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Tom Sachs’ latest film, Paradox Bullets, which premiered at the Tate Modern this week, features Ed Ruscha as its leading man, and Werner Herzog as its narrator. The film, a reflection on contradiction, complexity and nuance, revealed Sachs’ 11-years-in-the-making project with Nike, the new Mars Yard Overshoe. Ruscha plays a man in the Mojave Desert who loses his keys while attempting an important delivery. Things become erratic from there, with Sach’s new set of guidelines, the Paradox Bullets, informing Ruscha’s path.

Sachs stands out on Nike’s team of collaborators, responsible for some of the brand’s most successful limited run projects, with the Nike Mars Yard 2.0 garnering the highest resale price of any Nike shoe. In 2012, the designer and artist collaborated with Nike to produce the pioneering Mars Yard Shoe. In 2017, Sachs and Nike created an even bigger impact when the sneaker was re-introduced with updated materials. Moving forward in the collaboration, on 11 October, the Nike Mars Yard Overshoe will be available for pre-release at London’s Dover Street Market. The sneaker prevents feet from becoming cold and wet through a Dyneema upper, and can be worn all the way up to defend against the elements, or it can be worn down for comfort in heat.

Building upon his interest in space travel, Sachs has produced numerous space-related sculptures throughout his career. His fascination with space, and specifically the Apollo programme of the 60s and 70s, culminated with his project Space Program in 2007. Sachs built a 1:1 model of the Apollo lunar module, a mission control with 29 closed-circuit video monitors, and outfitted two female astronauts with handmade Tyvek space suits. In October 2007 at Gagosian Gallery in Los Angeles, Sachs launched his spacecraft, landed on the moon, and explored its surface.

Born in New York in 1966, Sachs studied at London’s Architectural Association School of Architecture. With wit and inventiveness, the artist and designer creates ideal-challenging sculptures based on the “American Way of Life,” and the dazzling world of consumerism. His objects are confidently crafted so that the process and the places where glue has been used are still visible, unashamedly presenting the viewer with the downsides of reality. Sachs’ objects playfully critique today’s fashion and street-style culture, sceptically assessing the value of contemporary American culture.

Earlier this month, at London’s Galerie Thaddeus Ropac, Sachs recreated a previous work of his, for which the gallery remained open for a full 24 hours as part of the performance. For €20, and after having their photo taken and answering some probing questions about education, income, and sexual promiscuity, visitors were able to get their hands on Sachs’ version of the coveted Swiss passport. The art installation is an expanded version of one that he presented at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York in 2016, the same year Britain voted to leave the European Union and Americans voted to elect Donald Trump as President, two momentous political moves that focused worldwide attention on citizenship.


On borders:

“I make art not about the way the world is, but the way I want it to be. Everything great starts with an idea and I believe in a world without borders.” – Evening Standard, 2018

On his on-going collaboration with Nike:

“Nike makes sneakers and I make sculptures, but both the studio and Nike are what I call ‘idea companies’. In athletics it’s all about work, and this movie in many ways is a celebration of work. It’s a story of a man going through a struggle and that’s a story that everyone can relate to.” – GQ, 2018

On Ten Bullets:

“Ten Bullets, that’s kind of the like the 10 Commandments, these rules that we live by—but you can’t really live by them, it’s more of a compass to point you in the right direction. Ten Bullets have been around for a while and it’s been our benchmark for how we live and die in the studio, and Paradox Bullets is in a way a softer approach where it embraces the contradiction.” – Vogue, 2018


Feature image: Mars Yard Overshoe (via Nike)

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