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"Capsules" with elements from the world of fashion and art

13 October 2014 / 14:10:56  GRReporter
5007 reads

Simona Peneva

The exhibition "DESTEFASHIONCOLLECTION: 1 to 8" presents the world of fashion and art, both together and separately. Elements of the global fashion scene have become interpretations that famous artists present in their "capsules". In a special interview for GRReporter readers, one of the curators of the exhibition, Nadia Argyropoulou, reveals details about it.

Would you say a few words about DESTE Foundation? Who are you?

DESTE Foundation for Contemporary Art is a non-profit organization established in Athens in 1983 by collector Dakis Ioannou. Deste organizes a series of exhibitions and other activities (publications, award ceremonies) to promote contemporary art, its concept and position in life and culture, as well as the rise of artists from Greece and abroad. DESTE is active worldwide, it has a flexible schedule and cooperates with other institutions, museums, curators, researchers and the academic community.

What do visitors find in your current exhibition?

It is presented for the first time within a large Greek museum and is called ''destefashioncollection''. This is an ongoing project exploring the boundaries between art and the world of fashion. Destefashioncollection performs a new, multi-collective and completely developing process to which new proposals are constantly being added. Since 2007 and each year afterwards, an artist operating in the fields of art, literature, architecture, films and more has created a prototype collection, a "capsule collection", by selecting five models from international fashion during this period and offered their new interpretation. A new project originates from it that focuses on morphological, representative, material and social similarities and exchanges between fashion and art. The fashion elements that every artist chooses for the "capsule" and the works that he or she creates using motifs from it compose his or her annual participation. The exhibition called "DESTEFASHIONCOLLECTION: 1 to 8" collects the materials of the first eight years of the project development, namely from 2007 to 2014. The aim is to compare the objects selected by the artists from the world of fashion with their prototype interpretations, and to highlight how the elements of the collection relate or communicate with each other.

Is the exhibition connected more with art or with fashion?

The exhibition does not focus solely on art or fashion, but rather on the increasing tension between these two worlds, on the common traits that bind them or the distance that separates them.

How was the idea born? What inspired you?

The exhibition presents the February 1982 issue of the Artforum art magazine on the cover of which there is a cane corset from the 1982 spring-summer collection by Isssey Miyake. This issue provokes a serious dialogue between art and fashion, especially since in the introductory note publishers Germano Celant and Ingrid Sushi describe fashion not only as a system by which one can interpret the "political history of the body" but as a system having "super consciousness" about the history of its species, thus becoming a part of an interesting and unexpected dialogue with the artistic practices of the era. Collector Dakis Ioannou has kept the February 1982 issue and now that the destefashioncollection project is being revived, two decades later, and after conversations between Dakis Ioannou with artists and curators, it is an important indicator of thge project. The project explores the intense relationship between fashion and art, and promotes the change of roles between the participating artists who must act as curators, collectors, and even as historians, in order to form their capsule in a dialogue with the previous ones.

Who are the creators of the works that you present in the exhibition? What designers participate in it?

So far destefashioncollection has involved Michael Amzallag & Matthias Augustyniak (M/M Paris)-2007, Juergen Teller-2008, Helmut Lang-2009, Patrizia Cavalli-2010, Charles Ray-2011, Athina Rachel Tsangari-2012, Diller Scofidio+Renfro-2013, Maria Papadimitriou-2014. The project is ongoing and its presentation will continue on an annual basis in the future.

Has such an exhibition been organized before? If so, did it involve famous designers?

The destefashioncollection project is presented for the first time in its completeness. One part of it was presented in collaboration with concept store Barney's and under the editorial supervision of Dennis Freedman in 2012 in New York, where special facilities for the windows were created in collaboration with Michael Amzallag & Matthias Augustyniak (M/M Paris), Juergen Teller, Helmut Lang, Patrizia Cavalli and Athina Rachel Tsangari, and artist John Bock staged a special performance.

Do you address a specific audience?

We address everyone with this exhibition, regardless of age or occupation. Because it applies to issues of visual culture, it examines the ways in which we connect with the world and other people through art and fashion, and how we manage our identity or perceive the identity of others. This is an understandable and interesting exhibition for everyone.

What is the purpose of the exhibition? What is your message for the public?

For DESTE Foundation the exhibition is part of its overall policy in the field of art, as mentioned previously. The outspoken view of cultural expression and structure, their direct connection with everyday life, the look at history and the conditions of modernity are the interests that have led to the realization of this exhibition. The relations between DESTE and the Benaki Museum that has also expressed its relevant research curiosity through other exhibitions of clothing and its meaning, has also played an important role. We offer visitors a topic and its possible interpretations whereas the curatorial approach to the presentation provides more incentives to ponder over this issue.

Curators of the presentation of the project at the Benaki Museum Nadia Argyropoulou, Mark Vasiyuota and Adam Bavdlar have undertaken to present the submitted exhibits and the specific nature of this unique collection. The exhibition "DESTEFASHIONCOLLECTION: 1 to 8" emphasizes the active connection of people with art and fashion as well as the data added to it by the present age because of its speed and hybridity. The exhibition makes choices that do not exceptionally belong either to the exhibition dictionary of art, or to that of fashion.

A system of uprights displays both the projects by the artists and the fashion items thus composing an unconventional presentation approach. Moving parts of metal chains are consistently deleting and rewriting the boundaries between the objects. The chains are coming to life, actually dividing the space between fashion and art, they are uncovering and blocking the view while going around a series of connections at the same time, such as Art, Fashion, Art and Fashion, Non-art, Non-fashion. The size of the body that is used in fashion is based on a standard number (2), from which the important dimensions of the neck, chest, thighs and hips have been borrowed. The entire figure of the window doll is limited within these dimensions and is divided between adjustable points. Referring to the special dolls used in the tailoring industry but also to the traditional ones used in mass sales, the equipment at the exhibition shows the body, wandering between the exceptional diversity and standardization. Due to the awareness of the structural role of magazines and other print media in the field of fashion and art, each destefashioncollection project includes its own edition and presents it as a message or inserts in lifestyle or special content magazines. These editions are the only elements published on the wall of the building and they play with the concept of "value distribution" and "validity" on the museum wall. They appear again in a special reading room, along with the periodicals that have already circulated from reader to reader with messages about curatorial practices and the selections for each capsule. The exhibition is connected with the atrium of the museum through the uncovered windows, thus encouraging the double look, from the outside and vice versa, stressing the importance of public space in the theme.

What is the purpose of the internet platform? Do you show there parts of the exhibition?
The online, collective, "do it yourself" experimental project has been triggered by the exhibition "DESTEFASHIONCOLLECTION: 1 to 8". Each participant - ordinary individuals with different views and experience in the fields of art, fashion, style, life and visual culture - takes elements from the eight capsules of the exhibition and perceives them both as a kind of clothing and mysterious works of art. In this way, the short films of the project make up a kind of a gazette that plays with and teases fashion obsessions and stereotypes of art, raising questions about the style, identity and experience of time. The platform is named

What are your plans for the future?

We hope to present the exhibition "DESTEFASHIONCOLLECTION: 1 to 8" and some additional elements of the destefashioncollection project abroad. In addition, the preparation of a catalogue with many additional elements about the research and its participants is underway too.

All interested can visit the exhibition until 26 October at Benaki Museum on Piraeus Avenue.

Tags: Fashion and artDesignMuseumClothesDESTE DESTEFASHIONCOLLECTIONCapsulesFine art
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