Nele-Marie Gräber

Bringing the harvest and the questions home*, 2023


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

Unfurling, dismantling, reassembling and carrying along – many of my textile works are based upon these principles. The uses of textiles are manifold. It envelops our bodies, forming a second skin that withstands weather conditions. In fashion, the cut of the cloth shapes our body silhouettes and defines beauty ideals. Through the usage of patterns and codes, stories are told, group-identity is defined, and political statements are made. Textiles create shelter and provide a protective space for its inhabitants. We are accompanied by fabric from birth to death and beyond (see the »Infinity Burial Project« by Jae Rhim Lee).
Fabric has been a source of a sense of home for me since childhood. The textiles I use are hand-worked, often dyed or painted, and sewn together layer by layer. During the working process the fabric is spread out on the floor, measured, rotated, and constantly moved between the sewing machine and the floor. These actions create a density of layers and energy in the work.
Contrary to the way resources are currently used, for example in fast-fashion, it is my hope that mending socks and repairing other garments will become normal again, rather than discarding them after only a few wears.
*»Bringing the harvest and the questions home« is the subtitle of this last EXAMPLES TO FOLLOW! station. My work was commissioned with the objective of compiling the statements of the artists that took part in the ETF! exhibition series over the past 13 years. The subtitle of the exhibition became the title of a large format textile installation, which brings together the individual statements, weaving together the various conceptual strains of this well-traveled exhibition. Juxtaposing the ideas of so many artists from various context and countries poses a novel challenge for me. The use of text in my work is also new, but it finds its parallel in my handling of fabric: joined together piece-by-piece until the individual parts form a new whole.


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