top of page

Edith Platzl

Deutsch | English

Edith Platzl´s Graphic Thread

Saul Aaron Appelbaum, Vera Maurina Press

September, 2014

If one sees two or more figures overlapping one another, and each of them claims for itself the common overlapped part, then one is confronted with a contradiction of spatial dimensions. To resolve this contradiction one must assume the presence of a new optical quality. The figures are endowed with transparency; that is they are able to interpenetrate without an optical destruction of each other. Transparency however implies more than an optical characteristic, it implies a broader spatial order. Transparency means a simultaneous perception of different spatial location. Space not only recedes but fluctuates in a continuous activity. The position of the transparent figures has equivocal meaning as one sees each figure now as the closer now as the further one.


- - Gyorgy Kepes, Language of Vision, in Rowe and Slutzky, Transparency: literal and phenomenal, Perspecta, Vol. 8, Yale School of Architecture, 1963.

Oh, this is a Kandinsky! A double-one painted on either side. May I see? | Yes, of course. | Extraordinary. | What makes it exceptional is that Kandinsky painted on either side of the canvas in two radically different styles. One wild and vivid, the other sombre and geometric. | My God! | We flip it around for variety. Chaos, control. Chaos, control. You like? You like? | It’s wonderful. | Wassily Kandinsky. Born Moscow. Blue Rider exhibition, he said The choice of object that is one of the elements in the harmony of from must be decided only by a corresponding vibration in the human soul.


- - John Guare, Six Degrees of Separation, 1992

My sketchbooks from the focus of my personal development and work processes. 
They always describe, 

- thought flows,
- specimen samples,
- dreams, quotes, photos etc.


Each exhibit accompanies a new book, whose aim is to leave traces of life, thread patterns and networks. I draw with the help of a sewing machine, double handed, just like with a pencil. Shades and lines appear on paper and tissue. Painting, graphic art, drawing and textile art have been gelled into robust thread. Individual disciplines of the formative arts, usually separate turn into a joint result. This is the process which led to the Edith Platzl stages cause and effect chains that form a core of architectonic thinking by stitching through translucent and opaque surfaces, different spatial locations, viewing positions, patterns, potentials, emergences, imaginings, and combinations. Even if some threads physically disconnect, all sides and movements gel into a single composition, turning independent threads of thought and experience into a joint result or representation. Even if Platzl intends for the pictures to hang in one frontal orientation on a wall, all sides still register in mind’s eye. Compile the double-sidedness of one surface with layering and sewing together fabrics and the methodology moves into a series of lines like floor and ceiling plans on tracing paper with the implication of three-dimensional space. The material overlay of surfaces moves into real three-dimensions.


In terms of line quality per se, one’s perception of line in an object either signals a change of material (color included) or a change of planar shape. Juxtapose the representation of line and shape in pencil and paint with the materialization of the line in thread, and painting, graphic art, drawing and textile art have been gelled into a robust thread, dematerializing ideological linear divisions. Beyond disciplinary combinations, Platzl’s double-sided representations of things in stitch materialize line in pictorial space, something akin to Degas’ elegant-proto-collage-brutalism when dressing a bronze, a brutalism where threads more real than realism bring representation into question.


Platzl dresses pictures with paint, pencil, and stitch. In a self-referential gesture, she represents garments, whether on or off bodies. Real garments from according to a structural body. Real garments hold together according to the structural skeleton of threads. In Platzl’s work the stitch both represents structural stitches and offers real structural support for holding layers of a picture together. The knots and emergences make structural nodes, sometimes in regular and irregular patterns. The nodes make strong points allowing the artist to suspend a curve span or a tangle of lines. Despite the irregularity in tangling technique, the thought orders finely. Nodes offer structural support for tangles, pinpointing order in chaos. 


One side of an opaque surface stands in for chaos and the other order. How does one imagine line, shape, and color on the invisible back combining with line, shape, and color on visible front, giving insight into visible chaos in invisible oder and vice versa? After all, one cannot hold a position at two opposites at the same time without contradicting either logic or physical limits, but one may imagine an opposite position while standing on its reverse. From the front the back registers in mind’s eye, a corresponding vibration in the human soul.


One side of a translucent surface stands in for chaos and the other order. How does one imagine line, shape, and color on the partially visible back combining with line, shape, and color on the fully visible front? One sees the front side vividly, and the other side washes out. From one side the back reads from left to right, and the other side from right to left. It physically mirrors as a result of viewing position and not optical mirroring. The mirror registers in mind’s eye, a corresponding vibration in the human soul.

One side of an opaque surface stands in for chaos and order and the other order and chaos. Many stitches dash line across the surface. The blank spaces in the line dash on one side fill in with thread on the other. The full spaces in the line dash on one side fill in with blank spaces on the other. The line may begin with a knot on one side, but no matter what it begins with an emergence from an invisible side. Because one does not see what comes before the emergence, one may imagine any number of possibilities on the other side. One may imagine either a knot, a straight line, or a tangle of string on the other side. If one applies this threading principle to a more chaotic or irregular form like a blind contour drawing of a garment, and one walks from side to side, it becomes close to impossible to remember the exact points where each emergence occurs and whether it knots, tangles, or straightens on the other side. One could plot out the emergences, knots, tangles, and straightening on both sides on translucent sheets of paper and then overlay the surfaces to see the exact modalities of emergence, a combinatorial mode of analysis. The combinatorial patterns would register in plain sight analysis, but prior to analysis, each side of the surface registers three distinct potentials (knotted, tangled, or straight) in the mind's eye, a corresponding vibration in the human soul. If one performs an analysis prior to threading, then one controls the patterning of two sides simultaneously, an extension of frontal understanding in pictorial space. Opacity, double-sided threading, and transparency [mean] a simultaneous perception of different spatial location[s], viewing positions, patterns, potentials, emergences, imaginings, and combinations, [implying] more than an optical characteristic, [they] imply a broader spatial order.


Layering forms a core concept to painting and pictorial space. In its most basic articulation, one paints one surface over another, either fully or partially concealing (glazing) the the thing beneath, either noticeably (one shape over another) or subtly (full cover over a thin brushwork layer). Unlike paint layers, clothing comes off. While physically prohibitive to pull apart or undress paint layers, if the tectonic features of the work loosen the binding (overlaying and sewing together several fabrics), then one perceives the work in several imaginary and material layers, in several dimensions. In Platzl’s work, the double-sidedness of threading and translucence complexify and undress pictorial space, registering a broader spatial order in mind’s eye, a corresponding vibration in the human soul.

bottom of page