Gustav of Saxony, al’Achimista degli Arazzi

His tapestries mix mythology and the subconscious, nature and interiority. Perception for him is both a means and an object of representation and research. Like headaches, which he often suffers from. Now the multidisciplinary artist and designer Gustav of Saxonyborn in 1975 in Kouvola, Finland, but based in Amsterdam, is preparing for abroad retrospective that the Aboa Vetus Ars Nova Museum in Turku, in his native country, dedicates to him: on display from 17 June to 9 October 2022 are the last ten years of work, with the method and themes of his fabric works in the foreground .


«Ten years ago I started experimenting with weaving techniques: the tactile nature of the fabrics and the space I could create simply moved me away from the flat surfaces I used before. I fell in love with the combinations of materials and the extra dimension that they could recreate. I felt that in this way, through the materials, I could tell stories in a better way. I find it rewarding to keep a infantile approach in everything I do or do. For me it was necessary to learn new things along the way, often by trial and error, ”says Saksi. Meanwhile, he designs dreamlike shop windows for Hermes and created in collaboration with the Finnish company Nikari, for the Fumi Gallery in London, the unique Iku-Turso piece: a cabinet which combines Japanese paper yarn and fine cabinetry. He recently completed a tapestry eleven meters long inside the Etu-Töölö high school in Helsinki: Herbarium, as the name implies, of plant inspiration. «The ideas of nature seen from the abstract edge of perception pervade all of my work. For this public artwork in a school setting, I was inspired by botanical images in the educational paintings of the late 19th and 20th centuries, but I wanted to bring the influences of the present day, so the traditional school illustration panels turned into the pixelated images of the digital age, ”he explains.

Photo by Jussi Puikkonen




Saksi will be among the protagonists of Doppio Firma 2022, the collection of objects resulting from the collaboration between designers and artisans promoted by Michelangelo Foundation, Fondazione Cologni and Living and which will be exhibited during the next Salone del Mobile, from 7 to 12 June. «My work for Double Signature is part of my Mythology series, which is still ongoing. It is a woven tapestry and its history comes from Sinbad myth, an imaginary sailor, hero of a cycle of stories of Middle Eastern origin. Over the course of seven voyages across the seas of East Africa and South Asia, Sinbad experiences fantastic adventures in magical realms, encountering monsters and witnessing supernatural phenomena. I developed the artwork together with a team of textile developers, yarn and weaving specialists at the TextielLab of the TextielMuseum in Tilburg, the Netherlands, ”he explains again.


Where does the interest in mythology come from? “I am fascinated by systems fractals of nature. And, like fractals, stories too have infinite repetitive patterns. Mythologies and fairy tales they have been told over and over for thousands of years and will repeat themselves over and over again. I think different cultures have their own archetypes in the form of folk tales. I interpreted the narratives through weaving, using textures and patterns. The result is a series of contemporary tapestries that incorporate tradition and craftsmanship ». It is not the only area of ​​research for Saksi, who continues to tell: “I am attracted to illusory states, in particular by visual hallucinations, the so-called intermediate states, in which the elements borrowed from the perceived world around me and the visions that come from within are equally genuine and real. They can be nocturnal dreams or they can be caused by a discomfort, like migraine in my case, since I have suffered from it all my life ». After all, what are art and design? “I think they’re kind of a means for me to try to make sense of wandering through this complicated universeHe confesses. How to blame him.


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