« ΓΝΩΘΙ ΣΕΑΥΤΟΝ » – CASHMERE, MERINO, LACQUERED SNAKE SKIN
Why shouldn’t artisans organize their own artistic residencies? That’s what Aline Putot-Toupry and I did in the summer of 2023.
I had the pleasure of setting up my loom for two months in Aline’s workshop, to conduct research together and work on a joint creation.
Aline is a visual artist whose working materials include wood, porcelain, urushi lacquer, gold leaf and stone… Together, we created Atelier Le Traon’s creation #100, a woven tableau bringing together our preferred materials.
Four-handed collaboration celebrating matter and myth
Our work focused on bringing together two materials, wool and snake (boa constrictor) shed skin, each translating into a different form the same molecule, keratin, which also makes up human skin.
The resulting creation thus resonates as a reminder of our own materiality, as an invitation to introspection.
« Γνῶθι σεαυτόν » (« Gnôthi seauton ») « Know thyself »: the words inscribed on the pediment of Apollo’s temple at Delphi are transcribed here in the weaving of the fabric by a textile encoding system developed by Mathieu Le Traon. The structure of the weave also conceals the geographical coordinates of the temple where the Pythia practiced, built on the site of the legendary serpent’s cave.
Urushi, a natural Japanese plant-based lacquer, has been applied by Aline to the snake shed skin to preserve and enhance its beauty.
Thus prepared, the skin takes on a deep, shiny black color, like the entrails of the cave where the Delphic python resided.
The wounds of the molt are repaired with gold thread like a kintsugi, magnifying them and making them appear like a constellation – that of the Snake perhaps?
Through its materials and its various symbolic meanings, the work we’ve created reminds us of ourselves as human elements in nature.
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