Erotic Fall 2019 Accessories Ad Campaign by Frederik Heyman
Part of being human is wanting not to be. The infinity of the soul is frustrated by the necessary finitude of the world in which it finds itself, the need to be in a certain body, in a certain place, in a certain time. These limitations are vulgar to the spirit that knows itself to be eternal and everywhere. Longing to transcend their specificity, a human being seeks unity in the experience of others: in the telling and hearing of stories, in a stream of images on a screen, in the embrace of a lover. They look to become part of a whole. And yet to be a part of a whole, one must be limited. A person needs eyes to see and ears to hear, arms to hold. In order to have an experience of this whole which lifts the spirit beyond the limitation of being in a certain body, one must be in a certain body. The body, then, is both obstacle and end.
This curious duality is explored in Y/Project’s first-ever video campaign. The Paris-based label enlisted Frederik Heyman to create the video for their Autumn/Winter 2019 accessories campaign, another first for the brand. Heyman is a digital artist (though this label doesn’t seem to capture the magnitude of his work) from Belgium, and has been friends with Y/Project creative director and fellow Belgian Glenn Martens ever since they attended the Royal Academy in Antwerp together, where Heyman shot Martens’ first campaign. The artist’s work makes frequent use of digital scans and photogrammetry, an innovative technique which creates three-dimensional measurements from two-dimensional data.
In my work, I start from 3D scans and create digital installations in a virtual environment. All the bodies were 3D scanned at first and were comped in together afterward in big mechanized setups. The Y/Project accessories where also 3D scanned, and partly 3D modelled.
– Frederik Heyman
The video is bizarre, sexual, and enchanting. Human obelisks of entangled and robotically augmented bodies performing uncannily mechanical sex acts on each other rise up from mechanical platforms overgrown with wildflowers. Heads and hips bob in polyrhythmic digital synchronicity as flesh gives way to metal and circuitry. Fully-clothed laboratory workers who appear to be monitoring the infinite progress of the strange ritual/experiment feel like a juxtaposition; their reliance on technology seems cold and distant against all this intimacy and flesh-to-flesh contact.
Heyman seems to be exploring ideas of deconstruction and reconstruction, an erotic desire to lose oneself in another person and in doing so become oneself more than ever. His video artwork is directly inspired by the collection’s Kamasutra jewelry, a pair of elegantly sensual pieces that echo Heyman’s motif of intertwined bodies. Exploding the simplicity of these accessories, Heyman forces us to consider our desire to transcend our humanity, and shows us that this desire is ultimately a desire to embrace our humanity.
The potential risk taken by Glenn Martens and Y/Project – launching a campaign they had never attempted before in a way they had never attempted before, and collaborating with a wickedly experimental artist – has massively paid off. The campaign manages both to be tremendously innovative and to explore timeless questions. What feels most exciting about it is that at its heart it is an extremely impressive and strangely beautiful piece of art. Isn’t it great to be a human being?
Y/Project Creative Director | Glenn Martens Director | Frederik Heyman