I have just discovered the work of Yeonju Sung, a fine artist from Korea who seems to be bridging the gaps between 3 of my favourite things: art, fashion and… food! I am not sure if this is an entirely new or original idea, but I couldn’t think of anyone who had done it before.
Sung has used food as a material to create sculptural items of clothing, and I think the results are beautiful. My only gripe would be that the clothing designs themselves could have been more considered - they are pretty standard “dress” cuts, and I think she could have used the unusual materials to make some truly spectacular shapes. However, I expect the work was not created as a fashion line so much as an artwork so perhaps we can overlook that.
Winter Mushroom Dress
Lotus Root Dress
Tree Ear (Mushroom) Top
Spring Onion Dress
One of the things that strikes me about these pieces is how they are inextricably linked to the dimension of time. I wonder if they are a comment on modern consumerism: food waste is extortionate in today’s world, and the high availability of low-cost clothing has encouraged rampant fashion wastefulness. Clearly Sung’s designs are perishable which is a suggestion of the needless waste created by the human race.
Though this is a very worthy point to make - and someone needs to make it - where this work is concerned I like to consider this time element in a more abstract manner. I think it would have been very interesting for Sung to document the decay of her work, showing the power of time vs. nature. Perhaps this is my interest in materiality coming into play, because I would be intrigued to see how the clothing mutates from beautiful, crisp and bright, into shrivelled, dry and colourless. I also think some context would go a long way, so seeing these items worn on the bodies they were made for would add the final piece to the jigsaw. Clothes which decompose before your very eyes? Delicious!
Of course the other option would be for the aforementioned models to eat the clothes off their own back, so to speak, speeding up the time/destruction process. That would make a great piece of art.