In a Taikoo Place hallway, a dancer engulfed by a giant bubble leaps into sight, taking two timid steps before breaking into a bold yet graceful dance. More dancers follow, all wearing inflatable dresses designed by Norwegian artist Fredrik Tjærandsen as they go on to whirl and twirl around Taikoo Place’s lobbies, carpark and ArtisTree.
This is part of the ArtisTree Selects: Light In/Out Film and Exhibition, to debut during Swire Properties’ Arts Month 2021. A truly international collaboration, the enchanting dance is dreamt up by the London-based Tjærandsen, Hong Kong’s leading dance artist Yuri Ng, choreographer on the rise Frankie Ho, and Portugal-based curator Pauline Foessel of art consultancy We Don’t Do Flowers. Captured on film by Photo Now, this international collaboration will inspire you to reconsider your perspective on life – as we reconnect as a community in the post-pandemic world, it’s also time to restart by bringing new colours and creativity into our everyday life.
The focal point of the mesmerising performance is Tjærandsen’s colourful bubble dresses, which debuted at the prestigious London design school Central Saint Martins’ BA Fashion Show last year. The collection, titled Moments of Clarity, earned him viral attention and the “L’Oréal Professionnel Young Talent Award”, and the designer has since worked with renowned industry innovators such as Nick Knight, Tim Walker and Robbie Spencer.
“To me, fashion is a vehicle for my ideas,” says Tjærandsen. “It allows me to explore the subject of identity – who I was and who I am now.” With his bubbly collection, he takes a deep dive into his own childhood memories, which he describes as “foggy like a bubble of mist”. At the same time, it also serves as a metaphor for our state of mind and how we see the world around us. “When you wear the bubble, you’re in your own space,” he explains, “but when you look at it from the outside, your perspective is entirely different.”
All made from natural latex, the bubbles come in a variety of colours that represent different types of memories, which might be happy, sad, vague or dark. They’re primarily designed in the structure of a torus, an infinite shape formed by rotating a closed curve so that all parts are connected. “Some people believe it’s the shape of the universe,” says Tjærandsen. “So if we imagine ourselves in this universal entity, we can be both separate and connected with everything else – just like when you’re inside the bubble, it moves symbiotically with your every step.”
With ArtisTree Selects’ dance film, Tjærandsen’s latex dresses will for the first time appear in Asia – and in a non-fashion setting. “I find it interesting to show my works in different contexts,” he says. “On the runway, the focus usually falls on the practical purposes that they serve as clothing, which is quite limiting. In an art setting, people tend to view them through a broader lens.
“Taikoo Place has some fascinating architecture,” he continues, “so I’m excited to see how my design will interact with this ‘stage’ through the film.”
For this project, he’s made an exclusive range of bubbles with new structures that go on the inside. There is also a latch system that allows the dancer to deflate the dress and create different shapes. We will soon have the chance to see these unique designs in the dance video, but how does it feel to wear them?
“It’s a very individual experience, but many people say it’s calming and comfortable to be in there,” he says. “Of course, your perspective then changes when you step out of it.” This is exactly what the performers do towards the end of the dance: they all deflate their bubbles to reveal their true selves. “It’s all about creating deeper connections with yourself and with the world,” says Tjærandsen. “And if you get past these barriers or ‘bubbles’ to see the world, you’ll see the here and now more clearly.”
Register and visit the ArtisTree Selects: Light In/Out Film and Exhibition for an immersive experience featuring a bubble artwork installation.
Photo credit: Carlos Jimenez
ArtisTree Selects: Light In/Out Film and Exhibition
Private viewing: 18 – 23 May 2021, 11am-7pm
Open to public: 24 May – 8 June 2021, 11am-7pm