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Tapestry is by definition a mural art and as such can, and must, be of epic scale and heroic dimensions.
I restrain my color range to a limited scale of vibrant colors, heightened by the use of one black. I work in hard-edge, two-dimensional, often deceivingly direct and simple forms, which render, I feel, an essentially sculptural sense of mass. After I complete the full scale design on paper, the tapestry is woven in our studio in New York, in close collaboration with my wives and the help of two dedicated assistants.
Tapestry should be conceived and woven, with passion and restraint, fusing into one the possibilities and the limitations of the medium itself. As such tapestry should be understood as an art in its own right rather than become a mere “translation” of a painter’s concept, enlarged to a scale different from the one originally intended by the artist, and executed, however skillfully, by independent artisans. This division can only be detrimental to the integrity of the art.
We make one single tapestry from each design, as opposed to the current trend of producing editions or series of reproductions. In an age marked by either anonymous mass production or, in its very opposite, what I consider, excessive egocentrism and interpersonal distrust, the team work, demanded by the making of tapestries as we practice it, is one of the purest forms of romance and personal fulfillment.
If I am reticent to speak about the sources, the drive to make, or the meaning of my tapestries, it is because I strongly feel that were I able to do so, articulately and coherently, I would be a writer on art rather than an artist.
I see contemporary tapestries as a way to give human, that is lyrical, scale to massive corporate architectural environment, perchance, and against all odds, to widen horizons and heighten the awareness of human vitality, dignity and of the inherent joy of life.
– Jan Yoors
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