The cancelled landscape

Argentinian textile artists Alexandra Kehayoglou makes wool carpets that look and feel like grassland.  They are called pastizales.

Her message is powerful and inspired by the landscapes of the pampa which are in danger of extinction. As a granddaughter of Greek immigrants, she grew up following a textile tradition that was developed thousands of years ago in Asia Minor. After graduating with a degree in visual arts, Kehayoglou returned to her roots make carpets as her ancestors did.

Here in a description by T Magazine with beautiful pictures of the factory : Kehayoglou started making these landscapes — some of them pure white, others depicting trippy Patagonian glaciers and fields — shortly after finishing art school in 2008. Her medium is closely connected to her family history. Kehayoglou’s Greek grandparents began making Ottoman-style rugs in Isparta, in present-day Turkey. After war broke out, the family fled to Argentina, arriving in the 1920s with their loom and little else. Today the family owns El Espartano, one of South America’s largest carpet companies. 

In her workshop, an industrial space attached to the El Espartano factory, Kehayoglou hoists up her rugs perpendicular to the ground on a large scaffold, and wears headphones that block out the noise made by her hand-tufting machine. The textured, multicolored terrains come together in roughly two months, but she also creates carpets that look more like paintings — depicting a beach in Costa Rica, or a deer in the tall grass at night. These take several months to execute. She recently collaborated on an installation in Berlin with the artist Olafur Eliasson, but also exhibits her own room-size works, such as Shelter for a Memory,” which had a moonlit jungle covering the walls. On the ground, the piece sprouted tufts of grass. A real swing was suspended from the ceiling. “It’s hard for people to understand that a rug can be art,” she says. “But maybe that’s changing.” 

I would immediately put one wall-to-wall in a living room and gaze at it all day. I would also walk on it barefoot because that must be the closest you must feel to walking on moss in a forest clearing . With names such as ” Pastizal Infinito”,” Refugio Para Dias Felices”, Refugio Para Un Venado”, “Escudo Para Un Potrero “,” Nymphea Alba “,” Pampa Ondulada “…….dreamy.

alexandra kehayoglou refugio para un-venado

alexandra kehayoglou refugio para un recuerdo

Alexandra Kehayoglou laguna

Alexandra Kehayoglou laguna2

Alexandra Kehayoglou pastizal

pastizal-isa Alexandra Kehayoglou

Alexandra Kehayoglou

Alexandra Kehayoglou

silla-web Alexandra Kehayoglou

Alexandra Kehayoglou nidolab-casa-foa-2012-espacio-38-1-516x650

Alexandra Kehayoglou

And below the carpet made for Dries Van Noten Spring Summer 2015 show.

Alexandra Kehayoglou


Alexandra KehayoglouReconstrucción del paisaje anulado

“El paisaje nativo que desaparece ante el avance continuo de la tecnología y de la fauna y flora importada.
El suelo de la pampa bonaerense estaba brotado de pastizales y talares y habitado por especies que hoy se encuentran en peligro de extinción, restringidas a corredores en banquinas de rutas o refugiadas en reservas naturales.
Hemos ido borrando un patrimonio cultural que no se recupera y sobre todo, del que no se tiene consciencia.
Creo en el arte como herramienta de cambio, de concientización y de educación.
Refugios Nativos es un proyecto que propone reencontrarnos con esa identidad nativa creando una consciencia colectiva de valores nativos – reinsertando especies originarias en el imaginario social a traves de producciones específicas.
La alfombra* se cuela en la vida cotidiana proponiendo otra realidad. Rescatando un recuerdo, un simulacro, un mundo casi imaginario. Abre una ventana a otra posibilidad, una manera de detenerse en el tiempo real, teje un paisaje congelado.

*Tejer alfombras es un saber innato. Me hace sentir conectada con otro tiempo. Es un modo de construcción que parte de la implementación de sentidos adquiridos a lo largo de mi vida y la de mis antepasados.”

All images courtesy of Alexandra Kehayoglou.

One response to “The cancelled landscape”

  1. Increíble, quiero el cuarto del columpio, porfavor!


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