Sophy Naess The Tapestry of the Apocalypse

October 28โ€“December 21, 2018

S_N, neon animation & begonia.jpg

The Apocalypse Tapestry was commissioned by the French throne during the Hundred Yearsโ€™ War against England, a war which resulted in the emergence of strong national identities in both countries. The capitalist mode of production was establishing itself in Europe as common lands were enclosed, and the ravages of the black plague also gave resonance to the tapestryโ€™s monstrosities.

During the French Revolution the Apocalypse Tapestry was looted and cut up into pieces which were used for various purposes: as floor mats, to protect local orange trees from frost, to shore up holes in buildings, and to insulate horse stables.


The pastoral vision is characterized by a negative ethos: it requires omission.


Anni Albers writes of curtains: The very fact of mobility makes them the carrier of extra aesthetic values. A red wall may become threatening in the constancy of a high pitch, while red curtains of equal color intensity and able to cover an equal area can be of great vitality and yet not overpowering because the red area can be varied by drawing the curtain.


The Tortoise and the Hare is an ancient account of a race between unequal partners. Its proverbial moral is flexible. A 17th century version of the story advises lovers to โ€˜hasten slowly.โ€™


The Tapestry of the Apocalypse partitions 17ESSEX into a series of curtained chambers. The exhibition features two handwoven tapestries, 8 panels of painted silk, a selection of works on paper, and an animated neon sign of a running rabbit which faces the street. A new series of Naessโ€™s ongoing Weaverโ€™s Discourse writings will be launched at a reading event at the gallery on December 16th.


Sophy Naess (1982) received her BFA from Cooper Union in 2004 and her MFA from Rutgers University in 2013. She currently lives and works in New Haven CT where she is a lecturer in Painting and Printmaking at Yale University and director of Chateau dโ€™Eau, an exhibition platform for artist designed fragrances. Naess has had recent solo exhibitions at the Middler and at 321 Gallery, both in Brooklyn, and at 35 Rue Ramponeau in Paris. Group shows include Vรคxjรถ Konsthall, Sweden; Foundation for Contemporary Arts' Artists for Artists anniversary exhibition at Matthew Marks Gallery; The Shandaken Project Retrospective; Chapter; US Blues; and the Spring Break Art Fair. Her Supporterโ€™s Circle silk scarf editions will be featured in the forthcoming ECONOMY issue of Girls Like Us Magazine.

Image: Sophy Naess, details from The Tapestry of the Apocalypse, painted silk panels, 2018. Courtesy the artist & 17ESSEX.