Textile love letters - something I’ll send you with thought.
Through her art practice, Paulien looks for a representation and construction of identity and the perception of femininity, sexuality, love, relationships and psychological tension created by society. Her work is an embodiment of personal narratives, experiences and emotions. By no means the presence of women's position in this society is inevitable but in the end, fundamental feelings like love directly address all of us.
‘After finishing My master in fine arts I was longing to broaden my language, I decided to study another master in Textile design. The soft sculptures I create evoke a space where I want to provoke thoughts and feelings from the reader. A safe space, a valley of love where there is time for reflection. Identifying poison and finding nourishment.’ Through textiles she has been investigating the imbalanced, predominantly male gazed society where the position of a woman is still stereotyped. A society where a woman expressing love and emotion is seen as too fragile or hysterical.
She uses very recognizably warm wool blankets in combination with strong techniques like machine embroidery to create works that could last forever. The sustainable material and techniques are the complete opposite of the fragile and intimate emotions they carry.
‘The words come from my mind and heart.’
The embroidery of mainly text is a combination of handwritten words and typo to arouse the feeling of looking at a scratch sheet or a love letter, constantly rethinking, adding and crossing out words. Like an endless slipping and sliding, hard against soft, form against matter, consciousness against unconsciousness.
Each blanket holds its own story and approach, for example, the pandemic, a memory of a romantic picnic, the dominance of patriarchy, astrology, betrayal and so on. In times of a global pandemic, withdrawn and isolated we desperately look for a handhold, suddenly something absurd like astrology can give us the answers. A blanket is timeless but now more than ever we need warmth and protection, a place to hide. ‘Everything that happens around me is raw material, everything is usable. There is always a transaction between the internal and external world.’ Although it feels romantic and dreamy, it’s inhabited by a kind of sadness and anger. The work
isn’t necessarily political, it’s about a mental state, longing and loss, hope and hopelessness, a rallying cry.
"I like to think of my works as if they are letters. Because letters provide a more personal and higher form of communication rather than the digital forms we’re used to. They are radical in their own right. More honest, intimate, theatrical and real.
A romantic gesture, something I’ll send you with thought."