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Shrouds, Rags and Diapers: Textile Materiality from the Sacred to the Profane in Art History, pt 2

GIOTTO di Bondone (1267–1337), Scenes from the Life of Mary Magdalen: Raising of Lazarus, 1320s, fresco, Magdalen Chapel, Lower Church, San Francesco, Assisi. Wikimedia Commons.

Welcome to the third in a series of four open lectures at Hus28 at the Royal Institute of Art, focusing on Textiles. Axel Andersson (Senior Lecturer in Art History) will present Shrouds, Rags and Diapers: Textile Materiality from the Sacred to the Profane in Art History [pt 2].

Axel Andersson approaches the theme of textiles in the history of art through a reading of it as an open “schizo-materiality” that refuses to let itself be understood as autonomous or conceptually pre-determined.

Textile is more often than not an intimate affair: taking its place in between human bodies. Of all the art forms it is the one that we are most likely to wear, close to our skin. Even in the form of cordage (like ropes) its function in to connect, also semantically (as in the Quipus-writing of the Andes). We collect corporeal effluvia in textiles, and communicate, twine and weave the social into existence with them. A materiality lending itself to the impossible coming-together of the most common, and the most elevated. The humble rag for wiping a bottom, used in the 1970s feminist institutional care of Mierle Laderman Ukeles, is related to the Lapis lazuli cloak on one of Raphael’s Madonnas.

Read more about Textiles and other lecture dates.