A power symbol, stitched with masculinity; the modern suit has remained stylistically unaltered for centuries. Artist and fashion designer Nicole J. Waller (b. 1994, Gothenburg) takes the tension between the continuity of this garment and the continuous refitting of contemporary understandings of gender and sexuality as the starting point for the exhibition. Constraints Constructed will be the first fitting of their multi-media installation conceived while in residency at East of Elsewhere. Using the suit as their core motif, J. Waller seeks to unthread the structures that constrain self-expression and constrict the full experience of gender.
The exhibition space is transformed, with floating fabrics and deconstructed tailors patterns hanging from the ceiling and covering the floors. To produce the installation, J. Waller uses oil on canvas to create abstract paintings which are enlarged and digitally printed onto fabric. The original pieces are then reworked and modified with both metals and netting. Stitches are added and removed, their scars stretching across the canvas. In contrast to the way that a suit hides its internal flaws to present a false image of external perfection, J. Waller explores the sites of damage that lie within the subconscious mind, despite a projection of stability.
Much of J. Waller’s work falls within a continually shifting spectrum of opposites: light to dark, masculine to feminine, subconscious to expressed, anchored to unbound. As each constitutive piece of the show becomes an expression of the artist’s state of mind while creating it, together the work approximates the range or scale of J. Waller’s lived experience. J. Waller aims to foster an immersive experience for the viewer and conveys a sense that identity and its many past iterations are anything but static. Further, Waller investigates their hypothesis that clothes both determine the way the world sees us, and simultaneously change the way that we see the world.
Throughout the exhibition, collaborating artists will be invited to spend time in the installation, responding to the space and developing a creative dialogue with J. Waller. The closing performance will be a culmination of the ideas that have been shaped and styled within the physical and conceptual environment. J. Waller’s work does not dictate a view, rather it encourages self-definition. The space will be open to the public for the duration of the show for reflection and reaction to the installation.
WHAT? Constraints Constructed: A performative installation by Nicole J. Waller
WHERE? East of Elsewhere, Büschingstraße 35, 10249 Berlin, Germany
WHEN? Exhibition: March 3 – April 13, 2018
Opening: March 2, 18:00 – 21:30 – Including performances by Andreas Maan and Daniel Kokko
After party at Lecken 23:00
Closing Performance: April 13