Irina Kulik will focus on costume as a tool of national and cultural identity in her next lecture, featuring contemporary artists who explore colonial and postcolonial heritage.
Nick Cave (b. 1959) is a contemporary American performance artist and dancer, and professor of fashion design at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Cave’s performative practice is based on the concept of a “soundsuit”—a costume, created by the artist from different materials and producing spontaneous sounds while walking or moving. A combination of visual art, fashion, dance, and sound, Cave often demonstrates his unique designs during live performance acts, or by simply wearing them in public spaces. While alluding to the carnival and theatrical traditions, these works may incorporate political charge: for instance, Cave’s very first Soundsuit (1992) was a reaction to the infamous Rodney King criminal case, an African-American beaten by several LAPD officers.
London born and based artist of Nigerian descent, Yinka Shonibare (b. 1962) approaches the themes of cultural identity, colonialism, and postcolonialism in a very poetic form, using ornamented fabrics as his signature material. Shonibare creates sculptures and installations of mannequins in hand crafted costumes, and employs fabric in painting. His colorful Dutch wax textiles reference traditional African wear, on the one hand, and the way Africans are usually represented in European visual arts, film and literature, on the other. Turner Prize nominee (2004), Shonibare exhibits worldwide, including the Venice Biennale and Documenta. In 2010, his Nelson’s Ship in A Bottle was installed in Trafalgar Square, as part of the Fourth Plinth commission project. Due to the artist’s physical disability (he is half-paralyzed), his pieces are executed by assistants.