The Belgian fashion designer turned artist and A Magazine N°1 curator posits the discipline of self-portraiture to be as open-ended as the man, the myth and the legend himself, in the series Self-Portraits on display at Eenwerk Gallery, Amsterdam.
Venice Art Biennale 2022
The Milk of Dreams
Words by Albert Shyong
Postponed for a year, the 59th Venice Art Biennale will finally open this Spring from April 23 to November 27, with Cecilia Alemani, chief curator of High Line Art, serving as artistic director. Entitled The Milk of Dreams, the exhibition is named after the 2017 children’s book by Leonora Carrington, in which the Surrealist artist envisions a world magically liberated from the confines of self and being, free to transform identity and re-imagine existence. This parallel world comes as an escape from our current chaotic reality as well as an open invitation to re-examine and reconstruct it. With spaces designed by Milan-based studio FormaFantasma, three themes resonate throughout the work of the exhibition: the representation of bodies and their metamorphoses, the relationship between individuals and technologies, and the connection between bodies and Earth.
On the eve of the biennale, we examine participating artists that weave between the realms of art and fashion, establishing a continuum that exists between disciplines that cultivates creativity across the spectrum. The ongoing dialogue between art and fashion is demonstrated within the pages of A Magazine Curated By, with previous editions such as A#10 Curated By Giambattista Valli, A#13 Curated By Iris Van Herpen and A#16 Curated By Alessandro Michele featuring work by artists amongst Alemani’s curation.
In an exercise of establishing the zeitgeist with mutual influence, the intertwining of art and fashion is inevitable in the materialisation of human expression. For example, Phoebe Philo mentions Hannah Höch, one of 192 female artists highlighted at this year’s biennale, as an inspiration for her Autumn Winter 2014 collection for Celine. Although not immediately apparent, the asymmetrical placement of buttons, accent brooches and contrasting prints are reminiscent of the German Dada artist’s photomontage style of reconstructing composition, especially when considering underlying allusions to the agency and liberation of structures binding women during the Weimar period.
The subliminal transfer of ideas and creativity, as a result of cross-disciplinary dialogue, can also be apparent in fashion beyond just design, revealing itself in scenography, accompanying music and even literature. American Modernist sculptor Ruth Asawa, another featured artist of the 2022 Venice Biennale, attended the Black Mountain College with the likes of Josef & Anni Albers, Robert Rauschenberg, Franz Kline, John Cage, Cy Twombly and Willem de Kooning, none of whom are designers themselves but have exerted an immense and undeniable influence on numerous fashion designers. This incubator of creativity, the Black Mountain College, and its experimental and holistic approach to the study of art, is further explored by Dr. Monica Titton in “Art and Freedom” featured in A Magazine Curated by Lucie and Luke Meier. What the institution represents, for the purposes of this selection at least, is the innate collaboration that multidisciplinary exchange fosters.
In this time of increasingly adamant global discord, cross-cultural dialogue and ideological exchange is evermore crucial. The ease and reach of visual dissemination reinforces the ability that fashion and art have in sharing culture, whether to be consumed digitally or experienced physically. This year’s Venice Biennale is a testament to the cultural persuasion that art and fashion possess, exemplified by the subversive resignation of the entire Russian Pavilion, consisting of Lithuanian curator Raimundas Malašauskas and Russian artists Alexandra Sukhareva and Kirill Savchenkov, in protest of the Kremlin’s imperialistic invasion of Ukraine. A sense of unity, marked by multitudes of human expression that range in discipline and provenance, is collectively appreciated and preserved.
The 59th Venice Biennale runs from April 23 to November 27, 2022.
The Flemish artist and A Magazine N°3 Curated By Haider Ackermann contributor muses on the seminal body of work featured in a new monographic exhibition, currently on show at MO.CO. Montpellier Contemporain.
An exclusive portfolio of behind-the-scenes images from the SS2023 menswear collections in Paris, photographed by Adam Katz Sinding.