A fashionable 'gesture'

The Paper-Cut-Project collaborates with gloATL in new exhibition

Art and couture tend to occupy their own distinct spaces, but beginning this month gloATL and the Paper-Cut-Project will combine both worlds into one suite meant to explore how public interaction influences how art is perceived.

The Paper-Cut-Project features the notable work of Nikki Nye and Amy Flurry, whose collaboration creates gestures that will soon disappear. By transforming sheets of paper into elaborate hair sculptures with various textures and shadows from every angle, they use their large-scale paper installations to highlight human behavior.

gloATL choreographer Lauri Stallings describes the nearly four-month-long project as a "tableaux vivants," in regard to the living pictures she's known for creating. Non-verbal communication, dance, and human gesture will serve as the vessel for this message throughout the moving exhibit.

The Paper-Cut-Project will use mannequins to exhibit their work outside the walls of a museum or window display for the first time. And the dancers of gloATL will interact with the audience in choreographed migrations, while wearing six different hair installations inspired by human behavior. The exhibition is divided into two phases: "The Romantic Body," which entails public performances in the historic West End, Midtown, Roswell, and Westside; and "The Fourth Body," a two-month performance exhibition at MOCA GA starting Sept. 27.

The Atlanta-based duo has acquired commissions with major fashion houses such as Hermès and Kate Spade since 2009, in addition to showing their work in Italian Vogue, the New York Times, and museums abroad. Nye and Flurry spoke to Creative Loafing about their collaboration with gloATL.

How did your collaboration with Lauri Stallings and gloATL come about?

We were introduced to Lauri Stallings by a mutual friend a few years back and have since been waiting for the right project and timing for a collaboration. In early spring she approached us with the idea for gestures. With the exception of the runway, our work has mostly been displayed in a static way, on mannequins, and it is a challenge designing for such an active performance.

The exhibition explores human interaction and body gestures. How did you combine the idea of public dance and paper installations into one exhibition?

The direction really comes from Lauri. As she explained, her "tableau vivantes" really experiment with the notion of sustaining the interaction with the audience to earn longer viewing times to experience or experiment with the work. The engagement with our paper pieces might bide even a little more time.

Your sculptures often have layer upon layer of paper, involving many work hours. How long did it take you to work on the sculptures for gestures that will soon disappear?

There were a few different thoughts floating around for the concept of gestures. We focused mostly on the words "layered" and "density," and took great care to keep in mind the movement that will be happening as the pieces are worn. We also worked to give great mass from all angles.

Do you all often work together on one piece or various ones at the same time?

The process always begins by creating the underlying structure and usually Nikki, our lead designer, is engineering this while I am working on a texture or secondary cuts for the same piece. Because there are so many stages and so many cuts for every piece, we are generally working on different components of the same piece at the same time.

What can people expect from the exhibition and the public gloATL component?

We will complete a total of six pieces, each piece being revealed at different stages of the migration from the urban spaces until they are exhibited at MOCA.

What's next for you all?

We're kicking around the idea of a book, prints of our collections. We've completed 15 collections, each with dozens of pieces, for international brands including Valentino, Cartier, Christie's, La Mer, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and Hermès. We're beginning to feel there are enough pieces now to comprise a beautiful image-driven book.

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