MOCAK, Museum of Contemporary Art in Kraków
We express that rage in noisy vociferousness. If any trace of it remains, it is in the form of damaged objects, defaced walls, or bruises. Words of aggression push their way out fast, they enter the world in one, explosive breath, externalising themselves without any ado. Embroidery demands time. Restraint. It has an association with tablecloths, napkins and doilies with delicate, decorative embellishments.
Seething and fuming would seem to have very little in common with embroidery. Which might be why their juxtapostion allows each to parenthesise the other. Monika Drożyńska's Stich yourself initiative encourages the public to experiment with ways of expressing their emotions. She problematises the culturally accepted methods of coping with them. The project also demonstrates the arbitrariness of the connotations associated with embroidery.
Embroidery is more than just an activity. It is also a spiritual state. The hand's rhythmic motions have something of a mantra about them. Piercing the fabric, puncturing with attack. An activity which succumbs easily to automatisation changes the state of mind. Writing about hypnoidal states, Freud remarked, "It is not uncommon for it to seem to us that they develop with the >>manifest dreams<< which occur with such frequency, even in subjects who are wholly healthy, and for which numerous opportunities are occasioned by, for instance, women's engagement in the practice of handicrafts" (translated for the purposes of this article from the Polish translation by Robert Reszke).
This is not the of first of Drożyńska's initiatives to confront the public with the potential of this medium. Others include her Winter Activities and its continuation, Urban Embroidery. Shown on LED display screens, the photos of tablecloths and napkins embroidered with comments scrawled on the walls in towns and cities brought to light the flow of emotion and purport between the domestic sphere and the urban space.
Stich yourself ! is addressed to anyone and everyone who is angry. Not only boys fight. Not only girls embroider. The space upon which negative emotions will be expressed will be an enormous piece of fabric prepared by Monika Drożyńska, who will also be lending a helping hand to anyone unskilled in this kind of craftwork. The accumulating embroidery is intended to render the negative words illegible.
Stich yourself ! See how others do it. Let's show each other just how much rage we have in us. With a dash of humour, we can deal with it.