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Untitled (Studded Suit)

ArtistGiovanni Intra
Production Date1990
Mediumwool, polyester, metal studs
Size1600 x 560 mm
ClassificationTextile
DepartmentNew Zealand Art
Subjectssuits, studs (buttons), punk culture
Accession Date24 Jun 2003
Accession No2003/43
Credit LineAuckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki and Chartwell Collection, purchased 2003

Description

Giovanni Intra's studded suit is a belated tribute to punk style. Needing an outfit for the Elam arts school ball, he took an op shop suit and decorated it with metal studs, imitating the look punks originally borrowed from bondagewear. "The outfit was a huge success - even if the fastenings did leave the bare-chested Intra lacerated and bleeding by the end of the evening", reported Kelly Carmichael. Later Intra hung his suit on the wall to recall the way Joseph Beuys displayed his felt suits. The contrast was telling. Where Beuys cut himself a dour grey felt suit to exemplify his job of artist as healer, Intra's uniform was dazzling. Part punk, part S'n'M, part Liberace, and very K Road, it sponged up all manner of associations, folding fashion into religion. As Bridget Sutherland imagined it, Intra's "suited yet absent figure presides over some debased ritual - a science-fiction priest who wallows in the glamour of a low and aggressively vulgar materialism. Like a devilish performer, he conjures for us the breakdown of reality into dream, object into fetish." (Snake Oil, 2005)

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