Fashion Play

Recently, I was invited by Fashionplay to take part in Stockholm's Modevandring 2010.
Translated as Fashion Walk, the event is a platform for "creators who work in the borderlands between fashion and art".
More images and explanation of work produced for it soon, but first a note about the context in which this event exists.

Fashionplay's agenda is to create and
actively promote some kind of visible presence and seek critical discourse for fashion in Sweden. This was the main aim of the seminar Fashion Art New Roads, where I was invited as a guest speaker along with Helle Mardahl, Lars Holmberg and Ingrid Giertz MÃ¥rtenson.
Some really interesting discussion came out of the talks and as a newcomer to Stockholm, it gave me a good insight into how people feel about the limitations of labels, lack of knowledge or understanding in the press, the academic theory that's missing at education level and very little financial support or initiatives for practitioners who work in a much broader framework than within
what is understood to be 'fashion' at this time. (The exhibition Swedish Fashion: Exploring a New Identity dealt with all of this too but I'll save that for another time).


History Repeats Itself

I often think about child's play and playing, whether it's being completely inspired by what kids can make, aesthetic-wise, or adopting an approach to making work that is about reacting purely to materials, messing around with processes or making things up as you go along.

Last summer Europa organised a series of talks in conjunction with Winchester School of Art, and Peter Nencini and I presented our Shared History of Play. I got terrible stage fright, but managed to mumble something about these images.

Bruno Munari

Valie Export


Clark Kent / Superman

Bas Jan Ader


to explain

A long time ago, I saw the exhibition Only Make-Believe:Ways of Playing at Compton Verney. Curated by Marina Warner, her essay in the catalogue turned me on to Johan Huizinga's Homo Ludens, D.W Winnicott and other historians and thinkers who were concerned with the notion of play/reality, environment/object relations and so on. I was also re-introduced to the ideas of
radical educationalist and Kindergarten originator Friedrich Froebel.

Gifts and Occupations are teaching tools devised by Froebel
. A series of playthings, Gifts begin with a set of coloured balls covered in knitted fabric, and grow in complexity thereafter - wooden spheres and cubes, beads and grids, coloured paper shapes etc. These are progressively sequenced towards a gradual shift from the concrete idea of solid forms to the abstract idea of "spatial patterns." The objects are introduced to the child and relate in material, weight, shape to what has gone before and what will come after. The incremental stages allow for understanding of forms but also investigative imaginative play and self directed activity.

Working in tandem alongside these Gifts he developed the idea of Occupations, graded similarly according to difficulty and required dexterity, but focusing on a skill. This included paper folding and cutting, weaving, wood carving etc.

Image from old but nice article here

More about kindergarten from collector Norman Brosterman and the exhibition he co-curated at the IFF

The thing that I find most interesting with this kind of approach to creating is the limits and conditions in which the work is produced. A system, a kit of parts, to play in and with. Also, the parallels drawn between making an 'image' and making an 'object', moving from flatness to form.