#SAMYSL Davora Lindner on Felt Suit

#SAMYSL Davora Lindner on Felt Suit

Joseph Beuys, Felt Suit

Fashion designer Davora Lindner speaks on Joseph Beuys' Felt Suit.

Joseph Beuys, Felt Suit

Joseph Beuys, Felt Suit

LOW/NO VISION

LOW/NO VISION

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Transcript

My name is Davora Lindner, I am Creative Director of Prairie Underground based in Seattle, Washington.

I wanted to choose the suit at this time to show to discuss the sense of recapitulation that can happen with people, and to try to find a place of hope right now, that this suit always represents to me, and represents in a number of populist ways that also are a part of our design practice at Prairie Underground.

I chose this Felt Suit for a number of different reasons. Particularly now choosing a piece made by a white heterosexual male. Indeed Joseph Beuys was a part of Hitler's youth and fought in World War II in Germany, the country where he was born in and lived.

And had an about-face after his career service, he told an apocryphal story of his ship was shot down, and he was saved by nomadic Tatars and they covered him with fat and wool and those became principal elements of his sculpture later in his life.

I feel he wanted to convey a sense of a cavern where one could hide, and a shell that could shield the vulnerability of a human in the world.

I love the promise that a suit proposes, that it's formal, it valorizes the body. You can wear it every day without question and feel protected and powerful and confident.

It reminds me also of my first introduction to finely tailored suits that were old war uniforms, and we would try them on and play dress-up in those clothes and find saints medallions in the pockets or funeral programs and personal photos. You have a sense of inspecting it and delving into the personal world of the wearer, and that's something with this piece that always strikes me as very tender.

The question that I return to again and again when I view this piece is Who wears suits in our culture? And really contemplate the structures that often are embedded in the suit, and to think about how we can occupy those spaces of power, that every viewer can occupy that space of power, and how we can also work to call upon men to be more humane in our everyday life, and to follow-up on the promise that this suit holds to offer protection and warmth, and to hold those people who wear suits accountable to that promise.

LOW/NO VISION Transcript

You are listening to a verbal description of the artwork intended for someone with low to no vision. An interpretive analysis will immediately follow. For interpretive analysis of the object, skip to the next track.

Felt Suit by Joseph Beuys, created in 1978. Wool felt. Jacket is 2 feet 8 inches tall by about 2 feet 9 inches wide. Trousers are 3 feet 9 inches tall by 1 foot 6 inches wide. Displayed together, the piece is roughly life-size, about 5 feet 8 inches tall by about 2 feet 9 inches wide.

This is a brown felt suit jacket and trousers on a hanger. The suit is displayed inside a light-colored wooden box frame with an acrylic front that hangs on the gallery wall about 1 foot 4 inches above the ground.

The fabric of the garment has flecks of white, black, greys, and browns, creating the overall impression of a medium brown. The edges of both the jacket and trousers are raw, cut cleanly but left unhemmed.

The buttonless jacket has a short collar, about 2 inches wide, which stands straight up. The front left edge of the jacket overlaps the right slightly. In the upper right is a breast pocket, about 3 or 4 inches below the top edge of the jacket. Vertical seams cut both the right and left portions of the front of the jacket in half, starting about one third of the way down the jacket and continuing through the middle third. At the bottom of each of these seams and extending outward are the flaps of jacket pockets. The sleeves sit in front of the sides of the jacket, covering the outer edges of the jacket pockets.

The trousers hang flat from within the jacket, exposing approximately the lower 3 feet of the trousers. On the outside edge of each leg, below the bottom edge of the jacket, are the bottom of hemmed, diagonal pocket slits. A vertical seam runs along the inner length of each trouser leg.

Now, an interpretive analysis of this artwork.

My name is Davora Lindner, I am Creative Director of Prairie Underground based in Seattle, Washington.

I wanted to choose the suit at this time to show to discuss the sense of recapitulation that can happen with people, and to try to find a place of hope right now, that this suit always represents to me, and represents in a number of populist ways that also are a part of our design practice at Prairie Underground.

I chose this Felt Suit for a number of different reasons. Particularly now choosing a piece made by a white heterosexual male. Indeed Joseph Beuys was a part of Hitler's youth and fought in World War II in Germany, the country where he was born in and lived.

And had an about-face after his career service, he told an apocryphal story of his ship was shot down, and he was saved by nomadic Tatars and they covered him with fat and wool and those became principal elements of his sculpture later in his life.

I feel he wanted to convey a sense of a cavern where one could hide, and a shell that could shield the vulnerability of a human in the world.

I love the promise that a suit proposes, that it's formal, it valorizes the body. You can wear it every day without question and feel protected and powerful and confident.

It reminds me also of my first introduction to finely tailored suits that were old war uniforms, and we would try them on and play dress-up in those clothes and find saints medallions in the pockets or funeral programs and personal photos. You have a sense of inspecting it and delving into the personal world of the wearer, and that's something with this piece that always strikes me as very tender.

The question that I return to again and again when I view this piece is Who wears suits in our culture? And really contemplate the structures that often are embedded in the suit, and to think about how we can occupy those spaces of power, that every viewer can occupy that space of power, and how we can also work to call upon men to be more humane in our everyday life, and to follow-up on the promise that this suit holds to offer protection and warmth, and to hold those people who wear suits accountable to that promise.