Matthew Needham, the British-Czech artist and fashion designer, is known for working within sustainable fields: contributing heavily to upcycling and innovative creative practices within British fashion. Having previously created collections and installations from fly-tipped waste and materials, his work has forged questions about the relationship we have with our clothing and the influence it can have on our evolution.
After presenting collections and art in various international galleries and showspaces last year, Needham’s latest venture is a solo exhibition entitled ‘The Anthropologist’. Fully shifting his interest and creative exploration into the world of art for this project, the exhibition has been described as “a philosophical feast for the senses revealing his long-term fascination for nature’s ever-present curation and The Human Residuum” – reading as a preoccupation with anything residual from humanity.
On display at the Sarabande Foundation from the 22nd April, ‘The Anthropologist’ explores and immortalises ‘post-consumer clothing pieces’ – aka threads that have already been worn and got rid of – in order to challenge and provoke the concepts of what is considered art or a human artefact. At its core, the collection spotlights a series of illuminated window tanks, housed in makeshift frames which are inspired by Needham’s unfinished childhood home and his father’s career as a joiner.
Within the window tanks, discarded items of clothing are displayed – putting them on a literal and figurative pedestal in how they are viewed. To accompany the physical art pieces, Matthew has curated a soundscape and dedicated collection of scents, made in collaboration with creative perfumer Ezra-Lloyd Jackson. It’s these scent denominations that divide the exhibition into its respective parts: burnt window frames, fresh moss, canal water and damp concrete. Together, they immerse the viewer and bring the experience of ‘The Anthropologist’ to life.
‘The Anthropologist’ acquaints Needham’s old and new audiences with his evolving outlook on sustainability and the human experience – check it out at the Sarabande Foundation, a space in Haggerston which celebrates art of all forms in ode to Lee Alexander McQueen.
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