Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Adorning the Human Form

by Andria Crescioni

Nick Cave "Soundsuits," 2006

Comparing Nick Cave’s “Soundsuits” to Leigh Bowery and Hussein Chalayan: The line between fashion and art is particularly hard to draw, and will continue to become even harder to draw with time due to the influx of creators who are experimenting within both fields in their work. One artist in particular who definitely can be tossed between the two worlds is Nick Cave. His acclaimed “Soundsuits” exhibit a feat in couture methods that any fashion conscious viewer would be awestruck by, yet they are considered to be fine art sculptures. His work can “stand alone in galleries as visually compelling art objects, or they can be worn by dancers as vehicles for sound and movement." Nick Cave’s work can be considered both art and fashion when compared to performance artist Leigh Bowery and fashion designer Hussein Chalayan. All three are considering the human body and using material to adorn it with personal meaning.

Leigh Bowery, 1991

Hussein Chalyan, S 2006

Nick Cave’s “Soundsuits” have formal characteristics that are undoubtedly considered to be fashion related. The way in which he combines opulent fabrics, neon sequins, plastic flowers, feathers, flea market finds and recycled materials to form fantastical costumes evoke a haute couture feeling, and even have been compared to the work of Christian Lacroix. The fine craftsmanship and thought that goes into the “Soundsuits” is obvious. They are always sewn, never glued, and come in a variety of colors and textures. The way that they interact with the human body is breathtaking as well. They are equally as reminiscent of haute couture methods as they are of African ceremonial costumes. When the suits are statically displayed in a gallery setting, one could imagine the way in which they could be worn and experienced, much like when viewing a piece of fashion in a gallery setting.

Nick Cave, "Soundsuit," 2006

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