Felt Workshops I-XI

© Hana Miletić, Felt Workshops I-XI, 2018-2020

Felt Workshops I-XI (2018 - 2020) consists of 11 elements - pieces of colourful felt hung in pairs on simple wooden structures painted black. The work was produced during a series of workshops that the artist facilitated together with a group of women from immigrant backgrounds. The first took place in Brussels with community art centre Globe Aroma, whose activity focuses on newly arrived immigrants and refugees, and the second in Vienna with Vereinigung für Frauenintegration Amerlinghaus, an association for education and counselling as part of Miletic’s contribution to “... of bread, wine, cars, security and peace” exhibition at Vienna Kunsthalle curated by the collective WHW (2020). Both associations are to receive part of the proceeds from the sale of the work.

The installation resulting from the Brussels workshop was exhibited at WIELS in Miletić’s solo exhibition “Dependencies” (2018) under the title txt, Is Not Written Plain. It was subsequently acquired by M Museum Leuven. The work proposed to KANAL was made later and was included in 4th Art Encounters Biennale in Timișoara and in the 39th EVA International, Ireland Biennial of Contemporary Art (both 2021). The series is exemplary of Miletić’s practice after 2014 when the artist shifted her focus from photography, performance, and found poetry to weaving, thereby reconnecting with the craft traditions of her Yugoslavian childhood.

During the workshops, women shared stories and experiences while felting wool together. Miletić explores the social potential of the act of weaving using the weaving process as means for connecting people from diverse backgrounds despite communication barriers. The installation is a result of a collaborative creative process. Individual contributions blend together in the final form of the pieces, much like any society. The work reflects Miletić’s interest in social and economic conditions. She uses the weaving process, which requires considerable time and dedication, as a way to counteract contemporary labour conditions such as acceleration and standardisation.

Felt Workshops I-XI also refers to the history of abstract art and the first painterly representations of networks in the 1960s. However, Hana Miletić’s colourful, blended felt compositions display a rhizomatic structure that evokes a care network. While embodying the social relationships that led to the crafting of this piece, the work will in return materially sustain these relationships in the future.