Alexandra Kehayoglou crafts wool rugs as unique works of art with a hand-tufting process that takes several months to complete. Using discarded thread from her family’s carpet factory in Buenos Aires, she describes her rugs as portals to memories, with a direct connection to her Greek grandparents’ past weaving of Ottoman-style carpets in Turkey. Whether room-sized, wall-hung, or used to cover furniture, the rugs take their natural subjects from the landscape of her native Argentina—forests, desert islands, Patagonian glaciers, and the pastizales (grasslands) where the sheep from which the wool is sheared graze. Kehayoglou has collaborated with Olafur Eliasson, and made a carpet runway,Before and After, for fashion designer Dries Van Noten, whose mossy textures referenced John Everett Millais’Opheliaand Eduoard Manet’sLe Dejeuner sur L’Herbe.Before and Afterwas featured as an integral component of one of the most memorable catwalks at Paris Fashion Week September 2014. The so-called “magic carpet” was later exhibited in Hong Kong at CUBE gallery, and afterwards in Berlin during Berlin Gallery Weekend.
Kehayoglou’s work is recognized as a forceful response against deforestation and advocating for environmental awareness. Her recent work for the Basel edition of Design Miami 2016,No Longer Creek, within the exhibitionDesign at Large, restored a decimated creek in the north of Buenos Aires to its natural, pre-human state, with a big installation piece that combined a textile landscape and a video capture and projection of the visitors interacting with the work. Kehayoglou’s piece stands as witness and claim to the altered landscape—a perfect proxy for what no longer exists.