Artists use a lot of different surfaces and mediums for their art, from canvas to clay to murals on a wall. And one artist is using carpet to make her vision a reality.
A few years ago, Mohawk Group met Liz Collins, a Brooklyn-based artist who has been working across art, design, fashion, installation and performance for two decades. Collins was designing an immersive installation at the Tang Museum in Upstate New York and needed to partner with a carpet manufacturer to implement her vision.
She worked closely with our designers at Durkan, and Energy Field was born, as was a collaborative spirit and trusted partnership. When it came time for her next big installation, Collins came back to Mohawk Group and the same team with an even more complex project.
Commissioned by the prestigious New Museum in New York City, Collins’ new project is called Cave of Secrets and is part of a larger exhibit entitled Trigger: Gender As a Tool and A Weapon. This exhibit examines gender’s place and identity in contemporary art and culture during today’s time of global political unrest. It is a topic of great interest in design, including our own Color + Design Vision Series, which offers inspiration and dialogue about what drives culture, design, art, and positive change around the world.
Cave of Secrets is a full room installation with the custom patterned carpet setting the stage on the floor. The room also has a video lounge and gallery with textiles, sculpture and furniture by Collins on display. The videos are by additional artists participating in the exhibit. The Cave of Secrets is a passageway, one of dreamscapes, sensations and mystery.
The pattern on the floor was inspired by stills from the dark 80’s cult classic film Liquid Sky, which is about the subculture of downtown New York’s club scene in the early New Wave era. The film – directed by Slava Tsuckerman – dealt with issues of gender, aliens (it’s partly a sci-fi movie), and addiction in an avant-garde way, with fashion and music featuring heavily in the narrative. The images from the film stills and on the carpet replicate the pleasure centers of our brains, and they played a prominent part in the film’s story and art direction.
Our Durkan digital PDI technology was the solution used to create this colorful carpet, where the color saturation and intensity was a critical part of the design intent. PDI, or Precision Dye Injection, literally injects dye into the carpet structure to create a permanent pattern with high-definition design and unprecedented image quality. Collins used a level loop base called Duradvantage to achieve a flat look so that the imagery would render crisp with extreme color and pattern clarity. Twelve colors were used in the final design.
The exhibit is open now at the New Museum in New York City until Jan. 21, 2018.