Interlacing Cuttings and Stitchings

Thomas Imboden


Textiles accompany us throughout our lives. They protect us and give us identity. In her works Nesa Gschwend focusses on textile techniques—in particular cutting and stitching—and she transfers them to a variety of materials and disciplines.


From her meandering system of threads and bands, which she interweaves, knots and overlays, cuts and re-attaches, emerge analogies for the aggregate cell-head-bundle-body-skin-tissue-network.  Movements and shifts with minimal variations stimulate the viewer's imagination and seamlessly lead to new motifs. In this manner, she creates—with textile panels, drawings, paintings, videos and objects—a tableau that expands into the given space, and of which the components can be combined in new ways in each new spatial structure.


In her objects the artist embroiders paper cuts on textiles and processes them with wax and pigments. «Cutting is an aggressive act, and needles are there to mend these damages», she cites Louise Bourgeois, for whom each artistic process was the «renewed experience of a trauma». We associate these experiences with cutting-severing, then with joining-sewing and the subsequent protracted healing of the sutures. The further processing with wax refers to the nursing of the cuts and seams, and gives her work a haptic, sensitive surface—a skin.


Dominating Nesa Gschwend's majority of works is the colour red in its full spectrum from pink to blood-read to purple and brown. Red stands for action-development-corporeality. Red is the first colour new-borns can distinguish, and the first that humans have given a name. Hence red occupies a central position in individual development as well as the historical evolution of culture.


While working Nesa Gschwend saves all cut-away pieces and left-over materials and forms them into large balls with varying surfaces, colours and shapes. By doing so she demonstrates the complex correlations and many levels of her artwork.


Apart from her works with textiles, paper and wax, the artist shows recently created metal objects. The laser cuttings in steel plates are an innovative approach to Cuttings and Stitchings: The filigree structure and the hollows in the solid material create subtle silhouettes. Thus these objects act as filters between the obvious and the hiddenreality and projectionand take her «weaving and spinning» to a new level.