Found fabrics are transformed into sculptures, interactive installations and wearable artworks by the textile and performance artist, Alex Hug (Alex Henkes). Her practice centres firmly on human relationships and is underpinned by a firm belief in the emotional content of her chosen materials. Pre-loved clothing, bed linens and accessories such as gloves are used to create tactile artworks which address loneliness, the nature of friendship and the human need for physical contact.
Alex Hug studied first at Parsons School in Paris before taking courses at Central St. Martins and Instituto Marangoni, both in London. She completed her training in fashion design at Manchester Metropolitan University and ESMOD Berlin, and went on to work with international designers including Jesus del Pozo and Sybilla. In 2016, she launched the sustainable clothing brand, A HUG, whose collections are crafted entirely of upcycled garments.
In parallel, Alex Hug has developed her artistic practice through textile sculptures and performance since 2019. Her first non-funcional piece was a reflection on friendship: she combined the used jackets of three close friends into a single, wearable garment. A Big Hug, based on this work, was presented in a performance at Drawing Room Fair Madrid in 2020.
The connection between clothing and social status is explored in Social Status Elector (2019), a soft sculpture which combines a dark, executive suit with time-worn knitwear. The series of Hug Stations (2020-2021), meanwhile, speaks to issues of touch starvation in a present-day shaped by Covid lockdowns and digital communication. Each piece is an invitation to physical contact in the form of a hanging panel complete with arms fashioned of overlapping sleeves. The performance Touch Again, presented at Espacio SOLO in 2022, featured four Hug Stations brought to life using movement and the spoken word.