“I want to provoke reflections by creating an ambiguity between the familiar and the alien. On the one hand the conservative cut of the business suit or the traditional form of the man’s shirt are most familiar in tailoring, on the other the disposable material is a totally alien feature in this context. Out of context the wrapping materials takes on a different meaning and expression”.
BODYWRAPPInc.NY collection consists of 100 three-piece business suits in plastic disposable packaging from Asia, Europe and The United States of America. Among them are these three business suits, made of TaTa Tea plastic packaging with Society Tea sleeve from India and Anton Bergs Marzipan breads plastic packaging with sleeve of Phileas Foggs Delhi Poppadum’s, as well Nabisco’s Apple Newton’s Fruit Chewy Cookies, Fat Free with Strawberry Newton’s Fat Free sleeve.
The digital composition by Toru Yamanaka fill the rooms with supermarket music, to accommodate the consumer theme.
Exhibitions & Events
StoreFront for Art and Architecture, New York; USA
Event New York
Filmed by Romeo Alaeff and Camilla Lyngbo Wolden-Ræthinge
Kunsthal Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Filmed by Romeo Alaeff
Spiral Wacoal Art Center, Tokyo, Japan
Filmed by Shiro Takatani
Text from the BODYWRAPPInc.NY exhibition catalogue
Within the gallery spaces one hundred business suits, made out of disposable plastic packaging, were floating on wires stretched between the ceiling and the pink floor.
The disposable packaging used for the suits originates from three continents: Europe, Asia and the United States. The reels of shiny new plastic materials was collected by Annette Meyer on supermarket visits around the world, and examples of product layouts from India, Japan, Denmark, England and The US could be found in this unique spring collection.
The original three-piece suits from the BODYWRAPPInc. NY collection are for sale. Each suit is numbered and signed by the artist. The suits come in three sizes for women and three sizes for men. Not two designs are the same. The plastic material of the suit is lined on the inside with pink edgings for women and baby blue for gentlemen. Durability is limited but prolonged if kept away from fire, sharp objects, and children.
The suits are presented on wires stretching from ceiling to floor. The spatial design of the wire system together with the video projections, the music and the light design are meant to create a total experience for the visitor. The space is used differently according to site. The walls might be metallic reflections or the floor may be floating.
The video projection of models walking through the city streets of New York, Rotterdam and Tokyo, wearing the BODYWRAPPInc. NY collection brings the city into the exhibition space. The video shows people wearing the clothes on the body as a background to the experience of the collection as objects for contemplation.
BODYWRAPPInc. NY was first exhibited at Gallery Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York City 1998, followed by exhibitions at Kunsthal Rotterdam in The Netherlands in 2001, at Kyoto Art Center and Spiral Wacoal Art Center in Tokyo in the same year.
Looking at an exhibition of one hundred tailor-made suits, each of them original in design but made of the material of mass production itself; at first glance the signs of the commercial art of three continents merge into an undistinguishable pattern of global uniformity. Is that it? The human body reified into a multinational mass product, neatly packaged in the all time favourite classical suit and stretched on wires across the room, evoking some kind of modernist production line-nightmare. Fully guaranteed, fat free and ready to go. Or is it a celebration of the individual, the unique product from the hands of a skilled craftsman and the ultimate decadence of an haute couture-item that will only last you one party?
Annette Meyer on BODYWRAPPInc.NY: I want to create pleasant, sensuous experiences at the same time as making a cultural statement. It’s the beauty and aesthetic qualities of a material normally not included among the canon of high couture that matters to me. Everybody knows the qualities of silk, but potatochips-printed plastic and paper wrapping has a potential of it’s own for creating a distinctive atmosphere and sensuous effect.
BODYWRAPPInc. is based on a fascination by the similarities between consumption packaging and fashion clothing. Both products are meant to communicate the subject/object it wraps and in both cases the cultural identity and nationality of the content is evident from the surface lay out.
On the opening day of the exhibition a number of models walk the streets of the city each wearing an original BODYWRAPPInc. NY designer suit made out of mass-produced disposable wrapping. From different starting points around the city they stroll along their individual paths towards the common meeting place at the exhibition space.
When observed in the city each model seems to be an exotic and exceptional creature dressed in shiny, colorful bags of Ketchup Flavoured Potatochips, Gopal Flavoured Chewing Tobacco or Creme Sandwich Cookies. Only the walking model knows that other models are simultaneously performing similar, but different, movable fashion shows wearing identical, but diverse, business suits.
Arriving at the exhibition space, the models take off the suits and place them on hangers on the wires across the space. Ready to be sold as fashion or contemplated as art by the visitors.
Capitalist society is a machinery geared for production – physical and symbolic. Conquering the last remaining bits of planet Earth in this very moment – commercialism and consumerism is our state of mind as well as our condition of life. Let’s buy the strawberry colored shrimp snacks. Lets eat it. Let’s wear it!
The image flow of disposable wrapping materials can be seen as symptoms of the shallowness of postmodern imagology and worldwide consumer-frenzy but at the same time as a unique and strangely beautiful expression of human inventiveness with the potential to tell a tale. Look at these wrappings with the eyes of an aesthete and be amazed by the weirdness of it all. In all it’s pointlessness it’s so distinctive for the human species to even conceive concepts like SnackWell’s Devils Food Cookie Flavoured Chewing Tobacco Deluxe Cakes, and Society Tea. Is this the meaning of life?
Text by Camilla Lyngbo Wolden-Ræthinge