Kim Lieberman is a contemporary conceptual artist living and working in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Lieberman did her undergraduate degree at Wits Tech, and her MAFA at Wits University. She has had eight solo exhibitions Johannesburg | Cape Town | New York. And has been in group exhibitions all over South Africa, New York, and other parts of the USA, Italy, Sydney (LoveLace exhibition PowerHouse Museum).
Her work can be seen here at www.kimlieberman.com or on instagram @kimlieberman_ .
“I came to lace not for wanting to be a lace maker but rather through conceptual art. I needed an idea to be carried with thread, and the only way to do it was to learn lace. At the time the lace expert who was to become my lace teacher, scoffed. She didn't think an artist had the staying power to make lace. That was in 2006.
I took to lace instantly. And not just to the mathematical meditation of making it, but also to its history. To its representation in art for hundreds of years already. To the radical and ridiculous sumptuary laws that abounded in the past. There is a visceral connection between lace makers, the ones who are making it now have an understanding of those that made it then. This antique habit can be quite addictive, it is certainly intense in both the finished product and the process to get there.
Initially I used lace to express my concept of how we all, through history and over geography, influence each other. As the ‘grounds’ in lace are an excellent expression of different patterned webs, and webs are about links and links can symbolise our human experience of connection. I learnt about pinnings and quickly understood their importance. I then designed some that would fit my purposes, and also brought the antique look of traditional lace pattern into a more contemporary visual.
While in the process of making these contemporary pieces, I came across a Peter Pan collar that I fitted onto a drawing which included a blood red self portrait. Doors opened. Collars frame the head. And I was interested in re-contextualising who’s head are we framing now, here, in Africa. Looking at the old sumptuary laws where it was illegal for peasants to wear lace, illegal! I became acutely aware how that would not go down well in our young and important democracy in South Africa. So I decided to twist lace’s history and allow all different people to wear the collars in their portraits.
Lace is an extreme craft. Which has lasted for thousands of years in important positions. To take it on now, to draw it from the past, is to ensure a deep human skill, that can actually only be done by human hands to get the full powerful story.”