A tapestry made on a digital Jacquard loom, with imagery based on video recordings of city lights in Shanghai.
Rush Hour / Shanghai 5. In the dark, physical things disappear, and man-made light from headlights, traffic lights, neon signs, shops and advertising signs trace their own patterns in the night. Video recordings of this light form the basis of this project.
The juxtaposition of weaving and video has been a natural extension of the process of digitization, which has broken down barriers and revealed similarities between the two media. Images for weaving can be adapted for video animation, and vice versa.
The weight and structure of the tapestry create a physical contrast to the ethereal image sequences of flowing movements in the video projection. The two media enhance and accentuate each other. The quality of the weavings exists in the depth, physicality and colour intensity which the yarns and the constructions add to the images, while the enchantment of the video lies in light, image flow and movement.
To create this tapestry, Grethe Sørensen used a technique of her own invention on a digital Jacquard loom. The tapestry is woven at ‘TextielMuseum’ Tilburg, the Netherlands, one of the few places in Europe where such sophisticated equipment is available to textile artists and designers. Each thread is controlled digitally based on a hand-woven sample. With this new approach, the creation of one-off works, which used to be a very costly process, is now more economically feasible.
Grethe Sørensen b. 1947, textile designer
Traditionally, weaving is a very restrictive art form, with the many limitations posed by the loom, but in an age when almost anything else has been digitized, there are now also digitized looms. The digitization allows for a whole new range of possibilities in the choice of image and expression in the woven textile and thus also enables the combination of the tangible woven fabric with the ethereal motif of light that currently guides Grethe Sørensen’s work.
Grethe Sørensen explores new technologies in her work in an effort to discover new ways of transforming digital motifs to tangible woven objects made of yarn and woven structures. In practical terms, she achieves this by reducing the colour information of the motif to digital pixels in eight basic colours. In the weaving process, the pixels are then replaced by threads that are woven together to form fabric and image simultaneously.
In recent years, she has found inspiration from video recordings of light in urban and natural settings. Grethe Sørensen combines weaving and video in a process that may spring from an ethereal topic such as interference or light that is transformed in the two media with their respective expressions. The digitization has broken down boundaries and linked the different media. This development has inspired Grethe Sørensen to develop her own technique, which lets her explore the possibilities in combining weaving and video, where the weaving springs from video recordings of light, as individual stills are selected, combined, manipulated and subsequently transformed into a textile structure.
1972: Kunsthåndværkerskolen Kolding (now the Kolding School of Design)
2012: “Traces of light”, solo exhibition at the Round Tower, Copenhagen
2005: “Interference”, solo exhibition at the Museum of Art in Tønder
Grants and honours
2012: Lis Ahlmanns Legat
2011: Ole Haslunds Kunstnerlegat
1991: Three-year scholarship from the Danish Arts Foundation
Danish Arts Foundation
New Carlsberg Foundation
Galleries and manufacturers
BrownGrotta Arts, Connecticut, USA
Galerie Maria Wettergren, Paris
Wolf Gordon, USA