embroidered domestic objects by ulla-stina wikander resurrect retro irons, mixers + more

embroidered domestic objects by ulla-stina wikander resurrect retro irons, mixers + more

from october 25 – november 23, 2019, paradigm gallery + studio presents a solo exhibition of sweden-based artist ulla-stina wikander’s embroidered work. ‘obsolescence’ comprises new pieces from wikander’s well-known series of household objects covered in colorful, vintage stitchings. ‘it is rather new for me to be a part of the textile community because I have always regarded myself as a painter and sculptor,’ wikander says about her practice. ‘while I do not embroider myself, I am always very meticulous when I choose my patterns. embroidery is very hard to find nowadays, so I often travel to small towns in sweden to find them. I have a big collection with hundreds of embroideries, organized into boxes by motif. I do not know if it is accepted among textile artists, to cut embroideries into pieces, but I think my work is a bit different. I always have a bad feeling that I am destroying a beautiful embroidery that someone else has made, but the recycling of something forgotten also feels current and good’.



new pieces included in wikander’s ‘obsolescence’ exhibition at paradigm gallery + studio explore humorous, yet societally critical themes of feminism, domesticity, and upcycling. the intricate textile constructions are given dimension by the otherwise ordinary household objects that lie underneath, such as irons, blow dryers, shoes, bags, lamps, books, and phones. adorned in meticulous stitchings of flowers, animals, and pastoral scenes, the domestic items are elevated from their former functional life, yet remain recognizable in form, eliciting equal parts dissonance and delight.



although the artist was traditionally trained as a painter and sculptor, she began collecting vintage embroideries 15 years ago in antique stores and flea markets, drawn to the intricate designs of needlework textiles. wikander’s earliest experimentation with the medium began by canvassing a broken vacuum cleaner laying around in her home, which she transformed into something visually absorbing and entirely new — giving the vacuum a new reason to exist. although not all of the objects wikander covers are defunct, they’re all out-dated. through the artist’s process, these retro items are re-contextualized into fully contemporary sculptures.



project info: 


artist: ulla-stina wikander

exhibition: obsolescence

gallery: paradigm gallery + studio

location: philadelphia, PA

duration: october 25 – november 23, 2019

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