Savagely montaging

by United Blogs of Benetton on: May 15th, 2010

Whilst I was “stranded” in New York, I tried to make use of the time wisely by cramming in some exhibitions namely the Tim Burton retrospective at MOMA. Sadly that was a little disappointing given the confined exhibition space and overcrowding. I wish therefore that I could have seen something that probably won’t garner half the crowd but is nonetheless just as fascinating.

At the pop-up gallery Boo-Hurray in Chelsea, New York is exhibiting a selection of punk-era collage/montage work by the author Jon Savage (England’s Dreaming, Teenage) and visual artist Linder Sterling.

Their art fanzine “The Secret Public” published in Manchester in 1978 and ensuing publications was a collaborative visual diary of the first-wave of punk as well as being part of a self-publishing wave where you had hundreds of zines in places like Rough Trade. The exhibition also includes flyers, posters and other printed memorabilia connected with seminal bands such a the Buzzcocks, Joy Division and the legendary Factory Records circa 197701980. It also documents the urban decay going on in London and Manchester, photographed by Savage.

In particular Sterling’s work has a meta-femininst tract that is intriguing to see in its rawest and earliest form which later manifests itself into her visual and installation work as well as most recently, a fashion context exemplified by her prints collaboration with fashion designer Richard Nicoll.

I love the visceral and precise nature of Savage and Sterling’s montages collated in the exhibition. It brings into question the physical qualities of print that as Savage points out are great snapshots of a particular era and whether online information can be stored and cherished in the same way as say, these montages. Do you necessarily feel the same sort of nostalgia towards an archived webpage as you do towards a printed collage where you know hours worth of scalpel paper cutting have gone towards?

Linder Sterling and Jon Savage: The Secret Public, Boo Hooray Galleryc/o Steven Kasher Gallery, 521 West 23rd Street between 10th and 11th Avenues, Manhattan, NYC

Exhibition dates: May 10th – May 23rd, 2010

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 The Larger Scale

by United Blogs of Benetton on: April 12th, 2010

It’s interesting how spikes, studs and all things hard in fashion are fleeting moments where one season everything you see is studded and spiked and the next, they are completely banished. It was therefore intriguing to see artist Susie MacMurray‘s latest garment installation, currently dispelled at Manchester’s newly reopened Gallery of Costume; a piece entitled Widow, made out of black nappa leather and adorned with over 100,000 adamantine dressmaker pins.

These are not of course fashion friendly spikes, the supposed bits of hardware that make you conform to cliches such as tough biker chick. These are pins that could do serious damage if you ever felt the urge to touch the piece.

Neither is Widow meant to be on any level wearable either. In my mind, the piece seemed to speak of traditional notions of a widow, pining after her deceased spouse, and busying herself with cottage industry scale dressmaking. That’s just my interpretation though.

Murray has also used the recognisable medium of dresses to make other large scale garment installations such as dresses made out of turned out rubber gloves and coloured balloons.

In other large scale, track stopping and thought provoking pieces, one of the more recent ones to hit London is Alice Anderson’s Time Reversal piece that is quite literally spilling out onto the streets on Beak Street’s Riflemaker Gallery.

The French Algerian artist has revisited the story of Rapunzel to create an installation where thousands of metres of hair come cascading down from a window on the first floor into the gallery, entangled in amongst mementos of film, sculptures and photographs of a fictional childhood.

Susie MacMurray’s Widow on display at Manchester Gallery of Costume, Platt Hall, Rusholme, Manchester, M14 5LL until September.

Alice Anderson’s Time Reversal at Riflemaker, 79 Beak Street, London W1F 9SU until 24th April.

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