HONG KONG | A hundred precisely cut paper Nike 1 Air Jordan sneakers become the purest visualization of the sneaker-culture and its role as a contemporary art form. That's how Hong Kong artist Natalie Wong identified a shift in how people regarded sneakers and turned this item of clothing into an art project that took her almost three months to complete. "Many people who buy sneakers do not actually wear them but display them at home, like artwork. In a sense, the sneaker has lost its primary function and is regarded first and foremost for its design and collectability", Natalie says.
Branded sneakers are possibly one of the most highly consumed items of clothing. And the Nike Air Jordan 1 and its iconic silhouette is to blame as the sneaker that widely launched the sneaker-culture phenomenon of today. Inspired by Henri Matisse gouaches découpés, Natalie uses paper as a medium; which she combines with the pop art convention by which there is no hierarchy of culture.
"There is a strong relationship between identity and clothing. Appearance is a central part of how we define ourselves (consciously/subconsciously). Objects represent a person’s goals, feelings and self-definitions and by owning a particular piece of clothing, you obtain social acceptance by the consumption of a commodity", Natalie points out.
While we await for 100 Paper Sneakers official exhibition in Hong Kong next year, Natalie will be traveling to South Africa to participate in a very interesting project. She will create three original sculptures taking inspiration from major landmarks in Johannesburg. These new works of art will use the silhouette of three different sneakers and incorporate visual elements of the local area, and culture.
100 Paper Sneakers photos courtesy of Natalie Wong.
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