Signpost

Armour in art

Artist-activist Linda Stein runs her hand over the surface of one of her sculptural avatars, a wearable piece of art designed to empower and protect the wearer, at her studio in New York. Photo: AP

Artist-activist Linda Stein runs her hand over the surface of one of her sculptural avatars, a wearable piece of art designed to empower and protect the wearer, at her studio in New York. Photo: AP   | Photo Credit: Kathy Willens

Linda Stein full-length wearable sculptures with all manner of found objects.

Linda Stein wants people to armour themselves in her art.

She creates full-length wearable sculptures embedded with all manner of found objects, including driftwood, engraving plates, steel wire, zippers, pebbles and comic book imagery of superheroes.

She also designs “bullyproof vests,” made from a patchwork of fabrics featuring such female symbols as the Japanese anime character Princess Mononoke and the comic book hero Wonder Woman, along with words “I will ... not let cultural impediments and sexual stereotypes hold me down.”

At a recent “body swapping” at her studio in Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood, she invited a group of professional women to try on what she calls sculptural avatars, which can each weigh from 7 to 20 pounds (3 to 9 kilograms). Stein asked the wearers to imagine they are trying on another skin “to get in touch with how their bodies feel.”

“It’s like putting on a whole new persona,” said Rinku Sen, who struck a “Rocky” pose in front of a mirror in a “Wonder Woman” torso made of acrylicized paper.

Another participant, Dana Sparling, donned a heavier metal creation she said felt like a “shield between me and the world.”

Stein explained that she features Wonder Woman prominently in the works because “she never killed.”

Reminiscent of classical torsos, a group of her sculptures is making the rounds at 24 universities, galleries and museums across the U.S. in what is a seven-year travelling exhibition, “The Fluidity of Gender,” that runs through 2017.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2020 6:38:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/in-school/signpost/armour-in-art/article6212999.ece

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