Artist: Hana Miletić
Exhibition title: Incompatibilities
Venue: The Approach, London, UK
Date: October 30 – December 20, 2019
Photography: Damian Griffiths / all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and The Approach, London
Incompatibilities introduces a new body of handwoven textile works by Hana Miletić. Made with bags of discarded, incompatible yarn that the artist bought from the only still existing yarn factory in her hometown Zagreb, the works pay homage to the textile industry in Yugoslavia. Following the civil war and ethnic conflicts in the 1990s, this once booming industry was dismantled and subsequently privatised. The salvaged yarns which are used in the works are remains of the rolls produced in certain colours and reserved exclusively for the export market and are only available at the local market as low quality, sample scraps or ‘incompatible’ colours. Bringing to the fore the discourses surrounding the politics of colour and trade, Miletić’s works are defined by the contents of each scraps yarn bag. The scale of the textile weavings is predetermined by the contents of the bags and even the order of the colour combinations follows the sequence in which the yarns are packed in.
Alongside this new series of works the artist also presents Materials. An ongoing series of small to medium-scale, handwoven textiles, the works were previously part of Miletić’s solo exhibition at WIELS in 2018 as well as her participation in the Sharjah Biennial in 2017. Though at first glance their design may seem abstract and arbitrary, the textiles are, in fact, based on photographs that she takes with a small digital camera in the streets of Brussels and Zagreb. They often relate to pictures of damage/breakage in public spaces such as broken car parts (mirrors, headlights, windshields, etc.) or elsewhere in buildings with shattered doors and windows that were mended in creative, improvised ways by their owners, mostly by means of tape. The colours and textures of each fabric are based on the materials that were captured in the photograph. Still mindful of the politics of fabrication, Miletić has used yarn that is layered in terms of provenance and trade, for example using natural dyes such as indigo, the ancient technique that can be traced back to the colonial paths of the silk road. For Miletić, the act of weaving culminates in an effect that is both material and metaphorical, using weaving as a gesture of care and repair, and to reflect on issues of representation and social reproduction.
Hana Miletić was born in Zagreb, Croatia in 1982, she lives and works in Brussels.