PAINTINGS | APRIL 2018
Afghan felts as abstract paintings
Anatolian Cirpi textiles as optical compositions
Kirçil Kilims as minimalist artwork
Zakatala from Kurdistan as suspended sculptures
In 2018 in Milan ALTAI presented a selection of ancient textiles of nomadic origin, together with primitive felts. These were created at the beginning of the last century by unknown artists, in the remote regions between Kurdistan and Central Asia. With the Paintings exhibition Altai blurred the boundaries between historical artefact and art.
Afghan felts, found in the remote region of Sistan on the border with Iran, were framed and installed on the walls.
After millennia, these felts left the ground and conquered the wall. They are witness of knowledge on the verge of extinction, orally transmitted since prehistory.
The Zakatala textiles from Kurdistan, born around the Zarathustra cult, show totemic symbols made of woollen brushstrokes, centuries before any artist started painting on canvas.
Cirpi textiles from the Anatolian plateaus, framed as paintings, instantly became real paintings, revealing their inherent modernity.
These carpets and felts were created for merely practical reasons. They were lightweight for long trips, warm to fend off cold winters and resistant to offer protection from the sand.
They decorated temporary tents in extreme conditions and inhospitable places and made them home. They indicated the tribe, and the status of each group.
Their makers, the “artists”, were always women, generations of guardians of ancient traditions and creators of weaves and colours.
Today these are incredibly contemporary pieces.