Svantje Busshoff


curator: Alek Slon

The textile objects from the home environment that are on display in this exhibition, damaged by use or time, have been mended using techniques such as darning, embroidery or crochet. Here, the repairs are not concealed; they are emphasized, sometimes even with gold thread, to give dignity to the injury and remember it.

Svantje Busshoff (Neustadt in Holstein, Germany, 1972) uses different media in her works, from paint to fabric or sound. With her subtle interventions, she invites us to pay attention to everything that goes unnoticed or that may seem insignificant. The artist’s intention is not to return the objects to their original state, but rather to free them from their uses, care for them and celebrate their imperfections and accidents.


  1. Return something that no longer functions, is broken or damaged to its intact and original state.
  1. Make the necessary changes to something that is ruined, broken or in bad condition so that it no longer is.
  1. In German there is a colloquial and children’s expression, heilemachen, a verb consisting of heilen (‘cure’, ‘heal’) and machen (‘make’).

This verb doesn’t mean returning the damaged object to its original state, but rather to the act of healing it.Machen (‘make’) is an action verb that always implies manual work, effort, movement, activity.

Wear gives witness to time; it tells us of the object’s history. Wear and tear speaks to us of sun, contact, sweat, insistence and constant effort, pressure that prevails in the end… Holes and rips speak to us of impact, rage, explosions, falls, accidents. These tracks give us infinite clues to engage in a poetic archaeology of the items and their stories.

Normally, we are only interested in the utility of everyday objects and when it is lost we throw them away.

But right at the moment when the thing has become freed of its use and has lost interest is when we are able to see it as it really is: we perceive the fragility of its materials, its colours or what remains of them, and the structure that previously represented its integrity.

This is when I begin a dialogue with the rag, the sheet or the curtain. I explore its history through its tracks; I am guided by the material, the colours, the structures. And faced with its laments of wear or destruction, I make a counterproposal that springs from enthusiasm and the desire to live.

With these interventions I encourage the discarded objects to once again be part of life. Not as a sheet or rag again, but rather as “objects for mental use”, in the words of Bauhaus artist Max Bill, speaking of artworks.

Svantje Busshoff