apparel oft proclaims the man

Posted: February 17, 2017 in galleries
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“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

a straw hat hangs with a dress made of green fabric, sleeveless, with two big shiny red hearts that would cover the breasts of the woman who wore it.

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.

a row of dirty well used workcoats that used to be blue are hanging on the wall of an art gallery. under each one is a label with a job name, draper,

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?

a row of designer clothes as part of an art gallery ehbiti, a paint splotched covered blue long sleeved shirt, a red mid-calf length red dress with white polka dots with little red school house shaped head on the mannequin, and and holding a small red schoolhouse in her hand, a sleeveless dress with carrots in many pockets

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

a mannequin in shiny gold pants stands with its feet apart, in between its feet are a pair of shiny gold boots

below: “Adam and Eve are Going Shopping in Costume” 2014, by Frederique Morrel.   Eve is standing in the shopping cart

two mannequins covered in patchwork of tapestry needlepoint with pictures that sort of match the anatomy of the mannequin.   The faces dont quite line up,   a man and a woman.  the woman is standing in a shopping cart

below: Some of  tapestry placements are just a little too literal.

 close up of part of a mannequin dressed in tight fighting fabric made of a patchwork of tapestry pieces. The piece shown in this image is of a brown cat

below:  “Clothes for a Dithering Monk” 2014, by Denise Bonapace.

black netting in the shape of a cross on a wall. within the cross is more black light weight fabric in the shape of a person whose arms in the horizontal parts of the cross.

below: Part of “Clothes for the Chaste Pornographer” by Gentucca Bini

a coat made of blue mesh hangs in front of a display of old dirty workcoats that are hanging on the wall

below: Close up of part of “Mirabelle Shining Star” 2014, by Melissa Zexter

part of a dress made of black and white pictures printed on fabric, and knitted squares in orange and red yarn

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

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