Simryn Gill, Michael Taussig
|Desiree Heiss, Ines Kaag, Manuel Raeder (Eds.)BLESS. Celebrating Ten Years of Themelessness: N° 00 – N° 29|
Texts by Thimo te Duits, Elein Fleiss, Nakako Hayashi, Stéphanie Moisdon, Ulf Poschardt, Pro qm, Adriano Sack, Barbara Steiner, Olivier Zahm
Interviews by Manuel Raeder with Nobuyoshi Tamura Shihan and by Jan Winkelmann with Bless
Bless came to fame in the winter of ‘97/‘98, when the models of a Martin Margiela fashion show wore Bless wigs made out of fur. Heralded as one of fashion’s most innovative designers, the Paris and Berlin-based duo (Desiree Heiss and Ines Kaag) quickly refused to capitalize on one milieu. Constantly investigating the boundaries of style, Bless slides from fashion to beauty, interior decoration to art exhibition, collaboration with other brands to stylized advertising. Their production, which sits on the fine line between art object and design, high function and high fashion, is always unique and marked by the recycling and adaptation of unexpected items put to use in a totally new way. Objects such as customizable footwear, disposable T-shirts, chair covers, table mobiles, cable jewellery, and wallpapers, but also an “extended hotel service” range among the many products that have resulted from their manipulations of a garment or piece of furniture.
For author Barbara Steiner, “by addressing the fields of both fashion and art, including the overlapping zones, and once again confounding any attempt at classification, Bless reveals the contradictions and conflicts that underlie economic and artistic interests, and above all their reciprocal relationship. Ambiguity, contingency and instability become the constituents of a practice that is based on multiple focal points as a means of probing possibilities of external versus self-determination, commercial success versus critical reflection and incorporation versus resistance.”
Designed by Manuel Raeder, this fully illustrated book features for the first time the wide range of Bless’ activity and documents a unique mode of cultural production.
Bless have exhibited internationally at the 1st berlin biennale (1998/99), Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (1999), Centre Pompidou (2000), Manifesta 4 (2002), Palais de Tokyo (2003), Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2004), Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam (2003), Goethe-Institut, Tokyo (2005), and most recently at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam (2006). Their collaborations with other brands range from Adidas to Levi’s, Nike, Mikli and Droog over to the jewellery designer Bucherer.