March 6 - April 3, 2020
“from one side a thing among things and otherwise what sees them and touches them […] body has this double reference”
- Maurice Merleau-Ponty in The Intertwining – The Chiasm
Waves and Archives is pleased to present In Myself- a solo exhibition of the London-based fashion artist Sinéad O’Dwyer. Comprising pieces from her earliest collection 23:19:26, recent collection Martina, and a piece created for an upcoming collaborative performance at the V&A museum, the large-scale exhibition is the artist’s first one in New York.
Sinéad O’Dwyer is best known for the skin-like silicone pieces that adorn the bodies of models, performers, and friends, photographed in numerous editorial shoots and presented in fashion films. Although now predominantly proliferated through images—as fashion artworks often are—they retain a distinctively grounded relationship to the reality of experiences and forms of the persons whose bodies they originally emulate.
Sinéad O’Dwyer builds fiberglass molds, made by life-casting human form, and subsequently uses silk, silver, and silicone to make the pieces presented in the exhibition. In tracing entire collections off of the bodies of her friends who have particularly tenuous relationships with their shape, Sinéad draws our attention to the intertwined place where the body oscillates between its order of an object and its order of a subject.
It is the negotiation of the complex relationship that the “muse” has with her body, and not the muse’s body itself, that serves as the departure point for Sinéad’s work. In such, her pieces become a broader investigation of the flawed patterns in which women privately relate to their bodies as visible objects.
The bright colors and the interwoven textiles signify the silicone shapes as objects, while serving also as a reminder of the heavily process-based practice of mediation that life-casting and molding entail. In turn by referencing the life-casting of the original human form, Sinéad indicates the particular body’s agency as a subject.
The works in the exhibition In Myself eloquently omit the binary dichotomies on which the language of fashion criticism has become so conveniently and indiscriminately reliant. Dichotomies such as conceal/reveal, public/ private, normative/ non-normative, which often serve to merely re-establish the narrow definitions of the oppressive and arbitrary paradigm, are cast aside as every body turns its agency of gaze onto itself.
Sinéad O’Dwyer (b. 1991, Dublin) graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2018. Her work has been shown at Arnhem Museum in The Netherlands, Etage Projects in Denmark, and will be presented at the Victoria & Albert museum in London later this year. Sinéad O’Dwyer has been part of 1 Granary’s VOID, collaborating with Sharna Osborne and Arpa Studios to create a film and zine shown during London men's fashion week A/W 2020; her collection Martina was showcased as part of the BFC's Discovery Lab. Most recently she has collaborated with Nick Knig ht, and won the best brand fashion film award during the SHOWstudio awards for her SS20 film Wear Me Like Water in collaboration with Steph Wilson. Her work has been featured in W, I-d, Playboy, Vogue Italia, Another, Cultured, Love, and Dazed.