PROJECT SPACE SPARE ROOM / 7 March to 24 March 2011
The cut is fundamental to fashion design, the creative act that forms the language of the new object. By this physical action of cutting into a material, the cut confers a meaning of the maker that unites fashion designers and artists. The First Cut looks at the moment of inception of an idea exploring both the stages of the creative process when envisaged work materialises and the apprehension and uneasy anticipation of it. Each artist has been chosen for their diversion from mainstream fashion to exhibit new contexts of fashion through interactive installations, performance and object.
'To cut is to think and to see... It is the intervention into the traditional conventions of representing and seeing a body or thing, and thereby produces a new sensation.' 1
The cut is fundamental to fashion design. It is a language through which new objects are created. It expresses the activity of the hand and eye in constructing a thing. It is the decisive act of making a form a reality, through which the meaning of the maker is conveyed. It is a physical action which forces a separation, a new beginning—what has been before is no longer, what was old is now re-newed.
With interactive installations, recorded performance and objectbased works, The First Cut explores the act of cutting and the decisive moment when a concept becomes a reality: the inception of an idea; the stage of a creative process when a work is envisaged—the act of cutting into fabric, cake, skin or air; through light, movement or sound. This exhibition draws attention to the act itself as well as the uneasy anticipation, mixed emotions and apprehensions of the creator.
In a collaborative project by Ricarda Bigolin and video-artist Antuong Nguyen, the front window of the gallery is transformed into an interactive change room. Through this installation, the design process is caught in a state of suspended animation and re-activated through performance and interaction.
In 'White Froth' Winnie Ha searches for the intensity of a liminal act—the initial impulse that causes gesture, sound and materiality to intersect—that initiates the process of experience. Through the decisive action of movement Ha places herself at the threshold of existential awareness, acutely aware of the "moment".
Adele Varcoe investigates the physicality of the body through noninvasive 'skin-folding' surgery. With interactive performance Varcoe presents the benefits of this constructed beautification process. Focusing on the basic characteristics of human skin, this project attempt to tailor the most intimate garment one will ever wear.
William Mackrell's installations explore the relationships between architectural space and the light which cuts through it. In 'Solaris', a revolving neon tube creates a special experience of colour perception, monochrome and nothingness.
With 'It's Not Me It's You' Liam Revell creates a sensory lab where the visitor explores emotion through decoration. He leaves the anxiety of the alteration to the contributor by dictating no boundaries, example or instruction. Revell's intention is to communicate a context for what he terms the 'blank garment'—an adjectiveless garment with no prescribed use. It looks at ways in which the 'blank garment' can be 'dressed', 'undressed' and 're-dressed' with ornament.
Mark McDean forensically deconstructs what was once an 'acceptable' garment. In doing so the work both challenges and dismantles notions of acceptance, appearance, identity and masculinity; the resulting exoskeletons are imbued with Proustian notions of longing and regret.
Stephen Gallagher, 2011
1 Germano Celant, Biennale de Firenze 1996: Looking at Fashion. Ausstellungskatalog, hg. v. Germano Celant. Florenz: Skira 1996, S 31-36
A participant of the 2011 L'Oréal Melbourne Fashion Festival Cultural Program