Bucharest, Romania born 1941
Dusseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia, Düsseldorf district, Germany
Materials & Technique: textiles, coconut fibre, cotton, painted cloth cotton-wrapped rope sections: joined, painted and assembled on painted cloth backing
Since the late 1960s Ritzi Jacobi’s work with textiles and fibre has provided her with a way to draw, define space and build structure from the simplest of means. The drawing technique of hatching as a way to define contour and depth is reinterpreted by Jacobi though her gestural use of wrapped bundles of fibres as three-dimensional drawing strokes, building up layers of light and shadow. She binds and wraps small lengths of fibre to each other until their softness is transformed into solid structures that, like severed nerves lashed together, grow in juxtaposition in an open-ended, crystalline fashion. The artist places us in the midst of this shingled, edgeless terrain, allowing us to navigate its complexity with our senses of touch, smell and sight. Without the distraction of a visible or literal narrative, we are encouraged to examine the minutiae of the structure, and become an active partner in Jacobi’s textile architecture as we subconsciously reconnect its discordances.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra