ACOR: Exhibition review by Mike Tschebull

Category: Exhibitions

ACOR exhibition review by Raoul Tschebull, May 1st 2006

Raoul Tschebull

This exhibition in the hotel at ACOR8 in Boston, 20-23/4/2006, was, for me, the best of the lot, and they were all pretty good. I was charmed by, among other things, the familiar Turkmen pile-woven shapes in other media, the huge variety of color, material, format, and texture, and the very idea of “unusual and overlooked”.

Indeed, the curator, Jeff Spurr, notes that while many of the pieces exhibited, 140 in total, are “manifestly beautiful”, “the curious and interesting” are given almost as much weight. They were produced at the end of an era, about 100 years ago, not as tourist goods, but as part of the local material cultures. The very volume of objects displayed gives a good view of a bygone way of life.

It is very refreshing to hear an authority like Jeff Spurr tout ethnographic art objects as 1) not very very old, and 2) not necessarily finalists in a beauty contest.  There is an exhaustively researched catalogue, but without illustrations. It is possible that it will be reissued with plates of each piece.

In the meantime, here are some images of pieces that caught my eye:

One of a pair of appliqued Yomud asmalyks; velvet, wool broadcloth, white cotton, metal thread
A wall of felt bags, covers and yurt decorations. The large black and red panel, one of three that would have decorated a yurt on the outside or inside, depending on the occasion, is spectacular.
Kamarbands, Lakai, Uzbek
Kirghiz mirror cover, felt applique, fringes original
Kirghiz part pile and pile-less warp-faced tentbands; unusual, beautiful.
Lakai Gadgeri, 6’5″X10’9″, spectacular wool textile made up of warp-faced bands with warp-substitution weave, sewn together horizontally.
Lakai ilgitsh, exhibiting “tribal” sensibility
Lakai ilgitshes; a wall of these decorative bags; the volume of ilgitshes shown gave considerable perspective.

Text and photos by Raoul Tschebull May 1st 2006, Tschebull Antique Carpets


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