Boiled Leather Mannequin (2013.1)

Catalogue Record

Collection

Maker

Title

Boiled Leather Mannequin

Made in

London

Date

2013

Description

Abstract torso form made of boiled and moulded leather, with several gold leaf panels, stood on a steel rod with base.

Materials and techniques

The mannequin is made using a medieval armour-making technique (Cuir Bouilli) in which vegetable tanned leather is moulded and irreversibly hardened using moisture and heat.

The work is made by wrapping leather around a plywood mould before immersion in near-boiling water. The heat alters the structure of the material - melting the collagens and the fats in the skin, allowing it to be moulded into extreme forms and set into shape. Additional moulds are applied to the leather under pressure to create the tightly controlled facets in the work.

3mm leather from the shoulder (from Belgium) is used for its high degree of shrinkage and malleability in moulding. There is no prescribed formula for success. The outcome is contingent upon operating within a very narrow window of time and temperature, thickeness and cut of leather, tannage, etc.

After controlled drying the moulds are removed, the leather trimmed, and then lined with PU resin - in part for the aesthetic/material contrast, and in part to add further rigidity to the form. The mannequin is finished with panels of oil-gilded palladium and 22 carat gold leaf to add further contrast to the material.

Dimensions

height:  163cm
width:  34cm
length:  32cm

Object number

2013.1

Category

  • Boiled Leather Mannequin, Simon Hasan, 2013, Crafts Council Collection: 2013.1. Photo: Todd-White Art Photography.

  • Boiled Leather Mannequin, Simon Hasan, 2013, Crafts Council Collection: 2013.1. Photo: Todd-White Art Photography.

  • Boiled Leather Mannequin, Simon Hasan, 2013, Crafts Council Collection: 2013.1. Photo: Todd-White Art Photography.

Maker's statement

Italian fashion house Fendi commissioned three mannequins from me in 2011 to celebrate the opening of their new store on Sloane Street, London.

The form of the work is inspired by the need (a functioning mannequin) and also the paintings of Georges Braque, since I wanted the form to be slightly abstracted.

The original trio of mannequins were installed in the Fendi Sloane Street store for a period of six months from September 2011, and are now part of the Fendi Foundation.

The work followed three years of working with boiled leather across a variety of furniture-related typologies. Early work was modest in scale rather and rather timid in form. This was followed by a period in which I allowed the leather to be barely controlled, preferring that the brutality of the process be evidenced in the unrestrained forms the material found.

The mannequin represents a significant step in that it is the first large piece concerned with achieving a pre-designed form, the first figurative piece, and the first object outside the realm of furniture. The process has been applied with control and purpose that has since fed into my broader studio practice, where the importance of controlled application shall continue to grow in both studio and production pieces.