Why is the naked human body a long-lasting staple in art? Of course, the picture of the human body fascinates our imagination, which can articulate all facets of human nature, but it will typically do just as well in clothing. Art students study naked models in order to see the form and expression of the body uninterrupted, freely and with the ability to show full exhibition in its movement.
In my reflection of the word, ‘Naked’ can be meditated in a vulnerable aspect, being a word that is inclusive to body positivity, Ance positivity, skin colour positivity; a word that is used when being free and expressive about being yourself. I chose to continue with this word because I feel as if the word can be exhibited as a verb for being yourself; being proud of your body, your skin, your curves; being naked from negativity. I want to continue with this word into my subject, hoping that I can portray an inspirational and encouraging subject, creating a positive and expressive frame of mind.
Between 1968 and 1972, the German artist Rebecca Horn developed a series of performances titled “Personal Art.” Horn ascribes the origins of this work to a single near-death encounter, not unlike Joseph Beuys, an artist with whom she readily claims affinity. In the 1960s, as a young sculptor, Horn experimented with fibreglass and polyester, like many artists of her time. The artist, unaware of the toxicity of these products, experienced serious lung harm accompanied by a lengthy convalescence period.
Horn sketched images of the human body and designs for wearable sculptures, or “body extensions,” limited to drawing in her hospital bed. She then sewed and built these, tailoring them to fit her measurements and those of her friends and collaborators precisely. Horn masks and extensions include, constrain, and/or elongate the bodies of their wearers made of fabric, wood, bandages, belts, feathers, and found objects. To this day, it can be said that Horn is continually building upon this work.
By referencing or even reworking them, she is known to return to earlier artefacts and performances. “In a transformative process, my works are stations,” she said. A “development that has never really been completed.”1
In sketches, notes, and several photographic stills, the earliest, brief performances of Horn’s “Personal Art” were recorded.
Anish Kapoor is one of his generation’s most influential sculptors. Kapoor manoeuvres between vastly distinct sizes, through various series of works, perhaps most famous for public sculptures that are both adventures in form and feats of engineering.
Massive, stretched or deflated PVC skins; concave or convex mirrors whose reflections attract and swallow the viewer; recesses cut in stone and pigmented to disappear: deep-felt philosophical polarities of presence and absence, concealment and discovery are summoned by these voids and protrusions. Forms transform inside out, womb-like, and materials are not painted but impregnated with pigment, as if to negate the notion of an exterior surface, welcoming the audience to the inner reaches of the imagination.
For example, the geometric forms of Kapoor from the early 1980s rise from the floor and seem to be made of pure pigment, while the viscous, blood-red wax sculptures from the last ten years ravage their own surfaces and explode the silence of the gallery environment. There are resonances with ancient world mythologies, Indian, Egyptian, Greek and Roman, and modern times.
Viola Gråsten was a textile artist who contributed to the creation of Swedish textile art through her creative style and bold colour variations, and eventually introduced Swedish textile art to international fame. Viola Gråsten was born in Keuruu, Finland, in 1910. Her mother, Hilda Kainlauri, died of childbirth. Her father, Sigismund Forsberg, who was a telegrapher, was remarried to Anna Gråsten.
Viola Gråsten was not only a master of rya rug style. She is well known for her creations in textiles. Her first concept for NK’s Textilkammare was the 1950 geometrical Woodoo and the more dynamic Tulipou (Brinnande träd) of the same year. Raff’s vivid colourful content was introduced in 1951 and the same year, Viola Gråsten won gold medals for both Tulipu and Raff at the Triennale in Milan. Raff was awarded the Strong Architecture Prize in the USA in 1953.
In 1952, Iola Gråsten launched Oomph, which became her most popular cloth. It blends the colours of blue, yellow, green and cherry – colours previously thought difficult to blend. Young women will fly to NK to buy a piece of cloth to sew a skirt or a shirt. The fabric became an emblem of youth’s liberation from old-fashioned clothes and traditions.
During the period 1956-1957, Viola Gråsten left NK’s Textilkammare to take up the post of Creative Director of Fashion Textiles at Mölnlycke Väfveri AB. The designs she created there were not as graphic as her previous work, and her themes have now come to include flowers, berries, butterflies and birds of a greater variety than before, and still in bright colours. She maintained her love for vivid colours and bold paint variations. Viola Gråsten worked for Mölnlycke Väfveri AB until 1973.
She created more than 100 designs for home-and fashion-use during her time there. She also produced blankets for Tidstrand woollen factory, including Snark from 1957, which became very popular and can be seen in many Swedish homes. It also provided a curtain for the new auditorium of the Röhsska Konstslöjdmuseum, which opened in January 1964.
Debbie Smyth is a textile artist most known for her statement thread drawings; these playful and intricate contemporary works of art are created by extending a network of threads between clearly plotted pins. Her work blurs wonderfully the lines between fine art and textile painting, flat and 3D work, illustration and embroidery, literally raising the drawn line off the paper in a sequence of “pin and thread” sketches.
Debbie plays well with scale; he creates both museum sculptures and works for domestic interiors. The distinctive style lends itself to business settings, public spaces, window displays, stage design, graphic design and illustration. Through working with interior designers, architects and other innovative talents, Debbie is pushing the planned scope of her work ever further.
Debbie has collaborated for businesses domestically and globally, including Adidas, Mercedes Benz, Hermes, Ellesse, The New York Times, The Canadian Red Cross, Sony and The Dorchester Hotel Chain.
“On first glance, it can look like a mass of threads but as you get closer sharp lines come into focus, creating a spectacular image. The images are first plotted out before being filled out with the thread, the sharp angles contrasting with the floating ends of the thread. And despite the complexity of the lengthy process I try to capture a great feeling of energy and spontaneity, and, in some cases, humour” – Smyth
Alexander Wang was born in San Francisco on December 26, 1983, to parents originally from Taiwan. Besides him, the family contains two older brothers and sisters. Wang completed a summer design workshop in central Saint Martins, London. He studied at Harker School for his elementary and primary education. Later he went to Stevens High School to finish 9th grade. Thought he found to Drew Prep, and when he turned 18, Wang transferred to Parsons’ New School of Architecture in New York City for two years. Wang acquired experience in the world of modelling through internships in publications such as Vogue and Teen Vogue. He also did an apprenticeship to Marc Jacobs and Derek Lam. Once he was well aware, the young designer left to study at Parsons to satisfy his dream to open his own brand. He began a line of cashmere sweaters, initially.
In 2005, he opened a fashion company, primarily with a line of knitwear. Then for the first time, Wang unveiled his women’s ready-to-wear line on the New York runway. In just three years, Wang started to be remembered for his efforts. In 2008, he won prize money and an award from the Council of American Fashion Designers and enlarged his company. As a result, he introduced a line of handbags. Alexander Wang’s collections are stored in more than 650 stores around the country, including Net-A-Porter, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Dover Street Market, and Barneys New York. Over the years, he has won numerous awards for being an excellent artist, including Swarovski Designer of the Year as well as GQ’s Best Menswear Designer of the Year.
Eliane Monnin was born in Morteau, a family of watchmakers, speleologists and owners of collections. After studying applied arts and plastic arts at the faculty of Strasbourg, she set up her studio in the Basque Country in 2002. A new area of operation was opened to her in 2007 when she learned that she was dealing with the ground. This material animates her, and the fascination she has with nature, and her ecological abstractions drive her to create a delicate world similar to living beings. In the works of Eliane Monnin, we see the spirit of the classic Cabinet of Curiosities and its elementary engine: to amass, to separate, to order, but also to put a rare object in a vacuum, a sense that gives meaning to it. There is also a curiosity for the mathematical nature of natural objects, for the paradox between the irregularity of forms and the formula behind the flawless reproduction of patterns, For nature as a creator of a life-long drive that may be limited to poetry, which itself reproduces something of nature… Shells, epidermis, sprouts of plants, organics, minerals surface in a shocking staging where obsession, fascination-repulsion, agony… Yet humour, too is not absent.
Éliane Monnin was primarily inspired by the up-and-coming 1990s. The creative community of the 1990s was characterised by a collective of artists based in the United Kingdom who came to be known as the YBAs or Young British Artists. Connected loosely by age and race, they were a mixed group of practitioners. A range of YBAs attended the Royal College of Art and Goldsmiths in London, and were preferred by the ‘super collector’ of the time Charles Saatchi.
Damien Hirst is the most renowned member of the party which includes Chris Ofili, Tracey Emin, Marc Quinn, Gavin Turk, Sarah Lucas and Sam Taylor-Johnson (born Sam Taylor-Wood). The YBAs were famous for their use of shock techniques and sensationalism, as well as their use of cheap products, crazy habits and a mentality that was both defiant and commercial.