"Cave's first Soundsuit was made of twigs. Other typical materials include dyed human hair, sisal, plastic buttons, beads, sequins, and feathers. The finished pieces bear some resemblance to African ceremonial costumes and masks. His suits are presented for public viewing as static sculptures, but also through live performance, video, and photographs."
About soundsuits (above): "...multi-layered mixed-media, wearable sculptures named for the sounds made when the sculptures are worn. As reminiscent of African and religious ceremonial costumes as they are of haute couture, Cave's work explores issues of ceremony, ritual, myth and identity. He does this through a layering of concepts, highly-skilled techniques and varied traditions, using materials such as fabrics, beads, sequins, old bottle caps, rusted iron, sticks, twigs, leaves and hair. Mad, humorous, elaborate, grotesque, glamorous and unexpected, the Soundsuits are created from scavenged ordinary materials—detritus from both nature and culture—that Cave re-contextualizes into visionary masterpieces." (http://www.soundsuitshop.com/scene/exhibitions/yerba-buena-center-for-the-arts-may-2009)
The installation above forms "a sort of floating architecture with organic and floral shapes that invite the visitor to go through and interact with them. The sculpture, which is attached to the gallery’s glass roof trusses, is suspended about one metre from the ground.
The Lycra contains ground spices: pepper, cumin, cloves, ginger and curcuma. The almost anaesthetising aroma of the spices totally envelop our sense of smell, conjuring up familiar or distant flavours and memories, just as the sculptural forms invite us to touch and feel the work with our hands, and listen in silence.
The artist’s aim is to break down the distances between the visitor and the work of art, creating a sort of mystical experience through the discovery of the almost living breathing of these huge creatures with their transparent and harmonious shapes.
Neto’s works form shapes that also break down the barriers between art and life. As he himself states, he creates “an art that unites, helping us interact with others, showing us the limits, not as barriers but as a place of sensations and of exchange and continuity.” '
Ernesto Neto's work reminds me of the early stage of the costume I created in Reveal. When initially trying to create weighted hands out of tights and birdseeds I firstly just tried pouring the seeds in the tights which created the exact same effect found within these installations.
It is interesting to see that Neto's main theme is the senses and the effect he can have on these with the installations he has created, because my piece was somewhat focused on the tactile sense due to the costume having the purpose of weighting down the arms of the wearer and causing them to feel heavier with an inability to move comfortably. My project is therefore like a more focused and individual approach to what is also being portrayed in Neto's work.
Research into these installations has made me wonder how I could henceforth expand on my costume beyond the brief to create something even more body-altering; either in the tactile sense or expanding the effect to other senses. If i were to affect vision of the wearer this would make them even more-so in-tune to the weight they are under, as when vision is impaired, our other senses immediately heighten through compensation. I could equally enhance the weight through addition of more stuffed tights and explore the effect created if these were worn all together as a body suit.
Looking at Neto's work also inspires me to discover what kind of abstract environment could be created from a combination of local/cultural influences and tradition in where I am from (like he did for Brazil). It is interesting to explore the human senses through a contradiction of what is man-made and organic in such a way that equally portrays art and architectural development within a certain culture.
Neto is seen to bring a new light to architecture and sculpture, combining the two to create spaces and environments in which the public can roam and explore, creating an all-encompasing sense-stimulating experience. His work, such as that above and to the left, highlight the theme of senses and effects upon the latter; hence the use of colorful aromatic spices and interesting shapes created from the lycra/stretched fabric.
Ana Rajcevic/Naomi Filmer
A lot of these jewellery makers/designers have created pieces that look like unusual or structural extensions of the body, or even the representation of what belongs in the body (such as the skeleton) moved to the outside of the skin. This creates a truly interesting effect as though the wearer has been put inside out. I like the use of metal creating a very smooth yet strong sense to the jewellery, and the visual extension is slighlty like the costume I created which was an extension of the arms. It somehow plays with movement in teh same way that some of these pieces are restricting of the wearer's movement in the same way that the arms I created refrain movement due to the weight.
^Magnification of flowers and shrubbery in regards to the characters which creates a more enchanting and fantastical land/atmosphere
^Disproportion from character to character
Mad Hatter's exaggerated features (cheekbones, eyes, hair, very large hat)
Do Ho Suh
Interview with Do Ho Suh
"AOT: You’ve already spoken to the question “why Kanazawa?” but, outside of the museum, is there anything else about the city that has caught your interest?
DHS: I’ve actually been to Kanazawa many times since 2004, and each time I come, I like it even more. The food….well, you know. The food is just incredible!
AOT: I wonder if Akimoto-san [director of the museum] has spoken to you about his passion for thekôgei mirai movement? Do you think it plays any role in your own work?
DHS: Yes, he was telling me all about it last night, and about the recent exhibition. The whole topic of traditional crafts and their place in today’s art world is important, and I’m glad he’s addressing it. In my work, yes, especially the fabric pieces. The techniques for stitching primarily come from traditional dressmaking and were taught to me and my assistants by older Korean seamstresses. Some of the pieces are very complex, and I would not have achieved the effects I wanted without their knowledge and willingness to share with me.
AOT: How much does the location of an exhibition influence your work? In other words, which comes first, the invitation to exhibit or the creation of a piece?
DHS: Interesting question. The truth is, it’s both. Inside my head I have this sort of Ferris wheel of ideas, just constantly turning. Then, when the opportunity to exhibit comes along, my mind spins through all the ideas until it finds the right one for that particular space. I know within seconds when a pace is ideal for either one of my existing works or for one of the ideas not yet realized. The 21st Century Museum is a perfect example. I saw it in 2004 and knew one day I wanted to have a show there. And in fact, the height of the ceilings made it possible for me to add a couple of floors to the NYC studio piece that had not previously been shown.
AOT: How about inspiration? Would you say your work is more internally or externally inspired?
DHS: This touches on my last answer, and the idea of the Ferris wheel. I’m kind of a slow-starter, so it can take years for ideas to get processed and manifest themselves in my work. Then I might take abstract aspects of several different events and pull them together in a way that may obscure their origin, yet still give the work power or substance. Growing up in Seoul in the ’70s and ’80s during very politically-charged times definitely left an impression, yet those times are only subtly represented in my work.
AOT: Is there anywhere in the world you’ve not yet been but where you’d like to work?
DHS: I have only been to Brazil in South America, so I would like to spend more time down there. I’m particularly interested in Patagonia and parts of Chile. Basically, places where Koreans have settled over time. It’s a continuation of the trail that lead across the Bering Land Bridge, down through Alaska and Canada, the Western US; all along that route, it’s possible to find people with the Mongolian Blue Spot—that blue smudge at the base of the spine that’s seen on most Asians, many Native Americans, and well over half the Hispanic population. I’ve had this dream where I’m holding a map in my hands, except it’s not a usual map—it’s curved, and the tip of South America occupies the center, and Korea is not far off. So maybe, I need to pursue this idea.
AOT: Most of your projects are on a large scale, requiring many materials and many hands to put everything together. If for some reason you found yourself in a limited budget situation, how would that affect your work?
DHS: Ha! It would be like being a student again, or a young artist, just starting out. And I think even back then, I had many interesting and pretty cool ideas, so probably, that wouldn’t change. There are times I think it would be nice to work at that level again, just me, alone in a small studio, making my maquettes and drawings, relying on modest materials.
AOT: Have you ever done a collaboration project with other artists?
DHS: Well, in a way, because of the scale, most of my projects are collaborations in some sense. Architects, engineers, carpenters, seamstresses—but in terms of your question, although I am open to it, it hasn’t really worked out yet. Artists are sensitive creatures and it’s not always easy to find the balance.
AOT: What about other genres, like writers, musicians…?
DHS: Ah! Yes, actually, I recently did collaborate with a choreographer and it was really successful. You can see some if it in the video documentary showing as part of this exhibit. I’d love to work with a musician some time if the opportunity presented itself.
AOT: You now divide your time between Seoul, New York, and London. How do these different environments affect your work?
DHS: Actually, I’m mainly based in London now, as that’s where my wife’s from, and we have a 22-month-old daughter. I like London, except for the lousy weather, and am noticing some similarities between the English and the Japanese. Certain values, and a certain reserve. Maybe it’s the small island thing they share.
AOT: Of the works in this exhibition, I was especially taken with The Gate [in which images of Suh’s childhood home and surrounding nature are projected onto a massive screen hung across the middle of a large empty room], and couldn’t help thinking of Alfred Hitchcock at the end, with all the crows. Was that a conscience influence?
DHS: Oh yes! Of course, it had to be, didn’t it! But I’ve used the motif of the blackbird in other works. It’s important in Korean art.
AOT: And in Native Alaskan tribal art as well—along the route of the Korean diaspora.
DHS: Right, that’s true. There are a number of shared symbols and motifs along that route.
AOT: It seems we’re out of time, so just one last thing. I read in an earlier interview you gave that in your spare time, you like to read about fish?
DHS: Yes! Maybe you know my first love was marine biology, and while I obviously took a different path, I still love to read about fish and marine life.
AOT: I can understand that; after living in Alaska for 14 years, I’ve grown very interested in fish myself. I’m in the middle of a great fish book now: Four Fish by Paul Greenberg. It’s all about salmon, cod, tuna, and bass.
DHS: Four Fish? Okay, I’ll look for it. Thanks!
AOT: Thank you, and enjoy the rest of your time here in Kanazawa."
Mona Hatoum Light Sentence
"A row of suits of woven hair in vibrant colors, from fluorescent orange and lime green to royal blue, lines one wall in the back gallery. These creatures with their amorphous and undefined bodies are apparitions hovering between a human form and an abstract painting. A U-shaped runway situated opposite these figures features another diverse group of Soundsuits, some with sleeker, formfitting bodysuits comprised of found fabrics and materials including buttons, sequins and beads that are combined and sewn together into intricate patterns and designs. Metal armatures adorned with a range of objects including painted ceramic birds, flowers, brass ornaments, and strands of beads, top the figures and serve as headdresses that activate the sculpture and provide a visual and textural contrast to the soft bodysuit.
Soundsuits, named for the sounds made when the sculptures are worn, are as reminiscent of African and religious ceremonial costumes as they are of haute couture. A multitude of references bring to mind not only disparate cultural traditions but they also highlight Cave’s diverse background and artistic training. Cave studied and danced with Alvin Ailey and created his own clothing line which he featured in a shop he opened and ran for ten years. He is as interested in fashion and cultural, ritualistic and ceremonial concepts as he is in politics, a domain that has always been part of his work as demonstrated by acts of collecting and reconfiguring elements and concealing the identity, race, and gender, of those who wear his suits. Rendering them faceless and anonymous the suits help these individuals transcend the political realm in order to enter the realm of dreams and fantasy."
Ernesto Neto's Installations
Title (below): Just like drops in time, nothing (2002)
"Through scale, form, smell and touch, Ernesto Neto’s work invites us to experience a heightened awareness of our own sensing and feeling bodies. His sculptural forms and installations are over-whelmingly sensual and yet they have a formal harmony and simplicity that derives from their conceptual clarity."
- "...where the constructed and the organic remain in permanent tension."
- lives in Rio de Janeiro
- His work presents many Brazilian influences including the vast contradictions and traditions found in Brazil (contradictions between man-made and organic)
- Strong ‘concrete’ art movement in Brazil recently resulting in "aggressively modernist architecture and design, as well as sculptural form and painting."
- "In contrast, there is an older tradition that derives from the meeting of vivid Portuguese Catholic iconography, African rituals, objects and shrines, and surviving indigenous cultures found in the jungles and mountains."
- Neto shows this sense of modernist aesthetic while keeping a "passionate attachment to materiality and sensuality in [his] work that is expressed in a performative, even ritualistic, approach to materials and spaces."
- Large play on senses and the body (both "integral to Neto's work")
"His installations stretch the membrane that separates art and life. Neto’s use of transparent elastic fabric describes the tension of spaces he invades while anthropomorphising architecture. Vast masses of fragrant spice swell the fabric in voluptuous, almost bodily, forms that fill the gallery space and our olfactory organs with its aromatic intensity. Unlike vision, smell entails the physical invasion of the body by the scent’s particles. In this way the sensations evoked by Neto’s spice works are involuntary and almost instinctive.
‘Just like drops in time, nothing’ has multiple associations, including rain capturing a ray of light or glancing through a forest, but it always refers back to the presence of the body, indicated by the bulging forms and even by the close association of lycra with underwear or stockings. At the same time there is a sublime architectural allusion created by the curving translucent arches that articulate the whole room."
© Art Gallery of New South Wales Contemporary Collection Handbook, 2006
Ana Rajcevic/Naomi Filmer
In collaboration with Hogan McLaughlin
When looking at all of the set and costumes of 'Alice in Wonderland' by Tim Burton one can truly see the large influence of magnification and scale. This is firstly obvious through Alice shrinking and becoming larger in regards to her environment, always somewhat disproportionate in regards to how she would be in the real world. In addition to this, all of the characters have their own unique scale, for example the Red Queen and her abnormally large head and all of her followers with exaggerated features to match. Other characters equally have enlarged and exaggerated features, such as the eyes (Mad Hatter and Cheshire Cat) or hair (Mad Hatter, Red Queen); Tweedledee and Tweedledum are shorter and round almost like boulders, exaggerated by their small faces in comparison to their heads.
The play on scale and magnification brings a huge component to the magical atmosphere created by the environment in which they are, Wonderland. It is because things are out of proportion to how they would be in the real world that we are immersed as an audience in an unknown land of fantastical and exaggerated creatures. Even just the up-scaling of flowers and plants helps create this atmosphere.
Alon Livne's dress shown to the left reminds me of my final outcome in the ruffled shape of the skirt towards the front as opposed to the long straight back.
"Born in Seoul in 1962, Suh spent his childhood living in a traditional Korean-style home, complete with a wall-enclosed garden entered through an ornate gate. His father, Se-Ok Suh, a renowned painter, designed the house based on drawings secretly commissioned in the 1820s by Sun Jo, the 23rd king of Korea. The king wanted to know how his subjects typically lived and requested a simple home in such a style to be built on a corner of his land. One hundred fifty years later, Se-Ok Suh used the plans to build his family a solid home, one which managed to survive the massive demolition and reconstruction of Seoul throughout the ’70s and ’80s. The house left a deep impression on Do Ho and is the basis for many of the works seen in this exhibition, now rendered in fabric and resin, digital projections and miniature brick.
Suh earned his BFA and MFA at Seoul National University, fulfilled his mandatory military service, and then headed to the USA where he completed his studies at the Rhode Island School of Design and Yale. The housing he occupied during that time also made quite an impact on him, as well as the place he lived during this one-year term as artist-in-residence in Berlin and his studio in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City. In all, four of Suh’s various residences are represented in the seven installations and several supporting displays in Perfect Home, and in every case, there is the sense of palpable longing for that first Korean home left so long ago."