Escapism / January 2011
Escaping from everyday reality through addictive digital entertainment incites in Iris van Herpen notonly feelings of emptiness but associations with the grotesque, the extreme and the fantastic. Another important source of inspiration were the exuberant baroque sculptures of the American artist Kris Kuksi, in which the bizarre and the fanciful are fused with serene and spiritual elements. Van Herpen has expressed this theme through all kinds of material experiments.
For instance, she has shaped black transparent acrylic sheets into eccentric pieces of clothing with spherical or wing-shaped ornaments, making use of both old, traditional techniques and new technology. Rapid prototyping, for instance, enabled her, in collaboration with architect Daniel Widrig, to materialize digital designs using a 3D printer, thus producing a lacelike structure without any need for needle and thread.
For a number of outfits, which seem to be partly taken over by a corallike structure, van Herpen has applied various hand plissé techniques that are almost forgotten today. In contrast to modern mechanically-folded plissé, the effect is much more organic and capricious.
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