Search Results

Author: Laura Petican

Abstract

In the late 1960s, Arte Povera artist Marisa Merz asserted a process-based object as the foundation of a practice rooted in the politics of artistic labor. Her Scarpette, tiny shoes knitted with copper wire or nylon thread, were neither functional nor coldly conceptual. Her colleague Alighiero Boetti contemporaneously launched a geopolitical project that left aesthetic decisions up to his Afghan and Pakistani collaborators, women highly skilled in the craft of embroidery. Both Merz and Boetti had defaulted to a predetermined order, a repetitive action, a system, as a way of marking their engagement with the transhistorical and universal processes of everyday life. Their works evoke the mani sapienti of fashion and design ateliers – the painstaking handiwork hierarchically positioned somewhere beneath the maestro’s vision – and align the 1960s Italian avant-garde with concurrent advances in craft and design. What is to distinguish Merz’s knitting and Boetti’s outsourced embroidery from Ottavio Missoni’s zigzagging knitting machines? Largely unbeknownst to contemporary fashion consumers, Missoni’s iconic knitwear was born of found machinery, capable of generating one motif that by default, became its hallmark. The repetitive, systematic processes of hand-stitching, sewing, and embroidery associated with the fashion industry became the mechanisms of radical aesthetic engagement. In the post-World War ii era, Italian artists and artisans alike had ‘opted out’ of a trickle-down dynamic in aesthetic experimentation. Conceding to a predetermined system – knitting, embroidery, machines – they defaulted to order and revered the mani sapienti processes of Italy’s fashion industry in an interdisciplinary, non-hierarchical socio-cultural practice.

In: Engaging with Fashion
In: Fashion and Contemporaneity
In: Fashion and Contemporaneity
In: Fashion and Contemporaneity
In: Fashion and Contemporaneity
In: Fashion and Contemporaneity
Author: Laura Petican

Contemporary Italian art occupies a distinct position in the current cultural space between big brands, the luxury industry, national identity, and fine art practice. In the context of an extensive historical, cultural trajectory that situates Italy as one of the world’s centres of artistic achievement - with respect to both its classical legacy and its success as an epicentre of innovation in fashion and industrial design - contemporary Italian artists articulate an aesthetic vision which posits the visual language of high fashion as a path to explorations of national identity and selfdefinition. In this sense, the past figures largely in current Italian cultural practice and the baroque, in particular, provides a conceptual and historical model from which to analyse the contemporary Italian artist’s explorations of identity and consumption. The baroque interest in co-extensive spatial and temporal realms, a heightened sensitivity to materials, and notions of spectacle overlap with the methods and innovations of fashion merchandising and brand recognition, and form the basis of contemporary artistic works centred in both traditional and new media. Francesco Vezzoli (b. 1971, Brescia) and Vanessa Beecroft (b. 1969, Genoa) use the language and imagery of fashion variably to explore realms of personal identity, spectacle, and consumption, to articulate an aesthetic vision rooted in the national, cultural environment. Vezzoli’s exhibition, ‘Sacrilegio,’ at the Gagosian Gallery in Manhattan, uses the faces of supermodels superimposed on Renaissance and baroque Madonna and Child images, in a conflation of popular religion and high fashion. Beecroft’s career of installations of live models in various states of dress/undress, frontally and flatly presented wearing only a portion of a designer’s iconic ‘look’ - the strappy stilettoes or glittered-logo bikinis of Gucci, for example - present a baroque-centric expression of the contemporary Italian artist’s navigation of identity and spectacle firmly rooted in the national historical and cultural context.

In: Fashion: Exploring Critical Issues
Editor: Laura Petican
This book represents the voices of scholars, fashion designers, bloggers and artists, who speak to the pervasive nature of fashion in matters of politics, history, economics, sociology, religion, culture, art and identity. Dialogically open, the volume offers a broad apprehension of visual matter in the global contemporary context with fashion at its core, exploring its metamorphosing, media-oriented and ‘disordered’ modes of being in the early twenty-first century. The book’s contributors consider topics of universal import stemming from the realm of fashion, its dissemination and impact, from institutional, corporate, collective and individual perspectives, reflecting on the morphing, interchanging and revolutionary quality of the visual realm as the basis for continued research in fashion studies. Contributors are Shari Tamar Akal, Jess Berry, Naomi Braithwaite, Claire Eldred, Sarah Heaton, Hilde Heim, Demetra Kolakis, Sarah Mole, Lynn S. Neal, Laura Petican, Cecilia Winterhalter, Manrutt Wongkaew.
Volume Editors: Jacque Lynn Foltyn and Laura Petican
For the contributors to In Fashion: Culture, Commerce, Craft, and Identity being “in fashion” is about self-presentation; defining how fashion is presented in the visual, written, and performing arts; and about design, craft, manufacturing, packaging, marketing and archives. The book’s international cast of authors engage “in” fashion from various disciplinary, professional, and creative perspectives; i.e., anthropology, archaeology, art history, cultural studies, design, environmental studies, fashion studies, history, international relations, literature, marketing, philosophy, sociology, technology, and theatre.

In Fashion has five sections:
• Fashioning Representations: Texts, Images, and Performances;
• Fashionable: Shopping, Luxury, and Vintage;
• Fashion’s Materials: Craft, Industry, and Innovation;
• Museum Worthy: Fashion and the Archive;
• Fashioning Cultural Identities: Case Studies.
In: Fashion: Exploring Critical Issues