AboutFor Grappling Hold, the Swiss artist’s first institutional solo exhibition, Forrer has created several newly commissioned works that vividly illustrate anxieties and violent struggles.
Forrer’s textiles pay homage to the work of German painter Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938) and in particular, the luminously hued tapestries he made in collaboration with the Swiss artist Lise Gujer (1893-1967). In her depictions of brutality, however, they also draw from the unflinchingly dark works made by Swedish textile artist Hannah Ryggen (1894-1970), known for her woven responses to the horrors of fascism. This balance of light and dark, warp and weft, is reflected in the title of the exhibition, Grappling Hold, a wrestling term for grips, pins, locks and other forms of fighting holds, which may also summon a clinging embrace.
The exhibition continues Forrer’s exploration of the weave itself as a structure that holds and pulls imagery in and out of shape. The artist articulates warring bodies so that they appear tugged and wrenched by the structure underlying the weave, as though tensions in the atmosphere could be experienced literally. In one work, a dysfunctional lineage of bodies gives form to psychologically inherited conflicts that run through generations. In this hysteric image, individuals casually strangle the generations beneath them, perpetuating legacies of hostility and violence with exaggerated absurdity. In another piece, a long row of figures, all facing in the same direction, watch the same unseen event, aghast. Their expressions, at once wild, comical, dumbfounded and horrified, are nonetheless all caught in the glare of a spectacle.
The exhibition finds an allegorical mascot in the form of a 19th century wooden children’s toy, which Forrer selected from the collection of the Winterthur Museum in Delaware. The toy features two back-to-back figures connected by the hands, who must move together, bound eternally.