IMAG-E-NATION the political & philosophical arts initiative blog

(re)imagining the political and philosophical in the 21st century

The Political & Philosophical Arts Initiative is interested in the ways in which people interact with and compose political and philosophical ideas and actions through the various, diverse media of technology and the arts. Participants in PAI seek to explore the ways in which poetry, literature, music, photography, performance and other creative arts interleave with the political and philosophical life, either as vehicles for criticism, elaboration, theorization, intervention or activism.
The Imag-e-nation blog is a forum for interested parties to share stories, images or other contributions. Contributors range from students and faculty to artists and musicians to professional and casual commentators. Pieces can be short opinions, re-postings of appropriate materials, or original compositions. In addition, the PAI at LUC will make a selection of relevant or provocative news items each week for (re)publication here.


Fashion House: the wearable architecture of Marga Weimans

The delightful polychromatic palace that is Groninger Museum, in addition to featuring the best of De Ploeg and choice canvases by Abe Kuipers, has been housing the first large-scale solo exhibition of Marga Weimans, an artist who is redefining fashion design and wearable culture in the 21st century.  As the exhibition comes to an end this sunny Sunday (23 November 2014), here is a visual celebration of the rich aesthetic and social experience afforded by Weimans's imagination.

Entering the east wing of the museum, a monumental instance of Weimans's Debut collection (upper right image below) greets visitors with a pall-like austerity in its thick, black grandeur, punctuated by exaggerated fragments of decorative detail which trickle viscerally amongst the folds of mountainous fabric.  What lies under the voluminous skirts remains a secret; so fashion, in its dark, heavy playfulness veils and shields the female form in all its shapes and sizes.  

The refraction of reality through which design captures beauty, identity, and technology is conceptualised in Weimans's creative process.  Her installation Atelier showcases her usage of grids, rather than the human body, in her systematic, if not necessarily methodical, experimentation with material and colour.  The extension of each pillar and the crease of each sheet as they interact with light and movement inform structural foundations, of clothing as of buildings.              

Weimans's striking combination of contemporary architecture and material science with colours, textures, and media takes queues from cities and fantasies alike, as in her abstract Spring/Summer 2015 collection:

her 2012 collection City Life:

and her 2009 collection Wonderland:

Meandering through the various dresses on display, visitors marvel at cutting-edge fabrics made of fiberglass while overcome by layers of felt which invoke comforting childhood memories of arts and craft experiments.  A multi-coloured rain projection adorns the scrim-panel of one dress as soft billows of digitally-printed silk fall into a full-length gown, altogether encapsulating Weimans's vision of an expressive politics where gender, race, and culture meet industrial design, architecture, and fashion in creative and imaginative synthesis.  

A final stroll into, around, and through The Ultimate Dress, a cavernous space shaped by graduated sheets of heavy, ceiling-to-floor paper, wraps up Weimans's exhibition.  At once stiff and structured but soft and shifting as visitors find respite from the inundation of futuristic dynamism outside the translucent retreat, this fashion-architecture moment is an invitation to peek under the skirts of sculptural fashion, frolic in the frills and thrills of architectural design, and contemplate urban and natural representations of the beautiful and the sublime.       

Fashion House is beyond perfection--it is alive with concrete ideas which colour and illuminate the 21st century.  



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