Henrik Vibskov goes beyond

Enter the designer-turned-artist's dreamlike world of woollen clouds and surrealist stalactites in his new exhibition

Arts+Culture Q+A
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Playing with the Latin motto “Nec plus ultra”, meaning “nothing farther beyond” and the more literal subject of the anatomical neck, comes the title of the celebrated Danish fashion and interiors designer, Henrik Vibskov’s first solo art exhibition in Paris – ‘Neck Plus Ultra'. Not satisfied with graduating from Central Saint Martins in Menswear, producing several collections under his own name, directing films and making music, Vibskov has now taken on the world of art. Having been considered part of the 'New Nordic Movement' of designers and artists from Scandinavia in the 21st century, his playful, avant-garde and sometimes cartoon-like creations have earnt him his name.

Devised under his signature surrealist vision, Vibskov's new exhibition introduces us to what inspires and influences him on a deeper level, inviting the visitor into his dreamlike world. Utilising a mix of visual, audio and tactile works, the pieces featured aim to propel the senses further. Neck plus Ultra will include original installations, deliberate mixtures of pop, surrealism and psychedelia, and conscious artistic hybridisations dear to an artist who enjoys mixing genres.

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Dazed Digital: Is the boundary between art and fashion a definable one for you?
Henrik Vibskov: Well, I am felling pretty good and free to switch between these two disciplines without thinking too much. I just see myself as a creative person that likes to explore new materials, structures and settings - and hopefully new ways of realizing these explorations...Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't!

DD: Where did the idea to focus on 'the neck' come from? Why is it of particular interest to you?
Henrik Vibskov: I have been in a period where the human anatomy was a big focus for me, last year it was the tongue as a transport-, cleaning- and sexual-system. This time it is the focus on the neck - how we pose and how we act. "Stiff neck people" from the bible to the building industry, the stiff night like a viagra - death rituals in Guatemala and dark dance ceremonies.

DD: The exhibition feels very surreal and like a fantasy world, is this a recurring theme in your work?
Henrik Vibskov: Probably there is! I usually like surreal, abstract, twisted and colourful universes and it seems like it occurs once in a while when you look at my visual history. So I'd say yes!

DD: What are your favourite fairytales and perhaps local folklore that you grew up with?
Henrik Vibskov: I am not sure but I like the "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" scenario - a truck that runs over some Disney stuff ending up with some wheel spinning on some classical sci-fi cartoons. Does that make sense?

DD: How did you build the pieces and what is your favourite in particular?
Henrik Vibskov: We built most of the stuff in Copenhagen in my workshop - painting foam bubbles, sewing long bird necks, forming landscapes with raw wool, "face wool" explosions and building a long optical illusion time loop tunnel - my favourite is maybe the soap bubble or the foam nylon socks objects.

DD: What do you want the visitors to leave the exhibition with?
Henrik Vibskov: Hopefully they walk out with a little "visually carried away time-loop-kit-kat-break" - a feeling of being carried away for a while, with stimulated senses and thoughts, sounds, visuals and structures.

Neck Plus Ultra. Until May 4th 2013. Galerie Des Galeries, 1st floor - Lafayette Coupole 40, bd Haussmann, 75009 Paris.

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