14 Flax! | Paper!

16 10 2021 > 15 01 2022
FLAX! | Linen stewards
Steef Muller | A work of love in discarded paper

Flax! | Linen Stewards 2020
The unique fabrics, objects and artworks in this exhibition are made with infinite care for the material. Flax is on a new rise and a number of varieties have been cultivated on Dutch soil in recent years, including the linen project* in the eastern part of the country.
In 2020, 29 participants, the ‘linen stewards’, jointly cultivated an organic flax field. In that year, summer linseed was sown, weeded and the plants were rotted and harvested. All under the conditions and inspiration that nature provided on the field. In the winter, the flax was processed, the seeds were ripped off, the bark was removed. Then it was combed and the long fibers were spun into linen. With the short remaining fibers, paper was made. After this long process, several designers and artists: Henrike Gootjes, Maaike Gottschal, Hans Hutting, Heleen Klopper, Kelly Konings, Marieke van Mieghem and Loes Schepens made objects that are a representation of their own aforementioned experiences, with a translation to a self-created object.
Commissioned by the Crafts Counsil Netherlands, Theodorus Johannes (filmmaker and photographer, researcher and storyteller) made a documentary of the processing process. This documentary can be seen in the exhibition.
*The Linen Project is an initiative of ArtEZ MA Practice Held in Common and Crafts Council Netherlands.

Steef Muller | A work of love in discarded paper
The Hague-based artist Steef Muller works primarily with used packaging paper for his work. According to Muller, art makes reality bearable by placing another reality next to it. ‘This is how we understand everything in the world’.
In sensitivity of colour and structure, he notices: packing paper has the colour of potatoes, or of wet sand. Cardboard is often grey like the winter sky. Cardboard can wave and ripple and it gives a soft skin as protection for what we are packing. This paper is an undervalued bulk product, all around us we see it used, only to be treated as waste.
Muller, using the basics such as crumpling, binding together, tearing, cutting and pasting, gives this utilitarian material a new life. He uses black ink and brush to make drawings on it. The collages, drawings and objects form his new reality. He wants to show, next to our world is full of order, perfection and predictability, its imperfection and impermanence. And that captivates and surprises.