Opening this week at the National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rome, the exhibition Intertwingled: The Role of the Rug in Arts, Crafts and Design explores the role of carpet and tapestry in different fields relating to art, craftsmanship and design. The aim of the show is to look at rugs through a more conceptual lens, examining their role in expressing ideas of nomadism, contemporary politics and digital language.
The process of making rugs creates an intertwining of warp and weft threads, representing an intermingling of designs, experiences and histories. American sociologist and philosopher Ted Nelson was the person to coin the word ‘intertwingle’ in 1960 as a way of expressing the complexity of the interrelations of knowledge. ‘Everything is deeply intertwingled’ said Nelson when explaining that all knowledge is linked, that there are no ‘subjects’.
The aim of the Intertwingled exhibition is to depict rugs as an expression of our society and culture and does so through 80 works of art—from rugs to paintings and photography. The many rug and tapestry exhibits include one of Alighiero Boetti’s Mappa tapestries of 1971-73, that were made in Kabul, Afghanistan to represent the global geopolitical situation at the time. Rugs also come from companies such as Nodus—whose hand-knotted Baba rug by Alessandro Pedretti is on show—and nanimarquina—with rugs by Marti Guixe (curator of the exhibition) and Javier Mariscal. Further artworks and designs include pieces by Patricia Urquiola, Eduardo Chillida, Lucio Fontana and Ettore Sottsass.
Edoardo Marino of Milan’s Edoardo Marino Antique Carpets donated an Afghan war rug to the show and also two pieces from the Handkerchiefs of Peace project, developed by CooperAction NGO. The handkerchiefs are embroidered by children and widows of Kabul. The project uses art as a way to get communities to be able to communicate what they have endured. The first of the handkerchiefs is by Maryam Akhondzada, the second by Malika, a 17-year-old girl from Lugar Province, who said she has drawn this picture in memory of those young girls who have been victims of violence.
In the words of Cristiana Collu, Director of the Galleria Nazionale: ‘Intertwingled is not just a dense and layered ethnography of design, it is a journey into many dimensions, which intertwines our experience with what we know and what we still have to discover, together with what we do not see but we should be able to imagine. Visiting the exhibition will be like taking a leap into simultaneity, a leap that discards the obvious and finds amazement, accelerates, slows down, changes pace, redesigns and recreates.’
The show ends on 4 September 2022.
See more about the exhibition in COVER 67, out in May.