Vahap Avsar, artist and BKI’s Creative Director talks about J.G. Ballard’s Crash, the inspiration behind the Spring 2012 Collection
What sparked your initial interest in Crash?
When most people think about Crash, they think of the (David Cronenberg) movie, which I haven’t even seen, or fetishism, or about J.G. Ballard as a science fiction or post-apocalyptic writer, but I see him more as a postmodern theoretician – and artist. Ballard was a huge influence on some of the great writers and artists of the late 20th century, from Bruce Sterling to Tracy Emin to Damien Hirst. I think his vision of a dystopian modernity deeply resonates with the age we live in, and our psychologies are clearly affected by the technological commodities we use. Crash isn’t about sex – it’s about using sex as a representation of our acceptance and fetishism of a technology that kills a large number of people every year.
Speaking of Damien Hirst, how do you see Ballard’s effect on the art world?
Well, Ballard’s ideas were a major influence on contemporary American and British artists, especially the Y.B.A. (Young British Artists) and their tactics of pushing psychological boundaries. Actually, before he wrote Crash, Ballard exhibited a piece at The New Arts Lab consisting of wrecked cars called Crashed Cars in the late 60’s that many critics at the time labeled ‘perverse’. Ballard often considered his books a literary version of the ideas expressed in his visual artwork.
How did you come about fusing Ballard’s ideas with a fashion collection?
Just as Crash is a conduit for his theories, I wanted to use the spring line as a conduit for Crash. To be frank, fashion can at times be a bit vapid, so I wanted to come up with a thought provoking theme expressed through clothing that the audience could hopefully catch on and get them talking about Ballard. As we design a wide variety of products, it can be difficult to tie all the items into one singular idea, but we encourage the designers to interpret the theme according to their perspectives and personalities. With just this one idea, we were able to come up with a number of different designs across a wide variety of disciplines. We made a seasonal collection, we designed and hand-painted a custom bag series, our window designer sculpted amazing installations for our stores, our multimedia designer created video collages that we incorporated into the photoshoot for the campaign. In the end, we’re putting it all together in a fashion/art event at our Union Square store. To me, it’s amazing that our designers made so much great work out of a single idea.
Come see the Crash Into Spring event at our Union Square location on Friday, February 10th, 2012 from 7pm-9:30pm, featuring live art demonstrations by the BKI Design Team, music by DJ SoSuperSam, and food and drinks from Dough and Brooklyn Gin.