The Fabric of the Future

Textiles: Designing for High Performance opens at the Wexner Center for the Arts this month.  It’s an exhibition devoted to technical textiles, with applications in aeronautics, medicine, apparel, sports, agriculture, transportation and civil engineering.

Highly engineered materials designed for optimum performance in extreme conditions are represented in the more than 200 pieces in this distinctive show.  Not only are these textiles functional, stronger, smarter, safer, faster and lighter, they also weave an aesthetic beauty all their own.   From a model of a woven and braided carbon-fiber high-rise to a piece of fabric that cradles a human heart, this show is mesmerizing on many levels.

The Wexner is the first to present this show outside of New York and showcases unique items such as delicate, machine-embroidered polyester implants used by surgeons as scaffolding for attaching tissue during reconstructive shoulder surgery, as well as an Apollo Liquid Cooling Garment (1968) that utilizes a system of PVC tubes carrying cool water to maintain an astronaut’s body temperature while walking on the moon.  “With its merging of traditional textile techniques, contemporary design, science and technology, Extreme Textiles is a perfect fit for the cross-disciplinary Wexner Center and its commitment to innovation,” says Claudien Ise, an associate curator at the Wexner.

“The wonder of this show also lies in the awesome nexus between art and science,” says Wexner’s Media Relations Coordinator, Erik Pepple.  “The show has a very broad appeal between art and science.  It draws all these great connections that art is science and science is art.”  

This show runs at the Wexner Center through August 13th.

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