The use of textiles by artists and designers has long been associated with moments of profound social change and political rupture. From tapestry and embroidery to quilting and tailoring, in the hands of artists, textiles are defined by tension and transformation, resistance and activism. Textiles are a means of time travel and truth-telling.
Textiles galvanise communities. Through wars, pandemics and disasters, textiles have offered a way to mobilise social and cultural groups and build connections. In the late nineteenth century, British artist and designer William Morris sought to counter the mechanisation and mass-production of the Industrial Revolution by weaving tapestries on a manual loom with hand-dyed thread. Today, many artists are experimenting with the materials and techniques of textile design as a ‘slow making’ antidote to the high-speed digital age.
From William Morris to Sonia Delaunay, Radical Textiles celebrates the cutting-edge innovations, enduring traditions and bodies of shared knowledge that have been folded into fabric and cloth over the past 150 years. Showcasing the work of 100 makers, artists, designers and activists, this major exhibition draws on AGSA’s international, Australian and First Nations collections of textiles and fashion, augmented by sculpture, painting, photography and the moving image.
Tickets go on sale in 2024.