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Matty Bovan: Boomerang

14 Feb 2020

Participatory installation
Bothy Gallery, 28 October - 1 November 2020

‘Matty Bovan is one of the brightest names on the British fashion scene.’ The New York Times

Yorkshire Sculpture Park is delighted to announce a collaboration with leading young fashion designer Matty Bovan. Bovan will take over the Bothy Gallery from 28 October to 1 November to create an immersive, participatory, art installation that raises timely questions about identity and who controls it.

Visitors can either book onto, or drop into, sessions in which they are invited to choose from a range of sculptural, wearable, items. Participants will engage with the artwork for a minimum of 10 minutes, to construct a new self-image that will be documented in a unique way, blurring sculpture, fashion and photography, with the designer heavily involved.

Over 95 million images are posted on Instagram every day, owned by Facebook, whose terms state that the user grants ‘non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use their content’. Bovan is drawing attention to the fact that most of us are already willing participants in the distribution of our images and image to an unseen mass – anyone who has been tagged in a Facebook photograph has already agreed to their face being recognised by an algorithm, for example. Facebook also owns a patent to identify people who have been photographed by the same camera, based on its dust marks, in order to suggest friends of friends – leading commentators to suggest that we ‘need to have a big collective think about what we want from the world of big data and AI, towards which we are currently sleepwalking’. (John Lanchester ‘Document Number Nine’ in London Review of Books 10.10.19).

Bovan has already established an internationally-respected fashion practice, and will have a catwalk show at London Fashion Week on 14 February 2020, following a number of London Fashion Week collections which reveal his interest and research into social behaviours and phenomena, such as the Pendle Witch Trials. Based in Yorkshire, Bovan has acknowledged YSP as being a formative influence and undertook a research residency in the National Arts Education Archive in 2019, and so it is fitting that the organisation can support and share this significant project. It is timed to coincide with Joana Vasconcelos in the Underground and open air, and Public Faces / Private Lives in the Weston Gallery, which in different ways also consider the construction and dissemination of ‘self’ in the digital age.

Notes to editors

About Matty Bovan
Having grown up in York, where he is still based, Matty Bovan, 29, graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2015 with an MA specialising in Fashion Knitwear. His 12-look graduate collection opened the final show, exhibiting his cacophony of sculptural knits, textures and wild, handmade adornments, which earned him the L’Oréal Professionel Creative Award, closely followed by the LVMH Graduate Prize 2015, going on to work with Marc Jacobs and Miu Miu.

He has worked with various brands, including: Coach NY, Gina, Louis Vuitton, Miu Miu, Stephen Jones Millinery, M.A.C Cosmetics, and Miller Harris, and his work is worn by a loyal fanbase, including Adwoa Aboah, Björk, Rita Ora, Georgia May Jagger, Winnie Harlow, Daisy Lowe, and Efie Reigate.

He is a recipient of the BFC NEWGEN bursary for the second time, supporting his Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter 2020 shows, and has been twice nominated for Emerging Designer Womenswear at the Fashion Awards 2018 and 2019.

British Airways recently launched Made by Matty Bovan, a love letter to his late grandmother illustrating his appreciation of craftsmanship and British heritage, part of their The BA 100, celebrating 100 makers of Modern Britain.

In September 2018, he collaborated with artists Rory Mullen and Adam Leach to create a fully immersive site-specific installation comprising video projections, live performance and sculpture, within the Leeds Room at the London Design Biennale at Somerset House. Entitled Just/Unjust, it was inspired by a carved wooden chimneypiece depicting the Dance of Death in The Red Drawing Room at Burton Agnes Hall, an Elizabethan manor house near Bovan’s home and studio in Yorkshire.

London’s Design Museum nominated a tweed and tulle gown, topped off with a Stephen Jones for Matty Bovan balloon-festooned headpiece, a finale look from his Autumn/Winter 2018 show, for inclusion in their Beazley Designs of the Year 2018 exhibition.

About Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) is one of the finest places in Europe to experience modern and contemporary sculpture in the open air. We host work by some of the world’s most well-known artists from Yorkshire-born Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth and Damien Hirst to Phyllida Barlow, Huma Bhabha, Gavin Turk, Ai Weiwei and many other major international and emerging artists across 500 acres of 18th century-designed landscape and six galleries. YSP welcomes around 500,000 visitors every year to enjoy and experience art, the landscape and our heritage and each year 40,000 people have contact with our learning programmes. Founded in 1977, YSP is an independent charitable trust and registered museum.

About the contextual programme at Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Celebrated Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos is internationally recognised for her monumental sculptures using traditionally female materials and crafts, raising questions about traditional gender roles and cultural identities. YSP presents her largest UK exhibition to date including a twelve-metre-long textile work suspended from the ceiling of the Underground Gallery alongside sculptures in the open air.

Public Faces / Private Lives brings together work by a diverse range of artists who explore how we protect and manipulate our identities. The exhibition takes as its starting point the idea that we often present a different version of ourselves publicly and considers what is behind literal, socially conditioned and digital masks.

Creative Case for Diversity
Diversity and equality are crucial to the arts because they release the true potential of our nation’s artistic talent – from every background. At YSP, we support Arts Council England’s mission – great art and culture for everyone. We share ACE’s commitment to promote and embed diversity in our workforce and cultural programme. This is called the ‘Creative Case for Diversity’.


Matty Bovan: Boomerang

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Matty Bovan Spring/Summer 2020 backstage. Photo © Rebecca Maynes

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Matty Bovan Spring/Summer 2020 backstage. Photo © Rebecca Maynes

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Matty Bovan Spring/Summer 2020 backstage. Photo © Rebecca Maynes

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Artist Matty Bovan. Photo © Lucy Alex Mac

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