The genesis of the International Triennial of Tapestry dates back to the 60's, when the tapestry which had served decorative purpose so far in the past, broke of conventional weaving techniques, and became an independent art form. It has passed through the evolution from two-dimensional forms of a tapestry onto the spatial three-dimensional woven compositions using next to the traditional materials also unconventional in the textiles materials such as plastics, wood, metal, paper and more recently also recycled materials called ecological.
In 1972 the National Triennial of Industry and Unique Textile was founded at the initiative of the Lodz community of artists, supported by then director of the Museum Krystyna Kondratiukowa. By 1975 the Triennial became an international event exhibited in the halls of the Central Textile Museum (currently approx. 9700 m 2). In 1988 the main criterion for any submitted artwork - has been to this day that the works would be made of either fibrous materials or interlacing (weaving) technique.
Preparation and organization of the International Triennial of Tapestry is managed by the Office of Organization led by the Programme Council, which also makes the selection of Polish artists. Foreign participants are reported by the consultants from individual countries, who are leaders in their respective fields and amongst them we count art critics, curators of museums, art magazine editors, representatives of creative unions and the relevant ministries.
The Triennial is an exhibition and competition at the same time. The international jury grants medals for the best artistically and most innovative works: 1 gold, 2 silver, 3 bronze. A separate medal is awarded by the Central Museum of Textiles.
In more than 40 - year history of the Triennial the event was attended by some 1,780 participating artists from 79 countries. They are: Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czechoslovakia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Federal Republic of Germany, German Democratic Republic, Georgia, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Mexico, Moldova, Morocco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia, Romania, Serbia, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, United States of America, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Venezuela, Yugoslavia.
In the 25 years of its existence the Lodz Triennial has grown into one of the most important - next to no longer existing: the International Textile Competition in Kyoto and the International Biennial of Tapestry in Lausanne - specialized art exhibitions, while being confrontation of achievements of artist weavers from all over the world.
The main exhibition is accompanied by a number of related exhibitions and events that take place during the calendar year of the triennial across all Poland but also outside of its borders. Many of them are cyclical, such as: National Exhibition of Tapestry, National Exhibition of Miniature Textiles, International Exhibition of Textile of Young (all in rooms of CMT), the International Baltic Triennial of Miniature Textiles in Gdynia and the International Art Plein Air in Bolestraszyce. An important event on the map of artistic weaving was the now defunct International Festival of Tapestry in Krakow.
Text by Jolanta Piwońska