As the 21st century unfolds, the worlds of art and design are in a compelling dialogue not seen since the Bauhaus, when its Manifesto of 1919 declared, “To embellish buildings was once the noblest function of the fine arts…” Textiles—tapestries and carpets—are among the earliest elements—both decorative and functional—of human habitation, providing warmth to walls and floors while entertaining the eye with pattern, and in some cases, even legendary or historical narrative.
In contemporary interiors, a carpet is all too often a “neutral” component, a plain backdrop against which to display the more complex forms of furniture and art.
Equator Production, founded in 1985, seeks to restore the vital connection between the artist, the interior, and decorative coverings for the floor. Commissioning carpet designs from contemporary international artists, Equator Production orchestrates the execution and production of these designs, in limited editions, by traditional weavers. If the West, today is characterized by exaltation of the image, in Nepal, real things—fibers, colors, looms—are still venerated. Equator Production seeks to fuse image and making in a long-lost symbiosis. The production of artists’ sketches—a complex and demanding craft—is an art in its own right.
The primary roster of artists commissioned by Equator Production includes Rosemarie Trockel, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Joseph Kosuth, Guillaume Bijl, Walter Dahn, Georg Dokopil, Rob Scholte and Albert Oehlen. Today, Equator Production again invites the participation of artists and seeks to inscribe their practice into the longer narrative of art historical relevance.
Equator Production carpets have been shown at the Venice Biennale, the Museum Fodor, Amsterdam; the Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh; the Rheinisches Landesmuseum, Bonn; the Kunstverein Hannover, and the Kunstforeningen Copenhagen, among others. They are in the collection of the Groningen Museum of Contemporary Art; the Tilburg Textile Museum and the Vienna Museum of Fine Arts.
Equator Production was founded by Petra and Ranbir Singh, with art impresario Reiner Opoku. Several years after the passing of her husband, Petra Singh has taken up the reins of operation. She has engaged art historian Cornelia Lauf to curate a series for the company. Together with artist agency GoldenRuler, Rome, they are proposing a new repertoire of Equator Production artists carpets to be hand-knotted in international workshops. These carpets will be designed by prominent artists comfortable with the role of concept and delegation – but attentive to manual savoir faire, with all all its cultural depth. The current list of artists includes Heimo Zobernig, Joseph Kosuth, Liam Gillick, Ken Lum, Alan Belcher, and Julião Sarmento.