Céline Vahsen is interested in the socio-cultural dimension of textiles, their emotions – movements and feelings. In most societies around the world, textile knowledge has been communicated, transmitted and preserved through non-verbal language and gestures. This know-how has been enriched by exchanges via historic trade routes and passed down through the generations by women, using their hands as tools, thus becoming embodied knowledge. Her work encompasses diverse references and traditions from hybrid, geographically dispersed cultures, as well as customs from different periods in the history of weaving.
A fabric is never empty; it contains a history, a memory and a narrative.
The starting point for her work is the cultural heritage of the textile medium. With a contemporary approach, she explores techniques rooted in the manufacture of ancestral textiles. She develops colour compositions and patterns from traditional production methods, bringing the textile heritage into the realm of contemporary art. The threads themselves are approached intuitively, transforming and manifesting themselves in unpredictable rhythms within the structure. Empirical experimentation brings them together in a personal modus operandi, hijacking traditional results while paying homage to them; amalgams of cultural references.
After studying visual arts at ESA St-Luc Brussels, HGK Lucerne and HAW Hamburg, Céline Vahsen completed her master’s degree in the textile department at ENSAV La Cambre in Brussels. Her work has been exhibited at the IKOB Museum of Contemporary Art (Eupen, Belgium), the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art (Kanazawa, Japan) and New York Textile Month 2022 (New York, USA). She has also been artist-in-residence at the Wiels Contemporary Art Center, iMAL – Art Center for Digital Cultures & Technology, Villa Empain – Fondation Boghossian, Fondation CAB, Académie des Savoir-Faire and the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès.
Céline joined the KULT XL Ateliers residence in July 2023.
Images: © Lola Pertsowsky, © Lieve Kleeven