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2023 - La Casa come un vestito
La casa come un vestito.jpeg

From the book “La casa come un vestito (SCIAREDOtalks2 editions)”, A conversation with Antonietta Airoldi, by Anna-Lisa Galizia


ALG: Georgette Tentori Klein's textile production is practically unknown.

In one of his notes from 1921 I thought I found your words: “More economy in work. Abandon everything that is secondary. No ornaments (...)”1.

What strikes you about Georgette's textile work, particularly the dresses? Do you also see a link between your creations?


AA: I see affinities, if I can say so, in the reasoning. You made me discover it, any coincidences are truly random.


ALG: I like to think that artists like Georgette Tentori Klein are at the origin of the (re)discovery of hand weaving as an artistic expression in Italian-speaking Switzerland, and that these women have also contributed, unconsciously, to the fact that, also thanks to the existence of a dedicated section at the Cantonal School of Applied Arts (CSIA) of Lugano, weaving is still practiced in this area. Can you tell me how you became interested in weaving?


AA: In 1978 my life took an existential turn. Overturning every convention, I immersed myself in a profound and interior search. I looked for an important job, which would give me satisfaction, passion and strength, fueling my fundamental inner growth. I have always been fascinated by the creative artistic world. After experimenting with all sorts of jobs and schools, the choice fell on weaving. I enrolled at the CSIA in Lugano where I was able to deepen this profession by following a full-time apprenticeship. Weaving has prehistoric origins, from when humanity understood the possibility of spinning and weaving. Clothes took on primary and defensive importance, both for the body (skins, vegetables, sheep wool); both for the living space (interweaving of branches, leaves, etc.). Textile art, with its notable technical evolution, developed later as demonstrated by the numerous found fragments of Coptic fabrics or the fragments of tapestries woven on a vertical loom from other civilizations. The possibility of updating this profession in the contemporary world immediately fascinated me. I then discovered that weaving suited my creative spirit.


ALG: What strikes me about your work is the constant research that has taken place over the years without ever abandoning the initial expressive rigor and the search for the absolute that distinguishes your work.


AA: In 1984 I began the adventure that allowed me to delve deeper, study, design and consolidate my many thoughts which later resulted in various textile projects.

The shape, the structure, the colour: three elements that have always motivated and strongly supported every idea to be realised. Every textile project always expresses the desire and need to reduce the shape; rather than adding, my desire has always been to remove everything superfluous to obtain the essential


ALG: During our conversations over the years, you have often spoken to me about the particular gaze you direct at architecture


AA: Architecture has always interested me. This is how furnishing proposals with fabrics, tapestries, panels and curtains are born. I have created fabrics intended to furnish: the house with its interiors, but also a public place and

a private yacht where you can dream. Subsequently, starting from architecture, the gaze and interest turns towards

clothing. I immediately see the dress with a strong theatrical component. The clothes are created directly on the loom and their manufacturing therefore ignores the cutting phase. Each item is accompanied by meticulous written and drawn research. The dialectic between the static nature of "architecture" and the plasticity of "the dressed body" has led me over the years to experiment with conviction on two fronts: architecture as a form and conceptual structure, the body as a house, refuge, hut. My projects are conceived and created with textile techniques which produce wrapping effects through folds, deconstruction and pictorial intervention. Everything put in place to render: lightness, transparency or density, opacity or shine, etc.


ALG: Essentiality in the shapes, but also in the choice of materials and colors.


AA: I have favored yarns of all kinds: from linen to hemp, from silk to wool, but also other more unusual materials, such as copper, plastic, paper, nylon, etc. These materials create tensions and clashes that fascinate me and that give a theatrical and unconventional dimension to the textile work.


ALG: Without referring directly to weaving, Georgette Tentori Klein hoped that her work could be continued by others. How do you interpret continuity and transmission, thinking in particular about weaving?


AA: From 1984 to 1999 engaged full time in my textile atelier trying to build my own production line, at the same time as the various personal and collective exhibitions I managed the AAA atelier in Lugano, an exhibition space aimed at promoting the applied arts . These experiences have certainly developed the professionalism that has allowed me to operate as a teacher and section head of Weaving at the CSIA between 1999 and 2016. I have committed myself to transmitting to young people various techniques, the design of fabrics and the peculiarities of the numerous and different fibers with the aim of continuing my path and continuity in this profession.


1 AARDM, Diaries, vol,1, year 1921:“28/12: Mehr okonomie in der Arbeit. Alles nebensachliche fallen lassen. Keine Ornamentally. (...).”

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