Tuesday, July 08, 2014

When art walks the runway

As we've always been interested in art crossovers (with movies, fashion, animal artists etc) we were starters for the Dries van Noten exhibition in Paris. It was more than just impressive and the way it had been put together offers many valuable insights on concept development, curation, focus and display. Plus the attraction of fabulous clothes.

Unlike most single artist surveys van Noten has made a large exhibition (alongside the curator Pamela Golbin) focused on his influences. These are  something many artists like to keep in the cupboard for as long as they can but for van Noten, “Fashion is so rich…because we can draw on so many sources of inspiration.”

Van Noten's inspirations turn out to be very diverse but one surprising one to us turned out to be Jane Campion’s 1993 feature The piano. It got a large room to itself with clips from the movie and a range of black on black outfits that echoed its well-known aesthetic and period detail. We were also intrigued by the other 20th and 21 century artists van Noten rates as his inspirations and the value he places on them. And they are not just mentioned on a wall text but represented by significant or idiosyncratic works. Francis Bacon was included of course via four or five torn pages from magazine and paint splattered photographs taken off the famous studio floor, carefully conserved and now on permanent display in Dublin. Marcel Broodthaers was there with mussels and Christopher Wool with words and Elizabeth Peyton with a couple of dashing portraits. One painting spoke of another constellation of influences we are very familiar with. The 1966 painting Tauri by Victor Vasarely could be taken in technique and style for a complex Gordon Walters. Walters often mentioned Vasarely as important to him, but to see this one right in front of you, wow.

Image: the section given over to the influence of Jane Campion's film The piano on Dries van Noten