Summer 2009
Summer 2009

The Art of Fashion: Installing Allusions

19 September 2009 - 10 January 2010

Viktor en Rolf 2007, photo by Peter Stigter, model Maryna Linchuk
Viktor en Rolf 2007, photo by Peter Stigter, model Maryna Linchuk

In The Art of Fashion, this autumn Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen will be exploring the boundaries between fashion and art. Over the last few decades fashion has drawn closer to art in all respects. Fashion designers use installations and performances to disseminate their ideas, and in turn influence the art world. The exhibition reveals the relationship between the two disciplines through the medium of new works of art by five top designers.

The Art of Fashion: Installing Allusions explores the boundaries between fashion and art. Since the 1960s fashion has been about more than just clothes. As a reflection of concepts and ideals fashion has become essential as a vital expression in our modern-day culture. This development aroused the interest of the art world, which saw the emergence of Pop Art and performance art in the same period. From the 1980s art magazines such as Art Forum have regularly published work by fashion designers, and their work can increasingly be seen in art galleries and museums.

For this exhibition special commissions have been given to five designers who operate at the interface of fashion and art. The H+F Fashion on the Edge programme allows these designers to work as artists in their own right. Viktor & Rolf’s fashion shows are extraordinarily theatrical and Hussein Chalayan’s shows resemble experimental installations. Building on her fascination with neglected parts of the body, jewellery designer Naomi Filmer makes sculptures that would not be out of place in a museum. Walter Van Beirendonck creates a vast imaginary world, while Anna-Nicole Ziesche combines clothing and film to express personal experiences.

50 works
With five new works as the foundation, associative links will be made with items by designers such as Martin Margiela, Bless and Comme des Garcons and artists like Christophe Coppens, Nick Cave and Louise Bourgeois. The exhibition throws light on different aspects of the grey area between fashion and art: the fashion show as performance, the pattern as sculpture and the imaginary world of the fashion campaign. Some fifty works will be on display, ranging from avant-garde dresses to installations and sculptures.

Book and catalogue
Fashionscape, a substantive and theoretical background book, is being published to accompany the exhibition. This book will examine the background to and history of the relationship between fashion and art. Renowned international authors have collaborated on this publication. The Art of Fashion, a magazine about the artists and designers who are taking part in the exhibition, will also be published for the exhibition.

The museum is organising an international symposium in collaboration with Premsela – Dutch Platform for Design and Fashion, dAcapo and the ArtEZ Modelectoraat on 18 September 2009. Various workshops, lectures and a family day are also being staged in the museum during the exhibition.

The exhibition was put together by José Teunissen (lecturer at ArtEZ Arnhem) and Judith Clark (exhibition maker, London). The Art of Fashion was made possible by the H+F Fashion on the Edge programme, by writer and collector Han Nefkens. Dutch ELLE celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and is our media partner. The exhibition is a main part of the official programme of Holland Art Cities 2009-2010.