Review: Sylvie Franquet: reMembering at October Gallery

Sylvie Franquet, Prisoner of Love, 2016. Wool, acrylic and lurex on cotton canvas sewn into ash frame, 80 x 100 cm. Photo: Jonathan Greet courtesy of October Gallery, London.

The artist Sylvie Franquet's first solo exhibition is currently being held at October Gallery, London. This stimulating exhibition showcases Franquet’s new works, including tapestries, fabric sculptures and installations, that explore the structure of culture, history and femininity. Franquet has spent most of her life immersed in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cultures, both of which have influenced and characterised her artistic voice in ‘reMembering’ through the layering of words from ancient myths and contemporary life in her embroideries.

On entering the exhibition space the viewer is drawn to the hanging tapestries that play on celebrated paintings of women by male artists. Franquet reworks the original images with needlepoint, overlaying them with further images, quotations and text messages from friends. She also modernises the tapestries by capturing a graffiti style effect through the use of vivid colours so that the stich work appears pixelated. Through the combination of the paintings conveying women through the male gaze and the historically female gendered art form of needlework, Franquet explores and questions the problematic historical status of gender.