Rosemarie Trockel’s polyvalent art practice emerged in the 1980s as a part of a new, radically inventive artistic scene in Cologne. Her films and videos, “knitting pictures,” ceramics, drawings, collages, and projects for children are celebrated for their biting critique. Like other artists of her generation such as Barbara Kruger, Cindy Sherman, and Jenny Holzer, Trockel relays a subversive engagement with feminist discourse in her earliest works, calling into question the essentialisms of 1970s feminism through the use of industrial fabrication and commercial design. In the early 1980s, Trockel began making her wool “knitted pictures,” patterned skeins of yarns generated by a computerised knitting machine and then stretched over canvas like paintings.
These large-scale pieces express the artist’s sharp engage- ment with questions of “women’s work” and the devalued status of craft in the context of an increasingly mechanised society. Including repeating geometric motifs, logos, political symbols, and references to German history, these “knitting pictures” superficially ape the forms of Abstract paintings, while underscoring the clichéd connotations of gendered labour behind them. For The Milk of Dreams, Trockel presents a selection of existing and previously unseen wool works. Subtle variations in the wool works’ stitching – each knitted by Trockel’s long-time collaborator Helga Szentpétery – signal their hand-made quality and present a wry assessment of the subjectivity of visual representation and of art’s commodification.
www.ftn-books.com has a few Trckel titles now available.