Judith Clark has curated Homo Faber: Fashion Inside and Out part of an inaugural event at the Fondazione Giorgio Cini in Venice showcasing European craftsmanship. The exhibition, which took place in the spectacular space of the disused Gandini swimming pool, took as its theme how traditional techniques inspire contemporary design and exhibition-making.
Category: Projects (Page 1 of 3)
The installation of Footnotes, an exhibition of artist responses to the LCF’s historic shoe archive, took place last week for the exhibition at the National Trust’s Sutton House in Hackney. Shoes from LCF’s diverse collection which includes 1930s orthopaedic footwear, silk slippers from the 1800s and even a shoe made for a sheep, are for the first time on display with Artists Eelko Moorer, Ellen Sampson, Linda Brothwell and Laila Diallo all producing new works inspired by the shoes’ remarkable histories. New interpretations are revealed in five categories: Scale, Balance, Fragility, Singled Out and Common/Uncommon that employ film, dance and virtual reality in their telling. The exhibition, which was funded by the Arts Council and supported by Kurt Geiger, is accompanied by a programme of talks and performances running 9 May – summer 2018.
CfFC’s Alison Moloney, curator of the exhibition and research fellow at LCF said:
London College of Fashion’s shoe archive has been compiled to inspire and instruct students in the making and designing of shoes. As objects, the shoes have so many interpretive possibilities for artists because the provenance of each one is unknown. Sutton House provides the perfect backdrop to Footnotes because of its own extensive history. Through this exhibition and accompanying programme of workshops and talks, we want to immerse people in the history of the everyday and in shoes as ways to reanimate the past and access personal and shared cultural memories among the audience.
Footnotes 9 May – Summer 2018.
The new installation of the galleries comes from an invitation from the Cristobal Balenciaga Museum to respond to the new curatorial route through the archive. The exhibition Cristobal Balenciaga Fashion and Heritage collects together moments in the history of the houses Balenciaga established in Spain and in Paris, and each chapter illuminates different modes of display: the aesthetics and romance of the archive, of conservation, of performed museologies that evolve and revolve around these monuments of dress history. The exhibition format allows us to build up associations and conversations across collections, each adding a new perspective. My own conversations and installation pays homage to the new routes through the archive in the way that a new visitor might, finding one’s own associations to the material. The design therefore quotes remembered past exhibitions that have paid homage to Balenciaga bringing another kind of reference to the project. We see the work through the eyes, for example, of Diana Vreeland, Marie- Andrée Jouve, Pamela Golbin, Kaat Debo, Miren Arzullaz, Hamish Bowles or Olivier Saillard, among the many curators, researchers and fashion historians who have sought new approaches to Balenciaga’s legacy, that are shown along the route as props. The architecture is temporary against the fixed vitrines of the museum: the tension between fashion and heritage underlining the questions the exhibition itself raises.
Judith Clark, March 2018
Fig. 3: Left, Hamish Bowles’s exhibition Balenciaga and Spain looked at his roots in traditional dress. His chapter on Dance is populated with images of the models in the salon wearing white gloves. Right, Naomi Filmer’s gesmonite gestures.
Zoe is one of a group of young volunteers working on the Queer Looks oral history project which is collecting stories and clothing from LGBTQ+ communities in Sussex, garments which will be displayed at Brighton Museum as part of an exhibition of the same name. Here she is talking about her experiences on the project.
“Being involved in an exhibition for Brighton Museum looking at the last 50 years of LGBTQ+ dress, was a very exciting prospect. Historical dress and LGBTQ+ history is a combination that I’d not encountered in a museum before. As a group of young people from Brighton, we brought an accumulation of various backgrounds and experiences, eager to help shape this project and work on our ideas for what the ‘Queer Looks’ exhibition would achieve. The continuing thought process throughout agreed upon essential goals like making the exhibition valid and authentic. Also importantly, properly communicating the stories of the people kind enough to tell them. I felt that this project could potentially be challenging yet exciting to work on as it would reflect the stories from within the community.
Initial tours around relevant exhibitions, a trip to the fashion stores and a variety of workshops gave us a real insight into what it takes to put on a fashion display. We focused in particular on how to use social media to promote our work, oral history interview techniques and photographic skills, giving us a thorough foundation for interviewing older members of the LGBTQ+ community across Sussex. I personally enjoyed learning about museum curation in the context of a fashion display and the logistics of translating oral histories through exhibiting people’s donated clothes and their stories told. Along the way we also learned a bit about things such as conservation issues, archives, informed consent and overall limitations and freedoms. It was apparent that curating a successful exhibition takes more work than I initially thought given the behind the scenes work, both collaboratively and individually for every item that goes on public display.
During the conducting of oral histories, we gathered the stories of people living in Brighton and Sussex. This was by far my favourite part of the project as this required us to speak to individuals in our own community from as vast a range of people as possible who all identify as LGBTQ+. The interviews gave us an opportunity to ask people about the meaning of dress to them and to talk about their donated outfit. I found it so insightful that people have an endlessly different experiences from one another and that dress can mean so many things to different people. The importance of it can range from outward fashion expression, to capturing someone’s true identity. This is what gave the project’s significant context, that behind the exhibition being curated, the outfits weren’t just a donation, they had a meaning and a story.
This experience has given me insight into the procedure for researching and selecting garments for display as well as gathering oral histories, alongside skills such as social media and marketing. I feel that the work put in so far from the young project team promises to deliver an authentic and impactful exhibition.”
Alison Moloney, International Exhibitions Curator in CfFC at London College of Fashion, has been awarded a British Council Art Connects Us grant to travel to Cape Town and Johannesburg to develop a research programme and to explore possible exhibition opportunities and collaborations with CfFC. Alison is organising at talk at Gallery MOMO, an experimental art gallery which has displayed some of the South Africa’s most interesting fashion designers/artists on Saturday 3rd March in collaboration with Erica de Greef, a fashion theorist, curator and lecturer at the University of Cape Town, and the gallery director. Gallery MOMO and involving some key industry players, There will be a panel discussion around approaches to fashion curation with a chance to see the 1914 Now series of films, commissioned by Alison. Alison will also be meeting designers and artists while she’s there for possible collaboration with LCF. See below for the venue’s press release.