Living Lingerie // by artist Beatrice Oettinger

Art has become such a big part of my life in the last 5 years and it's beyond refreshing to find and meet people from all over the world doing what they love to do. I reached out to Beatrice and she was kind enough to answer all my curious questions. Her art is so amazing to look at, but I wanted to know how it worked and what her process is like. And what does "living pieces" mean to her? Check in out... 

ON: Lingerie & Nature

I’ve always felt attracted by the sensuality and tactility of natural materials on the body: warm or cool sand on your skin, the smell of earth, the tickle of grass, the scent and humidity of flowers. They are, for me, an expression of sensuality that has a lot to do with femininity and eroticism. Lingerie is located directly on the skin - it is a kind of self eroticization.I love to play with unusual fantasies and the thought of the healing power of plants to carry with you as a companion.

ON: The Beginning

I started around the year 2000, after I learned a traditional technique of Bavarian costumes: willow and rice is sewn between several layers of fabrics. This gives the surface a structure similar to some tattoo traditions in Africa. I've always enjoyed working with unusual materials for clothing.

ON:  Living Lingerie

With this work, I am permanently involved in questions such as: “Where does life begin? Where does life stop?”. Perhaps liveliness allows a reflection, a resonance and something begins to vibrate within me. I learn a lot through these “blooming fabrics“. They are constantly changing: at the beginning within hours, then more and more slowly, but they also are changing even after 5 years. I learn to scrutinize my observation - “What is life, what is impermanent? What is durability? What is death?” Maybe it's better to say it’s in motion and it never stops moving. The motions reflect on my mind. The colors are transformed over time, for example: bright green into gold and then silver.

ON: Wearability

Some pieces are wearable, while others are not. It depends on the opportunity - they can be made wearable. Why not wear a dress that is made for just one night? And would you call this wearable? Most of them can be preserved for many years. I have dresses here, which are already 10 years old.

ON: Choosing Materials

Each plant is a new challenge and requires a new way of processing. Their materiality, fragility, color, transience are all experiments. It is the 10th year and every year I still discover new opportunities. It depends on the moment at which I pick the plants: very young, before/in the state of blossom, in rainy springtimes, in dry springtimes etc. It is also a work with resistance for the skin, the eyes, the nose, my fingers, the sewing machine. The plants often do not do what I want to do with them. Sometimes I come to it’s limit, then I stop working. As for weather, there are years where there are hardly any plants in my area, because it did not rain for many weeks. I just gather if there are plants in abundance.

ON: Fabrics

I prefer to use silk, cotton and linen - undescribed simple fabrics. My preference are transparent materials, and many layers of transparency–so I very often use silk.

ON: The Process

Everything starts with a walk, each walk is an orientation. I constantly change roles between vagrancy (vagabond), enjoyer, nature observer, researcher, explorer and hunter. I never know what I will find. Sometimes I come home empty-handed, sometimes a few flowers, sometimes with a whole bag full. When I discover a plant, I begin to research: in natural history, medical science, material science, the symbolism, in fairy tales, drawing and photographs. A garment is created multidimensional– simultaneously at different levels. During the process, new techniques always emerge which satisfy aesthetic, sensual, symbolic or technical functions.

ON: Inspiration

I'm interested in cross-border experiences and experiments through all disciplines: music, sound, dance, opera, painting, philosophy, psychology, science, new media and politics.


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