“Apparel oft proclaims the man” Shakespeare in Hamlet I iii.
or as Mark Twain said, “Clothes make a man”.
“Workware, Abiti da Lavoro” is an exhibit at the Harbourfront Centre Art Gallery. It is curated by Milan-based designer and artist, Alessandro Guerriero and co-produced by the Istituto di Cultura of Toronto and Triennale di Milano. A lot of the artists who participated in the show are fashion designers
below: “Dress for a Crop-Raising Girl”, 2014, by Elio Fiorucci
Some of the words on the wall – “Some time ago, the cowl did make the monk, the metalworker and the lawyer. Our clothes were the direct representation of our role in society and its related image. Originally, however, clothes were something else altogether. In the Biblical story of the apple, as He cast Adam and Eve out of Paradise, God made garments of skin to clothe them, saying, “Go but remember that you are just a man and that you need protection because you are limited.””
below: Hanging on the wall were a line of dirty work coats, each labeled with a job: cobbler, draper, glazier, saddler, carpenter, and hatter. None of these jobs would have involved a coat that looked like this, i.e. that got messy in this way.
below: left to right – “Work Shirt to Paint Dreams” 2014 by Alberto Aspesi, “Dreamers Clothes” 2014 by Angela Missoni, “Clothes for a Carrot-Picking Girl, 2014 by Colomba Leddi, and unfortunately two that I forgot to take note of. The red dress is just so little red school house – so literal. Not quite as literal as the carrots for the carrot-picking girl…. so if she’s finished picking carrots and wants to pick beans next, does she change into her bean dress?
More words on the wall – “This original garment was a gesture of love – protective as well as representative and foundational of the human condition. But as society rather than the sacred came to define the balance of power, these two meanings were upset so that clothing changed from being a mark of fragility into a social function and sign. Today, our individualism has once more changed its meaning making clothing an expression of the self. It is now a way of disguising our thoughts and of giving them a new shape.”
I decided just to repeat the words verbatim. I will let you decide their worth. I just can’t do it.
below: “Extreme Film, AW13 Collection”, 2013 by Issey Miyake
below: “Adam and Eve are Going Shopping in Costume” 2014, by Frederique Morrel. Eve is standing in the shopping cart
below: Some of tapestry placements are just a little too literal.
below: “Clothes for a Dithering Monk” 2014, by Denise Bonapace.
below: Part of “Clothes for the Chaste Pornographer” by Gentucca Bini
below: Close up of part of “Mirabelle Shining Star” 2014, by Melissa Zexter
Last paragraph of the words on the wall – “This exhibition is not a display of “work clothes” but of garments for hypothetical, invented, coveted, imaginary jobs that actually invent new jobs for a new and different society. Today’s designers, including the 39 in this exhibition, work amid epochal changes – the decline of the myth of great masters and of the small factories of fine Italian design on the one side, and on the other, between the giant global entities of eastern virtual design and the complete subversion of centres of post-economic and post-industrial geography. Nevertheless, there are those who attempt to discover new territories – empty spaces, experimental, staggering, radical and unknown. What would clothes look like not only for bakers, carpenters and tailors but also for an email eraser, a butterfly engineer, the one who looks for a needle in a haystack, a healer of the healthy, a survivor, or a quarreller?”
…. And now I think I am going to design an outfit for a ‘skeptical photoblog writer who has read too many words’.
Exhibit continues until 23 April