Programme 2023

Tenant of Culture – Soft Acid

Deconstructing and repurposing discarded materials from the fashion industry into new sculptures, garments and anthropomorphic forms, Tenant of Culture uses the materials and language of fashion and clothing to explore the vast and problematic waste accumulated through the industry’s various stages of production, distribution and consumption.

In this work, Soft Acid, the artist presented large sculptural forms in a mass of synthetically coloured textiles consisting of used and reassembled garments.

Deconstructed, bleached, re-dyed, reassembled, wrung out, pressed, hung and stretched, the sculptures mirror the processes used in both historic and contemporary textile factories so it was particularly fitting to show the work here at Helmshore Mill which itself spun yarn from recycled cotton.

The sculptures were made from synthetic waterproofs, hi-tech performance-wear, plastic accessories and bleached and dyed denims. Originally treated with acid or enzymes and dyed noxious, artificial colours, the processing of textiles (turning them from a raw material into a fabric) uses immense amounts of water, much of which is then polluted with microfibres and chemical dyes and released back into the environment. In this way, Soft Acid questioned the methods of production, circulation and exchange and asks where does value sit, who gets to decide, and at what cost?

Tenant of Culture is the anonym of Dutch artist Hendrickje Schimmel.

To hear more about this work listen to Hendrickje’’s conversation with Amber Butchart in Episode 3 of the Cloth Cultures podcast, Season 3.

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