Fashion Bone Video, Concept: Su Ling Gyr, Camera and Sound: Nick West
Semra Sevin, the publisher of New Fashion Magazine interviews the artist Su Ling Gyr. Su Ling Gyr is an artist living and working between Berlin and Stockholm. Her studies at <ahref=”http: www.arts.ac.uk=”” csm=”” “=””>Central St. Martins and work in high fashion for companies such as Galliano and Pringle of Scotland, gave her first hand exposure to the inner workings of the fashion world and inspired her to create; not clothing but paintings and artworks made of fabric, getting to the very essence of fashion as a concept. Her work deals with her identity as a woman living today, sexual identity and her multi-cultural identity.
Semra: What are your thoughts on the images of women promoted in a regular fashion magazine?
Su Ling: I think what comes to my mind is a striving for perfection. The only question is how does that make us feel when we are not perfect according to a certain limited view set by a few? It seems that our body is almost a fashion accessory itself, following trends. There are organs in the body, how are we supposed to keep them healthy?
Semra: What do you think about the age of the young women and girls promoted in the regular fashion magazines?
Su Ling: I miss diversity. I don’t think that a 14 year old model is a problem, the problem is that the message is homogenized. Men and women come in different body shapes and we are born the way we are. The image promoted in the magazine puts you in a box, because it’s oftentimes a homogenized image, it leads us to think we need to look a certain way.
Semra: A study shows that 70% of women feel worse after looking at a fashion magazine. What kind of Fashion magazine would make the majority of women feel more complete, instead of making them feel worse?
Su Ling: There needs to be a real conscious effort made to represent ALL types of women. Starting with body shapes. At the end of the day it is a cultural and racial question too. And I can answer that because I’m so many races in one person and have seen that beauty and perception is so radically different in different places.
Semra: How does your interest in fashion culminate in your art work?
Su Ling: With my latest project Fashion Bone, I explore fashion as a concept per se. I am interested in mirrors, projections, layers and complexity. A seed is placed and then grows. I suppose my experience growing up in a consumerist, fashion-orientated society, where it’s all about image, using fashion to cover up insecurities and to create identity led me to make Fashion Bone. Fashion to me is existential, almost like death juxtaposed next to life.
Semra: Your work seems to be dealing with a lot of opposites. The beautiful next to the ugly, entwined with humor and surrealism.
Su Ling: It is in opposites where tension lies and things get interesting for me as an artist. In the performance video “Fashion Bone”, shot by fashion photographer Nick West, he objectifies me, while I objectify myself and the video objectifies us. Women are “always” feeling the pressure (to be objects); there should be more freedom for role playing and diversity.
Semra: Do you think the arts are male dominated?
Su Ling: Yes, in fact perhaps even more than conventional industries. In the arts, women often feel they have to take on “male perspectives” in order to be taken seriously.
Semra: If there was one thing you could change today in the art and fashion worlds, what would that be?
Su Ling: I would like to see magazines be more open-minded, the art world showcasing more women and the editors to be more multi-cultural. I am using the word “more” because I think inclusion is always better than exclusion. Inclusion is about progression, exclusion is about fear and regression and ultimately loss. Tolerance and equality are things that need to be consciously worked on. Like the “Lupin Lady” in my favorite childhood book, where she plants lupin-flowers all over the world, fashion and art have the power “to make the world a more beautiful place”.