Nele-Marie Gräber

Bringing the harvest and the questions home*


Nele-Marie Gräber, along with statements from many artists who have been part of ETF! in the past and present.

Stretch it, unclamp it, put it together, carry it with you. Many of my textile works follow these principles. Material has many aspects. It covers our body and forms a second, stable skin that defies the weather conditions. In fashion, the type of cuts shape the silhouette of our bodies and define ideals of beauty. Stories are told, affiliations are defined and political statements are made using certain patterns and codes. Textile can create a (mobile) dwelling, a protective space. Tissue accompanies us from birth to death and beyond, as the work ‘Infinity Burial Project’ by Jae Rhim Lee shows.

Fabrics have meant home to me since early childhood. The textiles I use are processed by hand, sometimes dyed or painted and sewn layer by layer. During the work process, the fabric panels are spread out on the floor, measured and rotated, a constant up and down from the sewing machine and back. This form of processing results in a condensation of layers and also a condensation of energy.
My approach is always based on a deep appreciation for the material and I would like to see that, contrary to the current use of resources – such as in fast fashion – it would again become normal to mend socks and everything else instead of mending clothes after a few times sort out and throw away after wearing.

*Bringing the harvest and the questions home is also the subtitle of this last ZNE! Station and title of my work, for which I collected statements from the artists who wanted to participate, who are and were part of the 13-year ZNE! exploration. All of these statements come together in a textile installation, forming, so to speak, the mental network that spans the well-traveled exhibition. A collaboration with the ideas of so many artists from different countries around the world is new for me. The use of text in my work is also new, and yet finds its correspondence in the way I deal with material: piece by piece, it is put together until a new whole emerges from the individual parts.


Nele-Marie Gräber, born in 1983, grew up in Zurich |CH, lives and works in Berlin.