Lucyandbart is a collaboration between artists Lucy McRae and Bart Hess. The ad hoc duo work close to the body, and their mode of operation is impulsive; they generate ambiguous images depicting our skin as an interface between our self and the world.
Lucyandbart imagine physically transformed bodies and faces with sometimes shocking artistic realism. They work instinctively, using at first various materials on the body, exploring volumes and remodelling the human silhouette very quickly to expulse all creative energy.
Both fascinating and off-putting, the images disturb because they do not allow us to sense the emotional state of the subject. The modified humans look you in the eye, not horrified, surprised or excited by their transformation: they are simply present and allow you to look. There is something primitive and curious to be seen in the “deformed” human body. It questions all are ideals of beauty and the way we judge. Lucy and Bart discover a low-tech, prosthetic way to perfect the human being.
Meeting by chance, while working as part of the research team at electronics company Phillips, Lucy McRae and Bart Hess quickly realised that creatively they had a lot in common. “One night working late, we started discussing beauty manipulation and body expression and realised we were coming from a similar perspective” explains Lucy. “After a day of hard work we needed to expel the rest of our creativity and frustration, so we started to play around with the office tools we found, sticking them to our faces and taking pictures”
Forming the collective Lucy & Bart, the pair began to meet once a week to search out disposable objects and examine how they could apply them to the body. The often organic and bizarre looking ‘outfits’, using anything from toothpicks, balloons, seed growing bags or insulation foam, were all created within one day.
November 2010 LucyandBart have been invited to perform in various Paris locations including the Centre Pompidou and Palais de Tokyo creating live silhouettes during the Infamous Carousel event.
October 2008 Lucyandbart have been asked by MU gallery in Eindhoven to perform their 'Low-tech plastic surgery' .Where they glued Hooks and Eyes to the faces of visitors. "We were able to redefine the landscape of the face by altering the appearance of cheekbones or emphasizing the lips, creating an analogue version of plastic surgery".
INTERVIEW WITH NICO
Thank God it's Friday Looking at their work, I can not understand why they don’t work together permanently. It’s humorous, inspring, professional and most of all different from everything else I’ve seen before. But Lucy and Bart are not an official company. They only come together every Friday to do their thing. And they want to keep it that way. Everything they couldn’t do Monday to Thursday is aloud on Friday.
by Merel Kokhuis
Lucy Mc Rae (1979) and Bart Hess (1984) work together on a project for Philips Design. At the end of a long working day they are both still bursting with energy and inspiration. Like two little children they start fooling around with the material they used that day. And nothing has changed since then.
First of all; what are you exactly? Are you designers, artists, fashion designers, costumiers, couturiers?
We don’t know either.It’s not fashion. You are not able to wear it on a daily basis. And it’s not art, because it’s not made to raise questions. We make thing to use on the human body, wear it ourselves and make pictures of it. The creations are not made to last, the pictures are the end result. Well then, what’s on your business cards? Ha ha, ehm, to be honest, we don’t have business cards. We avoid everything that’s professional and official while we’re together. Our collaboration started out of playfulness and we want it to stay like this.
What is the difference between your personal work and the things you do together?
Togeher we don’t have to bear in mind the budget or other restrictions clients give us. Don’t get me wrong; working for clients is fantastic to do, we like taking the challenge to make something nice despite the given restrictions, but it’s also great to be free to do whatever pops up in our heads. What value can you add to each other’s work? Lucy is educated as a ballerina and an architect in Australia and Bart graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven, in the direction of Man and Identity. We have different talents we can combine. Since she was a balerina, Lucy has a perfect control over her body so she knows exactly how to move in front of the camera. By now, Bart can do it too. Lucy basically thought Bart how to dance. Bart know a bit more about materials because he specialises in textile.
Can you describe a process?
First we do a thousand experiments. Luckily we have studio in Eindhoven now, because before Lucy’s house was a mess during our hilarious gettogethers. We do reseach on different materials and on how to attach them to the human body. We should be sponsored by a body glue company, ha ha. We’re always our own models. We’ve tried to do it with a third person before, but that just doesn’t work. The positive vibes we create together disappears. And on top of that; we feel bad if we require too much from a model.
What inappropriate requests do you have for your models?
Well, the experiments we do go further and further. We start of with a acceptable idea, but can get so overwhelmed by the result, we push the limit. For example, we did a test with paint balls. We trew them at our model and in the end found out, not just the fabric she was covered up in was purple, but also her hair. It took weeks for her hair to get blonde again. And sometimes the fixing on to the body can be pretty painful. We are willing to accept that our selves, but can not live with the idea we do this to other people.
And what happens if the body covering is finalised?
We then find the best position for the model to show the material in te most perfect way. Sometimes it takes over fifty shots before we are satisfied with the pose. We make the pictures ourselves. The one that’s not the model for that day, it the photographer and vise versa. It’s easy to recognise your work. How can you explain this? It probably has something to do with several factors. Hopefully every picture we make reflects the fun we had doing it. Sometimes we are two little school girl giggling together for hours, simple because we can’t stop. We’re always on the same wavelength and keep inspiring each other to go a bit further. Besides that all our pictures are more or lees similar. It’s always one person (either Lucy or Bart), covered in a weird material, striking an unusual pose in front of a nutrual background. And that’s it, nothing more. There’s no other material involved.
What do you want to achieve with your creations?
Nothing concrete, actually. We just want to make fun together in order to get new inspiration for our commercial solo work. We are trying hard not to make our cooperation turn into work. It has to maintain fun. Playing may not become working. Because of this we are not really promoting ourselves in order to get clients. But of course, every creator want to be acknowlegded for what he or she does. And so do we.
Grow on you
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