Door 1: Sheila Hicks
Photography by Cristobal Zanartu
Cultural appropriation has been heavily discussed in recent years, as so often artists blatantly steal from other cultures without respecting its origins. That it can be done respectfully and still create something unique is proven by the American artist Sheila Hicks. Known for her textile art, she sees textile as "a universal language. In all of the cultures of the world, textile is a crucial and essential component" and therefore lets different techniques from all around the globe inspire and influence her work.
Born in 1934 in Hastings, Nebraska, she moved around a lot as a child, as her father after the Great Depression was looking for work. After living in Detroit and Chicago, she studied painting at Yale School of Art. There she was taught by Josef Albers, whose teaching about color highly influenced her. But also his wife the artist Anni Albers together opened her eyes for textile art.
I Wish I Were a Wave, 2019-20 Courtesy by Demisch Danant
This fascination was deepened by Raoul d’Harcourt's book Les textiles anciens du Pérou et leurs techniques on ancient Peruvian textile techniques. From 1957 to 1958, a Fulbright scholarship enabled her to travel to Chile, Bolivia and Peru, where she first-handedly experienced archeological sights but also local textile techniques.
After graduating, she lived from 1959 to 1964 in Mexico, where she taught at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. This job she got through the architect Mathias Goeritz, who also introduced her to Luis Barragán. Generally her work is highly influenced by architects as she always considers space and prefers their way of working.
Saffron Sentinel, 2017. Courtesy of Magasin III Jaffa. Photography by Noam Preisman
She moved to Paris in 1964, where she still lives. Through the aforementioned influences and her continuous traveling, she examines in her art the relationship between color, space and material. Her work spans now over seven decades and is shown in museums and shows worldwide like the Venice Biennale in 2017, Whitney Biennial in New York in 2014 or São Paulo Biennial in 2012.