sterling ruby’s clothing is going on display for the first time
The American artist and Raf Simons collaborator is unwrapping his textile archive at London’s Spruth Magers gallery in March.
In 2008 Sterling Ruby made a pair of jeans and a shirt out of the leftover scraps of fabric from a sculpture he had just finished working on. The pieces quickly became the artist's studio uniform, and over the years, Ruby has returned time and time again to those original garments for a series of textile projects overseen by the artist and his studio. Functioning almost ritualistically, each time he finishes an artwork he uses the leftover scraps of canvas, denim and quilting, to create a new, unique, one-off garment as a way to conclude the project.
Opening in March, at London's Spruth Magers gallery, a selection of Sterling's clothing will go on display for the first time. WORK WEAR: Garment and Textile Archive 2008-2016 will delve into the artist's archive of coats, ponchos, bags and trousers, presenting a unique and different vision of the artist's creative process. Ruby was given his first sewing machine by his seamstress mother at the age of 12 and has been sewing ever since. Inspired, equally, by punk's DIY ethos and the Bauhaus movement's total approach to art making, Sterling's art practice has regularly involved piecing and patching together fabrics into sculptures and paintings, the turning off the leftovers from these works into clothing is a way of completing the work's cycle.
This spirit led to the artist's feted collaborations with Raf Simons, first designing Raf's Tokyo store, covering it with his trademark bleached and splattered denim. For fall/winter 14, Ruby collaborated with Raf on a full collection of clothing that drew in both designer and artist's love of messages, symbols and collages.
Text Felix Petty
Lead image Morgan O'Donovan, Raf Simons x Sterling Ruby fall/winter 14
Other images © Sterling Ruby Studio. Courtesy Sterling Ruby Studio and Sprüth Magers