Helmut Lang Exhibition NY

Fashion legend Helmut Lang has shifted focus from the runway to the gallery.

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Photography: Sperone Westwater, New York

Since leaving fashion ten years ago, the Austrian born designer has been channeling his creative talents toward art and sculpture in his East Hampton studio. Lang’s sculptural works can now be seen in his first New York solo show at Sperone Westwater in SoHo. The highly textured sculptures include repurposed materials recovered from a studio fire, which destroyed part of his “Séance de travail” archive. Shredded fragments were combined with resin and pigments to create a series of pillar-like sculptures, each measuring between 10 and 12 feet high, each with a distinct character. The resulting forms offer a starting point to contemplate notions of creative destruction and renewal. Lang explained he prefers materials “with a certain history, elements with irreplaceable presence and with scars and memories of a former purpose.”

A series of densely layered reliefs composed of cardboard, string and tape with a monochrome painted finish contrast the tall textured pillars. His use of textures and materials from diverse sources, which are then repurposed distinguish Lang’s practice.

“What happens to me during the work process, intellectually and form-wise, is that I approach a piece with an imaginary idea which I have not experienced and therefore remains innocent, waiting to be explored,” Lang says. “This emotion results in a flow of works or procedures that can be interrupted at any point. These are condensed, layered, broken up and again collected and suddenly taken over by another. At any given moment, loss of control takes effect. If the sculpture is strong enough to fight back, that is often a good moment to stop.”

Helmut Lang’s self-titled show at Sperone Westwater Gallery will run until February 21, 2015.