MoMu’s New Exhibition Explores Style’s Fraught Relationship with the Physique
Mirror Mirror – Style & the Psyche at MoMu Antwerp is opening “a brand new dialogue on physique photos, psychological well being, and well-being within the style business,” and options work by Cindy Sherman, Simone Rocha and Sarah Lucas
Style occupies a fragile place within the ever-complicated body-mind nexus: it may be a constructor and a destructor of self as garments negotiate the tender boundary between our individual and the world. How we gown might help us to make sense of ourselves, but exterior style media can equally disfigure what we thought true. Mirror Mirror, a brand new exhibition at MoMu Antwerp held at the side of the Dr. Guislain Museum in Ghent, delves into this knotty relationship by means of the encircling theme of the psyche.
It’s a tricky idea to sort out – how does one translate one of many nice mysteries of the human situation into a fabric exhibition? At MoMu, curator Elisa De Wyngaert succeeds by holding the highlight on the physique and dissecting it by means of the trifocal lens of Reflection, Reproduction, and Avatar. In three phases, the exhibition appears to be like at how up to date style can affect how we conceive of our our bodies, how this expertise is surrogated by means of dolls and mannequins, and, lastly, how it’s stretched to limitless potential within the digital realm.
The sartorial discourse is bolstered by up to date artworks from the likes of Genieve Figgis, Sarah Lucas and Cindy Sherman as, explains De Wyngaert, “it’s necessary to convey totally different disciplines collectively and to not isolate style as if it’s an island that has nothing to do with the remainder of the world.” Mirror, Mirror is by no means supposed as an entire story of the fashion-psyche-body relationship however, as De Wyngaert explains, by specializing in these three limbs she hopes to encourage a brand new method of trying on the physique and to “open a brand new dialogue on physique photos, psychological well being, and well-being within the style business.”
How we relate to our our bodies by means of style is usually offered as a sickly story of dysmorphia however, from the opening phase Reflection, the exhibition diverges from typical physique stigmas in favour of an empowering and sanguine discourse. Elegant attire from Molly Goddard, Hussein Chalayan, and Noir Kei Ninomiya encourage the wearer to take up house on the planet, whereas designs from Rei Kawakubo (notably items from her 1997 ‘lumps and bumps’ assortment for Comme des Garçons) and Martin Margiela champion unconventional constructions of the human type. Sure mannequins don spectacular custom-made wigs from movie star hairstylist Cyndia Harvey, which additional dismantle poisonous, standardised beliefs of determine rather than a extra truthful, extra inclusive magnificence.
Equally, in Reproduction, dolls and mannequins are stripped of their nightmarish connotations and celebrated for his or her (fascinating) historical past and potential to hold that means. In a practice relationship again to the 14th century, dolls have been used as moveable miniatures to showcase a designer’s assortment to abroad consumers – a kind of travelling showroom that has been replicated not too long ago by the likes of Viktor&Rolf, Simone Rocha, and Walter Van Beirendonck (who constructed a loud night breathing Sleeping Magnificence doll particularly for the present). Additionally of be aware is a doll donated by Martin Margiela which is dressed within the first garment he ever created: a tiny jacket with seen white stitching (it was the one thread he may discover in his grandmother’s home) that might later grow to be his signature.
The one second when the exhibition’s abiding optimism begins to waver is within the closing chapter, Avatar: can the bodily self, and all of the advanced that means related to the physique, be faithfully translated to a digital realm? Digital tradition is just recently-discovered territory for style, so De Wyngaert turns to artwork to hunt solutions (and extra questions). In reality, the exhibition closes with a projection of Ed Atkin’s 2014 video ode to melancholia within the age of digitalism, Ribbons: in entrance of the large display screen, you possibly can’t assist however really feel so small, each corporally and temporally, subsequent to the boundless prospects of the web. Can avatars actually bridge the bodily to the digital self? Who ought to maintain the facility to create these digital selves? And, will they ultimately develop feelings, ideas, complexities – a psyche – of their very own?
Mirror Mirror – Style & the Psyche is on view at MoMu Antwerp till 26 February 2023.