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.