Above the Bay of Naples from Via Partenope, Naples, September 2008

Craigie Horsfield


Photography, 400 x 2600 cm.
Materials: tapestry

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. M00171).

The monumental tapestry Above the Bay of Naples... was made for Horsfield’s solo exhibition Schering en Inslag (Confluence and Consequence), organized by the M HKA in 2010, where a large number of his tapestries were on view. This piece arose within the context of the Napoli Conversation Project, one of Horsfield’s famous social projects, and was fabricated in long collaboration with Flanders Tapestries, a textile factory in West Flanders. Under Horsfield’s lead, the factory translated one of his photographs (a panoramic view over the fireworks display in the Bay of Naples) into a gigantic and very detailed work of woven textile. With his tapestries, Horsfield reflects on the concept of time. The slow fabrication of the work stands in stark contrast to the rapidity of the moment when the scene is first captured by camera. Horsfield's combining of modern, lightning-fast photography with centuries-old tapestry making, presents a contradiction. Moreover, for Horsfield the carpet is a metaphor for his vision concerning social relationships. The color threads from which the carpet consist depict nothing on their own, but together indeed form a remarkable image, just as the significance of an individual must be seen within the contextual mesh of a broader social fabric.

"It is a recognition of being at a particular historical point. I don’t mean being at some point in a sequence or necessarily as part of events which are unfolding. But history, as we embody it, that what we encounter in every moment, that we are." - Craigie Horsfield, 1993

"And this brings us back, not only to the problem of how tapestries can be “of our time,” or for that matter how the photograph can be woven into the tapestry now that it is possible to do so (thus representing a certain state of art), but even more basically to the question of artistic time, which we know to be different form “real time”." - Carol Armstrong, 2010

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