Tashkeel presents In Residence: Christine Müller and Fay McCaul

Dubai, UAE – January 7, 2018 | The first designers to have residencies at Tashkeel will display their work in an exhibition opening on Tuesday.
Christine Müller, from Austria, and Briton Fay McCaul spent three months utilising the centre’s well-equipped studios, exploring Dubai and engaging with the emirate’s residents through a series of workshops and talks.
Lisa Ball Lechgar, Deputy Director of Tashkeel, said: “For many practitioners, residencies offer time and space away from their usual surroundings and obligations, enabling them to develop new areas of creative practice and find fresh inspiration.
“During the past six years, more than 40 artists from over 15 countries have taken up the opportunity to spend time with us here in Dubai, engaging in experimental creative practice in a range of media and genres.
“As Dubai Design District and events such as Dubai Design Week raise the profile of design in the UAE, the integration of designers into the longstanding Artist-in-Residence programme represents a logical progression for Tashkeel. We are extremely keen to share the results of Christine and Fay’s design work here with a wider audience through the In Residence exhibition.”
In Residence marks the culmination of each artist’s journey in the UAE, where they were encouraged to push the boundaries of their chosen disciplines and explore new techniques, materials and methods of working while responding to their experiences of living and working in the Gulf. The residencies ran from late September to December and were the first such residencies either designer had undertaken. While based at Tashkeel, they gave workshops some of the emirate’s other creative hubs, including jewellery academy L’École Van Cleef & Arpels, based in Dubai Design District, and Youth xHub, a facility for young people founded by the UAE government.
McCaul studied at the Royal College of Art, in London, and has produced works for the city’s acclaimed Saatchi Gallery. During her time at Tashkeel, she ran three community workshops, including a class in geometric jewellery design, and a ‘Make-your-own-T-shirt’ session for children.
“My time at Tashkeel has enabled me to experiment and explore new techniques and methods to create my textile work,” she said.
“By using the heat press, I have developed my idea of heat-bonding materials within fabric, achieving three diverse outcomes based on this process-driven principle.”
For In Residence, McCaul will exhibit three new pieces created during the programme alongside existing works. Tashkeel Tiles is a 25-piece modular wall covering for which hundreds of shapes were cut from a variety of materials and enmeshed between layers of cotton and netting. While making Grid Surface, she experimented with combinations of felt and three-dimensional forms, creating a series of tiles that she embossed by hand in the studio. Willow Surface is a series of free-hanging textile pieces that glisten subtly in the light. Incorporating felt, foil, dichroic film and wood, these transparent panels were influenced by the willow trees in Tashkeel’s garden.
She said: “The pattern and colour inspiration for these pieces have come directly from my time spent in Dubai, particularly the arabesque structures found in and around the mirrored architecture of the city.
“It has been a truly fantastic opportunity to have the space and time to delve into such pure material experimentation.”
Müller’s background is in textile design, with a particular interest on screen-printing on both fabric and paper. A philosophy graduate of the University of Vienna, she currently teaches at the Basel School of Design, Switzerland, where she is pursuing a master’s degree in Visual Communication and Iconic Research. For In Residence, she will exhibit her major new work Contemplating the Current (No.1-26), which comprises 26 screen-printed flags inspired by the many-pointed stars that recur in Islamic art.
“My graphic work – whether on textile, paper or screen – deeply relates to pattern,” she said.
“Having had the chance to work in Dubai with Tashkeel has enabled me to further my interest; a city where ornamentation is applied almost everywhere and in very diverse ways.”
Müller was particularly impressed by the huge Union House flag in the grounds of Etihad Museum, making several trips there “just to look at it fluttering gently in the wind – moments of meditation in the midst of a city in constant flux.”
She added: “My own designs explore the star pattern from a postmodern perspective, and where better to develop my understanding than in the postmodern city of Dubai?
“Building on the star pattern grid, I deconstructed, combined and overlaid elements to find a multitude of unusual visual expressions.”
In Residence: Christine Müller and Fay McCaul runs from January 9th to March 3rd, 2018 at Tashkeel Studio and Gallery, Nad Al Sheba 1, Dubai. The centre opens from 9am to 10pm every day except Friday, and admission is free of charge. 

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