Tollens, 2015

Size:
10’ x 16’ x 9’ (H x W x D)

Weight:
Approximately 1.5 tons.

Materials:
Second-hand clothing, antiquities, wooden armature

Description:
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:

Q:
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?
A:
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.
Q:
Your sketch, hope you can already tell a little more about this. How do you describe these works to others?
A:
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

Circuit, 2011

Circuit, 2011

Approximate Size:
5″ x 6.6″ x 10’ (H x W x D)

Materials:
Shoes, laces

Description:
33 pairs of shoes, daisy-chained together, forming an oval. One pair of shoes is removed, enabling the audience to literally “step up” and “close the loop”. While standing in the opening, the participant completes the oval. Every other lace is white, thus forming a dotted line, delineating this connectivity.

This piece was commissioned by TOMS Shoes. With every pair purchased, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. ONE FOR ONE.™ For more information visit TOMS.com

Into the Fold, Friends, 2010 (video)

Into the Fold, Friends (video), 2010

Approximate Size:
8′ x 8′ x 2′ (H x W x D)

Materials:
Second-hand clothing, wood and steel

Description: As part of the Friends Seminary “Peace Week” celebration, I worked with parents and students to create an 8 x 8 foot clothing sculpture.

After a month, most of the clothing was sent to Haiti to support the relief effort.

Into the Fold, Friends, 2010

Into the Fold, Friends, 2010

Approximate Size:
8′ x 8′ x 2′ (H x W x D)

Materials:
Second-hand clothing, wood and steel

Description: As part of the Friends Seminary “Peace Week” celebration, I worked with parents and students to create an 8 x 8 foot clothing sculpture.

After a month, most of the clothing was sent to Haiti to support the relief effort.

Am I Really All the Things That Are Outside Of Me?, 2009 (video)

Am I Really All the Things That Are Outside Of Me? (time lapse), 2009

Approximate Size:
7′ x 3′ x 3′ (H x W x D)

Materials:
Second-hand clothing, wood & steel

Description:
A portrait of Joaquin Trujiilo, comprised of carefully folded and stacked second-hand clothing. Each garment is categorized by hue and crisscrossed around a central spine. The order is chosen at random.

This piece was created for the show “Homesick” at the Carnegie Art Museum. All the clothing was provided by Joaquin Trujiilo (half of the curatorial team Trujillo/Paumier) and his family. Collecting 900 lbs of clothing is a heroic effort, not to mention that both of them also folded with me for several days! Joaquin even recruited his sisters Margo and Gloria to help which is significant because they are tireless and super detail oriented. Much thanks to the museum staff as well.

Into the Fold, Brooklyn, 2009 (video)

Into The Fold, Brooklyn Borough Hall, 2009 (video)

Working with over 20 volunteers, I created a monumental sculpture from 3,615 pounds of second hand clothing. The resulting piece was a 5 x 6 foot cube made in 4 sections.

Why 3,615 pounds? That’s the amount of textile waste created by New Yorkers every 5 minutes.

This event, hosted by the Office of Recycling Outreach and Education, was part of the 5th Annual Green Brooklyn…Green City Fair and Symposium at Brooklyn Borough Hall and Columbus Park. Clothing for the event was loaned by the textile recycling company, Wearable Collections.

Video by Adam Kaufman

Silence, 2009

Silence, 2009

Approximate Size:
7′ x 5′ x 1.5′ (H x W x D)

Materials:
Second-hand clothing, wood, sand, glue, closet with door (installation)

Description:
This site specific installation was created for System:System, an exhibition within an unoccupied 19th century convent.

The show was curated by Adam Henry and Christina Vassallo of Super Square and Random Number.

In a former nun’s quarters, I filled a doorway with second-hand clothing, walling off an interior space. Garments reclaimed from previous projects were randomly ordered, resulting in distinct value layers (which you can see if you squint a bit). More than any other work I have created, this piece reminds me of a geological cross-section.

I named this piece silence to address my mixed feelings about religion. On the one hand, I am regularly discriminated against by various religious leaders and individuals for being gay. On the other hand, I was raised a Christian. I’ve been the benefactor of Christian generosity (the space granted for this show for example). In the context of this heavily symbolic space, silence refers to self-oppression, to a spiritual vow of silence and also to the fact that these works absorb sound.

Into the Fold, 2009

 

Size:
76″ x 72″ x 72″ (H x W x D)

Materials:
Steel clothing drop bin, vinyl stickers

Description:
This piece was created for the Queens Museum, Q4 exhibition. A metal clothing drop bin was loaned by Goodwill Industries for the purpose of collecting clothing donations. I took photographs of a clothing sculpture I had just recently completed for another exhibition, had stickers made from the images, and wrapped the bin.

Every Sunday, during the 3 month run of the show, I came to the museum, took the donations from the bin into the museum, and folded clothing with museum guests.

We created a 4 foot tall and 5 foot wide cube, aranged by color.

The Queens Museum is located in Flushing Meadows Park, home of the 1964/65 New York Worlds Fair. If you look closely, you can see The Unisphere to the left behind my sculpture.

You can see the orange side of the cube on the right and the blue side on the left. At the corners, the colors criss-cross, much like the way bricks are layed.

All four sides of the cube were different. One side was blue, one was black and grey (that’s about 50% of what we were here in NYC), one side was cool colors and one side was warm colors, as seen here.

Each side of the cube was a different color scheme. This side is blue, but you can see warm color criss-crossed in on the right, and blacks and greys on the left.