NIKE 公式オンラインストア


HAPPENINGText: Samantha Culp

Subtly, gradually, our suspicions were proven correct as the lump of fabric began to move. “There’s a person in there!” whispered one viewer to another. The lump twitched, stretched, and started a slow process of standing up. It bobbed and surged, rose and fall, cautiously testing the edges of the metal stand and the horizontal rods, poking its end gingerly through a space between them and with sonar-like precision, almost touched each metal edges, lovingly pulling back at the last moment each time.

Once erect, the lump wiggled and undulated, progressively working what we could now see to be a tube of the magazine fabric upwards… revealing first a pair of bare feet, shapely legs, knees, thighs, then yes, wow, my goodness, a dark patch of hair, leisurely swaying hips, pale belly, heavy breasts, strong arms, a beatific female face (both ecstatic and blank) and finally, cascades of jet-black hair. Now free from her magazine-fabric tube, the creature (who seemed more fairy than human in the mesmerized moment) dipped and retracted, curled and unfurled, as slow as water dripping off the edge of a table, and just as magical.

She explored the environment of the metal stand, now sighted, and enacted the same playful, almost seductive, dance navigating the positive and negative space of the metal bars. The repetitive soft glitches in the air scored her first step outside the bars, and her tour around her previous realm (really just the difference of standing beneath a clothes-rack and to the side of it, but her motions described “inside” and “outside” as two complete continents apart), before she began, unthinkably but inevitably, to clothe herself again. She played with the garments draped over metal, step by step drawing them off, and perhaps to the tips of her fingers or the top of her head, then began crossing that wall, by traversing the outward circle and getting the audience to help her make the final tugs.

First a man who seemed shocked for a moment, and then as if it were the most natural thing in the world to pull a plastic-crochet tunic over the head of a naked dryad in an art gallery. Then a woman, nudged by the creature’s back who pulled a second garment over her. Then me, actually-she approached my corner of the gallery, looked at me unflinchingly and not without love as I touched the rubbery matrix and pulled. A third, then a fourth of these baggy synthetic knits, until she was almost a lump again. She then unrolled a bolt of the magazine fabric, and spoke for the first time, bursting out with letters and words as she struggled to decipher them on the strips in the half-light. “Ngoh!”, “A!”, “Yauh!”, “9!” The shouts escalated, until silence seemed right again, and she curled back up in her former home of metal and air.

After the lights came back on and the applause began, the woman stood up and bowed, and the real world flooded back. I was introduced to Saffron Leung, the life model who so fetchingly created this alternate universe with a few avant-garments and a metal stand. Clothed she was no less beautiful, but more human, funny, textured. Since nudity is hardly shocking in the Western art world, I was amazed to realize how refreshing and exciting it was to see in this context, and how effortlessly meaningful the performer made it. Though Movana Chen’s fabric is fascinating and innovative, the most compelling part of this “fashion” exhibit was ironically a single naked body, moving slowly in the muted light.

Explores the relationships between the body and its clothes; fine art and fashion
Date: August 31st, 2005
Open: 19:30 –
Place: Para/Site Art Space
Address: 4 Po Yan Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2517 4620

Text: Samantha Culp
Photos: Courtesy of Movana Chen and collaborators

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