A friend sent me a link to this very interesting project called the Web of Europe. where artists were invited to re-weave a section of a seventeenth-century Brussels tapestry Mercury Hands Over the Infant Bacchus to the Nymphs, which is kept at the Museum of Applied Arts in Budapest. This work has been undertaken as a celebration of Hungary’s Presidency of the European Union.
You can have a look at the original work in the ‘Mercury’ section of the site, and then in the ‘Paraphrases’ section of the site, view individually the pieces re-woven by the 27 tapestry weavers invited to participate in the process.
I found reading the comments of the artists one of the most interesting sections of the site (click on each piece of the tapestry to find the artist’s statement). Judit Nagy from Hungary writes – “The with-child time for every work is long, and premature birth is impossible. The frequencies develop into a picture in the course of many months. And a distinctive way of life takes shape, one which is about only the two of us. It is about intimacy, the productive power of tranquillity, the sensual joy of handling the coloured threads, and sometimes suffering, namely, about the Sisyphean-like task and the acceptance of heavy physical work on a daily basis.“
My major frustration with this site is that there is only colour and greyscale overlay image of the old and the new works together. I would have loved to see them both in full colour – so I had to resort to paper cut outs to try and get an idea of the how the composite might look.
As serendipity would have it I read on the ABC site that the Eureka Flag, which has been undergoing restoration will shortly be back on display. What struck me as most interesting, and relevant to this post is that the principal conservator Kristin Phillips curator said that while they know where some missing pieces of the flag are (they had been souvenired over the years), the decision was taken not to stitch them back in.
“To get them back into location we’d be guessing where they went and they aesthetically would look quite strange,” she said.
Personally I think it is an opportunity lost, but then I think that anyone who knows me wouldn’t be surprised that I came down on the side of the “aesthetically strange”.