Sandie Yi will illustrate and discuss Crip Couture, her collection of disability fashion, at the de Young Museum Access Advisors Open House and Disability Arts Festival, 11–noon, Saturday March 31, 2012, in the Koret Auditorium. Free admission.
Yi’s presentation is in conjunction with the exhibition “The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk.” Seen as prosthetics, orthotics, or an unsettling dream, Yi’s work elevates disability-inspired clothing to the level of art and high fashion. Freelance curator Amanda Cachia will introduce Yi and talk about current trends in disability art. Disability scholar Anthony Tusler will explain how Crip Couture contrasts with and often surpasses Gaultier’s radical approach to fashion and art. The Crip Couture presentation and Disability Access Day are free.
The first viewing of the art pieces created by Chun-shan (Sandie) Yi. They can be seen as prosthetics, fashion, orthotics, or an unsettling dream. Her art violates our most polite impulses to avoid looking at disability and deformity. In addition to forcing us to stare at a disabled person she elevates disability inspired clothing to the level of art and high fashion. Her nonconventional body structure, two digits on her hands and feet, informs her work. “Gloves Made for Two” is a display and photographs of practical and fanciful gloves that fit her body and displays of gloves that fit any number of fingers up to six. She is the model for her creations clearly showing her hands and feet. In “Project Imperfect” she has sewn infant clothes for babies who are missing limbs.
Ms. Yi explains, “I provide intimate and empathetic bodily adornment, not as a correctional physical aid, but as a tool for remapping and engaging with a new physical terrain, one embodied with personal standards of physical comfort and self-defined ideals of “perfection.””
The cumulative effect of Sandie Yi’s art is to confound our beliefs and standards of human beauty. We are challenged to accept the unacceptable notion that deformity can be beautiful, intriguing, and tantalizing without being fetishistic. It is difference raised to a level not of acceptability but of celebration—expanding the aesthetics of fashion and art.