Soft Monuments

Stefanie Kägi


July 7th – 8th

“Soft monuments” was created during my artist in residence in Belgrade. For four months, I have lived and worked in the city. In my work, I consider the essential elements of painting, including colour, form, and gesture. Looking for fabrics to paint on at the beginning of my residency, I started to collect leftovers from fabric shops. These leftovers piled up in my Belgrade studio and some took traces from paint. Layers by layers, collaging and sewing these Leftovers together, the resulting large-scale sewn fabrics, explore histories of painting and sculptor and transform the space they take up.

The “Soft Monuments” are also reminiscent of a dwelling or a canopy that is used for beds in which one feels comfortable and secure. I like the idea of using textiles as protective and at the same time temporary, flexible space-generating.

I am interested in the influence that architecture has on us, how certain monuments and buildings anchor us, make us feel at home, connect us to a place in specific ways and also shape it. What really fascinated me in Belgrade were the numerous monuments and sculptures in public space in and around the city. Monuments often celebrate rulers or heroes; they weight tons and were meant to last forever – a sculptural theme that also has something heavy and maybe masculine about it. It was probably my need to counteract something soft. Putting bright colours of large scale fabric banners into the space.

The Physical aspect is important in the three “Vessel Paintings”. The large formats on unprimed canvas relates to the human body and shows vessels or sculptural like objects. The layered fields of colour move between the fore and backgrounds in the “Vessel Paintings”. I mix the digital and the analogue, drawing the forms on the computer and then extracting a negative of the image, which is then transferred onto the canvas. The result is an interplay of controlled and accidental elements, with a background that flows into a subtle gradient, darker at the top and lighter at the bottom; the objects seem to float. Like the vessels themselves, which are about filling and emptying, the paintings, too, are about overlaying layers and partially erasing them again.


Photos: N. Ivanović