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Published July 19, 2010

SHOPLIFTER PLAYNG A HUMAN HAIR HARP

 

 

For his curatorial debut, Lucid Olason has called upon artists and fashion designers from around the globe to assemble a series of films and live performances that “highlight the creative use of textiles.”  The result, “Interwoven: Evenings in Performance,” will be at Washington D.C.’s historic Textile Museum on July 23 and 24, Olason and, in terms of creativity, it will not disappoint, unless you’re used to thinking of human hair as a textile.

In addition to fabric-fueled performances by Copenhagen-based duo Henrik Vibskov and Andreas Emenius (the show marks their first Stateside performance) and designer Peggy Noland who, hailing from Missouri, has dressed performers like CSS and Fischerspooner in her eclectic spandex ensembles, Olason has appropriately enlisted the chicly cerebral design trio, threeASFOUR (comprising Adi Gil, Gabi Asfour, and Angela Donhauser) to reenact their Spring 2010 interpretation of Yoko Ono’s Cutpiece (1965). Originally dramatized during New York Fashion Week, the performance features 23 models as they cut apart a final model’s cocoonish costume.

“The models cut in a way that shows our clothing’s form and construction. We did it to show how the clothing is made, versus what Yoko did as a conceptual ‘getting stripped,'” explained Asfour. He added that the piece was, “not just about the fabric, but also the way that the fabric is working around the body. We’re not showing the weaving itself but the construction.”

 

 

For Interwoven, the designers have altered the piece to include only six performers, and opted to use what they describe as “real people,” rather than runway-ready girls. Furthermore, the slicing and dicing will take place in front of a split-screen film showing both Yoko’s 1965 performance and the trio’s original fashion show.

Icelandic artist Hrafnhildur Arnardottir (who goes by the more easily pronounceable Shoplifter) will contribute a more abstract interpretation of the show’s theme with two films, both of which feature human and synthetic hair in the leading role of “textile.”

“The hair is kind of like this grass that grows on our bodies, and we’re constantly trying to tame it. It’s the human fur, the human beast and it’s our way of being connected to nature. It’s been more or less in the foreground of my work for the last ten years,” said the artist of her eccentric medium of choice. The first film, a documentation of the installation and performance collaboration with composer Nico Muhly titled Skin Bone Hair (2008), shows three lovely nymphs lying in a row, their long locks being plucked and teased by Muhly to create a “human harp.” The second film, a recording of Aimez-Vous Avec Ferveur (2008), the psychedelic 53rd street MoMA window on which Shoplifter collaborated with AVAF’s Eli Sudbrack and Christophe Hamaide Pierson, tracks the public’s reaction to the veritable orgy of flashing neon lights, brilliant colors and bubbly, braided synthetic hair.

While show’s abovementioned participants certainly differ in style, they are unified in their excitement to show at the Textile Museum, where art truly fuses with fashion.

“I really enjoy bringing my work into a textile context. I like this grey area where fashion meets art and art meets fashion. I like to be intangible, to blur the line so you can’t define what it is,” said  Shoplifter. Adi Gil shares a similar sentiment, “We think clothes, our kind of clothes, really are art. We are designers but we’re artists as well. Maybe someone should come up with a new definition.”