The Malmö based design studio Butler/Lindgård consists of the textile designers Hanna Butler and Karin Olu Lindgård, well know for their close collaboration that takes everyday observations as its starting point, combining the handmade and exclusive with humor and visionary messages. For Wanås Konst, their project Tits N Ass has grown into an exhibition in the Art Gallery, showing the design process alongside finished products inspired by the body on a wooly rug, sheer fabrics, and soft bolsters.
With patterns such as Nipples, Hairy, and Stained, Butler/Lindgård examine patriarchal structures in public spaces and question which bodies are allowed to be seen and occupy space. Nipples recurs in several works in the exhibition, as prints on textiles and paper, as a new wall-mounted work of felt, in the form of an exclusive, hand-tufted rug the duo produced in collaboration with Kasthall. With their textiles, they want to provide a counterweight against the masculinity and lack of humor they believe often characterizes public environments.
In 2016, the duo began the project Tits N Ass. It picked up speed after one of them was thrown out of a museum for nursing her baby, and from the experience that it had become less acceptable to nurse in public compared to a few years earlier. The conversation developed into a design project, as they state: “We didn’t want to work with thoughts of the body, but rather with representations of both bodies and bodily phenomena.”
Butler/Lindgård’s collaboration is a close, alternating process, where one begins drawing and the other continues on the same paper, in a dialogue both between them and with the contemporary age. They are interested in the opportunities provided by textiles when working with form and color, both large-scale and physical. They describe their design as idea-driven and with the desire for a different future. “We are passionate about equality, sisterhood, and dignified treatment, but also about sustainability, small-scale production, and the desire for the overconsumption of our time to shift toward long-term, carefully-weighed choices that will last a lifetime.”
In anticipation of the exhibition, they have taken their investigation into prints of—and with—bodies further. In dialogue with choreographer Emma Ribbing, they’ve produced a choreography they follow as, covered in paint, they made prints of the body on large pieces of paper. Traces of movement emerged and created a starting point for stylized patterns and textile prints. The process was documented in a video and is shown in the exhibition along with sketches and the pattern Traces, a result of earlier dance sketches, printed on linen throws.
The process follows an art-historical tradition associated with artists such as Yves Klein (1928–1962), Ana Mendieta (1948–1985) and Helen Chadwick (1953–1996) with the works where they, from different starting points and interests, have worked with prints of the human body.
In conjunction with the exhibition, a lounge is being opened in the Art Gallery which functions as a café beyond Wanås Restaurant’s open hours. The decor has been designed in dialogue with Butler/Lindgård, with colors and patterns spilling over the walls and furniture.