Forget Me Knot by Sruli Recht

JANUARY 2013

Words by Black Celebration

There is something about him that sets him apart from the flock. His mischievous eyes, his weird – but laughing out loud – sense of humor, his red hair and beard… there is also great passion bursting out of him every time he talks. You don’t have to meet him in person to realize this - you can easily observe it in his creations. Sruli Recht is a passionate man.

I watched his “Forget Me Knot” video. At some points I had to rush it forward (I cannot stand surgery images), but I saw it to the end. I was definitely perplexed afterwards.

What on earth is this?
Is this a way to get attention? He could probably get more of it had he sent out a press release announcing to the world and its grandmother that Karl Lagerfeld is a client. Is this a way to convince the tight (and elitist) group of followers of the avant-garde designers that he means business? Well, this is a risky move, because they can take it to the forums and rip him apart before his wound has time to heal.

Is there a story behind this? The story I know, is that Sruli Recht has been an avid researcher of materials and is forcefully drawn to the unconventional. In his FW13 collection he presents garments made of wood, whilst for previous collections he has used stillborn lamb leather and silk extracted from a spider's gland implanted in a goat. Hence, he is definitely not a newcomer into the abstruse, the esoteric and the weird.

But, moving beyond the meaning of the action as a publicity move, there is no doubt that this gives rise to some deeper philosophical questions.

Is the human skin another fashion material? It has been used for artistic purposes in the past. And it has been used as a canvas for tattoo artists throughout the centuries. However, you rarely see it being removed to create something new out of it.

Yet, if horse skin is being used without second thoughts, why not human skin too? And where does this stop? Can it create a market where people will eventually get killed for their skin? Farfetched yes, maybe even borderline science fiction, but we have witnessed so many things getting out of hand before, why not this one, too?

What is so shocking about giving your consent to remove a tiny bit of your skin in order to create art? There are so many people who everyday remove their skin for the sake of beauty and youth.

And, on second thought, is this art? If not, then why is Andrew Krasnow’s work considered as such? Even more famously,Marc Quinn’s “Self” is a sculpture of his own head made of his own (frozen) blood. Are there lines to be drawn as to where art or design should stop? Or is it the story that accompanies the artwork (i.e reference to metaphysical issues) that draws the line between art and the plain grotesque.

Maybe this is Sruli addressing the “Fashion Is Art” debate and giving us his answer. I must remember to ask him about this when I get the chance.

Maybe the shocking part comes with the price tag. Three hundred and fifty thousand Euros for a ring that contains no precious stones. Just skin. Leather. Taken from an animal that gives its consent and is not, by any means, threatened by extinction.

What makes it so precious then?
Is it a memento mori? A token of love?
Is it because it belongs to Sruli?
Who will buy this? And if I was to sell my skin, how much should I ask for it?

I guess the price is irrelevant.
It depends on how much one wants to keep a piece of a loved one, constantly wrapped around their finger.

The Sruli Recht SS13 collection will be availabe at Black Celebration.




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