From Nov. 30 to Feb. 20, 2023, the gallery space will be filled with a ceiling-height hand-knitted sweater that invites visitors to explore the colorful tent-like structure and watch the experimental film “Ribbons,” which documented how Bovan created the giant piece of knitwear.
The space will also have a special soundscape and be filled with scents of geranium and lavender.
The commission aims to “reexamine their views on fashion, art, textiles and craft while encouraging them to dream and get lost in the weird and wonderful world of Matty Bovan,” the gallery said.
Bovan said “Ribbons” explores “a more intimate and special place” in his world.
“My grandma taught me to knit at age 11, and I have never looked back. Passing down skills and exciting people about craft is a central focus of my work,” the designer from Yorkshire said.
“Ribbon is usually used as a trim or flourish in fashion and craft; here I am taking the idea of a small-scale, somewhat apologetic trim, and blowing it up with full brute force of energy and hardcore craft. There will also be a chance for people to get involved with interactive show elements, which illustrate the importance — and fun — of crafting and making things yourself,” he added.
Jemima Burrill, curator at Now Gallery, recalled how Bovan excited her when she was watching his online presentation during the lockdown.
“The film he created was nothing like anything I had seen before. It struck a nerve and made fashion exciting again even at the bleakest hour. He had to be the next Now Fashion Commission, whatever he came up with would rupture our space and make us think about clothes, life and who we are — in a different way,” she said.
Previous artists who have shown at Now Gallery include Yinka Ilori, Manjit Thapp, Joy Yamusangie, Nicholas Daley, Mowalola, Phoebe English, Molly Goddard and Lydia Chan, who last year transformed the curved facade of the art space into a futuristic fantasy world through an array of vivid colors, augmented reality interactive components and alien-shaped creatures.