Art/Design, Fashion

Check out the bizarre artwork for Balenciaga’s Crocs shoes

Featuring multi-media artist Anna Uddenberg and photographer Kristina Nagel.

words by: Sahar Khraibani
Nov 21, 2021

Balenciaga‘s most recent inventions, a collection of Crocs shoes with a distinctly avant-garde twist, went viral on social media recently, which is maybe only natural for high-heeled plastic footwear and boots.


The shoes themselves earned the majority of the emphasis in the brand’s latest campaign, but an off-putting blue sculpture of a real person wearing them received the majority of the attention. The human sculpture appeared beneath a fishing hook that inexplicably arced above them, with their hands on a cement wall and their legs spread apart on the ground. With a car-seat-like strap on the back, the figure was wrenched into an unimaginable posture.



Anna Uddenberg, a Swedish artist who lives and works in Berlin, whose eccentric inventions have been displayed at institutions like the Moderna Museet in Stockholm and the now-defunct Marciano Art Foundation in Los Angeles, is the artist behind that artwork—and yes, it is an artwork. Uddenberg’s sculptures were photographed for the Balenciaga campaign by artist Kristina Nagel, who, like the artist, is based in Berlin.


That blue sculpture, however, was not the only one Uddenberg created for the fashion brand. Another one has a woman with a plaid jumpsuit and harnesses, as well as Balenciaga’s lime-green high-heeled Crocs. That figure is pictured caring for a malfunctioning stroller that lacks a sitter—not that it could accommodate one, considering that it lacks a seat. Balenciaga commissioned these pieces to mix “the exotic with the familiar,” a new trend in the fashion world that seems to be on the rise.



Much of Uddenberg’s work can be described in this way. Female bodies are shown in extreme states in the sculptures for which she is most known. Journey of Self Discovery (2016), her most well-known work, depicts a lady using a selfie stick to take a picture of her thonged behind. Other works have depicted partially naked female figures emerging from suitcases and pieces of furniture that appear to belong on the set of a science fiction film rather than in one’s house.


Crocs have already appeared in Uddenberg’s work, with some of her futuristic-looking women even donning them in some circumstances. Uddenberg’s work is frequently difficult to put words to, but it’s possible that her use of Crocs and contorted stances is part of a bigger investigation into “basic” fashion design and how it’s marketed to women.


Nagel’s photos of the new Uddenberg work first emerged on Balenciaga’s social media pages, but the brand has since deleted all of its posts without explanation. You can purchase the Balenciaga x Crocs Boot and Madame 80mm heel on Balenciaga’s website for $695 and $625 respectively. The boots appear in black, green, white for women and black, olive green and grey for men. The heels arrive in white, pink, black and green.



In related news, check out all the Crocs collaborations that have made them relevant with Gen Z.


Photos via Balenciaga