‘On Fading’ existed as a publication and a two-day performative event in Paviljoen Welgelegen in Haarlem. The pavilion -built by banker Henry Hope in the 18th Century, which was once the home of Louis Napoleon and Wilhelmina of Prussia and currently houses the offices of the provincial executives of North Holland- and its artifacts are subject to continuous restorations and maintenance, a recurring (anti-aging) process.
In this continuing undoing of age, the story of a series of woven tapestries especially caught my fiber-captivated eye.
The six wall pieces, designed by Chris de Moor in the 1930s, have aged and faded from their 70 years in the sun, making their images of different areas of the province of North Holland hardly recognizable.
An initial request was sent out to textile restoration specialist Sadegh Memarian, who proposed to turn the tapestries around and carefully redirect all the ends of the yarn sticking out of the backside to the front of the new back instead of producing replicas.
Materially the same but rejuvenated and mirrored, the pieces are placed back – a not uncontroversial decision within the field of textile restoration.
As a collaboration with Miriam van Rijsingen, Sanja Oud, Roselinde Bon, and Andjela Culaja, ‘On Fading’ reflects on the aging tapestries and the methods to turn the evidence of time around, as well as on the slippery concept of age as an experience in our lives.
In a performative sequence that included a (rejuvenating) facial massage, the texts from the publication were read aloud by Marie Claire Gellings, Fien Brakkee, Alice Ke Ma, Corina van Beelen, Caseysimone Ballestas, Marijn Biekart, Roselinde Bon, and Sarah Jayne Prijn.
We wrote (about) the distorted version, the mirrored image, the materially more complex reiteration of