Make It Hard: Helmut Lang

Just like Maison Martin Margiela, it seems Helmut Lang’s transition from fashion to visual arts is a smooth one.  Lang retired from fashion in 2005 and has been focusing on his artistic career since.  For his latest exhibition, Make It Hard, Lang has created works fromnatural and synthetic fibers, plastics, metals, leathers, fur, feathers and even hair.  Using 6,000 garments from his label, Lang produced a series of textured and narrow columns, stretching from floor to ceiling. On show at The Fireplace Project, the exhibition showcases 16 sculptures.

Here’s the curatorial statement from Neville Wakefield:

“The columnular forms that rise from floor to ceiling invoke forces of nature and culture. They suggest both the accretive geological slowness of stalactites, and the destructive force of tornadoes. And if their material has been subjected to similar violence here it takes on the graceful abstract form of the endless columns; odes perhaps to Brancusi’s sculptural connection between terrestrial form and spiritual grace, life, and afterlife. Lang’s ambiguous forms are made not of stone or bronze, but of the objects and things he created during his twenty odd years as a fashion designer. The archive that stood testament to his immense achievement within that field – he had shredded. The materials and fabrics he used to give temporary definition to the body are now just traces of natural and synthetic fibers, plastics, metals, leathers, fur, skins, feathers and hair – erasing the past and the difference they once stood for. Thus metabolized, the material began to take the form of strangely beautiful excretions: witnesses to both the transience of our creative endeavors, and the enduring need out of which such efforts are born.”

On the inspiration behind his series of work, Lang said, “With a little help of outside force in February 2010—after a fire in the building where our studio in New York is located, which could have destroyed the rest of the archive—and after going for months through the pieces to see in which condition they are, I slowly became intrigued by the idea of destroying it myself and using it as raw material for my art. It was a cathartic experience, which led to an interesting and positive energy.”

The Fireplace Project is located at 851 Springs Fireplace Road, East Hampton, NY 11937.

X Sybil

(Images from Nowness)

About fashionartisan
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