For In pieces and parts Heidi Voet’s entire wardrobe is replicated.
We tend to have an intimate relationship with our clothes, as objects that constitute our daily public appearance and aid in performing social roles.
A person’s collection of clothes only appears in public gradually and partially, one pair of pants at a time, one dress per outing. Large collections of clothes are either seen in the impersonal display in shops, or during life changing events, in boxes during a house move or as remnants when the possessions of the deceased are cleared.
In Heidi Voet’s In pieces and parts this logic is countered. In an otherwise empty exhibition space, performers wear all the reproduced clothes at once. Here the clothes are thus not necessary adapted to the social circumstance and place time in which they appear, being the opening of an exhibition. This transgression of social norms and role-play is heightened by the choice of textiles of the replicated clothes.
Where the doubles of the artist’s clothes closely mimic the originals in shape and size, the textiles by no means correspond to the originals.
Our daily choice of clothes is motivated by cultural conventions and status, and translates societal norms, histories and presumable taste. The copied items allude to a tradition of entertainment, performance and a genre characterized by a range of unsocialized behaviors and repetitive failure as a comical trick.
Is the reference to the clown set up as comic relief in this coded setting, similar to Granville-Barker’s description of the role of Shakespeare’s clown in Othello? Or are our carefully constructed self-image and the fractured roles we navigate in daily life and on social media exemplified?