Heat and leather get our hearts pumping. The smell of burning materials unlocks a joy in the pit of our stomachs. It’s anarchic. From Mugler’s burning costume for Lady Macbeth, Di-Petsa’s latest heat-sensitive leather trousers that leave an imprint where hands have been to Sam Macer’s scorching fire jacket worn by Rosalía – we adore that rebellious Hunger Games ardour that comes with fiery garments. Antonio Muniz and Sam Finger of The Mutt Museum embrace this technique across many of their AM69 branded upcycled garments on show at the museum. Think flame-nibbled hems and scorched patterns. Wedding white Manolo Blahniks have been set alight with the whisps of smoke creating an organic out-of-control design on their surface. Leather Dsquared loafers have met a scintillating fate.
Each piece is unique. Fashion objects are curated alongside canvases at the Mutt Museum; perhaps, with the same intention as the artist Marcel DuChamp who famously signed a urinal R. Mutt creating The Fountain. These artists highlight the importance of curation, artistic touch and milieu to invest an object with great value. The otherwise worthless toilet named The Fountain is said to have beckoned in what we think of today as contemporary art. Naming the museum potentially after the pseudonym R. Mutt might pay homage to the start of the artistic world Antonio Muniz and Sam Finger both find themselves in. It seems pertinent since they too save garments and shoes, like found objects, from a dejected fate. Now garments are imbued with purpose, meaning and individual value in the gallery space. Using burning to embellish rather than destroy also calls into mind another contemporary artist, Wolfgang Paalen the inventor of the mark-making technique and Miro. The later’s anti-paintings that burnt holes in canvases can be paralleled to the garments on display that play with the boundaries of destruction and construction. As if phoenixes the canvases and jeans emerge from close cremation, their wounds bearing a new story. Far from the actual fires of excess fashion products left to die, The Mutt Museum reinvigorates what we already have. It accelerates us into a sustainable future.