Katharina Blanke’s works are utopistic-poetic illustrations and constructions of dresses. She analyses existing dress illustrations and garments, decomposes and re-stages them as newly interpreted vestment objects. As clothing architecture and textile sculpture, like a hollow garment shell, the portrayal of the robe becomes a personified object. Its wearability is deliberately left behind. The functional article of daily use thus becomes a self-sufficient piece of art, the garment construction of which is utilized as a means of communication for the wearer’s identity – a personalized world of memory, concentrated and story-told in garment collages. Private mythology, fashion genre history, natural history and autobiography add up to form these textile sculptures.
„I construct the dresses of my dreams, phantasy frameworks. The dress, a second layer of skin and identity, is removed and placed beside me as a sculptural object. This textile shell is of direct concern to me, is a subtle collage of my ideas of sensual dressing and disguise that reflects my desires, my yearning and my environment.“
As a viewer, you see opulent material bacchanalia, assembled in meticulously detailed work. Complex, artistically woven filigree networks proliferate here, a symbiosis of art, fashion and design, in painting or as objects of leather, fabric and papier mâché. The works are not stationary, they stand alone or float in free space.
The theatrical appearance of the garments in their solidified materiality lays the grounds for both indulgence and bewilderment. The exaggerated artificiality of these narrative textiles between quest and addiction astonishes while concurrently provoking by irony and humour. The perception of fiction and reality is blurred and becomes an enchanting eccentric labyrinth. Thus a game of deception starts, oscillating between the presence and absence of persons, memory, traces, symbols and signals. Ornaments wherever you look, like tattoos, amalgamate to become a second outer skin layer. And at the same time, the exuberant mixture of the image content displays the clustering of everyday trivia and essences of fairytale fantasy.
Katharina Blanke’s work shows the pure delight of beautiful abundance and convoluted opulence – a getting lost in a seemingly scurrile world of the image. And in addition, an urge, an almost manic passion for collecting personal findings, contrastingly combined with the intention to find calm in the meditative production of patterns. Subtly, the presentation of the resplendent dress interacts with the feeling of being locked in a textile cage. Using her exchangeable garment shells, the artist slips into the roles of different personalities. But the garment may also serve as a technical vehicle, as a moral mask of decency for dressing up suitably: the dress as a second, social protective cover and armor. Thus the personal vulnerability is beautified and camouflaged by blanketing and disguising clothes: a gentle vendetta against the beauty craze which is now excelled by exaggerated overabundance and edgy beauty. A defiant-vigorous answer to the trauma of not being dressed „properly“. The wicked and the bad, disguised in a cute charming dress.
Editorially assisted and translated by writeronart. Copyright by Katharina Blanke.