As the “artist who revitalised Saville Row”, Hormazd Narielwalla’s work bridges fashion and art. What with his PhD studies at the London College of Fashion, he is well placed to do this. Using college to play with colour, stitching patterns and paint works on paper, recently Hormazd won the Saatchi Online showdown, a regular competition where artists vote each other out, or to the top online.
This time the competition theme was “The Body Electric” and Hormazd who uses body parts in his work and regularly uses sewing patterns for canvas or as part of his collage, won the $1,000 prize. He’s also been profiled in some of the best art and fashion magazines out there. e.g. Dazed. The language of fashion is French of course, and many of his work titles are in French, making some of his series appear retro, like replicas that might have been. His series Hungarian Peacocks’ was an artist book created on an original 1920s tailoring manual as pictured here. Some of his work is sculptural but it never veers far from the language of tailoring – cloth, paper and how they are used to create garments. In 2013 he was commissioned by Crafts Council, England to exhibit five sculptures at the Saatchi Gallery for Collect. The works were fragile structures (they would have worked well on light boxes) created from quarter-scale military patterns of uniforms from the British Raj (1850-1947). This is a repeated hint at the artist’s partly-Indian roots.
Hormazd says of the series, of which on is pictured here:
The works epitomized a romantic memory of falling in love with a fictional character – a handsome English officer from the TV mini-series The Far Pavilions (1984). Inspired by the construction of Anthony Caro’s work, the structures were created from the negative space around the patterns to narrate the absent body.The body and its story is no more but my memory and patterns live on.
Hormazd was awarded the online prize at Saatchi Online by judge Raffi Kalendarian, an LA based painters, who said:
“I loved the colors and composition of Hormazd Narielwalla’s piece. The scale of the work also seemed perfect. When I read about his process of making collages and finding radical abstraction within antique tailoring patterns, sourced from a Parisian fashion magazine, I thought: “This is an artist after my own heart.”
Congratulations not only to Hormazd but to all those who called him “one to watch”.