Lia De Jonghe
Fabric works – VU medisch centrum – Amsterdam – NL
Vestingval – Elburg – NL
Textile Biennial Rijswijk – Museum Rijswijk – BR Rijswijk – NL
Textiel Plus Festival – Den Bosch – NL
Doksalon – Amsterdam – NL
AMC – Amsterdam – NL
Textiel Biennale Rijswijk – Catalogus – www.textielplus.nl
2000 – 2004
Rietveld Academie – Amsterdam
Stripping complex material down to the bone. It is the key skill of caricaturists, draughtsmen and artists –
at least those artists who push abstraction to the edge of figurative recognition.
Interlacing characteristics requires sensitivity and finesse.
Portraits of houses and people solely in thread lines and fabric patches.
Lia de Jonghe (1962, Den Helder, The Netherlands) is one of those artists who debones the figurative.
She doesn’t need a lot: some thin pieces of fabric, preferably vintage, and thread.
In these times of selfies, in which quite a lot of people unashamedly showcase themselves to their circle of friends,
it seems unimaginable that there were times when people sat and gazed awkwardly for a photo session.
Take the portraits Oma and Opa that are based on family photos found in an old shoebox. The look is searching and cordial.
They have volunteered to take part in the idea of a portrait, but truly exposing themselves is a step too far.
It is wonderful to be able to see this couple side by side and wonder about how these two individuals lived their lives together.
A serious disposition and friendly/roguish undertone seem to connect them. De Jonghe is fascinated by pairs.
She may take an existing twosome like her grandparents, or with just as much love, she may clone an individual
Identical twins they may be, but they are never exactly identical, as in Twee meisjes (Two girls). For De Jonghe it’s about the dynamics and interaction between two people, who have somehow managed to find each other in life. Picture two school girls: one very tall,
the other quite short, calling each other ‘Polle’ and copying each other’s mannerisms while also inventing new ones together.
Picture artistic duos like Gilbert & George or Viktor & Rolf: the outside world has no idea who’s who, but that doesn’t matter much.
It’s also possible to be in each other’s heads all the time, as is the case for mother/daughter in Nooit alleen (1) (Never alone).
Coupling also happens in a material sense. De Jonghe seeks out affiliated fabrics for the faces. They don’t have to stem from the exact
same time period of the person portrayed, but the total tailoring must be bespoke.
And then there’s the sewing together of wounded sublayers. Scars can be detected – sometimes ripping right through a face.
That didn’t happen on purpose, but it is acceptance: when new additions stopped matching the existing work.
Unpicking and sewing anew is part of the process, but ripping it in half and suturing is also an option. No one is free of
scars, and for Lia de Jonghe it’s okay to see them.
Frank van der Ploeg
Catalogue Textile Biennial Rijswijk