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The work of Bart Hess is of the most tactile and intuitive nature. He first delved into instinctive textiles when studying at the Design Academy Eindhoven, where he created A Hunt for High Tech, a collection of materials that mimicked the bestial outer layers of unfamiliar hybrid species, accompanied by an evocative film that brilliantly brought his concepts to life.       

 

Over the past ten years, Hess has developed an impressive roster of work. He has pinned, stretched, slimed and scraped materials in relation to the human body, and collaborated with the likes of Lucy McRae, Nick Knight, Lady Gaga, Iris van Herpen and Walter van Beirendonck. Hess feels that our bodies are increasingly becoming a platform for sensitive and interactive technology, and has constantly exposed the intimate relationship materials have upon our skin. “It felt like a natural instinct for me to start working on the body. When I create a new design I always place it on my own skin even-though it originally was created as, for example, a flooring material. The fascinating thing about it for me is the combination of a skin and a material. By using a material on the body that is not the body’s own, but making it look like it could possibly be, I create a tension between the body and material.”

 

Foamy, sweaty, blobular and molecular are the kinds of surfaces that Hess concocts. Flirting with a touch of the grotesque and the macabre, he explains that he tries “to find a balance between beauty and disgust or horror. I think the darker side of beauty has less restrictions because it hasn't been explored that much, which makes it more interesting for me to show to my audience”. Through the use of design, film, photography and installation, Hess has found intimate ways for his textiles to communicate with their “audience”, and in Work With Me pop-up studio, he was even able to involve some of them in the making process.

 

If Hess is on the hunt for tactilities that can transform the design landscape, he is definitely on the right track. By innovating materials that braise, coat or titillate the body, he has opened up a sensual and sexually-charged discourse about the future of smart textiles. Hess introduces materials to our primal needs and innate sense of touch, showing that fabrications will first need to seduce us before they can become part of us.

* Text by Philip Fimmano taken from the publication Fetishism in Fashion

Interviews

Current Exhibitions

Lucy McRae – Body Architect

Aug 30, 2019 - Feb 09, 2020

Australia

Survey exhibition of McRae’s provocative and beguiling work at National Gallery of Victoria.

Tunnel of Love

now previewing.

USA

Museum of Sex New York commissioned Bart Hess to create an immersive cinematic experience.

Sleeping Beauty Dreams

Dec 14, 2019 - Nov 23, 2019

USA - Russia

A contemporary dance and art experience using innovative technology, which explores the age-old fable of Sleeping Beauty.

Ars longa, vita brevis

Jun 23, 2018 - Jan 1, 2021

The Netherlands

collection presentation of Rijksmuseum Twenthe, with the central theme 'Life is short, Art eternal'.

Past Exhibitions

Exhibition: Black & White

Mar 23, 2019 - Mar 1, 2020

The Netherlands

Prémiere Vision Paris AW20/21

Sept 17, 2019 - Sept 19, 2019

France

Exhibition: Robot Love

Sept 15, 2018 - Dec 2, 2018

The Netherlands

Epistēmē by Aesop

Jul 9, 2018 - Jul 29, 2018

Australia

Exhibition: Fringes of Beauty

Dec 3, 2016 - May 28, 2017

The Netherlands

Solo Exhibition: A Hunt For High Tech

Mar 17, 2013 - Jan 5, 2014

The Netherlands

Design Biennale Saint Etienne

2010

France

Reveries

Okt 19, 2019 - Okt 27, 2019

The Netherlands

Exhibition: De Naakte Waarheid

Jan 27, 2019 - Jun 16, 2019

The Netherlands

Exhibition: Shape Shifters

Okt 20, 2018 - Okt 28, 2018

The Netherlands

chp...? - Device People

Apr 17, 2018 - Apr 22, 2018

Italy

Exhibition: Dream out loud

Aug 16, 2016 - Jan 1, 2017

The Netherlands

Exhibition: Future Perfect

Sept 12, 2013 - Dec 15, 2013

Portugal

Exhibition: Ueber Mensch

Aug 15, 2019 - Sept 29, 2019

The Netherlands

Nightwalk: If I could, unless we

Jun 11, 2019 - Jun 14, 2019

Italy

Exhibition: SOIL | SKY | SKIN

sept 6, 2018 - Okt 14, 2018

The Netherlands

OCT-LOFT - Caged

Dec 09, 2017 - Mar 08, 2018

China

Physical/ité - Digital Arts Biennial

May 1, 2014 - Jun 19, 2014

Canada

Exhibition: Dressing The Screen

Sept 28, 2013 - Okt 26, 2013

Singapore

Epistēmē

Sept 19, 2019 - Sept 29, 2019

Singapore

Exhibition: Naakt of bloot?

Feb 3, 2019 - May 19, 2019

The Netherlands

Life Instinct - Ars Electronica

Sep 6, 2018 - Sep 10, 2018

Austria

Solo Exhibition - Future Bodies

Jun 24, 2017 - Oct 01, 2017

The Netherlands

ARRRGH! Monstres de Mode

Feb 13, 2013 - Apr 7, 2013

France

Exhibition: Red Never Follows

Jul 31, 2013 - Sept 1, 2013

United Kingdom

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