Tissu Tissé

Each year, Tamat opens up it’s doors to have artists in residence for a whole year under the header of Recherches. The selection takes place in the month of May of each year. We work together in the attic of the Tapestry Museum.

My selection

Skin envelops us, reveals itself to us through thousands of colours. They vary according to daylight, atmospheric variations, our health, our age…
The skin is caught in the gaze of the “other” who, in a complex perception, expresses implicit categorizations and biases. Trying to “say” this invisibility, this intangible, is the project of Wendy Van Wynsberghe.
At the origin of the approach, a trip to Guadeloupe in 2015, to this island steeped in its colonial history, where violence and blood flow both through the veins and into the architecture. It shouts everywhere but remains surprisingly mute. Wendy Van Wynsberghe has committed herself with the project of giving a voice to certain dimensions of this scream through a research on skin colour.
In interviews, she invited people to talk about their skin, its story and the context in which they move. At the end of the interview, she presented them with 88 bobbins of very fine threads, of different colours – yellow, green, fluorescent, transparent, changing -. She suggested that they choose 5 to 10 threads that would represent a part of their skin. This anonymous choice, made in the moment, can be seen as a fiction of oneself.
Thus collected, the threads, spun on a spinning wheel, are woven in a format of 20 by 20. Side by side, they share the warp, grey, of weaving, they share colours, a certain green, an orange… Thus mixed, there is no more body identity, the physical bodies are transformed, far from any parametric data.
Only the voices accompanying the installation will be audible…
Translated Text by Andrée Wéry on Tissu Tissé

La peau nous enveloppe, elle nous raconte, au travers des milliers de couleurs. Elles varient selon la lumière du jour, les variations atmosphériques, notre santé, notre âge…
La peau est prise dans le regard de « l’autre » qui, dans une perception complexe, exprime des catégorisations et des biais implicites. Tenter de « dire » cette invisibilité, cet intangible tel est le projet de Wendy Van Wynsberghe.
A l’origine de la démarche, un voyage en Guadeloupe, en 2015, dans cette île imprégnée de son histoire coloniale, où la violence et le sang coulent tant dans les veines que dans l’architecture. Elle crie partout mais reste étonnamment muette. Wendy Van Wynsberghe s’est engagée dans le projet de rendre une voix à certaines dimensions de ce cri à travers une recherche sur les couleurs de la peau.
Au cours d’entretiens, elle a invité des personnes à parler de leur peau, de son histoire et du contexte dans lequel elles se meuvent. A la fin de l’interview, elle leur a présenté 88 bobines de fils très fins, de différentes couleurs -jaunes, verts, fluos, transparents, changeants-. Elle leur a proposé de choisir 5 à 10 fils qui pouvait représenter une partie de leur peau. Ce choix anonyme, réalisé dans l’instant, peut se voir comme une fiction de soi.
Ainsi récoltés, les fils filés sur un rouet, sont tissés dans un format de 20 sur 20. Côte à côte, ils partagent la chaîne, grise, de tissage, ils partagent des couleurs, un certain vert, un orange… Ainsi mêlés il n’y a plus d’identité corporelle, les corps physiques sont transformés, loin de toute donnée paramétrique.
Seules les voix, accompagnant l’installation, seront audibles…
Texte par Andrée Wéry sur Tissu Tissé

Images of my Research by Barthélémy Decobecq courtesy Tamat

“To be white [, or straight, or male, or middle class] is to be simultaneously ubiquitious and invisible. You’re everywhere you look, you’re the standard against which everyone else is measured. You’re like water, like air.
This invisibility is political.”
Michael S. Kimmel, Privilege: A Reader

Eighty eight bobbins of different origins as base material

Working on the sample loom

A colour melange

Twining a selection of threads by one person on the spinning wheel

Spinning wheel in action

Five twined colour selections

Shuttles ready to be woven

Early version of the fabric, with the chosen threads

Early version of the sound installation

When understood as immanent process, it becomes clear that, though contingent, race cannot be transcended, only understood and rearranged.
The spatiality of race is not one of grids or self/other dialectics, but one of viscosity, bodies gradually becoming sticky and clustering into aggregates.
Battling against racism is then not a question of denying race, but of cultivating its energies against the stickiness of racial segregation.
Arun Saldanha, Reontologising Race


Here‘s the report of the research I did in French.

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