Everywhere in nature, in the arts and in our way of behaving and thinking about the world around us and about what constitutes us, there are obvious similarities in shapes and patterns that are repeated, at different levels and infinitely; this has always been so. Certain virtuous, elegant systems formed by nature can be found in architecture and urban planning, and atomic, molecular and cellular structures reappear in the composition of much of today’s music. However, we are still not fully aware of the possibilities of discovery and progress offered by the application of these correspondences, and today far too few scholars in the sciences, arts and philosophy have understood how significant such a common effort would be. In his book entitled Consilience (The Unity of Knowledge), scientist Edward O. Wilson is quick to cite Herbert Read: “The goal of art (…) is to create a synthetic world consistent with itself through images that tell us something about the universe, nature, man and the artist himself.”
For philosopher Peter Sloterdijk, ‘‘The way artists have of living among things implies cooperation with forms as they appear, whether they come from nature, culture or the cosmos of scientific signs and models. The artist’s home is full of foreign guests; it is a point on the world’s trellis, a magic number, a point of view on pure colours.”
The pieces presented here are all drawn from a vast, meaningful ensemble. This ensemble, this constantly evolving corpus of works, is an honest reflection of the structures that form my mind. I work with elements of visible nature to try and show invisible nature, within the things we are given to see and which we often perceive too immediately. This work is an ongoing effort of heightened sensitivity to the things that do not always appear obvious to our senses, to this confused ensemble of life and death with its cyclical rhythms.
By starting with a humble observation sensitive to what is real, I believe that art should be the real body of the true, in order to manifest and make visible the world’s mysteries. I know that a combination of elements that are apparently foreign to one another inevitably results in a fictional artistic production. Indeed I think it’s necessary to utilise fiction in order to get away from reality and thereby to access what is real, “what is not yet domesticated.” Andrei Tarkovski rightly lamented that contemporary man lacks spirituality: “By spirituality, I mean the interest the individual has in the meaning of life.”
Artwear can be said to exist at the intersection between art, craft and fashion. It is of all three, but is owned wholly by none of them, and has both challenged and blurred cultural boundaries. The full spectrum of work ranges from pieces that are only technically wearable, to grand one-of-a-kind clothing with serious content that is intended to be displayed on the wall as well as on the body, to limited-edition production, to garments created specifically for performance.
By thinking of themselves as artists and not designers, by giving their works titles and subjects, even by insisting that their work, while functional, could also be non-functional, artists redefined the creation of clothing as art. As they have become more comfortable with the idea of working within the fashion system, they have been more willing to produce both clothing that is akin to fashion and one-of-a-kind wearable artworks intended for a gallery or museum audience, or to conceive of their fashion-oriented collections as wearable art. The boundaries separating artwear from fashion and art have softened, allowing artists to take a far more inclusive approach to all three disciplines.
Artwear is first and foremost an art of materials and processes whose creators are passionate about making art with textiles. There is wearable art that focuses primarily on the garment’s formal aesthetic properties : the artist’s sense of beauty, interest in pattern, passion for color, eye for composition. Nonetheless, there are many examples of artwear that have an analyzable subject or outlook and it is possible to identify a few major themes. Probably the single most common theme is nature, or the natural world, from vaguely organic forms to increasingly sophisticated plant and marine life, insects, reptiles and birds. Unwearable art usually focuses on the symbolic nature of dress, and, when dress is taken seriously it is usually because it is being treated as a metaphor or illustration, so one can comfortably focus on a meaning propitious for interpretation.