Just as the global fashion
week circuit finally winds down and the art world gathers momentum for Frieze, one
exhilarating London exhibition is taking an irreverent and utterly refreshing
look at those perennial bedfellows — fashion and art. Through the lens of a curator, collector and
outsider artist whose zingy personal style is as eye-catching as her work, 'Dare
to Wear' opened last night at the cavernous crypt of the St Pancras Church in
Euston. The red carpet was rolled out to
welcome an insatiable mob of awestruck guests who were treated with what was
simultaneously one of the most uplifting and eerie art openings of the year.
Wallflowers look away now. Shrinking violets needn't apply. Self-styled 'wild old woman' Sue Kreitzman,
whose earlier exhibitions 'WOW' and 'Flashier&Trashier'
caused ripples in the art establishment, has mobilised a rambunctious band of 26
artists for her latest instalment. Many
are self-taught iconoclasts, while others are more famous names whose work sits
in some of the world's most prestigious art institutions. They include Malcah Zeldis whose paintings are
part of the Smithsonian's permanent collection and Ella Guru, a founding member
of the Stuckist movement.
Tatty Devine created a
limited edition necklace in collaboration with Kreitzman which hung from the hyper-embellished
kimono-clad maven, emblazoned with the word 'FLAMBOYANT' in ruby red Perspex featuring
iconography of women with famously extravagant and unique approaches to both
style and to life: Carmen Miranda,Josephine Baker and Frida Kahlo.
Kreitzman has asked her
artists to ponder a series of provocative, comical and reflective questions in
order to get the creative juices flowing.
In what she calls a series of "wardrobe conundrums", the American-born Londoner has
set the tone for 'Dare to Wear' by asking:
What should we wear on the way
to the afterlife? Will flamboyance set
you free? And will wearing beige really kill you?
Expect the unexpected as
these artists explore adornment in its many guises — including
depictions of clothing and jewellery, talismans, amulets, sculptures,
paintings, garments, assemblages, dolls, masks and installations. Kreitzman, who admits she hates
pomposity in art and is a self-confessed art hoarder having filled every inch of her gloriously gaudy home in the East End with it over the years, is happy to ruminate over the exhibition's concept.
have I called it 'Dare to Wear'?" she asks. "Well, besides the fact that our
materials are usually salvaged,
frequently kitsch and often surprising, we also use them to tell colourful stories about profound junk and celebratory
art. I don