a tight grasp, a quiet voice 2018
retroreflective glass bead fabric, tape, cotton and gloss spray
Designed and produced in collaboration with WILSON ONG.
Commissioned by Lexus New Zealand.
a tight grasp, a quiet voice centres on a pair of identical LC 500 SPORTS COUPÉS. Building on previous experimentation with reflective paintings, Hikalu Clarke has turned one car into a giant stretcher, covering it with an elaborate canvas that shines under the introduced and ambient light in front of The Cloud. The work riffs on the phenomenon of the car cover, emphasising the vehicle’s status as a precious object, worthy of safeguarding. In its sensual softness and silver colouration, it is also reminiscent of reveal cloths used to premiere new models, evoking the constant technological innovation on which the car industry trades and depends (especially if it is to survive the transition away from fossil fuels).
At the same time, the cover acts as a couture garment, adding volume and complex forms to the body beneath: ruffles that gather tightly, yawn, and dissipate round the vehicle. Clarke picks up on the car’s inherent sculptural qualities, reminding us of the attention to aesthetics and sensation that make it into an object of desire rather than a mere tool. The reflective fabric dialogues with the remarkable painted skin of the LC 500, while creating its own unexpected effects. When photographed with a flash, it produces an image quite other to that yielded by the naked eye, extending the work into the digital plane, while emphasising the uniqueness of physical experience.