Curated by Jay Ezra Nayssan, the four-person show ‘Technologies of the Self’ at Marc Selwyn Fine Art, Los Angeles, is a catacomb of sorts — a room ‘decorated’ with coffins or chrysalises, depending on one’s perspective.
THE PAST IS WHAT BONDS US, THE FUTURE LEADS US
A/rchive Study by Federico Nessi
In the second of a series of A Magazine A/rchive studies, the Paris-based creative director Federico Nessi delves into A Magazine N°1 Curated By Maison Martin Margiela by revisiting the work of Margiela’s close collaborators and creatives through the years.
“Like many curious individuals during confinement, I watched the documentary film Martin Margiela: In His Own Words and, like many of us, was reminded of his sheer brilliance. Having been given the opportunity to dive into the A Magazine Curated By archives, I took this second project as a personal challenge to somewhat deconstruct issue #1, released in 2004 with the Maison Martin Margiela, when Martin himself was still around.
In true Margiela fashion, issue #1 is orchestrated as a reunion of people who had ties to the house at the time: from models to permanent staff, choreographers to filmmakers, everyone was invited to be present, either by showing what they were working on or by simply giving insight into the the nature of their relationship. No doubt the most revelatory part of this exercise back then was its rebellion against Margiela’s shroud of anonymity that extended beyond his own public persona to his blouse blanche-wearing staff. Here, their names and roles were made clear, printed in black and white for all the world to read.
Fast forward to 2020, sixteen years after this issue was published, and I was naturally curious to revisit some of these collaborators. ‘The past is what bonds us – The future leads us’ after all, was the crucial line that opened the magazine. At first I started gathering information and imagery from all the individuals, but quickly noticed there were several designers featured, most of whom at some point had worked in the MMM atelier. Although the path following their time linked to the house is significant, I wanted to preserve their time with the Maison as my fil rouge.
This is why I directed my attention almost exclusively to photographers and visual artists, whose work you see here. From Tokyo to Antwerp, these artists all capture the post-Dadaist essence of Martin Margiela’s rebellion against the conventions of Paris fashion. There is a rawness, a grit, that speaks to my personal attraction to countercultural movements. Beauty is redefined and previously imposed values are ravaged. Punk, grunge, new standards are set in motion.
Be it past or present, personal work or work linked directly to the house, plucked from the pages of the issue or not, I’ve gathered this selection of visuals that I think harmoniously captures the bond that exists (or existed) between these people – an inclination towards the unconventional. Today scattered between Paris and Antwerp, London, Tokyo, Vienna and further afield, these quiet, avant-garde image makers have each contributed to the revolution brought on by Maison Martin Margiela.”
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