“Boxing is a great metaphor for life and I wanted to ask people what they were fighting for.” This question was posed by the artist, musician and rebel Michèle Lamy and formed the basis of her immersive installation What Are We Fighting For?, featuring individually designed punching bags hanging from the ceiling.

Curated as part of the Carpenters Workshop Gallery exhibition Dysfunctional in partnership with Lombard Odier, the installation was originally shown at the Venice Biennale. It extended some of the ideas Lamy explored during her residency of the same name at Selfridges in 2018. 

Lamy invited artists to create and customise punching bags based on themes that both celebrate and challenge us. Among her collaborators are the design collective Studio Job, Atelier Van Lieshout, Connor Tingely, Giovanni Leonardo Bassan, Ingrid Donat, Kendell Geers, Scarlett Rouge, Frederik Molenschot and the Brazilian artists Humberto and Fernando Campana. The Campanas’ bag, made of sisal rope, raffia and wicker, references traditional Brazilian ocas and the importance of sustainable techniques of making . Molenschot’s piece was inspired by Parmesan cheese and is created of stacked blue wheels celebrating heritage and craft (and dairy products). And Atelier Van Lieshout’s looks, well, like a giant sausage.

Lamy herself has been boxing for 35 years and using her work to draw attention to social inequality for just as long. Nine punching bags from What Are We Fighting For? are to be auctioned online by Sotherby’s in partnership with BXR London from the 22nd November to the 2nd of December. Proceeds from the auction will go to London Community Boxing, a charity which offers inclusive access to boxing, encouraging even the most marginalised to engage with sport with the aim of enhancing our overall community. That's what we call a knockout initiative.

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