Helmut Lang: Make it Hard | The Fashion Legend on His Renegade Act of Artistic Reinvention
Iconic designer turned artist Helmut Lang shredded 20 years of fashion history for his last exhibition, repurposing 6,000 garments from his eponymous label into a series of terrestrially textured, stalactite columns that stretch from floor to ceiling. On view at the Fireplace Project in East Hampton, Make it Hard comprises 16 sculptures that meld natural and synthetic fibers with plastics, metals, leathers, fur, feathers and even hair. “The fight against entropy and decay is always going to be a losing battle,” says international curator Neville Wakefield. “So why not make of that destructive energy something new?” It should be noted that Lang’s most adored designs were saved from the cut, when in 2009 and 2010 the designer donated a large volume of his work to select fashion, design and contemporary art collections worldwide. A leading figure of 90s minimalism, the Austrian-born Lang has left a lasting mark on the industry. Following his brand’s acquisition by the Prada Group six years ago, Lang relocated to a Long Island studio to focus on his artistic career. “In the autobiographical sense, the material of people’s lives has always been the subject of their art,” says Wakefield. “The only difference here is the level of identification and investment that the public has in that material.” Nowness has asked Lang about his dramatic endeavor.
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