Friday, 12 September 2014


After almost two years working on my new collaborative exhibition, the NOT X CHRIS SAUNDERS exhibition opened this week at Wallplay in New York City. The show was well received. In this post I wanted to put up all the final images from the series, each of these images is available as an edition of 10. The show will be up for viewing till the 17th. We also have an artist talk on Monday the 15th at 7pm in the gallery space. 

NOT X Chris Saunders X Macdonald Mfolo with Manthe Ribame, Orange Farm 2014
NOT X Chris Saunders X Vernac with Manthe Ribame, Bree Street Taxi Rank Johannsburg 2014
NOT X Chris Saunders X Vernac with Manthe Ribame, Bree Street Taxi Rank Johannsburg 2014
NOT X Chris Saunders X Floyd Manotana with Manthe Ribame, Jeppestown Johannsburg 2014
NOT X Chris Saunders X Floyd Manotana with Manthe Ribame, Jeppestown Johannsburg 2014
NOT X Chris Saunders X DR Pachaga with Manthe Ribame, Jeppestown Johannsburg 2014

An Introduction to NOT X CHRIS SAUNDERS: 

In a world of increasing globalization, what is locality and how does it reflect diversity? ‘NOT x Chris Saunders’ is a creative experiment that tries to make sense of this question through fashion and photography. As an act, journalist Bill Moyers describes creativity as “piercing the mundane to find the marvellous ” This exhibition reflects the journey and dialogue between seven creators who step outside of familiar ground. It demonstrates how technology-enabled creators living in different cities and countries, each with varying influences and processes meet via the Internet, enter into an inter disciplinary exchange and collaboratively produce garments, sculptures, still and moving images. In January 2014, NOT, an experimental womenswear brand based in New York, becomes a roving studio and practice. Its designer, Jenny Lai, travels to Johannesburg to collaborate with photographer and filmmaker Chris Saunders. Chris’ personal work focuses on South African artistic subcultures; it is the linchpin to graft the project into multiple local contexts. Cultural reinvention is frequently propelled by emergent practices, and often made by the next generation. ‘NOT x Chris Saunders’ places itself at this nexus. Over a period of two months, the studio moves between Johannesburg, Orange Farm, Soweto and Cape Town. It resides in homes and studios of four local creators who each work with Lai to reinterpret a selection of NOT garments. The designs maintain elements of their original form, but the question is how will they remain the same or change under the vision of accessories designer Dennis Chuene, vintage clothier Dr. Pachanga, menswear designer Floyd Avenue, and costumer and puppet maker Macdonald Mfolo. Each bring their own aesthetic language and techniques that reflect something of their history, environment, and ideas. With performance artist Manthe Ribane as protagonist, Saunders’ images narrate beyond mere documentation. He layers each image densely to situate each story in a uniquely South African context.

- Missla Libsekal, Another Africa (


On September 10th, 2014, NOT x Chris Saunders opens at Wallplay’s concept space on New York’s Lower East Side. The exhibition is the culmination of the cross-cultural, interdisciplinary relationship between New York-based designer Jenny Lai, Johannesburg based photographer Chris Saunders, and four local creatives from South Africa. The exhibition will continue in March at the Museum of African Design.

NOT x Chris Saunders explores the process of creative cross-border collaboration and showcases the distinct people, places, and processes that make South African fashion unique. By utilizing Wallplay’s first and second floor, 12 street level screens and rooftop projections, the exhibition will convey, across several platforms, how a cross cultural collaboration can happen in the modern digital age. The exhibition will make this rich project come alive by inviting visitors through the tactile process of each collaboration: through documentation images, design sketches, final photographs, and a video that shows each garment in performance.
South African collaborators include Dennis Chuene of Vernac Bags, a designer who takes apart China bags to recreate stylish and functional backpacks, Dr Pachanga, a vintage clothier who introduces the global trade of 2nd hand clothing, Floyd Avenue, a streetwear and hat designer from the Smarteez fashion collective, Macdonald Mfolo, a costume designer for Pantsula dancers and maker of larger-than-life puppets, and finally Manthe Ribane, a performance artist who tours internationally with South African rap-rave band Die Antwoord. Each collaborator was chosen for the unique perspective they offered on South African fashion. 

wallplay | 118 Orchard Street (Corner of Delancey) | New York, NY 10002 | join our live feed using #wallplay