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Fransje Killaars Installation: Colors, No Figures

  • Exhibition

  • June 15, 2007 – December 2008
  • MASS MoCA

Read the The New York Times review.

Amsterdam-based textile artist Fransje Killaars created a new large-scale installation for MASS MoCA as part of the 2007 NL: A Season of Dutch Arts in the Berkshires.

“I am fascinated and deeply affected by the power and effect of color,” writes artist Fransje Killaars (b. 1959, Maastricht, The Netherlands). Her new textile work Colors, No Figures — commissioned for MASS MoCA’s Hunter Center hallway — used a combination of vivid hues and rich textures to transform visitors’ experiences of the space (which was once the color shop of the original 19th-century occupant of this site, a textile printing company named Arnold Print Works). Merging painting, architecture, and fashion, Killaars’ work also mixes references from a range of cultures — with fabrics from Japan, acrylic blankets designed by the artist and hand-woven in India, and draped figures reminiscent of Burka-clad women and Greek caryatids. Re-contextualizing objects as familiar as a bedspread, Killaars imbued the material with surprising new meaning.

Trained at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam, Killaars began her career as a painter. Influenced by the works of Ellsworth Kelly, Henri Matisse, Barnett Newman, and the Arte Povera artists, Killaars’ first encounter with the wall drawings of Sol LeWitt (who she assisted for many years) changed her approach to scale. In the late 1980s she broke free from the limits of the canvas with room-size installations that translated her brilliant palette into three dimensions. In 1990 her work was further transformed by a trip to India where she found the streets exploding with color and life. Inspired by a visit to a weaving workshop as well as the sight of saris hanging over balconies and neatly displayed in shops, Killaars recognized fabric as a potent, sensual, and tactile medium for color and has since worked primarily with textiles to create her installations. Her work, which has been exhibited extensively in Holland — as well as France, Germany, and Japan — is included in numerous museum collections. The artist has been commissioned to design spaces for both private homes and public venues, including the receiving room where the Dutch Prime Minister greets international visitors.

Fransje Killaars, Installation: Colors, No Figures, 2007
Commissioned by MASS MoCA

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