A Montréal-based fashion designer and professor at Université de Québec à Montréal, and former head of the fashion, jewellery, and accessories design program at HEAD – Genève, Ying Gao has set herself apart through numerous creative projects: six solo exhibitions in France, Switzerland, and Canada; and more than one hundred group exhibitions around the world—earning herself international media coverage. She calls into question our assumptions about clothing by combining fashion-, product-, and media-design approaches. She explores garment-making, drawing inspiration from changes in the social and urban environments. Ying Gao explores both the status of the individual, whose physical contours are transformed by external inputs, and the role of garments as fragile transitional spaces. Her work testifies to the profound shifts occurring in the world in which we live, and includes a radical critical component that transcends technological experimentation.
Ying Gao CA/QC — Purple Skin
With Purple Skin, Ying Gao works with artificial skin she fashioned herself using complex construction methods, partially shifting the garments from prêt-à-porter to object of fictional design. This imitated skin can take on different configurations and fall under various material frameworks. Through this fluidity, the skin re-appropriates a given material’s properties, becoming it but also taking on new meanings. The silicon, glass, and 20-micron poly used lend themselves to sewing, shaping, and thermal construction—thereby ambivalently evoking skin folds and wounds.
Ying Gao CA/QC — Flowing Water, Standing Time
Ying Gao’s Flowing water, Standing time was inspired by neurologist Oliver Sacks' novel The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat. In it, 49-year-old Jimmie believes he has been 19 for decades. When faced with a mirror, he is shocked by his aged appearance, but reverts to being 19 when not viewing his reflection. He, like the garments in this piece, alternates between states in reaction to the spectator. The garments’ immobility and movement are mere dropping-off points among infinite possibilities.
Ying Gao is a Montréal-based fashion designer and professor at Université de Québec à Montréal, and former head of the fashion, jewellery, and accessories design program at HEAD – Genève.
Ying Gao’s 2010 project Berlin-Nagoya featured a scarf and a dress that had secondary functions as, respectively, a dress and a projection screen/bag.