Hechizoo, a Spanish word that translates to “bewitch” is an apt description for the vibe at last week’s opening of the show Voyages /Explorations. Everyone seemed spellbound by the visual extravaganza on display at the Cristina Grajales Gallery. Colorful tableaus included vividly hued textiles, glittering metal leaves, even a canoe, every inch of it clad with glass beads, hung from the ceiling. Grajales, curator and connoisseur of all things unexpected, beautiful and meaningful, in the realm of twentieth century and contemporary design, has dazzled us again.
The exhibition features hand-made pieces by the artisans working at the Bogota, Colombia, based Hechizoo studio. The exhibition is about a journey – literal and symbolic – of the people who live amongst the flora and fauna of the Amazonian landscape; one that tells a story about the jungle that is a powerful part of life there.
I first saw copper weavings in Grajales’ back gallery, some years ago, and was struck by their beauty. I vowed to try and write about Hechizoo. I never did make it to Bogotá to see the artisans at work. I never forgot about them either. Thankfully, Grajales persevered, building her connection with Jorge Lizarazo, the studio’s founder, and kept her support of Hechizoo strong, so that architects and designers around the world now know of their work.
Lizarazo, a self-taught weaver, comes to textiles via architecture, having once worked in the offices of Santiago Calatrava and Massimiliano Fuksas.
Today sixty artisans work full-time at Hechizoo to produce custom made textiles for rugs, upholstery, window treatments and architectural meshes. What defines the work, and makes it so distinctive, is its innovative approach to the weaving of disparate materials: Mixing indigenous organic fibers such as “figue” (a woven rope- like material) with man made materials such as nylon, metal, leather, silk, horse hair, cotton, and copper. The resulting textiles and objects are light reflective and ethereal.
Lizarazo and his team make certain that the level of Hechizoo’s craftsmanship be extremely high-level. Esteemed architect Peter Marino has commissioned pieces for Fendi’s Manhattan flagship store. And one can see Hechizoo in Chanel and Dior.
The exhibition is on view until Jan. 31, 2014.
Cristina Grajales Gallery, 10 Greene st. 4th fl 212-219-9941