Sheila Hicks

Sheila Hicks

Espace Louis Vuitton München

Sheila Hicks, Sydney Biennale Sketches, 2015. Watercolour on paper. Courtesy the artist and Espace Louis Vuitton München. Photo: Christian Kain.

October 4, 2015

Sheila Hicks
Predestined Colour Waves

October 8, 2015–January 23, 2016
Opening: October 7, 7pm
Long night of museums event: October 17
2–6pm: young audience program, 7pm–2am: late opening

Espace Louis Vuitton München  
Maximilianstraße 2a  
80539 München 
Hours: Monday–Friday noon–7pm, 
Saturday 10am–6pm 
Free admission

T +49 89 55 89 38 100 
info_espace [​at​]

The Espace Louis Vuitton München presents Predestined Colour Waves, the first monographic exhibition in Germany since 1970 of the unique oeuvre of the Paris-based American artist Sheila Hicks. Hicks’s pioneering practice of working with supple materials has traversed and transcended prescriptive readings of art, architecture, craft, and design for more than 50 years.

Hicks’s work encompasses hand-woven miniatures, mid-size bas-relief panels, soft sculptures and monumental installations. Creating new interpretations of age-old textile techniques, the artist has developed her own experimental and idiosyncratic style, incorporating natural fibres, synthetic blends, and at times found objects, organic matter, and industrial materials. Colour, texture, and structure are her central concerns. Hicks’s art is informed by her academic training in modernism, her encyclopedic knowledge of historical textiles, her tireless exploration of new technologies, and a lifelong love of investigating different cultures. Painting, photography and archaeology were important early influences during her extended travels and stays in Latin America.

An interest in architecture—sparked during her student years at Yale University, where Louis Kahn and Vincent Scully taught, and intensified during her residence in Mexico, where she met Félix Candela, Luis Barragán, and Ricardo Legorreta—became a cornerstone of her practice, leading to numerous collaborations with some of the most relevant masters of architecture. Hicks creates pliable and tactile installations responding to the hard structural materials of the given work’s context. 

Elaborating Hicks’s dynamic conversation with architecture, Predestined Colour Waves explores the relationship between Hicks’s soft sculptures, ever-evolving spatial experimentations, and use of colour as key narratives in a practice of structuring with thread and textiles. The exhibition brings together a range of works: recent large-scale installations such as Atterrissage (2014), a monumental sculpture of explosive colours and billowing proportions, and La Femme Principale Bluma (2015), with its intricately enveloped mass of linen fibre; studies for new and historic public commissions such as Sydney Biennale Sketches (2015)—watercolour drawings for the artist’s forthcoming contribution to the 20th Biennale of Sydney, which opens in March 2016 (where she will dress the entrance columns of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, a site of epic proportions, with innovative pure pigment fused by acrylic); and prototype models related to her Ford Foundation silk bas-relief tapestries in New York, which were first realised in 1967 and re-created 2013–14. A selection of smaller-scale works will also be presented: fibre-based calligraphic drawings; Trésors et Secrets (2014), linen and cotton bundles containing secret objects; and Minimes, exquisite small weavings that are made on her improvised mobile loom and resemble pages from a hand-woven journal.

The exhibition is made possible by the loan of Atterrissage (2014) from the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris. It is accompanied by a catalogue featuring an essay by the art critic Jason Farago and contributions by the writer and textile scholar Monique Lévi-Strauss and Stephanie Rosenthal, artistic director of the 20th Biennale of Sydney (2016).

About the artist
Sheila Hicks (b. 1934 in Hastings, Nebraska) received her BFA (1957) and MFA (1959) degrees from the Yale School of Art, when Josef Albers presided there. Awarded a Fulbright scholarship to paint in Chile, she photographed indigenous weavers and archaeological sites throughout the Andes. This, along with extended trips to the volcanic region of Villarrica, the island of Chiloé, and Tierra del Fuego, continue to influence her work to this day. In 1967, she established a studio in the quartier Latin in Paris, where she continues to live and work. 

Hicks’s recent solo exhibitions include Sheila Hicks, Contemporary Art Museum of St. Louis, Missouri (2015), Foray Into Chromatic Zones, Hayward Gallery, London (2015), and Bâoli, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2014–15). Her major survey in the United States, Sheila Hicks: 50 Years, debuted at Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, Massachusetts (2010) and travelled to the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia (2011) and the Mint Museum, Charlotte, North Carolina (2011). Hicks’s work has been widely exhibited in major group exhibitions, including the Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2014); Thread Lines, Drawing Center, New York (2014); Fiber Sculpture: 1960–Present, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2014), which travelled to Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio and the Des Moines Art Center, Iowa, in 2014-15; and Wow! Woven? Entering the (sub)Textiles, Künstlerhaus, Graz (2015). Following her exhibition at the Espace Louis Vuitton München (2015–16), she will have a solo show at Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska (2016). Hicks will also participate in the 20th Biennale of Sydney (2016), Glasgow International (2016), and the Hangzhou Triennial of Fiber Art, China (2016).

Hicks has created monumental site-specific works for New York’s Ford Foundation Headquarters (1967, recreated 2013–14), King Saud University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (1983), the Federal Courthouse in New York (1986), the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey (2008), and the Duke Endowment in Charlotte, North Carolina (2015), among others.

About the Espaces Louis Vuitton 
Conceived as independent art spaces, the Espaces Louis Vuitton in Tokyo, Venice, Munich, and Beijing are dedicated to contemporary cultural and artistic expression. While all of the spaces engage specifically with their local contexts, their collective aim is to support emerging and established artists in developing new work, and to contribute to the broader discourse of contemporary art by presenting new curatorial encounters for the general public. 


Sheila Hicks at Espace Louis Vuitton München 
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October 4, 2015

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