Critics’ Picks

Iulia Toma, KKK, 2015, embroidery, 13 x 32".


“Twilled Connections” București
Str. Gazelei nr. 44 sector 4
June 22–July 26

In this group exhibition of contemporary textile arts by five women hailing from different generations, one realizes that the various installations have a power to break up space. Corners and ceiling are metaphorically interrogated, while innovative fabrics are integrated throughout. This is a vivid place for experiments.

Installed on a rough wooden pillar, Dorina Horătău’s Miniatures, 2013, offers tiny, soft mosaics made of textile shreds. In a corner, Debris, 2015, by Otilia Boeru—a black assemblage made of synthetic organza, insulating foil, cotton, and polyester—seems to grow from the walls like a spiderweb. Meanwhile, Iulia Toma’s Tear with Tear, 2015, an installation made of white handkerchiefs, appears as a stalactite from the roof, a monument to tears and suffering.

The standout work of the show is KKK, 2015. Here, Toma presents a Ku Klux Klan hood under glass. One notices the message delicately sewed in black on the fabric: “Kinder, Küche, Kirche” (Children, Kitchen, Church). On a nearby wall, a photograph of the artist wearing the hood—is displayed. Borrowing a nineteenth-century German slogan that was successfully instrumentalized by the Nazis, Toma confronts the terrifying mask with three indices—of the perfect woman—that come from another frightening world. All of the Ks belong to authoritarian masculine perspectives on the world.

There is a strong sense of disconcertment in this show: Where one expects harmony, one finds potential destabilization; where one expects fragility, one finds a protean space ready to defend itself.