Layered exhibition reveals complex urban narratives


Multi-layered surfaces of real and imaginary maps create a rich urban narrative in a new exhibition by Hungarian-based fibre artist Eszter Bornemisza, opening at Newcastle’s Timeless Textiles Gallery in January.

Mathematically trained, Bornemisza has been practicing as a fibre artist since the mid-1990s. She brings a unique spatial perspective to her works with recycled paper, textiles and other found soft materials.

The basic process of her creation is machine stitching, with additional elements of printing dyeing and painting. After having made art quilts for more than ten years, her interest has turned to creating transparent wall-hangings, objects and installations using ripped, overprinted newspaper.

Her new exhibition, Urban Narratives, uses these techniques to represent the layers of existence, the past and present cultures of urban places.

“I have chosen to use newspaper because it provides further visual evidence of the ephemeral nature of our urban narratives,” she said. “It is fragile, the content is sometimes obsolete at the hour of appearance, while still bearing fragments of important details from the near history. It also represents the overwhelming avalanche of fake and relevant news we have to distinguish day by day.”

Her work revolves around ideas that reflect our relations to urban life. With the multi-layered surfaces of real and imaginary maps Bornemisza strives to represent our search to identify with place, both physically and mentally.

“Experimentation and research have been my primary tools for developing ideas,” she explains. “Labyrinth-like maps, with many dead-end streets, have been a visual metaphor for my journey to find my identity as an artist.”

Bornemisza is inspired by the graphical layout of urban maps, old, new, real and imaginary.

“I am interested in imprints of ages in the earth and in our minds, signs and traces and their meanings for us, their personal and social narratives,” she said. “A city’s street network is like its skeleton — a foundation for features that can bring people together or tear them apart. It is an imprint of how communities have used or abused their dwelling place.”

The fragmented, distorted or disintegrated city plans are used as the silt of the past, blended with modern highway and metro layouts, patterns of present urban life. Bornemisza’s works display maps as imprints of the way people live in a system. Labyrinth-like, the imagery offers rich ground for associations, deepening our understanding of our life and circumstances.


Urban Narratives will run at Timeless Textiles from 16 January to 10 February. 

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