WITHERED by Vânia Reichartz

An inevitable beauty.
Disproportionate objects that resemble fallen bodies with prominent wrinkles and bumps. The WITHERED series made by Vânia Reichartz emphasizes a captivating texture and technique that becomes evident after processing the unsettling shapes.
The four wool and silk pieces contrast imperfectly with the rigidity of the pedestal where they are presented. Gradients of cheerful and optimistic colors are starkly juxtaposed with the fallen shapes – one watches with pleasure and disquiet the encounter of these elements.

The beginning

Vânia Reichartz: The WITHERED series appeared out of my hands when I grabbed some materials I had in my studio and started working with the coiling technique. I just wanted to do a little sample but I guess it grew out of control and I found myself addicted and amazed by this technique. It has an ancestral feeling to it and such natural fluidity. From that day on and for the last two years, textile coiling has been a huge part of my work.

WITHERED II by Vânia Reichartz

The Coiling Technique

Vânia Reichartz: Coiling is patience, it’s doing stitch by stitch. It is slow and requires concentration.
As a person who doesn’t have much patience, and likes to have immediate results, working like this is a big challenge for me. Time was also a challenge, as each piece takes from one to three months to create. On the other side, shaping is very interesting and one can see all the lines of my shaping, following one line from beginning to end, like a drawing. The technique gives space to create and it connects me to the ancestral world, the crafts, and to nature.

WITHERED III (above) and WITHERED I (below) by Vânia Reichartz


Vânia Reichartz: The inspiration for this series came from a book by Irvin D. Yalom, ‘Facing the Sun’. An extraordinary and encouraging literature piece on mortality and overcoming the human fear of dying:
‘The awareness of death can serve as an awakening experience, an important catalyst that can bring about essential changes in our lives. Although death physically destroys us, the idea of death saves us.’

Vânia Reichartz: The WITHERED pieces intend to represent and channel the energy of the end of time, trying to bring beauty and power to it. An ode to a withered end in a joyful and hopeful way. The organic shapes are borrowed from clay, trying the represent a sort of mushy appearance, soft while wet and hard when dry. The human form, the wrinkles, and bumps, and the unshape old age is present too.
Lack of vitality and the inevitability of growing weak can be contemplated in celebration. The interaction of the pieces with the space that sustains seemed appropriate to give more life and context, to grow another dimension becoming alive and characterful.

WITHERED IV by Vânia Reichartz

Vânia Reichartz: For these vessels, I used vintage fibers, a mixture of wool and silk, very old and very high in quality, dignified and somber. Gradient colors for the passing time and sin some a punch of color as a juxtaposition representing fun and joy.
Craftmanship is an essential part of my artistic creation. While the making process happens and the technique develops, creativity is born and evolves, from the hands, from craft, not from concepts or previous ideas.

Interview with Vânia Reichartz | Photography Vânia Reichartz

WITHERED is currently showing at ‘THE FEMALE THREAD’ – a virtual exhibition developed by Emerge | Converge™