Fallen Angel (L’Ange chassé) 1966–9 is a large-scale, irregularly shaped sculptural wall hanging made in wool, sisal and metallic thread. It is one of a number of works created by Jagoda Buić in the 1960s incorporating traditional Yugoslavian weaving techniques, such as Vutlak weaving. Buić, who was born in Split, preferred to work with natural fibres like the black and brown wool and sisal used here. Diagonal lines and diamond shapes are formed from the contrasting fibres using twill weave patterns. The warp threads divide to form slits or apertures and open sections, while spiral-wrapped bands create horizontal stripes across the surface of the work. Two symmetrical sections of hanging black threads reach down towards the floor suggesting perhaps the wings of the ‘fallen angel’ of the work’s title. Buić’s works reference the landscape and architecture of the Dalmatian coast and often echo the shapes made by medieval architecture such as castle turrets.
Though her career has been interdisciplinary and has spanned several decades, Buić is best known for her large-scale woven sculptures and installations. Trained as a theatre designer, she came to prominence in the mid-1960s when her ambitious woven pieces were exhibited at the Lausanne International Tapestry Biennial where they presented a three-dimensional form of woven sculpture that was shockingly radical for the time. She became one of the key figures associated with ‘fibre art’ in the 1960s and 1970s. Her ambitiously scaled work often references architecture and can been seen to have developed from a meeting of theatre and tapestry traditions. Fallen Angel is both exemplary of this ambition and a significant work in Buić’s output, as it was included in the landmark exhibition Wall Hangings at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 1969, which sought to integrate woven work into the domain of ‘fine art’. Curated by Mildred Constantine and Jack Lenor Larsen, the exhibition was presented in the museum’s main galleries instead of those dedicated to design and sought to promote the woven pieces as new and radical forms of ‘fiber art’ or ‘art fabric’.
This wall-mounted version of Fallen Angel was made at the same time as a larger work of the same name which hangs freely in space from a supporting circular armature. The larger work was first shown in the now iconic exhibition Perspectief in Textiel (Perspectives in Textile) at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam in 1969 and was subsequently acquired for the museum’s collection.
Mildred Constantine and Jack Lenor Larsen, Beyond Craft: The Art Fabric, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York 1972.
Zoran Krzisnik, Jagoda Buic, London 1994.
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