Category: Event (Page 1 of 3)

Footnotes – Sutton House, 9 May 2018

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.

Balenciaga symposium at the V and A Museum

The V&A hosted a symposium celebrating Spanish designer Cristóbal Balenciaga’s influence on fashion to coincide with an exhibition about the designer. MA Fashion Curation student, Xinyi Li, attended the day.

The symposium of the exhibition Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion at V&A provided enriching insights into not only the making and curating of the current exhibition, but also multiple perspectives into Cristóbal Balenciaga’s métier and life.

The book ‘Balenciaga My Boss’ about the family’s generations of friendship and partnership with Balenciaga about the family’s generations of  friendship and partnership with Balenciaga, has been released in English

To start, V&A senior curator Lesley Miller and the exhibition’s assistant curator Kirsty Hassard set the day’s theme with the keyword “Legend.” The following speakers’ practices contributed significantly to the making of the exhibition.

Conservator Joanne Hackett presented behind the scenes experience of conservation and installation of the garments. She spoke of the importance of investigating the characteristics of each object in terms of its materiality, volume and fit, and in turn, sculpting customised mannequins for presentation.

Slide showing customised mannequin in hourglass shape constructed to display Anne Bullit’s gown

Nick Veasey introduced us to his practice as an x-ray photographic artist. Prior to this collaboration, he had prominently worked with objects that are mechanical and structural, but clothe and textile. Thus, during the collaboration, he had discovered many techniques of x-ray photographing garments, such as the use of balloons to create volume, while remained invisible in the photograph. Due to the special conditions of this job, he built a special mobile x-ray studio from a truck, which was divided into shooting area and development area.

Photographs showing X Ray artist Nick Vessey working at his X ray mobile studio

As Balenciaga’s trusted dressmaker in San Sebastien Juan Mari Emilass life long work and relationship with Balenciaga could be closely observed through the precious letters, paper patterns, documentations that he had kept over the years.

Balenciaga’s dressmaker in San Sebastien, Juan Mari Emilass shows his collection of papers that document the relationship.

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Installing Gluck

Gluck: Art and Identity opens on the 18th November at Brighton Museum and is a celebration and investigation into the world of Gluck, both artistically and personally. The exhibition is part of the ‘Wear it Out’ project between the Centre for Fashion Curation at London College of Fashion, UAL and Brighton Museum. The three exhibition creators – Amy de la Haye and Jeffrey Horsley of the Centre for Fashion Curation, and Martin Pel, Curator of Fashion and Textiles at the Museum – have created this exhibition in a truly collaborative way. Their statement of intent was to ‘create’ an exhibition – they do not differentiate between curator and exhibition-maker.

Paintings by Gluck. Oil on canvas. (Clockwise from right 1. Lords and Ladies, 1936, 2. Snowdrops, 1924, 3. Still Life With Scallop Shell and Blossom, 1972, 4. Orchestra, 1967, 5. Convolvulous, 1940 6. The Pleidaes, 1940-43)

The concept for the exhibition originated from a collection review of the Fashion and textiles at Brighton Museum, conducted by Amy and Martin, where they found a store of beautiful dresses somewhat surprisingly attributed to Gluck, who was renowned for her masculine dress and androgynous look.

Gluck portrait, Angus McBean, 1937

Born Hannah Gluckstein in 1895 to a very wealthy family who founded the UK-wide chain of Lyons tea houses, Gluck rejected traditional expectations of a woman of her social standing by running away to join an artists’ colony in Lamorna, Cornwall, wearing masculine clothing and engaging in relationships with women. She became well known for her paintings of subjects such as the theatre, portraits of society figures and floral arrangements. She showed her uniqueness in the three-stepped frames she developed and patented, as well as her refusal to subscribe to other artistic schools or movements of the time or indeed show alongside other artists.

Artist Smock worn by Gluck. Natural coloured linen, c.1920’s-1950’s. Brighton Museum Collection.

Gluck Collarbox.  Brighton Museum Collection,  November, 2017

However Gluck received just as many column inches for her ‘look’ which incorporated men’s plus-fours and barber-cut cropped hair. She demanded to be known as just Gluck with no prefix, and was singular in both name and artist path.

The collection of clothes Gluck donated to the Museum just before her death are conspicuously lacking in any menswear or masculine ephemera. Whatever items of menswear Gluck had were lost to a large jumble sale held after her death. The collection’s only indicators of Gluck’s gender fluidity are two painters’ smocks and a round leather box used to store stiffened collars.

This absence led the creators to conceive three different curatorial perspectives, as exhibition-maker Jeffrey Horsley explains: ‘the exhibition is a series of biographic fragments viewed from different perspectives – a conventional museum perspective, interventions inspired by Gluck’s own words, and installations that give a sense of an investigative process.’ Owing perhaps to the lack of scholarship on Gluck, this investigative perspective becomes almost forensic and can be seen through the use of maps, images, drawings and text.

The absent aspects of the collection Gluck donated led the creators to assume curatorial suppositions. These ideas are differentiated from the factual museum labels through their presentation on violet panels throughout the exhibition.

These violet accents act in order to queer the space through the colour’s association with the Sapphic violet, and history as a lesbian symbol. This queering of the space is acknowledged from the first instance. The moment the visitor steps into the exhibition they view a pin board on which portraits of Gluck’s female lovers are displayed; on the reverse panel are maps of locations and spaces she occupied, socially and professionally.

By using the colour violet and avoiding fixed pronouns to describe Gluck, the creators negotiate the difficulties in projecting labels such as transgender and lesbian backward to a time when such terms didn’t exist in the public consciousness, whilst celebrating Gluck’s identity and acknowledging how the artist has been claimed as an important historical figure by both the lesbian and trans community. This elegant refusal to pigeon hole or label fits with the artist’s demand to be referred to as just Gluck, without gender specificity. The colour also works effectively against the dark grey walls and helps to make the paintings in Gluck’s famous three-stepped frames stand out.

One of the only pieces of masculine ephemera, the collar box, will be shown suspended over a beautiful example of a 1920’s evening dress.  This display has been devised to deal with the absences of masculine items in the collection. The juxtaposition of these opposing items show what Gluck’s contemporaries would have been wearing, and therefore what she rejected.

Viewing the installation phase of the exhibition offered a great opportunity to see how the space is used, and how the clothes are to be shown. In the second room visitors will see a display of the floral day dresses that sparked the beginning of the exhibition.

They will also see a rather striking display of three black evening gowns that will be shown inside the metal-framed boxes developed for the recent exhibition Present Imperfect at the Fashion Space Gallery, LCF. The boxes were made with re-use in mind and here they are turned upright to frame the evening dresses.

Co-curator Martin Pel working on evening dressses. (Back: Floor-length evening dress with black lace bodice and long sleeves. Black rayon and black lace skirt over black underskirt. Made by Cresta Silks, Herts, 1930s. Front: Black silk georgette deeply pleated culotte dress with sleeveless bodice and V-shaped neckline, 1930s. Brighton Museum Collection.)

In the same room there will be a Legacy section including author Radclyffe Hall’s novel ‘The Well of Loneliness’ which was re-issued in the 1980s by Virago with Gluck’s Medallion (You and Me) 1937 as the cover image. Medallion features the striking profiles of both Gluck and her lover Nesta Obermer, who many of the dresses in Gluck’s collection are believed to have belonged to. This Virago edition brought Gluck’s work to the attention of a new generation.

This exhibition pays tribute to the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act of 1967, which included the partial decriminalization of male homosexuality. Throughout this year there has been a celebration of queer lives and rights across many media and institutions, such as the Queer British Art exhibition at the Tate Britain, which featured Gluck’s self portrait as its cover image.

Installation of ‘Gluck Art and Identity’, Brighton Museum, November 2017.  Co-curators Jeffrey Horsley and Amy de-la-Haye

Gluck: Art and Identity, Brighton Museum, 18 November 2017 – 11 March 2018.

Words and pictures by Flo Nolan.

A book, edited by Amy and Martin, Gluck: Art and Identity (Yale, 2017) is available. More details can be found here

As part of the upcoming DATS conference, hosted by Brighton Museum, on 23 and 24 November 2017, Amy and Jeff will be talking about approaches to the exhibition. For more information and to book.

A symposium, hosted by LCF on Wednesday 07 February 2018 will explore Gluck, her life, art and identity. Details are forthcoming, so please look out for information on the Centre for Fashion Curation pages and Fashion Curation blog.

More about Installing Gluck

Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture Call for Papers

 

For more information and to email proposals contact Dr Serena Dyer s.f.dyer@mdx.ac.uk and Dr Bethan Bide B.bide@mdx.ac.uk

 

Talking Heads

Jeff Horsley, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Centre for Fashion Curation has recently collaborated with Holly Shaw from LCF’s Digital Anthropology Lab on an innovative project for the exhibition Gluck: Art & Identity, Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, 18 November 2017 to 11 March 2018.

Following a successful production for recent exhibition Present Imperfect at Fashion Space Gallery, LCF, for which Holly and Jeff realised a life-size 3D scan of dancer Ed Mitton milled into the base of a display case, their current work focusses on a digital rendering of the artist Gluck, subject of the Brighton exhibition.

 

Present Imperfect: a life-size 3D milled impression of a dancer was used as a background for display of a contemporary dance costume from Rambert.

Renowned for dressing in masculine clothing with barbered hair, Gluck presented a singular image in portraits, self-portraits and studio photographs. Regularly posed in profile, eyes down-cast, Gluck’s distinctive pose reads like a trademark.

Gluck

 Gluck

Jeff and Holly have aimed to represent Gluck in the exhibition with a mannequin prosthetic inspired by the artist’s self-image. Sculpted by Holly from photographs of Gluck, a life-size 3D printed rendering of the artist will be mounted on one of the mannequins in the exhibition. Rather than a hyper-realistic depiction, Holly referred to images of art deco sculpture and decorative art objects to produce a formalized image of the artist. This stylisation is intended to reflect the artist’s self-stylised attitude. The prosthetic has been printed in a plaster and resin medium to enhance its sculptural appearance. A cut-away to the back of the skull is intended to exaggerate the prosthetic’s artificiality and it’s digital rendering.

Digital rendering of the head of the Artist Gluck by Holly Shaw, Digital Anthropology Lab at LCF

Side view digital rendering of the head of the Artist Gluck by Holly Shaw, Digital Anthropology Lab at LCF.

The finished head arrives at Brighton Museum

Jeff Horsley fitting the head on to the mannequin.

 

Gluck: Art and Identity 18 November 2017 to 11 March 2018
Brighton Museum

Read more about the project on the Centre for Fashion Curation pages

Part of Wear it Out, the HLF-funded collaboration with Brighton Museum

The art of the prima donna

Opera lives through the music of composers and through the lyrics of librettists. Roles are interpreted by new singers every year. Sets and costumes are re-imagined, deconstructed and revived all around the world. But what about performances? How can old performances be revived? New singers will always focus on the role, never on a previous performer, as it is their duty to breath new life into operas written one, two, even four hundred years ago. A lecturer, instead, is entirely devoted to the story he tells. A lecturer uses his knowledge to present a narrative, and uses audio-visual records as evidence. And when there is no evidence, the lecturer becomes the channel for the past to enter the present. The art of the prima donna is a total work of research, a passionate re-enactment through the unity of sound, movement and drama. Created by Matteo Augello, PhD student at London College of Fashion, as part of his ongoing experimentation with performative tools in curation.

The art of the prima donna, V&A, Saturday 11 November 2017, 4pm. 

Read more about Matteo Augello on his research profile

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