Helmut Lang (b. 1956)
Something to Think About (2011)
Helmut Lang (born March 10, 1956 in Vienna) is an Austrian artist who lives and works in New York and on Long Island.
When he was five months old Lang's parents divorced and sent him to live with his maternal grandparents in Ramsau am Dachstein in the Austrian Alps. When he was ten his father remarried and brought Lang back to Vienna to live with him and his wife. Lang moved out of his father's house at the age of eighteen, and began to teach himself clothing design. A few years later he opened a made-to-measure shop in Vienna. In 1984 he closed the shop and two years later showed his first runway collection in Paris at Centre Georges Pompidou. In 1997 he moved to New York.
Lang used unconventional materials such as rubber, feathers and metallic fabrics and redefined the silhouette of the 1990s and early 2000s. He broke away from the runway show-as-spectacle in the height of the 1980s opulence and was the first to ever stream his collection online. As one of the most important designers of our times, his work left an undeniable imprint on contemporary culture and his influence continues to reverberate among the fashion community today.
Lang’s seamless relationship with art has included collaborations with artists Jenny Holzer and Louise Bourgeois. His recent works explore abstract sculptural forms and physical arrangements and space beyond the limitations of the human body. Lang had his first solo art exhibition ALLES GLEICH SCHWER at the Kestnergesellschaft in Hanover in 2008.
Lang has published excerpts from his ongoing art projects Long Island Diaries and The Selective Memory Series in a number of publications, such as BUTT Magazine , Fannzine 137 , Visionaire and most recently The Travel Almanac.
In 1999, Lang sold a 51% stake in his company to the Prada Group, with Prada running distribution and manufacturing and Lang controlling design and advertising. Afterwards, Prada developed a line of Helmut Lang accessories such as shoes, belts and bags, and opened Helmut Lang stores in Hong Kong and Singapore. In 2005 he retired from fashion.