Photo: Caroline Torem Craig
It took artist Orly Genger close to six months of knotting and painting to create the mammoth rope installation she debuted last night at VPL’s Mercer Street shop.
“I weave everything myself,” Genger told us, moments after burying two VPL-clad models in the sculpture, entitled Squat. (This bit of performance art took about 2 minutes.) “I used all kinds of rope, but mostly rock climbing rope.”(”Hundreds of miles” of it, according to a press release.) Genger uses a similar hand-knotting technique, albeit on a much smaller scale, for her line of rope and chain jewelry, Orly Genger by Jaclyn Mayer. “[Genger’s] work comes from a love of muscles,” explained VPL’s Victoria Bartlett, who has collaborated with Genger and Mayer on jewelry for her runway shows for the last two years. “And I’m obsessed with the body and the muscular dissection of bodies, so for me, this is a happy marriage of our loves into one.” The art-loving lingerie and ready-to-wear designer added that she plans on having two artist installations a year in her store. “This was part of the intent when we opened this space, to do collaborative things with people within my diary of friends.”
To add another layer to the “happening,” the young-artist-type crowd, including the night’s hosts Arden Wohl, Rachel Chandler, and Yvonne Force Villareal (as well as ELLE fashion news director Anne Slowey’s six-month-old, Afton, pictured here), was being filmed by a VPL staffer with an iPad strug around her neck.
As for the brave women who agreed to be installed in the work (in their underwear, no less), “They were very enthusiastic to do it,” Genger said. “I offered them Valium and they didn’t take it!”
To see more of Genger’s work check out her latest exhibit of body-part drawings, Big Open Empty, at Chelsea’s Larissa Golston Gallery through June 25.