Thu 14 Sep 2023 to Sat 21 Oct 2023
Artist: Bárbara Sánchez-Kane
Talk: Future Dialogues: Rirkrit Tiravanija & Bárbara Sánchez-Kane. Tuesday 17 October, 6.30pm-8pm. RSVP
Into clothing is transposed the complex, stratified and changeable relationship between personal experience and collective memory, between an intensely-lived past, minus nostalgia, and the future. The relative nature of certainty and outcome encourages us to wander through the future, to look forward, to make plans that are not simply mindless affirmation, but are a vital sweepstake about what is going to happen. You have to dream of growth to be able to grow. –Gabi Scardi
kurimanzutto presents New Lexicons for Embodiment, the first-ever solo exhibition by Mexican artist and designer Barbara Sánchez-Kane in New York. Navigating the individual, yet intertwined worlds of fashion and art, the artist considers the clothed body as the interphase with which we experience the world and interact with reality, and examines how these clothes contribute to the performance of identity and self-expression.
Sánchez-Kane, who alternatively uses she and he pronouns, is interested in the deconstruction of identities and the duality of the presented self: through her clothes and sculptures, there is a perpetual tearing and fracturing of the structure, voids that seemingly shouldn’t exist, and the recurring repurposing of traditional objects through the destruction of their functionality.
As an introduction to Sánchez-Kane’s practice, the foyer of the gallery will house a pop-up shop of his fashion brand with items from his latest collection. This space will serve as an interlude into the art exhibition, which will in turn showcase her sculptural practice. Many of the works on show are based on a 1920s design treaty (The Koester School Book of Drapes), which ordered that plinths or structures selling goods were transformed into fashionable and desirable vitrines. For her presentation, she has studied these techniques and transformed them into sculptures in their own right. These objects, made from tissue, resemble infinite and organic landscapes where the “desirable goods” for sale are absent. These pieces in Sánchez-Kane’s project tackle the void and the empty space that would normally be occupied by objects and bodies, both materially and metaphorically.
Through the repetition of patterns with slight variations, the artist creates a number of possibilities of “wearable” sculptures. In the fashion industry, molds and repetition, pattern creation and weaving are central to production. The artist takes these ideas and constructs experimental structures that deform, expand and multiply different materials to create what she calls “monsters” that inhabit the gallery space.
Three hanging sculptures made of aluminum were created as a reaction to the dress form fitting system, where mannequins can be modified, enlarged, and stretched to simulate different body types for cloth-making. Sánchez-Kane creates abstract sculptures inspired by this anthropomorphic object, presenting deformed, stretched, and modifiable bodies that use the technology from the fitting system.
Art creates a space for the Sánchez-Kane to disarticulate the elements in the fashion industry with which he does not identify, such as the standardization of bodies through sizes, the ephemerality of tendencies, mass consumption, and fast fashion. On the other hand, fashion is the discipline in which she was trained, and the symbolic space where he organizes her ideas and understands the material world. Through these two lines of thought, Sánchez-Kane translates his observations into sculptural works that exit the fashion arena and reveal their impossibility to function inside it. In addition to the material expression of these observations, the pieces also raise questions about power dynamics that sustain the production, circulation, and consumption process that homogenize identity and marginalize bodies and beauty standards.