Traditional Cartoons Suspend Tensed Sabotage Moments in Embroidery

Cartoons have a long tradition of creating the most bizarre, chaotic circumstances and dramatising them into ridiculousness, from Looney Tunes and Mickey Mouse to The Simpsons. While the antics of the cartoon figures are often humorous, as creator Peter Frederiksen is aware, they also have a darker side. He tells Colossal that “violence is a shorthand for conflict, confrontation, and concerns,” noting that many famous cartoons were made after World War II or during periods when “violence was in the ether… Because I enjoy weapons, I don’t embroider with them. Because they are an escalation, I include weapons in my embroidery designs. They are compensating too much. They are fear and worry.

In these timeless moments, Frederiksen has spent the last few years focusing on the conflict and capturing its fleeting character in thick embroideries. He depicts knives piercing closed doors, bedsheets that have been tied that are stretched taut and fall out of windows, and hands that are tangled up while playing the piano. The artworks, which are meticulously machine-stitched onto canvas, remain faithful to their original sources in terms of colour and style even if Frederiksen carefully removes each scenario from its surroundings.

The nostalgic pieces are instantly recognised in their iconography but unrecognisable in the context of a wider narrative since they have been decontextualized and given action. They convey a narrative in a manner that is equally menacing and keeps the tension he is trying to elicit in a moment. I also like to imagine that when I’m physically making things happen with my hands in tiny ways, I’m rendering these tiny, condensed scenes as a reflection of that.

This year, the Chicago-based artist has a number of exhibitions planned, including one at Postmasters Roma in May and a solo show at Massey Klein in New York in September. Follow his work on Instagram until then. (Source: The Guardian

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