Manuela Benaim

Silk dress, Silicone, hair

The genesis of this idea came to me this past March on the third week of Covid-19 self-isolation. By that point , I had  worn that dress every day and I could see a tan line from it on my skin. I would have thoughts such as how many dead cells will this dress collect at the end of each day? I tend to find meaning in dualities, in the shape of the thin space between me and my surroundings. Dualism in Metaphysics is the belief that there are two kinds of reality: material (physical) and immaterial (spiritual). In the case of the dress, it was mirroring both realities.

This nightgown was eerily attuned to my emotions as a self-isolated artist; it captures my spirit. There was a strong sense of at-homeness, as every nightgown does, but this dress also made me feel fragile, vulnerable, and somewhat intimate with myself. To what extent  is our clothing an extension of our feelings? How much can an outfit change our behavior? I wore that dress one last time knowing I had to part with it, and the next morning I submersed myself in the dress. As soon as the silicone mold meshed with the fabric I felt heard and represented. It was a moment of clarity of why I do what I do.