Michèle Lamy on unveiling her new installation at the Venice Biennale

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Michèle Lamy on unveiling her new installation at the Venice Biennale

“This time, we’ve created something a little more contained and intimate,” Lamy tells Vogue ahead of the opening of What Are We Fighting For?, an immersive boxing installation she has curated as part of the Carpenters Workshop Gallery exhibition Dysfunctional. The title of her project was also the question at the heart of Lamy’s pop-up at London’s Selfridges last year, which featured a boxing ring complete with artist-designed punching bags and merchandise. Both projects sit under the umbrella of Lamyland, an ongoing series that debuted during Frieze London in 2014 with a barge on the Regent’s Canal and has since grown into numerous installations and happenings.

“It’s called Lamyland because that’s how Rick would refer to the projects I was working on for the Rick Owens brand—the name stuck, et voilà,” says Lamy with a characteristic flourish. “But it’s called ‘Lamyland’ and not ‘Lamy’ because it’s always been about creating a space and platform for other people.” This spirit of collaboration is crucial to her latest project at Venice, for which she has invited artists to create boxing bags that address a wide range of sociopolitical and cultural issues.

Among the participants are South African conceptual artist Kendell Geers, Dutch design collective Studio Job and Rotterdam-based Atelier Van Lieshout, and the pieces on show are eclectic to say the least. Brazilian design duo Humberto and Fernando Campana, for instance, have focused on sustainability and the need to preserve indigenous techniques. Their punch bag, made of sisal rope, raffia and natural wicker, references Brazilian ocas (indigenous houses constructed from wood and bamboo) to highlight the importance of eco-friendly traditional practices. Meanwhile, Dutch artist Frederik Molenschot’s contribution is made of stacked blue discs in the shape of Parmesan cheese wheels—a love letter to one of Italy’s most treasured exports and a byword for its heritage, which he believes is worth fighting for.

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