Submission
Theresa Weber

Woven Memories

In her installations and paintings Theresa Weber (*1996 in Düsseldorf) investigates cultural hybridization, beauty ideals and traces of belonging. Her colorful, volumetric works summon well-known, foreign, fetishized and personal elements, often prosthetic materials such as artificial fingernails, synthetic hair, body padding, silicone, textile and jewelry – questioning them as codes for identity.


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Theresa Weber, Woven Memories, 2021, Installation View
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Theresa Weber, Woven Memories, 2021, Installation View
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Theresa Weber, Woven Memories, 2021, Installation View
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Theresa Weber, Detail of Lianes, 2019, rope, synthetic hair, modeling clay, chain, pearls, rosaries, braids, artificial nails on snap hooks
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Theresa Weber, Detail of Bacterium, 2020, synthetic hair, pigment, modeling clay, print on paper in polyester on metal
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Theresa Weber, Bacterium, 2020, synthetic hair, pigment, modeling clay, print on paper in polyester on metal
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Theresa Weber, left: Hathor, 2021, silicone, beads, artificial nails, print on paper on wood, right: Country Side, 2021, silicone, beads, artificial nails on wood
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Theresa Weber, Purple, 2020, synthetic hair, braid, clips, silicone, charcoal, modeling clay on metal
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Theresa Weber, Woven Memories, 2021, Installation View
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Theresa Weber, Woven Memories, 2021, Installation View
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Theresa Weber, Glove, 2020, glove, synthetic hair, modeling clay, tape, chain, prints on paper, rivets, pigment in polyester on metal
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Theresa Weber, Detail of Glove, 2020, glove, synthetic hair, modeling clay, tape, chain, prints on paper, rivets, pigment in polyester on metal
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Theresa Weber, Detail of Lianes, 2019, rope, synthetic hair, modeling clay, chain, pearls, rosaries, braids, artificial nails on snap hooks
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Theresa Weber, Milk and Honey, 2021, silicone, prints on paper, artificial nails, beads, clay, modeling clay on wood
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Theresa Weber, Root, 2020, wood root, tape, silicone, pigment, synthetic hair, modeling clay in polyester on metal
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Theresa Weber, Woven Memories, 2021, Installation View
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Theresa Weber, Metamorphosis, 2021, silicone, beads, artificial nails, prints on paper, modeling clay on wood
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Theresa Weber, Blue Ocean, 2020, silicon, tiles, jewelry, feathers, beads, pigment in polyester on metal
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Theresa Weber, Sphynx, 2021, silicone, beads, prints on paper, clay, marker, varnish on wood
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Theresa Weber, Lion and Lamb, 2021, silicone, beads, clay, marker, prints on paper on wood

The exhibition Woven Memories follows a trail between present and past in which personal, social and global events interweave. Through painting and installation, Theresa Weber examines cultural hybridisation, ideals of beauty and multiply coded symbols of belonging.

Embedded in a playfully dystopian architectural ruin of bricks and Lianas (2019) that causes interior and exterior to merge, various wall objects give rise to a landscape with points of spatial and temporal depth. Some of the wall fragments also function as presentation surfaces, as do metal constructions that resemble hammock frames, or the lianas in which objects are entwined.

Theresa Weber
works familiar, strange, fetishised elements into these picture-like objects, along with personal found items and souvenirs that tell of her German-Jamaican-Greek background. Her interest in prostheses and hybrid bodies (human/object) is expressed in the use of materials such as artificial nails, synthetic hair, body padding and silicon, but also textiles and jewellery. These are all things that extend the body and give it an identity. In the artistic works they become organic cultural traces, disembodied remnants whose historical associations and social hierarchies are decoded on the material level.
As an Afro-German artist, Weber makes conscious use of codes that can be read in multiple ways and refer to different cultures or epochs. Braids of artificial hair (weaves) are a centuries-old cultural practice in the African diaspora, a source of identity and a symbol of resistance. Here the tradition of braiding forms a historical bridge to the elaborate hairstyles of Greek antiquity which also echo through Theresa Weber’s work.
For her processual pieces she collects artefacts that refer to dichotomous spiritual categories such as life and death – hair, nails, insects – to transparency and opacity – silicon, polyester, paper prints – and to past and present – real turn-of-century jewellery, costume jewellery. She also frequently weaves parts of existing works into new ones.
The resulting assemblages initially arise on a horizontal surface, on which the artist examines the objects’ interconnections. The art historian Leo Steinberg (1920–2011) describes this practice of horizontal arrangement as working on the ‘flatbed’. The image carrier isn’t thought of as an illusory space, as in classical painting, but as a surface on which different information can be ordered and sorted so as to produce coherence or chaos through its arrangement. Both ends of the spectrum are present in Weber’s works. The dimensions are displaced in grid patterns, and a fingerprint or fingernail looks almost architectural next to the depiction of a piece of wall. This displacement demonstrates the connection between bodies, buildings and society. Each element is part of a greater whole: ‘Chaos is beautiful when one understands that all its elements are equally necessary.’ (Édouard Glissant)

“Woven Memories” is the first institutional solo exhibition by Theresa Weber (*1996 in Düsseldorf). Her work can also be seen in the parallel group exhibitions “Sweet Lies – Fiktion der Zugehörigkeit”, Ludwigsforum, Aachen, and Genius Loci IX: Strikes back at Setareh X, Düsseldorf. In July Weber graduated from the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, where she was in the classes of Ellen Gallagher and Katharina Grosse. She was nominated for the Federal Art Prize in 2020.