Tel Aviv :
Fashioning the Object
BLESS, N°43 Know Howowow, Fall/Winter, 2011-12
Boudicca, Stills from, the film documenting Couture #03: Essays, January 2009
Boudicca, Tornado Dress. From the collection Couture 3, 2009
Sandra Backlund, Crochet Top and Hand-Knitted Skirt From the collection Pool Position, spring-summer 2009 Photographed by: John Scarisbrick
Bless, hairbrush, 1999
Boudicca, Couture Coat with Silver Chain and Metal Discs: Couture Forever From the collection A Dream Sequence, spring-summer 2007
Sandra Backlund, Origami Top, From the collection Ink Blot Test, autumn-winter 2007
Bless, No. 42: "Plea to Here and Now" Tie, 2010
Sandra Backlund, Hand-Knitted Dress, from the collection In No Time, spring-summer 2008, Alpaca
The exhibition "Fashioning the Object: Bless, Boudicca, Sandra Backlund" conceived by Zoë Ryan, curator for the Department of Architecture and Design at the Art Institute of Chicago, explores different practices and representations of identities via clothing.
The presentation of fashion (whether haute couture or "ready-to-wear" clothing) in the ivory towers of the art establishment poses a special challenge as it introduces a contradiction in terms: emblematic of the apparatuses of constant change, fashion is akin to a sociological capsule of the present moment, whereas the museum represents a slow, compressed time which pinpoints the present along a historical continuum, providing a seal of approval and canonizing by means of its retrospective view. Can such a presentation preserve the vibrating, vibrant quality of fashion as a cultural form, without transforming it into a ghost? How can fashion's performative quality be sustained inside the museum?
The exhibition is constructed as three environments:
The Bless Environment is a domestic-collagist space, a montage of real and illusive, concurrently transpiring around, within, and outside a curtain of colorful metal coins. The curtain, which occasionally functions as a sound-blanket as well, serves as a surface for diverse objects: accessories, artifacts, and clothes (ranging in quality between vintage and meticulous nonchalance), and magazines in which the Bless collections were hosted.
Bless was founded in 1997 by German designer Ines Kaag (b. 1970, graduated from the Academy of Art and Design in Hanover [Fachhochschule]) and Austrian designer Desirée Heiss (b. 1971, graduated from the University of Applied Arts, Vienna).
The Boudicca Environment is a space of videos, photographic/filmic essays, or montages of stratified narratives and images, sequences of reality-dream which draw on multiple disciplines, and manifestations of human existence. In this space, the human body becomes a theater of hybrid body images, computer animation, and poetic texts, set against a soundtrack ranging from the classical to the electronic-psychedelic.
Boudicca was founded in 1997 by Zowie Broach (b. 1966) and Brian Kirkby (b. 1965), both graduates of Fashion Design from Middlesex University, England.
Sandra Backlund's Environment engulfs the viewer with a choreography of tactile knit pieces, cycles of orders and connections, replete with gender associations, which convey sophistication and intricacy. Backlund's sensual knitwear has a constructivist DNA—architectural knitwear made of layered loops, presented on busts installed on tripods, with photographs of the works as backdrop. The photographs' close-up aesthetics, conceived by Swedish photographer Ola Bergengren deviates from the prevalent genre of fashion photography. His photographs transform the perception of clothing, which momentarily resembles abstract objects.
The Swedish Sandra Backlund (b. 1975, graduated from the Beckmans College of Design, Stockholm) opened her studio in 2004.
Fashioning the Object: Bless, Boudicca, Sandra Backlund
From 28 November 2012 through 28 April 2013
Tel Aviv Museum of Art
27, Shaul Hamelech Boulevard
Tel Aviv, 61332 Israël