘Lis Ahlmanns legat 2012 / Ole Haslund’s Kunstnerlegat 2011 / +1 Award for best new product at Copenhagen International Furniture Fair 2007 / Awarded Honorary Mention at 12th International Exhibition of Tapestry, Lodz, Poland, 2007 / ‘Travel grant for a weaver’ » by Solarfondation 1992 / The Danish Arts Foundations 3-years grant 1991 / maleren Thomas L. Jørgensens mindelegat 1983 / Awarded by the Jury of the Academy 1983
Private and public commissions
Frederiksbjergnyggeriet, Aarhus (2014-15) / Altar piece for the Church in Vonsild 2014 / The Townhall, Kristiansand, Norway 2013 / The Healthcenter in Smidsrød, Norway 2013 / Children and Youth Psychiatry, Roskilde 2012 / Tronrud Ingineering, Hønefoss Norway 2011
Selected collections and exhibition venues
In A Slow Manner, Maison du Danemark, Le Bicolore, Paris 2021/ ‘Saturated’ The Science and Allure of Color / Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian. NY 2018-2019 / Out of Pixels’ Hâlsingland museum / Hudiksvall Sweden, 2018 / ‘Nordic Textile Award 2017′ Exhibition at Abecita Konstmuseum, Borås, Sweden 2017 / Watermirror’, Galerie Maria Wettergren, Paris, 2016 / Artapestry 3, Musee Jean Lurcat, Angers, Frankrig 2014 / The Rijswijk Textile Biennial, Holland 2013 / Retro – Prospective: 25 Years of Art Textiles and Sculpture, BrownGrotta Arts, CT. USA / Artapestry 3, Danmark, Finland, Sverige 2012-13, Connecting / Museumsberg Flensburg Tyskland / Akershus Kunstsenter, Norge 2011 / Mind and Matter, Sheldon Museum of Art, NE, USA 2010 / Urban Weft, Points of Departure, Northern Fiber i Stockholm 2010 / Changing Fibres on the Edge, Textilmuseet Borås, Sverige 2009 / Thinking Different, Thinking Jacq-Art, Textile Kultur Haslach, Østrig 2009 / The 10th Wave, BrownGrotta Arts, Wilton, CT. USA 2009 / Blick Kontakt, Schleswig-Holsteinishe Landesbibliothek, Kiel 2009 / 5th International Fiberart Biennale Beijing, Kina 2008 / Art of the table, Artifact, Wilton CT. USA 2008 / 12th international exhibition of tapestry, Lodz, Polen 2007 / Beyond Weaving, International Art Textiles. Flinn Gallery, Greenwich, Ct. 2006 / Japan Textile Contest, special exhibit at EXPOFIL, Paris 2005 / Resonanssi, Rauma, Finland 2003 / A Scandinavian sensibility, BrownGrottaUSA 2000 / North Dakota Museum of Art, USA 2000 / 6th International Textile Competition, Kyoto, Japan 1999 / Meister der Moderne 1999, München / 5th International Textile Competition ’97 Kyoto, Japan 1997 / 3ieme Triennale Internationale de Tournai, Belgien 1997 / FIO II Brazil, Rundetårn København + Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo, Brasilien 1997.
Studied textiles at College of Art and Design, Kolding, Denmark
1968-1972 Studied traditional gobelin technique 1977-78 in Suisse and France.
Member of ‘Kunstnersamfundet’ since 1984
The Danish Arts Foundation 1993-95, committee-member
The Indian Sari, Trapholt Art Museum, Denmark 1997 – Curator