press release

Opening reception: September 16, 6-8 pm Including performances by Liquid Loft and Jenny Marketou

Art and fashion’s influence on the definition of society, identity and culture as well as the relationship between fashion design, cultural engagement and performative action constitute the thematic core of the exhibition A WAY BEYOND FASHION.

One starting point for conveying an artistic claim in the field of fashion and fashion’s function as an identity-building, social, technical and aesthetic genre can be found in the work of the late designer Rudi Gernreich. He is recognised as one of the 20th century’s most influential fashion designers and was responsible for creating Total Look and Unisex fashion. Rudi Gernreich’s designs break through the limits of fashion.

A WAY BEYOND FASHION showcases designers who explore questions of individuality as well as artists who work with identity, socio-cultural and interventionist issues and whose works analyse the dynamics of a globalised fashion world. Fashion as the interface between the individual and society, between art, architecture, technology and design. Fashion acts as a social skin through which the natural confines and limits of the body can be surpassed. Transience and variety, the confrontation with the individuality and also the anonymity of a media-driven fashion industry gives artists and designers an opportunity to articulate innovative concepts. In contrast to the everyday relationship the consumer has with fashion, A WAY BEYOND FASHION deals with the questions of our society which are rooted in complex issues of identity as well as ecological and technical developments.

What do art and fashion reveal about the state of society and culture? What changes to society are artists striving to trigger when they employ the language of fashion? What are the issues for society that fashion designers seek to address? Which new cultural genres arise from the interplay of fashion and art? How does fashion influence or define cultural identity?

The artistic conflict with cultural norms and ideals and with socio-political behaviour is not only reflected in fashion, but also generated by it. How this happens is a key theme of the exhibition. New aspects and qualities are spotlighted in order to show the interplay between artists and fashion designers and the alternative systems which result from this reciprocal dialogue. Fashion as an indicator of sexuality, ethics and cultural identity – fashion and textiles as storage platforms which can be loaded with identity – fashion as a communication tool.

In his analysis of the cultural industries in his Dialectic of Enlightenment, Theodor W. Adorno underlined the inescapable role of fashion as a complementary element to art. Despite its tendency to be commercially manipulated, Adorno states that fashion does not merely instrumentalise art, but rather gets to its very core. Andrew Ross revealed the technological ideology that claims that the material world lies behind the growing "smartness" of our physical world. "Human-made object world becomes an alternative home of intelligence." Clothing is not a private matter but rather a surface to the outside world, a hybrid media corpus which reflects an overall picture of technoid smartness. Naomi Klein maintains that the global fashion industry affects how we perceive reality in our social and cultural environment.

only in german

A Way Beyond Fashion
Kurator: Robert Punkenhofer

mit Acconci Studio, Hussein Chalayan, DJ MIRA , Carla Fernandez, Rudi Gernreich, Terence Gower, Edwina Hörl & so+ba , Liquid Loft , Jenny Marketou, Lucy Orta / Jorge Orta, Takehiko Sanada