Dancers shimmy, step, and sway around the sinewy sculptures of Isamu Noguchi in a new film directed by FKA Twigs. The music video, titled Playscape, was released to mark the announcement of the seven finalists for the 2022 International Woolmark Prize, which honors rising fashion talents from around the world. This year’s edition was “inspired by Noguchi’s ground-breaking multi-disciplinary work and the importance of play in creativity,” according to the website.
FKA Twigs, a British avant-pop artist, partnered with the Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum to assemble the cast of works inspired by the sculptor’s visions for “radical” playgrounds. One of the most celebrated creatives of the 20th century, Noguchi constantly pushed the conceptions of an object’s functions, whether it was an industrial tool, a piece of furniture, or artwork. In the 1930s, he began designing a series of public parks that functioned as “playable” art — sculptures that existed to be acted upon.
“I think of playgrounds as a primer of shapes and functions; simple, mysterious, and evocative; thus educational,” Noguchi said in 1975.
He completed only one such playground in the United States before his death in New York in 1988. In 1973 he was commissioned by the National Endowment for the Arts to build several structures in Piedmont Park near Atlanta’s High Museum. His abstract creations included a monumental stone slide, a low stepping mound, spidery swings, and blue and green climbing blocks.
Playscape opens with a shot of the play sculptures in an empty gallery, but they’re soon joined by the dancers whose choreography — courtesy of renowned dancer Juliano Nunes — mirrors their sinuous form. A glossy red piece that resembles an undulating wave or infinity sign is paired with a dancer in loose red robes. Twigs, herself a seasoned modern dancer, appears too, locking and releasing her limbs in angular motions that match the strict geometry of Noguchi’s massive, stacked blocks.
“It is an honor to be chosen by the Woolmark Prize to work with such talented designers and to create my first piece of work with Juliana Nunes, innovator of dance for the avant Garden collective,” Twigs said in a statement.
Watch the video below: