Threads got impact

AA Bronson selects Californian action weaver Travis Meinolf
Art | 8 October 2014
This article is part of Young Art Week – Defining a generation

Welcome to HERO Young Art Week – our essential, multifaceted guide to the new wave of creatives working at the vanguard of contemporary art today. Across a dynamic week of digital content, we’re exploring what’s happening at the epicentre of this global community: from the ground up, the artists themselves and the key figures witnessing the evolution of the ideas, trends and movements defining this art generation.

Founding member of the legendary art collective General Idea and infamous for his early involvement in punk, AIDS activism and manifestations of ‘other’, AA Bronson is one of the most revered and radical artists living today. Bronson’s work in the art publishing field saw him found the Printed Matter NY and LA Art Book Fairs whilst director of Printed Matter between 2004 and 2010 playing an integral role in the rise of the print medium as an accessible and innovative communication channel for young artists today. AA Bronson currently lives and works in Berlin. 

While speaking to AA Bronson for our interview, we asked the prolific creative to select the artists he feels are making waves with their work in the world, and to ask them one question.

“My work as an artist is rather difficult to define,” reflects Bronson. “I love to collaborate with friends of various generations, and I love to include my friends in my ‘solo’ exhibitions. The artists listed below are all people that I included in my exhibition The Temptation of AA Bronson at Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, and or AA Bronson’s HOUSE OF SHAME at the Gwangju Biennale in South Korea, up right now. Generally speaking, these projects combine sexuality, spirituality and community, both queer and not.”

AA Bronson selects Travis Meinolf

“Travis Meinolf is the ‘action weaver’,” says Bronson. “I first met him when I arrived in Berlin, and he presented my husband and I with both a blanket and a wall-hanging, one to look at, the other to use.

His best known project involves setting up his portable loom (which he made himself) in a public square and inviting friends to bring him cast-off sweaters, which he recycles, weaving them into blankets. At the end of the day he leaves a pile of blankets with the sign: “If you need a blanket, take one.” We have a collaboration in the Gwangju Biennale, and also collaborated on the Tent of Healing, which I showed at the Stedelijk Museum last December. He and his wife Iris have the sweetest little boy, Louis.”

Travis Meinolf ‘The New Misunderstanding of Nature’ 2012. Courtesy the artist

“When you look into a mirror, what do you see?” – AA Bronson

Travis Meinolf: When I looked in my bathroom mirror the other day I thought I had some white wool caught in my stubble. I spin yarn as well as weaving and building looms so this is normal, but it wasn’t that, it wasn’t white hair from another animal, it was my own. I’ll turn 36 in November and I start to feel like when I look at myself I am looking at a body, a machine that is well-used and imperfect. I once was nonchalantly proud of my teeth, perfectly straight and nice without orthodontic involvement, my wisdom teeth were even growing in! Now I try to floss and pick around these extra molars and see a strange “M” in partial bites of cheese or bread – like I say my mirror is in the bathroom so grooming is central to my honest answer – my well-defined eyebrows, surely involved in my brief career as a fashion model at the turn of the century, now threaten to join in the centre, flaring out like a horned owl, envelop my sockets entire, and don’t let’s get started on nose hair! But had I a full-length mirror I might see my shoulders, broad and somewhat stooped from hours behind the loom, arms with sideways muscles from throwing the shuttle, measuring warp, carrying my son. And the rest below, also toned to my specific needs and habits. After years of weaving I started to teach, and now many of my projects involve others doing the discovery, doing the work, while I provide the tools, the methods that I have gathered. When I look in the mirror I see the tool that I have crafted for this life, that this life has crafted me into, and it satisfies me. It serves me to communicate with society in ways I find meaningful, through active physicality and like this too, by expressing thoughts in words! Thank you AA, for this moment of introspection.

Check out more of Travis Meinolf’s work at his website.

Stay tuned for more HERO Young Art Week content in the coming days and plug into our social media platforms for updates as they come.

 

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