FLASH ART #340
22.5 x 29 cm
Price: 80 lei
Very often today we speak of transdisciplinary or multidisciplinary productions, usually in reference to artistic practices that draw from a range of outside disciplines or creative realms. In this fall issue, titled CODED SURFACES, we look at how artists navigate and draw upon the creative industry known as “fashion” — what it represents, its materiality, and the literal and figurative tools it can offer.
Behind this notion of transdisciplinarity, and the high-soundingness of the term, there is an actual need to convey a message — a message that may be obscured the stylistic or procedural baggage of other creative fields. Fashion today seems much more able to externalize concepts that in art somehow remain unspoken, coded behind the surface of the image. Fashion also seems to understand art in all its formal manifestations; indeed, the former often makes use of the tools and methodologies of the latter, articulating unanticipated criticalities in the process.
In this issue we have tried to trace a cross section of artistic practices that straddling two or more disciplines, exploring them through the format of conversation. For example, Tenant of Culture, the subject of this issue’s cover story, conducts research that is informed by the historical and contemporary processes used in textile production and their broader relationship to consumer waste, mass labor, and environmental pollution. In dialogue with Philomena Epps, the artist discusses the fashion industry, overproduction, and the intense cyclical nature of trends as reflected in complex transformations and material assemblages. Tarik Kiswanson, on the other hand, in an intimate exchange with Eleonora Milani, confronts the very foundations of form in relation to a self that is in a perpetual state of construction. Although he works with clothes in a historical and identity-driven way, he considers himself far removed from the temporalities specific to fashion, which, more so than art, is able to bring cultural symptoms quickly to the surface.
Another body of work that is motivated by issues of subjectivity and identity, and the reciprocal nature of their expression and manifestation, is that of Deborah-Joyce Holman. In conversation with Cédric Fauq, the artist considers how relationships and the specificities of socio-cultural contexts can guide a work’s production. These themes are also present in the work of James Bantone, who, as Olamiju Fajemisin points out, by employing some of the aesthetic principles of fashion imagery, confronts the contradictory poetics of identification and the double-edged constraints that can reduce representation to a kind of personal exploitation. Another multidisciplinarian is DeSe Escobar, who works to eliminate the unspoken boundaries that separate contemporary art spaces from the spaces of underground nightlife. In a visual project conceived for the issue, she unpacks her perception of glamour and her ongoing obsessions with fashion, nightlife, and, most importantly, music.