Go inside the worlds of art, fashion, design, and lifestyle.
Sheila Hicks has challenged the conventions of art since the the 1950s by using textiles like cotton and wool to create monumental, colorful sculptures.
Whitewall spent an afternoon with her earlier this spring at the Centre Pompidou. Within her recently closed exhibition “Lifelines” (February 7—April 30) we spoke with Hicks about her practice and how she was able to move her work straight from her studio to the museum.
WHITEWALL: Would you consider yourself to be a textile artist?
SHEILA HICKS: I would say I am more of a versatile sculptor who builds soft fabrics sculptures to create environments. I want my work to move freely between art and design. I don’t feel I have said in the past that I wanted to be an international acclaimed artist, I’m just doing the kind of things I enjoy doing. I expose things with the materials that I happen to have fallen in love with. The odds and ends of what I come up with, the way I play, is what you see in the room.
WW: What is your biggest source of inspiration? What keeps you going?
SH: Watching how children discover my work. Their mind is so innocent and they interpret my work to the first degree. Children are so natural. I watch and learn from them, listening to their questions and reactions. They usually automatically run to the corner of the exhibition where the big red fiber pillows. It is like an invitation to jump. But this is intentional.
WW: What are you trying to provoke with your work ?
SH: I want to provoke temptation through my work for all ages. I want people to ask themselves: what is this work? I don’t want to try and explain my work or justify why I am doing it but I simply want the audience to get a sort of notion of my work.
WW: For a long time, you were considered to be a designer, what does it mean for you to be exhibited in the fine arts department at the Centre Pompidou?
SH: I find it is a result of a period of change in the way we perceive art in its artistic categories and their agreed hierarchies. There is a lot of dialogue and debates about what’s art and what is not.
This room is great for showing my architectural sculptures because it is naked and completely raw. It shows everything. It is my favorite museum and my neighbourhood museum. I was able to bring my art from my studio to the museum, right off the streets, as it doesn’t need crates and boxes. That was a funny and memorable process.
I want people to remember that curators, architects, and installers play a major role in this exhibition. And this exhibition exists thanks to the people running this institution and trying to do their best jobs.