Saturday, October 24, 2009


In response to the post DARE below I'd like to draw your attention to the work of Sonja Baumel, an artist from Austria. In her own words...

"I explore the boundaries between fashion design,
art and science, to create multidisciplinary
works out of information generated from the
design field and laboratory research.

I want to create new clothes which are freed from
the information about social hierarchy and
material richness. The clothing shall tell a story
about us as human beings, about our present
perception, our fragility, our fears and pleasant

Baumel is fascinated by the human skin and the concept that it is the layer that separates our outside from our inside. However there is a second layer made up of billions of bacteria which she calls our second skin. She puts forward the idea that being able to understand or at least accept the existanse of this second membrane we achieve a better perception and understanding of self.

I think (in)Visible Membrane is a beautiful piece of work not only in concept but in its creative process and presentation. Strangely I found it quite comforting for two reasons. Physical protection and emotional protection. The physical second membrane and the projected concept of it. Science v. fiction.

An invisible layer we are barely aware of, fighting to physically protect us. Their whole life cycle is dedicated to protecting one large living thing, our body. Weather, temperature, injury, allergies, it helps us cope and combat all of these on a daily basis

The crochet flesh pink wool is a delicate and pulchritudinous metaphor for our invisible layer which Baumel says "we could use to create new clothes which would react to our individual body temperature. The texture would get less thick on areas where we need less warmth and would build up on cold body zones and create new body related silhouettes"

There is a depth and a discernment in her work which I find facinating.

Earlier work 'hang and deform.' Baumel using tools to 'deform' the shape of clothing when it is drying. Purpose made a coat hanger to alter shape. Blocks used to create texture and form.

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