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Fashion Show: Clothing, Art and Activism at The Glucksman, Cork, Ireland

July 29–November 6, 2022

Fashion Show features contemporary artworks by Irish and foreign artists that use clothing as a theme, material, and advocacy tool. The exhibition demonstrates how clothes may be used as a tool for activism and protest, from examinations into how fashion lends itself to self-representation to studies of the financial and environmental implications of “rapid fashion.”

Is My Body Public? by Alicia Framis features photographs of 14 women holding transparent fabric sheets that are embroidered with the title in each of their native tongues. The garments, which resemble lingerie but were really worn by the artist throughout her public performances, serve as banners for protests. Figure by Anna-Sophie Berger The Wearer of Clothes has the appearance of a traditional ballgown and a crinoline-like iron skeleton underneath. A central aperture, however, also makes a reference to tents, indicating that clothing choices and personal style can act as a form of safety and shelter. The relationships involved in the manufacturing, distribution, and consumption of fashion are shown by Tenant of Culture’s textile creations. Large sheets of cloth printed with ready-to-cut drawings of sleeves, collars, and vests are used to display her “chore jackets,” the practical, utilitarian outerwear that has become popular among middle-class urbanites. The undulations of the female body are traced in Sinéad O’Dwyer’s sculptures made of silicone mesh using design, tailoring, and casting techniques, questioning the concept that the female body is an idealized form with a single shape.

Malick Sidibé urged his subjects to exhibit themselves in their best, most fashionable attire for his renowned photographic images of Malian youth culture. His photographs, which were produced by his Bamako-based Studio Malick, show the specific atmosphere change that occurred in the 1960s as society moved from French colonial rule to independence. Jorge and Lucy Wearable objects that facilitate participation, communication, and connection amongst strangers are a component of Orta’s collaborative approach. Their collection of backpacks are furnished with seemingly innocuous goods that allude to various emergency situations. Zhili, Huzhou, in the province of Zhejiang, is home to about 18,000 small manufacturers that produce children’s apparel and employs more than 300,000 migrant workers throughout the year. This is where Wang Bing’s movie 15 Hours was filmed. This movie follows the life of the employees of 68 Xisheng Road in Zhili for a single day.

Sibyl Montague creates sculptures that resemble blankets out of commonplace materials like clothing, rags, and wool. These sculptures highlight domestic and gendered crafts like sewing, wrapping, weaving, quilting, and needlework, which take the form of actions that are associated with providing care. For the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015, Gluklya’s installation Clothes for demonstration against Vladmir Putin’s fraudulent election was first made. A better, more just society is imagined in utopian visions authored by the artist and her pals and shown on clothing as well as slogans yelled during rallies in St. Petersburg. Evelyn Taocheng Wang’s work emphasizes the importance of gender, race, and class. In Photosynthesis, fifty color images of diverse European locations each feature Wang dressed in clothes by French fashion icon agnès b., a symbol of Western refinement frequently promoted to Asian customers.

Fashion Show is a component of BEAM UP, a project supported by Creative Europe that promotes the involvement of individuals with visual impairments in the planning and enjoyment of museum activities. The exhibits will come with a variety of tactile components, navigational tools, and audio resources that may be accessed both at the gallery and online at our website.

Fashion Show: Clothing, Art and Activism is supported by the Arts Council of Ireland, Creative Europe Programme of the European Union, and University College Cork.

Artists: Anna-Sophie Berger, Alicia Framis, Gluklya, Sibyl Montague, Sinéad O’Dwyer, Lucy + Jorge Orta, Malick Sidibé, Tenant of Culture, Wang Bing, Evelyn Taocheng Wang         

Curated by: Chris Clarke and Fiona Kearney as part of the Creative Europe BEAM UP project

The Glucksman
University College Cork
Hours: Tuesday–Saturday 10am–5pm

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