Irene Waters
ECHOS (empty clothes hang on show) (2008)
Hand made paper
Dimensions variable (Installation view)
Irene Waters
Baby-Gro
ECHOS (empty clothes hang on show) (2008)
Hand made paper
Dimensions variable (Detail)
Irene Waters

Ficelles (Threads) silent threads that run continuously within and throughout the sub plot of a narrative. The Ficelles that run through out this multi faceted installation piece collectively incorporates queer cultural and gender creativity.

Over the past 18 months I have worked closely with a male to female transsexual, Nikki. The result of this collaboration is an art installation that incorporates three separate elements; paper clothes, photographs and a video that relate to the transition of Nikki from male to female. The 7 items of clothing represent the various stages of development from boy child to adult and end in a woman’s re-birth dress. Every element of this installation permeates the underlying narratives which address the complexities of gender and sexuality.

ECHOS (empty clothes hang on show) contains a series of full sized garments recreated in handmade paper that hold significant memories or recollections to Nikki as both male and female. They include: Baby-Gro, Girls’ summer dress, School uniform, 1st Gay outfit (male), 1st Drag dress, Tango dress, Rebirth dress.

Our clothes can label us as individuals, placing us within social groups, expressing sexuality, gender, etc. I have tried to illustrate how we as humans seem to find sanctuary beneath our clothing, we wear our clothes like…body amour, but really they are pure surface giving us visual protection alone. They are metaphors for fragility, the fragility of what is hidden and lies dormant beneath the outer façades of these visual protectors.

I also believe that our clothes act as collectors, keeper’s of silent memories, accumulating stories whilst we wear them, so they become unspoken narrators, capturing and nurturing stories within the fabric and that is why I decided to recreate these poignant articles of clothing in handmade paper.

Transgenderism is an intricate and emotive subject and I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to create, celebrate and acknowledge the difficult journey this individual has undertaken.

Irene Waters
Girls’ summer dress
ECHOS (empty clothes hang on show) (2008)
Hand made paper
Dimensions variable (Detail)
Irene Waters
School uniform
ECHOS (empty clothes hang on show) (2008)
Hand made paper
Dimensions variable (Detail)
Irene Waters
1st Gay outfit (male)
ECHOS (empty clothes hang on show) (2008)
Hand made paper
Dimensions variable (Detail)
Irene Waters
1st Drag dress and Tango dress
ECHOS (empty clothes hang on show) (2008)
Hand made paper
Dimensions variable (Detail)
Irene Waters
Rebirth dress
ECHOS (empty clothes hang on show) (2008)
Hand made paper
Dimensions variable (Detail)