Jan 11 - 18, 2015 Rawson Projects, New York, NY Rawson Projects: When you were approached to participate in the exhibition what were your initial reactions? Did you find the idea of having the freedom to show something that was “inspirational” or unrelated to your primary studio practice challenging? How did you arrive at Redidas®?
Wendy White: I’d been thinking about how symbols and logos gain the power to make us want stuff through clever design and advertising. Brand loyalty. The garments underneath logos are pretty much the same. Polo made their logo giant size, and suddenly a whole new audience gives a crap. iPhone factories are evil, but we wait in lines for them because they’ve sold us on a lifestyle. It’s weird and basic but also profound in a way. This project appealed to me as a way to examine that, along with the crossover to art, within a gallery context. The idea of clothes in a store-like installation intrigued me because they are inert objects that will eventually be worn rather than just being stand-ins for the figure. Also clothing, mannequins and display are all current trends in art despite or perhaps because of their ubiquity in retail contexts. So I thought of a pop-up shop of rebranded clothing as the perfect way to investigate that, and it became Redidas®. It’s a participatory “installation” of wearable pieces. You can touch stuff. You can try them on. You can buy something right off the wall and take it with you. Everything may have started as a mass-produced item but now they’re DIY one-offs.
RP: Do you consider this project to be critical of either modern marketing practices or contemporary art itself? There seems to be a steady conflation of the two– Ruby Sterling and Raf Simons, for example. Does that interest you as an area for investigation?
WW: Yes! It’s crazy to me how fashion is vilified as being superficial or somehow not as serious as fine art. I love the Sterling Ruby/Raf Simons collaboration. In general, I applaud artists who have the guts to branch out into different creative zones. A lot of artists don’t wear any overt brands or show any sense of personal style, yet they’ll ruthlessly brand their work by doing the same shit over and over for forty years, all under a veil of authenticity and scholarship. Have a style, but whatever you do, don’t have style! It’s hypocrisy, and it’s boring. Very simply, what I’m trying to do with Redidas® is blur the line between what I make and what I wear. I’m co-opting my own style and repurposing it.