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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Fine Print

Could it be that the age of so-called limited editions is finally over? No, actually. But the label No Editions is making a good go of it. Here's how it works. Designers Christian Niessen (who hails from Helmut Lang and Prada) and Nicole Lachelle (Helmut Lang) have devised a system of digital printing where each piece in a series (i.e. T-shirts, tunics, ponchos or kimonos) looks deceptively similar, but subtle differences are revealed upon closer inspection. Fragmented bits of prints derived from mass media are applied to garments in various states of production, sometimes only half assembled. It's all so very conceptual, which speaks to us. And the website is suitably confusing, in the vein of European conceptualists (you've seen Margiela's site, right?), but that's how you know it's good...

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Helmut in Hannover

Fiona Bryson goes skin-diving...

Helmut Lang has always pushed the envelope, from using new materials and techniques in his collections to forging unique collaborations with other artists. Now, in his first solo exhibit, Alles Gleich Schwer—currently showing at the Kestnergesellschaft in Hanover, Germany, through November 2—he explores the possibilities of surrogate skins and public versus private life, as well as folkloric mythologies such as maypole ceremonies. Curated by Neville Wakefield and Frank-Thorsten Moll, the work is what one expects from the Austrian—sleek and modern, and never giving away more than enough.

Two pieces in the show are adaptations from prior shows: Next Ever After, an objet trouvé in the form of a disco ball shown at the Journal Gallery in Brooklyn last year, and the video installation Séance de Travail 1993-1999 (pictured left), from the 1998 exhibition with longtime artist-collaborators Jenny Holzer and Louise Bourgeois. Meanwhile, the new works in Alles Gleich Schwer comprise objects such as Three, three eagle-shaped mahogany sculptures, covered with tar on the outside yet revealing their wooden insides.

Another untitled piece consists of aged and damaged bumpers, made of rubber, steel and tar—symbolizing protection. And the signature piece, Surrogate Skin, is a mixed-media and pigment process used as the title suggests. The most impressive work is Arbor, the maypole with phallic, fetishistic connotations, cast in oak, iron, rubber and pvc, which perhaps draws on Lang's rigid upbringing in rural Austria.

The show marks a welcome return for Lang, who, since his departure from the fashion industry in 2005, has moved away from expressing himself through clothing and concentrated on art. Future projects include a collaboration with Absolut, in the creation of a virtual version of Alles Gleich Schwer (seen below), and the curation of a special project for the Deste Foundation in 2009, in addition to gallery shows in New York and London.

Surrogate Skin



Exclusive Absolut video, launching September 30

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

The re-animated, ever-beloved Helmut Lang reclaimed a huge, slightly smashed and possibly blood-stained disco ball from who knows where and stuck it in the middle of the floor in the Brooklyn gallery space belonging to the lower-case art and culture rag the journal. Is “Next Ever After,” the installation's title, a simple comment on the low-key designer's obvious aversion to glamour? A nod to the plight of his own career—fallen and reborn in another place entirely? At the opening party last week, we (including friend of Helmut Jenny Capitan, Zero designer Maria Cornejo, photog-artist Mark Borthwick, make-up artist Dick Page, artist Christian Jankowski and designer Patrik Ervell) stood around the immobile object of festivity, little dots of light twinkling over our ruddy and snowed-on faces, and pondered our existence.

Dick Page, Jenny Capitan

Maria Cornejo & Mark Borthwick, artist Dave Aarons

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