Fashionable stories in artistic context to be seen at gallery Layr Wuestenhagen, Vienna: Graduate students from University of Applied Sciences (prof. Bernhard Willhelm) show their silk-Georgette dress creations for a ‘Vanity-Ball’ embedded in the conceptual context titled ‘from birth to life to death of a dress’: The creations were presented in various performances, based on the student`s personal approaches to the ‘here and now’ that`s rather implicit to the fashion circus.
As there already were some critical remarks addressing the students`works as too heavy with meaning, I´d like to point out, that I definitely liked the idea of presentation and the concepts for performances: The stories vary between the topics of life and death, playing with optical illusions, or e.g.involving the viewer by inviting him ‘to let the exclusive product of fashion become a towel through a subversive act’..
I basically think it`s quite essential to keep one`s eyes open in any kind of creative process (as I already stated here). And where should be the place for testing things out, if not at university? I could make up another theme here, on education that`s pushing students like lemmings to the next cliff and preventing any space for personal process..but won`t do it at this point, although I clap hands for Bernhard Wilhelm, his team and the students.
Being interested in bringing out experimental ideas, generating something new and avoiding the reproduction of established structures, it`s useful to leave beaten paths for developing new and exciting stuff. If there`s space for experimental self-discovery – even better, for things often get rather boring, if they get stuck on the surface. The holistic approach Willhelm and guest advisor Kronthaler developed, leads to a change of perspectives, as this form of presentations differs from the conventional runway shows. As a consequence, it`s necessary to rethink all attributes a performative presentation requires: the perception of space, the body, time and the interaction with the audience (that is like a dog, Marina Abramovic). Not to forget about putting your ideas in words. For:
You cannot do, what you cannot think. (J. Beuys)
It`s remarkable, that a change in the perception of space has at least arrived in conventional forms of representation and production of fashion. Frontiers disappear at places, while being manifested in another ways at other places..not merely to be seen in the definition of boundaries that get defined close to the human body (in shaping his form like a sculpture, or starving to death) while being displayed in its everyday performance. One reason, why fashion – as a tool of circumscribing the self/ body – undergoes an enormous hype these days. The contemporary notion of a growing importance of fashion to a wider audience and its associated mass-productions get undermined by performative presentations: the dresses are shown in their very particular narrative context, in the immediate scene, the designer intended it for. The exhibition at gallery Layr Wuestenhagen is a kind of very personal interaction with the audience, lacking fears of contact with space, that`s occupied by another discipline. It`s not dreading to get in touch with frontiers set up by irritating connotations of foreign spaces.
While, on the one hand side, this form of presentation is obviously open to a wider audience, it`s excluding those who do not bear the resources that allow a closer interest in cultural productions. On the other side, it may attract an audience with a prior interest in artistic production. This form of presentation could be a step forward towards an awareness of the creative process and the codes to be served with fashion, while removing from a decreasing consumerism and the machinery of fast-food fashion.
watch out for additional information and photos here