Social Fabric

From the Bayeux tapestry’s insights into the Norman Conquest to Tracey Emin’s appliquéd memoirs, textiles often belie their soft appearance to explore some pretty hefty subjects.

A new exhibition opening in January, Social Fabric, will present a series of textile works and paintings that explore labour, capital, international trade and radical politics.

Alice Creischer, Apparatus for the Osmotic Compensation of the pressure of wealth during the contemplation of poverty, 2007

Source: copyright the artist

Alice Creischer, Apparatus for the Osmotic Compensation of the pressure of wealth during the contemplation of poverty, 2007

The show focuses on works from two artists, Sudhir Patwardhan and Alice Creischer, as well as extensive archive material including films,and recordings of mill workers’ testimonies.

Alice Creischer, Apparatus for the Osmotic Compensation of the pressure of wealth during the contemplation of poverty, 2007

Source: copyright the artist

Alice Creischer, Apparatus for the Osmotic Compensation of the pressure of wealth during the contemplation of poverty, 2007

Inspired by a trip to India, Creischer’s catchily-titled textile installation piece Apparatus for the Osmotic Compensation of the Pressure of Wealth during the Contemplation of Poverty examines the economic and social impact of European colonialism and subsequent globalisation.

Alice Creischer, Apparatus for the Osmotic Compensation of the pressure of wealth during the contemplation of poverty, 2007

Source: copyright the artist

Alice Creischer, Apparatus for the Osmotic Compensation of the pressure of wealth during the contemplation of poverty, 2007

Imagery across the textile aims to ‘track the threads that connect cycles of investment, disinvestment and decline’, according to exhibition organisers.

Alice Creischer, Apparatus for the Osmotic Compensation of the pressure of wealth during the contemplation of poverty, 2007

Source: copyright the artist

Alice Creischer, Apparatus for the Osmotic Compensation of the pressure of wealth during the contemplation of poverty, 2007

Sudhir Patwardhan’s painting, Lower Parel, present’s Mumbai’s ‘Girangaon’ (mill village), the place where the cotton mills that catalysed the Indian industrial revolution in the 1970s were built.

Lower Parel, Sudhir Patwardhan, 2001

Source: copyright the artist

Lower Parel, Sudhir Patwardhan, 2001

The painting examines the area following many mills’ closure in the early 1980s, characterised by defunct factories and a new urban order of luxury apartments jostling for space with struggling ex-millworks.

 Social Fabric runs from 19 January – 10 March 2012 at Iniva, Rivington Place, London, EC2A

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