Body of work

The lat­est ex­hi­bi­tion at the Hep­worth breaks down the bar­ri­ers be­tween art and fash­ion. Yvette Hud­dle­ston re­ports.

Yorkshire Post - Culture & The Guide - - 2/ART -

The Hep­worth Wake­field con­tin­ues to dis­tin­guish it­self as one of the most exciting con­tem­po­raray art spa­ces in the UK with its bold and imag­i­na­tive ap­proach to pro­gram­ming and cu­ra­tion.

Its lat­est ex­hi­bi­tion Dis­obe­di­ent Bod­ies, which opened last month, is a per­fect ex­am­ple. Cu­rated by de­signer Jonathan Anderson, one of the most dis­tinc­tive, ac­claimed and in­no­va­tive voices in con­tem­po­rary British fash­ion, it is the first in a planned se­ries of shows cu­rated by key fig­ures from cre­ative fields out­side the vis­ual arts in­clud­ing mu­sic, film­mak­ing and lit­er­a­ture.

“Jonathan men­tioned Hep­worth in a mag­a­zine in­ter­view and said that he was in­ter­ested in her work,” says An­drew Bonacina, chief cu­ra­tor at the Hep­worth.

“As a cu­ra­to­rial team we had al­ready been talk­ing about how peo­ple are en­gaged with dif­fer­ent de­sign forms and how we could re­flect that by bring­ing in new view­points and per­spec­tives and Jonathan seemed like the ideal first can­di­date. It is re­ally about find­ing the right per­son. The plan is to do a show like this ev­ery two years, the next one will be in 2019. So we will be look­ing at mu­si­cians, writ­ers, film­mak­ers and ob­vi­ously who­ever we choose will have a gen­uine in­ter­est in and en­gage­ment with the nar­ra­tive of the vis­ual arts.”

Anderson came to spend time with the col­lec­tion, look­ing at Hep­worth’s early work – as well as the work of Henry Moore – and us­ing that as a start­ing point.

The work of both sculp­tors in the 1920s and 30s was at the cutting edge of rep­re­sent­ing the hu­man body in the ab­stract. “Jonathan ap­pre­ci­ated how rad­i­cal that mo­ment was, so that is how the theme of ‘dis­obe­di­ence’ emerged,” says Bonacina.

He ex­plains that the show – which ex­plores how the hu­man form has been reimag­ined by artists and de­sign­ers through the 20th and 21st cen­turies – has evolved through con­ver­sa­tions be­tween him­self and Jonathan over the course of two years. “He has brought some­thing to the ta­ble and so have I. It’s been a com­plete and very steep learn­ing curve,” he laughs. “We talked about the ten­dency of in­sti­tu­tions to cat­e­gorise things as art or fash­ion but those bound­aries are re­ally break­ing down. Things are talk­ing to each other much more so we wanted to present them on a level play­ing field, look­ing at it partly in terms of form or ma­te­ri­als or a cre­ative mo­ment.”

The ex­hi­bi­tion presents a per­sonal se­lec­tion of more than 100 ob­jects – the most that have ap­peared to­gether in a show at the gallery since it opened – tak­ing in art, fash­ion, ce­ram­ics, tex­tiles, de­sign, film and even fur­ni­ture in quirky and thought-pro­vok­ing group­ings.

The blur­ring of the lines be­tween art and fash­ion is imag­i­na­tively ex­plored and there are some won­der­fully witty jux­ta­po­si­tions of ob­jects such as the plac­ing of one of Moore’s re­clin­ing fig­ures next to a JeanPaul Gaultier ‘cone’ dress from the early 1980s ly­ing hor­i­zon­tally on a plinth. Si­m­il­iarly a Yo­hji Ya­mamoto Bus­tle Coat finds an echo in William Turn­bull’s

Of­ten we give more value to art than fash­ion and that is some­thing that the

show ques­tions.

PICTURE: LEWIS RON­ALD

ECHOES:

Jean Paul Gaultier ‘cone’ dress, above and, in­set, Yo­hji Ya­mamoto Bus­tle coat.

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