Mark Fast's knitted sculpture debuts in Toronto



Now based in London, Winnipeg’s own Mark Fast has spent the past week camped up in Toronto, hard at work on a knitted sculpture for Luminato. We spoke to him as construction on the piece, entitled The Ascension of Beauty, loomed overhead at Brookfield Place.


Q: How did you come up with the idea of this exhibit?

A: “Luminato and I had talked about an instillation–something where art would mix with fashion. As soon as I walked into this space, I knew what I wanted to do with it because it has such beautiful architecture. It almost reminds me of being inside a very large knitting machine. I just wanted to evoke the emotion of knitting itself, because the process of knitting and putting up the sculptural is like a mechanical ballet of people.”


Q: How did you plan such a large-scale project?

A: “I worked with my cousin, who is an architect, on the plans. He did such a great job. Everything is marked with a piece of tape and he made a life-size model before we [began construction], so it’s pretty exact.”


Q: You’re in the middle of designing your Spring 2011 collection. Why was it still important for you to make the time for this instillation?

A: “That’s the great thing about this–I have the opportunity to extend my creativity. It’s beyond the catwalk, really. It’s good to have an opportunity to evolve the concept of knitwear that I do for the runway.”


Q: What do you wish people will feel when they enter this space to view the work?

A: “Escape, the freedom that anything is possible and emotion of hope.”


Q: Have you encountered any obstacles during construction?

A: “So far, it’s gone off without a hitch. I don’t know if the riggers feel the same way, though, they have to lift all that heavy rope!”


Q: Tell me about the dress that’s at the centre of the instillation.

A: “It’s an intricate red dress with electric orange underneath and Swarovski elements all knitted through. To celebrate the anniversary of Lancôme, I took their logo of the rose literally and created a dress that is made of layers, like those of rose petals. The crystals resemble how on a rainy day, droplets will fall on the flower like little sparkles. I wanted to show the intricacy, timidness and fragility of a woman.”


The Ascension of Beauty is open to the public from June 11th-June 20th
at Brookfield Place.