Born in the Italian part of Switzerland, Aglaia Haritz received her artistic maturity diploma in 1999 at the CSIA in Lugano, Switzerland. In 2003, she graduated with a National Diploma of Fine Arts from ENSA in Limoges, France. She has exhibited in Museums and in Contemporary Art Centres in Switzerland, Germany, Italy, France, Holland and Slovenia. Her works are parts of important Art Collections. Since 1996, parallel to her studies and artistic practice, she has developed a social artistic research program collaborating in humanitarian projects in India, Central Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo, India, South America and the West Bank. In 2011, she was selected for the art residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. Early this year she has been selected to attend the Artist in Residence in Cairo, in Rabat and in Casablanca. She lives and works in Zurich since 2011.
Text of Christoph Tannert, director of the Kunsthaus Bethanien Berlin and exhibitions organizer, Berlin, 2009
“Not to hide in the ivory tower of their art, but to interfere in public affairs, this is for Aglaia Haritz obvious. She shows fabrics with sewn scenes to which magazine photography has been incorporated. The predominantly red thread connects as a linear, quasi drawing and emphasizing element, as if to give an explanation. Sewing, as a traditionally female activity, is introduced here as an artistic action in the male-dominated public space. Worldwide, there are a significant number of women artist that use this technique. Aglaia Haritz creates from currents events a tapestry backdrop. The concrete visibility of contemporary history, twist the pieces of torn newspaper while sewn threads illustrate an empathic participation in all directions asking about “compassion”. The artist recognizes with transparency: conflicts “itself” doesn’t exist. Always are embedded in general structures and processes, in economic booms, class positions, ideologies, wartimes and peacetimes. Everything should always be perceived as an integral part of the complex social context where the artist and the viewer should be present.”
Art for me is a language I use to speak about human beings that are no longer the centre of the universe, but should be part of a whole. I am interested in society, where the human is the focus. Life in conflict zones is the main influence for my artwork and which I address through various media. I dissect traditional mass media such as: press agencies, newspaper or television and alternative media posted by “citizen journalists” on blogs, social networks and YouTube. I elaborate on the issues raised, expressing a necessity to denounce, report and talk about uncomfortable subject matter, asking questions, breaking clichés and silences. I seek to express the fact that “good” and “evil” are not so far apart. I chose various topics from current affairs, and I develop on the themes addressed using thread and fabric, sewn to create sculptures, paintings or drawings. The sewing becomes a form of drawing amongst the patterns of the various textiles. The thread and the fabric is necessary to create a soft but strong presence. The illusion of falling is always present in the work because of the use of loose thread dangling from the finished work. I use my “tapestries” to provoke and question issues pertaining to the feminine and the masculine. Not the gender male and female but the masculine and feminine, which are both integral parts of human beings. These two parts clash with each other, an aspect I emphasize by the use of soft and lightweight material for such a serious and important subject matter. I need the intentional introduction of the element of time (slow time), the materiality of cloth, the repetitive gesture of sewing, the presence of twisted threads confusing the lines of the drawings, to make the artwork more expressive, strident and even painful.