Gus Fisher Gallery, Auckland 8 October – 5 November 2016
Saturdays 12-4pm, Tuesday to Friday 10am-5pm, free entry
The latest exhibition from the New Zealand Fashion Museum revisits, with Blikfang Gallery, a 1959 exhibition by artist June Black that “explored ideas of ‘the self’ in an exhibition titled, Intellectual Fashion Show”. June’s concept brought together her paintings, ceramic wall sculptures and a provocative commentary to present an ‘intellectual fashion house’, whose imaginary director, Henri Folli, aimed “to dress the mind away from commonplace associations…”
Throughout her life, June devised an entire wardrobe of ‘metaphorical costumes’ to ‘protect the self from the rigours of daily life, social hypocrisy and cultural expectations’. The 2016 Intellectual Fashion Show 2016 aims “to further advance M. Henri Folli’s most worthy cause, offering participants a platform to experiment with the expressive potential of what we wear to fashion the body and the mind and to explore the rich complexity of the real-self.
The exhibition curators, Doris de Pont and June Black’s daughter Sheridan Keith, invited more than 50 fashion designers, milliners, jewellers, visual artists, poets, ceramicists and other artists – including established names Liz Findlay, WORLD, Margo Barton, Fran Allison, Peter Madden, Louise Rive, Karen Inderbitzen Waller – to explore the idea of the transformative power of dress by selecting one of the wardrobe of metaphorical costumes June Black devised during her life. Almost all of them accepted the invitation to contribute.
If you’ve ever contemplated the perfect costume to: wear over a heavy heart, get onto one’s high horse, face the world of the commonplace, flaunt tedious advice and swing off into bright danger, joyfuly accept the success of others without a sigh – let alone ‘face the ultimate discomfit of the guillotine, the gallows or the dentist’ – wonder no more. The exhibition with the answers is at the Gus Fisher until early November. Those of us who won’t get to Auckland will find more information at the links below.
Images: photographer Fraser Chatham and Kingsize Studios.
Wallace Chapman interviews Doris de Pont for RNZ, Sunday 9 October 2016