Thursday, December 29, 2005

3. You must Come to my Villa in Dubrovnik

The Tapestry Biennial in Lausanne was held in the summer of 1975 (June 14-September 28). I stayed at this little tiny Inn, called Hotel du Raisin, which was adorable and close to the museum. My artwork had been shipped weeks in advance in 2 air cargo containers for 1 dollar per pound, a lotta dough in those days, 600 smackers. Upon my arrival, to the Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Claude Ritschard, the charming director introduced me to my “assistant,” a fiber artist visiting from Buenos Aires by the name of Jorge Luis Giacosa, who instantly became my angel and my right hand. He did everything for me, including translating for me.

The Museum had fabricated an 8 foot by 8 foot flat wooden structure which they suspended from the ceiling with wire cables. It swung a little bit, which made me a little dizzy. My job was to arrange and hang these crocheted elements from this structure. Jorge and I became fast friends with Lisa Rehsteiner, and her brother Georg.

They were Swiss, living in Spain. Lisa also had a huge installation piece entitled Mirage, which she had to mount on the wall and stretch out into space. We all had many days and hours in the museum to install these pieces. We also befriended Kjell Mardon Gunvaldsen, who was teaching me to speak his language. All I remember was tak, thank you (?). It was pretty mind blowing for me, meeting people from all over the world.

There is an article that was published in October 1975, by Virginia West in Craft Horizons Magazine, (now American Craft). To my delight, and amazement a photo of my work is on the opposite page from Magdalena's. Some stats about the composition of this show mentioned in this article: 65 artists represented 20 countries among which were

11 American
, including
Gerhardt Knodel
Gary Trentham
Marilyn Meltzer
Sheila Hicks
9 French
Daniel Graffin
8 Polish
Magdalena Abakanowicz
Janina Tworek-Pierzgalska
Urszula Plewka-Scjmidt
7 Dutch
Carla Munster
Maria van Blaaderen
Desiree Scholten
7 Japanese
Mizuho Takigawa
Mihoko Matsumoto
Mariyo Yago
Elsi Giauque
Liselotte Siegfried
Lisa Rehsteiner (native Swiss living in Spain)
Olga de Amaral (Colombia)
Ruta Bogustova (U.S.S.R.)
Peter and Ritzi Jacobi (Germany)

They would lock down the museum for lunch between 12 and 2. All the workers in their cobalt blue jumpsuits would vacate the building. One day the four of us went out in the plaza where there was a farmers market. We bought bread, cheese pears and fruit, and brought it back into the museum, and got locked in, so we could work those extra two hours. We sat in my forest and made up all kinds of composed sandwiches and bizarre combinations, you can well imagine.

One nite, for comic relief and rest, we went to a movie in the town of Lausanne. I remember being totally embarrassed that I didn’t laugh at the appropriate comedic moments. The converse of that was weeks later, in Paris where I was watching an American film with French subtitles. I laughed way before anyone else in entire the theatre, now feeling embarrassed from the other direction!

The vernissage was enormous, fun and scary. There they all were, the famous Sheila and Magdalena. Jacoda literally did say to me, You must come to my villa in Dubrovnik. She was jovial, and very fun. It was easy to tell that this woman was a rascal. I felt young, inexperienced, unworldly, and all agog. Definitely not hip slick and cool, like the older more experienced. I was thinking, maybe I should be 42, like most of them. I might fit in a little better.

I came home to have 2 signed purchase orders for commissions. Tune in tomorrow for part 4


Jorge Luis Giacosa said...

I'm Jorge, your old "Laussanne angel". You know that I´ve been looking for you for so long? Years ago, I´ve been even in the "American Craft As." as I knew you were a member, to ask if they knew something about you and they say "No. Please, if you can find her tell us."
So, here you are after so many years! Hugs!!

Daniella Woolf said...

Jorge...we need a reunion. I thought I was going to see you in South Korea at the IAPMA conference, but you did not arrive! Catherine Nash mentioned you, and I contacted you on FaceBook, but no reply. Please email me