Authors: Nina Bačun & Juan Echeverry
Craftsman: Željko Kraščić
Photographers: Borko Vukosav, Santiago Pinyol
Year: 2015, 2016
Artists: Nina Bačun, Jelena Bando, Tupac Cruz, Juan Echeverry Javier Fabregas, Aisha Franz, Valeria Giraldo, Catalina Jaramillo, Adriana Lozano, Marko Marković, Ines Matijević, Niko Mihaljević, Ivan Navarro, Nina Kurtela, Fernando Zuluaga
(a)moral thread is a collaborative project curated by Nina Bačun and Juan Echeverry. The aim of (a)moral thread is to generate a bridge between artist and craftsman. It is an attempt to create a co-existence in which authorship loses the key role, the process becomes the protagonist, and the production of new knowledge is the main result.
Among Croatian traditional crafts, this project centers its attention on Zidnjaci or Kitchen towels. Zidnjaci, which would literally translate: what hangs from the wall, were introduced to Croatia in the late 19th century, after a change in the technology of wooden stoves. These pieces arose as a reinterpretation of embroideries from the Netherlands and they would decorate the now soot-free kitchens of urban Croatian homes. With time the changes in manners and fashion during the 1920’s and 30’s would make these embroideries slowly disappear from the cities and increase in number in rural homes, until the 60’s when their use stopped almost completely. These embroideries are a craft usually pursued by women and directed to women, giving guidelines on how to behave within the household realm. Kitchen tasks, love relations, child care, hygiene and other activities are guided by these images and texts that become a sort of propaganda and moral frame that inserts itself into the reality of a housewife.
(a)moral thread has chosen to focus its production on the work of Željko Kraščić because of his skills and his will to participate and interpret the material submitted by the other participants. As a working methodology the curators sought to create a form of communication in which the artists would submit a draft, guideline, idea or work in progress to serve as the beginning of the craftsman’s process, giving him freedom to interpret and translate content from one media to another, in order to achieve his goal.
The task of the curators was to narrow the gap, translate and transport content from one side to the other. Translation has an important role in the development of this project and it appears in different levels. In the first place, we are facing a traditional craft, familiar yet distant from our reality. Gender roles, domestic environments and aesthetic approach have changed. Our political positions are more complex. Our raised awareness of the way in which we interact in our private environment generates the political reality we inhabit, which means that we inevitably encounter these embroideries and what they are depicting from a distance. In a second level, a translation process is needed in relation to the differences existing between different languages and cultures.
Finally, the craftsman had to interpret the material he received to use it as a source for creating an embroidery. The freedom of interpretation given to him made his task of translation more complex, allowing the craftsman's will and decision to transform somebody else’s idea.
NADA, Tonala, Bogota, Colombia (17.3 - 10.4.2016)