Helmut Lang’s career as an artist since leaving the Fashion world some 6 years ago has left us with no doubt he’s a true creative. His art is making almost as big an impact as his groundbreaking fashion which made such an impact on the 90’s.
His latest show ‘Make It Hard’ is an obvious take on the passing of his fashion career and the coming of his art career. Lang shredded his entire archive, after donating the rest of his collected work to worldwide fashion, design and contemporary art collections, to make 16 sartorial sculptures!
Make It Hard runs through till August 8, 2011, at The Fireplace Project, 851 Springs Fireplace Road, East Hampton, USA, 11937.
The Interview below is extracted from Dazed.
Dazed Digital: Tell us about ‘Make it Hard’, what was the original plan and inspiration?
Helmut Lang: There was no original plan to begin with. The inspiration came through 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 use it as raw material for my art. ‘Make It Hard’ is literally the transition from soft to solid, and there is also a sexual reference implied.
DD: Are all pieces made out of shredded archive pieces?
Helmut Lang: Yes, 25 years of work, pigment and resin.
DD: Are there any old Helmut Lang pieces left? A great deal has been donated to museums as well, right?
Helmut Lang: No, after I donated a large volume of my body of work in fashion to the most important fashion, design and contemporary art collections worldwide, I shredded the remaining pieces without remorse nor preference.
DD: Is this some kind of ‘fashion closure’ for you?
Helmut Lang: I retired from fashion in 2005 and that was final for me then. I feel fortunate that I’m able to work in art now and able to contribute to the cultural landscape as I did before with fashion. I have been asked to collaborate with fashion houses with my artwork, which I will probably do.
DD: As a former designer currently working in art, how do you see the relationship between art and fashion?
Helmut Lang: Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t…
DD: You have built 12 sculptures with the fabric – this is an art-form you’ve previously worked with as well, is it the one you feel most at home with?
Helmut Lang: The sculptures are actually part of a significant body of sculptures, possibly over 100 pieces, will be exhibited in different installments or in its entirety in the near future These are entirely new, and every single columnar form is hand crafted with a unique composition.
DD: How does the design process differ for you comparing sculptures and clothes?
Helmut Lang: You have to work hard and you have to recognise when it evolves into something interesting and be able to let go of it when the work is interesting enough to fight you back. I’m familiar with that procedure.
DD: What’s next for you?
Helmut Lang: Right now it looks quite good. We have a lot of upcoming exhibitions…