NADINE GOEPFERT. TEXTILES INTO ART.
Interview Irina Romashevskaya
We often think of textiles as mere clothing materials, not realizing their inherent potential for art exploration and research. Textiles are never truly considered to be an art medium, but German-based textile designer Nadine Goepfert thinks otherwise. Through constant research and collaborations with other artists and designers, Nadine is on her way to change that perception.
“As long as I can remember I’ve had a great interest in traditional textile techniques and craftsmanship, so in my work I constantly experiment with the diverse aspects of the materiality and structure of textiles. My projects are based on research and conceptual thinking, and in some of them I explore the wide field of eventualities by creating open situations, which form the basis for my textile designs and art installations.” But what makes textiles so important? Nadine is very passionate about her work as a textile designer: “Textiles are one of the most multifaceted materials known to mankind. I like the idea of having an ability to start at the absolute beginning of a product. When working on a textile, the only thing you get right at the start is plain yarn, but it offers plenty of possibilities for interpretation. And this is what makes it so exciting to work with.”
Is textile an art medium or a simple clothing material? This is definitely a subject open for discussion. But Nadine doesn’t insist on her role of being an artist, “I see myself as a textile designer, and not necessarily an artist, although art and philosophy are definitely influencing my work and create the starting point of my projects.” Working with textiles, like working on any other art project requires a lot of research, insists Nadine. “I have quite a big interest in literature and philosophy, so most of the time I start reading and researching to create some kind of a working concept, which doesn’t need to be profoundly elaborate. I try to leave some space for surprising developments or even mistakes during the working process, which will often lead my work in a completely different direction.”
Research, exploration or plain old curiosity are all a major part of working with textiles. “Sometimes I also just get fascinated by the different conditions of materials, such as melting, or techniques which are not necessarily related to textiles, like conservation, and try to find a way to translate those phenomena into textile materials. This method also involves a lot of research and experimentation.” As a necessary component of every garment, textiles are closely intertwined with fashion, and that makes fashion and textiles coexist in a balanced union, providing plenty of room for exploration. “For a few years now research on garments and fashion has been a major part of my work”, adds Nadine. “This particular research attempts to reveal unconscious givens and prospects in terms of clothing habits, which are not only theoretically implemented, but also constitute the origin for further material explorations.”
The talented German textile designer is known for both her solo projects and collaborations with other artists, as she clearly enjoys working with others, bouncing ideas from her colleagues and implementing new ways of artistic exploration. “Working with other people can be very enriching in several respects. Sometimes it’s just a thought you stumble upon during a good conversation, or someone else’s point of view that sticks with you for a while and inspires you later.” Sharing her experience on artistic collaborations, Nadine adds, “My most recent collaboration was with fashion designer Vladimir Karaleev. Together with the wonderful florist Annett Kuhlmann I created a colorful selection of photographic flower prints for Vladimir’s Spring-Summer 2013 collection. For "The garments may vary" project, I worked in a close and very inspiring collaboration with photographer, Sanna Helena Berge. This project was meant to capture a certain condition, a moment of a naturally changing object, and included a collection of garments made from a variety of unusual materials like memory foam, wax and liquid incased in plastic. During the project Sanna and I worked closely on documenting these changes, and I’d have to say it is really important how your thoughts and ideas get communicated within this medium to get the desired results.”
Looking into the future of textiles, Nadine admits, “There is a huge development in smart textiles, which is not necessarily the field I am focusing on at the moment, but something that might evolve as an interesting medium in terms of art.” Textiles are no longer just ordinary clothing materials, but objects of art and technology, filled with possibilities for bountiful research and bound to amuse.