Ephemeral and ethereal, the work of artist Rein Vollenga is particularly notable in his ‘wearable sculpture’. Vollenga’s unique and visceral work is darkly seductive, and his creations have been embraced by many of fashions forward thinkers as they continue to venture into darker, more fetishistic territory that celebrates a deeper, animalistic sexuality and revels in individuality and fragmented identity. Vollenga is a native of Berlin, reflected in the Teutonic avant garde nature that pervades his work, as is a dangerous, slightly sinister and hedonistic sense that harks back to pre-war Berlin’s days of decadence and ‘voluptuous panic’; his creations conjure all the allure of the decadence of a futuristic Ball Masque. Renowned for his wearable art, which takes form in sculptural headwear and accessories, the artist is now gaining the attention and patronage of the fashion industries elite; a more severe and gothic, 21st Century Dali if you will. Chasseur sat down with Rein himself to discuss his work; its origins and nature, and what drives the man behind the masks.
What in your craft of more traditional sculpture was the ignition point that spurred you to also making such unique wearable sculpture headpieces?
As I’ve studied fine art, I approach everything I create from an art perspective. I’ve always been interested in fashion but never gotten into designing clothes. By combining my sculpting skills and my fashion interest this resulted into what I call ‘wearable’ sculptures. The pieces I create are one of couture pieces used for fashion shows, performance art and music videos.
Where do you draw your inspiration for your unique aesthetic?
I collect a lot of objects that draw my attention. Most of the objects have an organic reference but yet have a mass produced aesthetic; a perfection created by machine. This ambiguity fascinates me greatly.
Honestly I don’t care! I don’t consider myself as a fashion designer or a brand. I’m an artist that transgresses the boundaries between art, fashion and design. I don’t classify any platform and show my work in museums, galleries, on the catwalk and the Internet. In my opinion art should be available to everyone.
You recently collaborated with KTZ for their AW13 fashion show. How did this come about and do you have any future collaborations in the pipeline?
Koji Murujama, head of design at KTZ is a good friend of mine and we always wanted to work together. This year we finally found the right project to collaborate for the AW 13 men’s and women’s collection. I’ve created pieces that were shown at the Somerset house during London Fashion Week. Right now I’m focussing on some future exhibitions. My pieces will be on display during the Fashion biennale in Arnhem ( NL) The show is curated by the legendary trend watcher Lidewij Edelkoort. The exhibition focuses on fetishism in fashion.
I’ve collaborated with choreographer Damien Jalet who created several dance pieces taking place at the Palais du Louvre in Paris. The performances were based on Greek mythology and were taking place in a classical setting with marble columns and all. It was pretty amazing!
To correlate with our current issue’s theme, your visceral designs are both hard and fragile at the same time, what does this represent for you; your message?