In an evocative, yet still manner, ”Woven Signals” by Aurora Passero (b. 1984) is a holistic installation of single works. Devoid of imagery, complex in their simplicity and quiet in their vibrancy, the weavings take on a rare presence in the room. With her monumental installations, situated in the gray zone between painting and sculpture, she breaks down hierarchies between various artistic genres and traditions. At first glance, the colorful, vigorous pieces can be read as a nod to the digital world, yet weaving is one of the oldest handicrafts in history. Passero balances and unites the two in a poetic manner undoubtedly piquing the curiosity of the viewer. "In the loom, the abstract becomes concrete because it forms a substance, and the concrete abstract because it forms an image," Danish artist and writer Amalie Smith notes in her hybrid novel Thread Ripper. The loom is an ancient technology, dating back to 5000 BC, meaning that it is a precursor to both mathematics and written language. Weaving, with its punch card technique, thus becomes the very first digital machine.
Due to their quivering surface, the works are at once accessible and decipherable, and abstract and tantalizingly incomprehensible at the other. Aurora Passero excels in telling stories through color and surface not unlike American artist Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008). Inspired by the local silk and satin fabrics found during a stay in Ahmedabad, India, he created the nautical themed ”Jammer” series (1975-76) which, contrary to his previous work, were simple, abstract compositions of fabric and poles. “Even though the Jammers are still quite romantic, my job was to impose a great amount of restraint upon myself. Nearly everything I could think to do previously would have violated what these pieces wanted to be,” he said about stripping to the core. Devoid of the conceptual, political statements and narratives associated with his combines, paintings or sculptures, the textile series is open to interpretation. In her work, Passero sketches based on her growing visual archive consisting of images of rust stains, oranges, withered flowers, rock walls, snakeskin or algae to name a few, but like the Jammer series, her language is abstract - combined by impression, but with a calm or vibrating non-pictorial expression. Passero draws on references from art history, craft tradition and ethnological material, which are translated into a language where genres and qualities dissolve. Left are the colors, hues and tactile woven structure.
All experience happens through the fingers. In all parts of the process - from the weaving to the dyeing and finally the assembly. There is an interesting point of no return in the process, where she goes from the controlled weaving to the dyeing, which is either done by dipping the textile in color or painting directly on the synthetic, slightly damp woven surface. Here, she is no longer in full control of the result, and in the assembly, the force of gravity weighs in the way in which the weaving hangs in the air.
And then there is the space, of course. To Passero, the room in which she installs her work is nearly as important as the work itself. Very intimately, her flexible, movable textile pieces respond to the architectural surroundings as well as the bodies moving around them - the space is the canvas and the frame that enables the content. Danish composer Jakob Bro did a number of acclaimed recordings with some of the most influential jazz pioneers in the world. Being all about improvisation, they gathered in the recording studio, took their seats, pulled out their instruments and going beyond the conventional recording situation, they recorded in one take with an immense presence. Passero never plans her entire installation in advance either, but retains an openness and freedom in both the process and the final installation. This site-responsive, specific interplay is an important part of her creative process and leaning on intuition while installing gives her the freedom she strives towards. That is when entities become a whole. Not until she is in the physical space, surrounded by her work, can she hear the composition, note by note, line by line.