press release

01.12.2021 - 20.02.2022

Hussein Chalayan: Archipelago

Curator: Gong Yan

From December 1, 2021, to February 20, 2022, the Power Station of Design (psD) of the Power Station of Art, will host the exhibition Hussein Chalayan: Archipelago. This will be the first fashion-related exhibition at the psD since its inception.

Hussein Chalayan is an internationally recognized cutting-edge fashion designer, who moves between the fashion industry and art creation. He uses bodies and runways as a stage to discuss urban and cultural issues such as migration, identity, and borders through installations, videos, sounds, and various machineries. In comparison to his contemporaries, fashion critics find it difficult to define and categorize his works, which encompass highly sophisticated craftsmanship, cross-cultural thinking, dissection of the ideology behind clothes, as well as radical and even shocking runway shows. Hussein Chalayan liberates garments from their restraints in terms of function, trends, and the fashion industry, allowing them to express themselves more freely and profusely. This premiere of Hussein Chalayan’s work in China brings together more than 130 of his masterpieces, in parts coming from the collections of major museums and design institutions around the world. It forms an archipelago of nine islands, representing nine chapters of his creations.

For Chalayan, “island” is not only his homeland but also a place of imagination and a drifting organism. Born in 1970 in Nicosia, Cyprus, Chalayan spent his childhood moving around with his family due to the conflict between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots on the island. At the age of 11, his mother sent him to study in the United Kingdom by himself, only to come back to Cyprus at the age of 16, and later return to England to attend University. His graduation project at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London revealed a very distinct interpretation of clothing compared to his contemporaries and he quickly became an “anomaly” of sorts within the European fashion scene. Through his designs, people can get a strong feeling for his thinking and criticism on the dichotomies of globalization and localism, the individual and the grand world theatre, and mechanistic views and the spiritual world. Clothing as body cover is another kind of escape, a detachment of emotions, and a site of contradictions. He once stated that he wanted “to create a sense of life for the clothes,” which is also what we hope and imagine for the islands of this exhibition.

Apart from the exhibition, visitors will be able to get an all-encompassing view of Hussein Chalayan and the thinking behind his creations through the on-site Défilé, the HUSSEIN CHALAYAN pop-up store, and the publication Hussein Chalayan: Archipelago.

About the designer
Hussein Chalayan was born in Nicosia, Cyprus in 1970. In the late 1980s, he entered Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London to study fashion design. His 1993 graduation collection “The Tangent Flows” was purchased by fashion boutique Brown’s, which spurred his rise in the fashion industry. In 1994, Chalayan founded his eponymous label. In addition to fashion design, Chalayan has also worked with installations, sculptures, videos, and choreography. His film “Absent Presence” was shown at the 2005 Venice Biennale, where it represented Turkey. His works have been exhibited around the world, including at the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. He was named British Designer of the Year in 1999 and 2000, was awarded the MBE in 2006, and won the London Design Award in 2018. Hussein Chalayan is also a Professor in Tenure at Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Berlin (HTW), where he specializes in Innovation and Sustainabilty.

Curator: Gong Yan
Organized by Power Station of Art
Co-organized by Shanghai Insititute of Visual Arts
Supported by BLUE SKY LAB