5 ARTISTS TURNING FASHION GARMENTS INTO SCULPTURES
By Dairia Kymber
What goes through your head when you’re getting dressed in the morning? Is it an intimate and serious decision or a relaxed and carefree one? This notion of clothing and its non-verbal message has inspired several artists–sculptors in particular–to create work that spotlights the story within clothing.
Los Angeles-based artists Anna Sew Hoy is currently exhibiting works like this in an installation entitled Invisible Tattoo. Along with her, we have found 4 other artists that create works which reference the fashion industry, its production process and the materials used. Together they define a new conversation between the garment and its wearer. From the affirmation of a silhouette comes an artistic deconstruction.
Anna Sew Hoy
Throughout her work, Anna Sew Hoy has embodied the comfort and warmth of what wearing clothes feels like. In her new exhibition, Invisible Tattoo, Hoy encourages people to look beyond clothing as a mere tool to cover up your privates. The artist transforms materials to depict bodies and altered environments.
The used materials (denim, electrical wires, mirrors, black tourmaline and steel rings) were manipulated to change their normal function. Denim is sewn together and stuffed with cotton t-shirts to imitate a worm-like figure. The fabric was also used to depict the silhouette of a human body, which features a mirror serving as the face. Electrical wires resemble veins and steel rings work as frames for the sculptures. Emptiness and open space are cleverly used throughout the installation creating a notion of where our foundation lies as human beings.
View Invisible Tattoo at Koenig & Clinton on display until July 29, 2016.
It’s been over a decade since Helmut Lang retired from his fashion empire. He shredded 6,000 of his monochromatic, sharp cut and minimalistic runway designs soon after to showcase his new focus towards installation art. The 2011 exhibition entitled “Make It Hard” depicted Lang’s transition from the soft material of fashion design to a new solid direction in creativity. Lang used materials including fabrics, fur, feathers, leather, plastic, hair systems toupee, and metal to create tree-trunk like sculptures that, in some way, have rooted the excellence of his artistic career.
“Burry”, a current exhibition displayed at Dallas Contemporary, is Lang’s reinvention of sheepskin. “Burry,” Lang explained to Vogue “is exploring memories and cover-ups, protection and the simple and opulent side of life forms.” The installation consists of sculptures made of sheepskin painted over in gold, white, and black and dipped in tar. It is displayed until August 21, 2016.
Stretch is the notion for James Viscardi. What began as an effort to protect his paintings turned into an inventive design venture. The 2015 exhibition, Wash and Fold, featured Viscardi’s personal garments but also reconstructed t-shirts, backpacks and jackets, which ensued a self-portraiture of both the artist’s style and persona. The objects were placed over traditional stretchers that would usually support canvas blurring the line between painting and sculpture. “I consider these very personal works,” Viscardi told artsy.net. “They’re self-portraits derived from my uniform. We dress ourselves the way we want to be seen.”
The frames used appeared unstable pointing fingers at the state of the clothing industry and its means of production. Aside from the inspiration of fashion, this exhibition dialogued the relationship between the internal and external self.
Having been trained as a fashion designer at Parsons School of Design, it should come as no surprise that this artist uses clothing in her sculptural exploration. First as an abstract form and, later, a replacement for the human presence, Shea established a psychographic element for her figures over the course of her 30-year (and counting) art career. Having not followed a career in fashion, her ability to create a 3D figure is nonetheless attributed to her design lessons at Parsons.
Shea is best known for her series of works in wood and bronze in which she creates empty clothing forms. Her work is currently displayed as part of MOMA PS1’s 40th anniversary celebration entitled “FORTY“. Using the avant-garde designs of Comme De Garcon’s Rei Kawakubo, Shea presents clothing as a sculpture offering a challenging, yet minimal aspect to the exhibition.
Korean figurative sculpture artist has astonished the art world with his works that use materials like aluminum wire and fiberglass. In the series “Human“, Park presents a life-size presentation of the human body in all its physical characteristics and details and the beauty that lies in the garment used on the body. He manipulates the aluminum to showcase silhouettes of prominent designers Yves Saint Laurent in realistic positions. Attention to silent details is an ode to both the beauty of design process and sculptural design.