Rosemarie Trockel, Lopapeysa,, 1986
Is knitting art? Knitting is certainly artful, in that not everyone can do it. But a Lopapeysa is not an artwork, and therefore should not belong in a museum. The artist Rosemarie Trockel teaches us better. She knits pictures, or rather, she lets a computer-controlled machine produce them. The resulting textile is then stretched over a frame like a painting. The work of art is finished.
Trockel ignores the general public's expectations of "high art". At first glance there is no trace of valuable materials and skilled craftsmanship in the production process of her knitted pictures. Instead she elevates a banal, typically female activity to the status of art, and in doing so and with great irony highlights the clichés of traditional gender roles.
In the middle of the 1980s Trockel responded with her industrially produced machine art to the boom in knitting in lecture theatres, knitting political symbols, such as the hammer and sickle, or logos like the Playboy bunny as patterns in her wool pictures. They caused a commotion in the male dominated art world as well as the student knitting fraternity. Art can often be an inconvenience.