In the wake of last year’s triumphant conceptual film from Solange, the International Woolmark Prize’ latest festivities have phenomenal shoes to fill. But having just announced this year’s collaborator, it would seem it’s succeeded in securing an impeccable fit. For 2022, FKA Twigs is centre stage with a visionary short film celebrating the art of play and the happy accidents born from such a method of creativity.
Dubbed Playscape, it’s an ethereal presentation directed by and starring the English multidisciplinary artist with creative direction by Zak Group and cosmic choreography from Juliano Nunes. Within, the IWP collection looks from finalists Ahluwalia, Egonlab, Jordan Dalah, Mmusomaxwell, Peter Do, Ruiand Saul Nash are exhibited, dancing sublimely on the bodies of a diverse ensemble cast of characters. As the visual milieu ensues, guest appearances by iconic creatives like activist and model Kai-Isaiah Jamal, DJ and dancer Kiddy Smile as well as DJ and artist Princess Julia transpire. What’s more, dancers Ève-Marie Dalcourt, Tania Dimbelolo, Dmitri Gruzdev, Meshach Henry, Salome Pressac, Hannah Raynor, Maycie-Ann St- Louis and Alex Thirkle complement the unique silhouettes and mood of each designers’ work. No doubt, it’s a serendipitous synthesis between fashion, art, dance and music.
FKA Twigs takes inspiration from critically acclaimed radical sculptor Isamu Noguchi who, in the 1930s, designed several “playscapes” where in the general public were able to directly interact with his sculptures in ways atypical to a traditional museum. The late artist honed a vision of play as a catalyst for unrestricted creativity and this approach worked to guide the trajectory of this year’s film. In fact, FKA Twigs’ collective ‘Avant Garden’ is even launching its brand new era of ‘pure play’ for this contribution to the IWP.
Emerging from a series Noguchi’s ‘play’ sculptures, characters populate the display. The film transitions over to an imaginary landscape where a ballet sensibility is combined with elements pulled from hip-hop, modernism, contemporary dance and rebellious punk aesthetics – visualised by Euphoria cinematographer Rina Yang.
The IWP award winners are set to be announced in the midst of an immersive live event in London on April 26, where not only will the film be screened but the space will also be transformed into a showroom curated with a special partnership with The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum. Assessed by a panel of prestigious judges from the likes of Naomi Campbell, Riccardo Tisci, Edward Enninful, Ibrahim Kamara and many more, one deserving finalist will be awarded the International Woolmark Prize and receive AU$200,000 (£114,225) to invest in the development of their business. What’s more, the Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation will once again be presented, with the winner receiving AU$100,000 (£57,113). For the second year running, The Woolmark Supply Chain Award will be presented, celebrating an outstanding contribution from a trade partner to drive awareness for wool supply chain innovation. All finalists will have the opportunity to be stocked in some of the world’s leading stores, via the IWP Retailer Network.
Photography courtesy of International Woolmark Prize.