Dai Rees creates a tortuous affair between manufacturing and dismantling. Carapace: Triptych, The Butcher’s Window is an instillation that harmonizes a series of large leather sculptures which suspend from the ceiling, affixed to huge butchers’ hooks. Originally, the pieces were constructed from 1950’s patterns and have been anatomized and sewn back together in a completely incongruent style. These patterns now resemble animal carcasses which Dai Rees has sown in a scar-like manner, either laced or stitched with surgical linen. The original cuts and patterns can be noted and recognised, whilst others remain deathly floating myths for the viewer. Additionally, Dai Rees’ formidable techniques are coherent as upon these robust torsos, Rees delicately tainted the animalistic armour with tattoos of deathly natural imagery such as leafless trees and decaying flowers. Using an ancient typography technique known as marquetry, Rees connotes a direct gesture of patronage to the ancient methods of sixteenth-century Florence but used in this contemporary approach afflicts these abstract abnormities with an imprint of a trademark or branding iron. An antediluvian process combined with an ultra modern presentation blends the arguably unfortunate speed of recent fashion. This accompanied with refinement and sensations of death produce an unnerving disquiet feeling for the viewer.
Through the environment’s fragility and delicacy, Helen Storey has ceased to create fashion collections in order to reflect upon her sensitive beliefs to the several challenges that our surroundings face. Her research within science, art, technology and fashion design allowed Storey to unveil the truths into how these aspects influence society and the environment. Through uniquely developing biodegradable materials which can self-destruct, Storey has ignited an innovation and presents this stunning idea in a mystifying and fascinating way. By developing a material from an enzyme-based textile which dissolves in water, Storey’s contribution to ‘Aware’ is something outstanding. The transparency of the fabric is ghostly and ultimately, transitory. Storey structures a dress which encompasses mystery with a deathly hollow appeal and provides an aura which is subtle and fragile much like the mirror image of the surroundings. A large industrial scaffold mechanism slowly lowers the garment into a gigantic bowl of water in which the viewer can visualize how the different dresses perish. Each dress performs differently upon entering the liquid pool and the softened material deliquesces to create effervescent displays of light that are magnified by the bowls. Potentially, the main attraction lies in Storey’s contrast in materials and detailed use of light which these dresses create. The almost emaciated dress tentatively lingers upon hooks as the gargantuan bowl awaits the prey, the opaque black metal structure is affirmative of our relationship with nature. The evanescent sparkle of the water is ethereal in its shadowy existence which highlights the suffering this work portrays. This delicate instrument is used to manifest the reflections on the non-substantiality of fashion and perhaps the beauty and subtlety of the dresses and their inherent destruction adds to the guilt of the viewer.
A striking exhibition (closes 30th January) and with exclusive pieces for Hussein Chalyan and Alexander McQueen as well as stunning moving image creations from Yoko Ono and Gillian Wearing, it cannot be missed.