Strolling down East 10th Street, we were stopped in our tracks by the view through a basement window. There before us was a giant horseshoe-shaped wall of tightly folded t-shirts, tops, belts, and pants. We couldn’t move. Clearly this was an art installation; the wall looked to be at least six feet high. We asked nearby stores if they knew about this pressed clothing vision, but they confessed ignorance. Being obsessed with all things related to the thread, we needed to know more.
Thankfully Google came to our rescue. We discovered Derick Melander to be the artist behind these unusual sculptures. Aside from giving us clearer images of his work, his website explains why folded clothing. He writes
In my current practice, I gather, categorize and fold exorbitant amounts of second-hand clothing. I then use this clothing to create large columns & walls.
The sculptures often interact with the surrounding architecture, sometimes extending from floor to ceiling or cascading from wall to floor. Attention is paid to the ordering of the garments, for example the stacking can relate to the way a person would dress (clothing that is worn on top of other layers is placed at the bottom of the stacks, while clothing that is worn directly against the skin is placed on top).
We only wish he organize our closet like this. He could easily become the next California closet phenomenon.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 18, 2007