Ariadne’s Thread


Villa Meier-Severini, Zollikon
„Parkett & Himmelbett“
september 5 to 20 2009

I find the idea of arranging a single thread in such an ingenious manner that it gives rise to a piece of clothing or any other functional form absolutely fascinating, an intellectual tour de force. For the unpractised, the pathway of the thread appears to be tangled, and yet it is pure logic, not unlike the pixel system of a computer. In the case of knitting, we consider it to be women’s work; women are well versed with organising thread.
It reminds me of one thread in particular, the one Ariadne gave her Theseus to take into the labyrinth. But astonishingly, one cannot get lost in a labyrinth. It is simply an arrangement of space with the longest way possible from an entrance to the centre. For Theseus, the Minotaur was at the centre. A labyrinth is not a maze. So actually, the thread would not have been necessary. She was the one who knew the system; obviously, he was supposed to figure it out for himself.

I have knitted the way into a labyrinth now with a red rope: Ariadne’s thread. This resulted in something like a red carpet runner; the way in and the way out. The Romans had a particular penchant for embellishing their floors with labyrinth images. The lines in these portrayals, however, never indicated the way, but rather the walls.

Examined more closely, this ode to knitting is therefore an ode to commonsense.

The way into this labyrinth is 32 metres long. To make it, I intertwined about 1,400m of red 8mm rope. Because it was impossible to do this with knitting needles, I had to come up with a different technique.