In New York City, the night sky never fully darkens. The buildings emit a warm, muted glow transitioning through bands of aqua, periwinkle, and lavender to a crown of royal blue. Only the brightest stars emerge.
In May of 2015, I created a site specific work for the Museum Rijswijk in The Hague, The Netherlands.
For this show, I made a clothing sculpture incorporating the antique furniture and effects displayed in an 18th century period room.
The room had been the study of Hendrik Tollens, who was a renowned poet in his day. In fact, he wrote the original national anthem of The Netherlands. Today, he is nearly forgotten.
While I was installing the work Dorothé Swinkels interviewed me for the 05/01/15 issue of the Textiel Plus:
How do you proceed realizing your site-specific installation in Rijswijk. Did Anne (Kloosterboer, the curator) send you photographs of possible spots? How/ where do you collect the needed material?
Anne and I discussed a few locations
and she was pretty flexible. I am intrigued by the Tollens room because I love poetry and the setting is so rich and complex. Seemed like it would be a great challenge and I love antiquities.
Your sketch, hope you can already tell a little more about this. How do you describe these works to others?
The idea is to bring all the furniture and perhaps some of the paintings into the middle of the room, where the antique rug currently sits. I’d like to position the furniture and effects so they look randomly placed and in disarray, and then carefully fold clothing into the empty spaces, rising up about 7 or 8 feet. It expect it will look a bit like a cross-section of an archaeological dig, where the clothing is a stand in for the layers of earth, of time. The rug will then lay across the top.
Below is an excerpt of a review by Joe Lewis for Artlyst, London, England, from 19aug15:
Melander who folds and stacks clothing to create temporary sculpture/ installations has, with his “Tollen’s” piece, swallowed up the contents of this “staged” room. Book cabinets, writing desk, table and chairs, and other 19th century decor objects are all part [or become part] of his pile of stacked folded clothing. It is in the stacking that his joyful colour work is created. Using no dye, and relying on the range of colours that have been in the fashion market, his selection and placement of colour is simply brilliant. The work changes in colour as you look up across and around the corners of the cube, going from dark at the bottom, anchoring the work to the floor on which it sits, drifts in layers of dark to light to dark again, with swirls and diagonal shifts of colour that are as complex and subtle as a Turner landscape. The stack is topped off with the carpet, which was on the floor and provides the footprint for the work
Over one hundred garments are sorted by type and folded 12 inches wide. They are then tightly rolled with the final outside layer stitched in place. The entire piece is held together by a combination of hand stitching and friction.
The clothing is sorted by garment type and rolled in the order that it is generally worn, with underwear in the center and overcoats on the outside. Within each garment type the clothing was sorted from light to dark, creating contrast between the layers. Inspired by a passage in Bern Porter’s book “I’ve Left” Section 2, page 12 where he describes the various movements involved in getting dressed for a formal event.
Description: Over one hundred garments are sewn end to end and folded 12 inches wide. They are then tightly rolled with the final outside layer stitched in place. The entire piece is held together by a combination of hand stitching and friction. When my father died in May of last year, I asked my mother and siblings if I could have his old clothes to create a sculpture. I also asked them all to give me their old clothes. All of this was then intermingled and sorted from light to dark.
5,000 pounds of second-hand clothing, wood & hardware
The clothing is sorted by color and arranged in the order of the spectrum. The piece starts and ends with blue, which forms the bottom and top layer, visible from inside the gallery. The clothing is rolled into whorls and layered, forming colorful striations viewable from the street. Both exposed cross-sections hover 12 inches before the storefront window. The design is inspired by the cross-section of a snowdrift.
This piece was created as a special project for the show: ”No Waste” at Columbia College, Chicago, IL. It would have never happened without the persistence of the curator Arti Sandhu and the gallery director Jennifer Murray. We had some hoops to jump through, one of them being the sourcing of 2.5 tons of clothing. USAgain, a national textile recycling company, rose to the occasion. Thanks to Rasham Grewal for believing in the project. Once we had the 2.5 tons, Columbia sent over an engineer and a fire warden. In the end, we got the green light, but not before they reinforced the gallery floor from w/in the basement. 4 days and about 50 helpers later (thanks Caroline Ross and Nicole Kurily!), the piece was done.
60 scarves are sewn together, end-to-end and wound into a tight spiral. The individual garments are compressed into a single mass, a symbolic gesture that explores the conflicted space between society and the individual, a space that is ceaselessly broken and reconstituted (Hegel).
This piece was commissioned by PAi
Paramount Apparel International, Inc (PAi) was founded in 1929, and has become a leading headwear, apparel and accessories designer and supplier to many channels of distribution in the United States and internationally. For more
information visit PAIfashion.com