CREATIVE PURSUITS: Camden Arts Center announced plans to launch “Making & Unmaking,” an exhibit that will be curated by fashion designer Duro Olowu.
Jenni Lomax, the art center’s director, said the idea for the exhibit came about following a discussion between the designer and the American conceptual artist Glenn Ligon.
“Duro Olowu’s talk with Glenn Ligon at Tate Modern early last year was inspirational; their shared passion for textiles connected a richly pictorial conversation about pattern, repetition, politics and process. This take on art and making, formed from a unique understanding of the relationship of fabric to the body, underpins the way Olowu has shaped this exhibition,” said Lomax.
The exhibit showcases pieces from more than 50 international artists whose work is interlinked to fabrics and textiles. Olowu aims to explore themes such as beauty, gender, sexuality and the representation of the body through the works on display, which vary in terms of their history and forms.
There is a series of artworks that were specially commissioned for the exhibit, including pieces by Glenn Ligon, as well as traditional West African textiles, Bauhaus tapestries and contemporary works from the likes of Yinka Shonibare and Sheila Hicks.
Highlights include photographs by Irving Penn and Neil Kenlock, collages by Lorna Simpson and paintings by Chris Ofili, Alice Neel and Lisa Brice, among others.
The designer and curator explained that the different works he selected for “Making & Unmaking” come together, as they all explore “the process of the personal ritual.” The transformation of cloth when worn as costume or clothing is another idea that runs throughout the majority of the works on display.
“The more I looked at a work that I was considering for the show – not necessarily textile-based or straightforward painting – the more the intricacy and the beauty of an artist discovering and realizing what they are capable of on an intuitive level, came through,” said Olowu. “I am attracted to specific pieces that take the artist in a direction outside what is regarded as their signature style, things that even they may have overlooked or disregarded. There is an immediacy in many of these examples in which the hand of the artist is felt.”
The exhibit is part of an ongoing series that started in 1999 by the Camden Arts Center and invites creatives from different fields to curate an art show. Previous participants include Turner prize winner Simon Starling, Paulina Olowska, Tacita Dean and Richard Wentworth.
“Making & Unmaking” will run from June 19 until Sept. 18.