• Tokyo
 - part of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tokyo
Schedule:  March 19th - 22nd, 2015

Message from curator:

»AD-DRESSING« paradigmatically addresses two genres in the field of applied arts: both »fashion« and »architecture« in the horizon of contemporary design that seems to be based on dialogues between forms, materials, cultures and diverse attitudes in every single object – if you like, a tension between moments of difference which are inscribed in the design. No matter if you are facing a dress or a house, you will find moments of differences not just included but put the foreground: These moments are referring to cultural diversities, different codes related to various social fields and communities, tensions between different qualities of materials in use or of forms confronted with each other. As it seems, contemporary design is relying on a structure comparable to dialogues. The question is less to find one beautiful answer and a final compromise but to keep moments of ambivalences and debates alive. Dialogues are offering a model for how to handle struggles and conflicts, a structural moment for living in a world defined by contradictions and conflicts, in other words: an answer for how to handle the everyday life.

On the other hand we are facing media, markets and industries in the fields of fashion and architecture that are promoting the unique singularities and individualities of the products at stake. For sure, both architecture and fashion do have a background in a social history defined by the desire for distinctions. The desire for individuality has propelled the desire for individual products representing moments of distinction and separation. Difference has been the indicator for individuality in the context of a crisis-ridden society. Difference has been the indicator for the separation of the self from the others. In order to articulate a moment of individuality one had to look for unique products representing moments of distinction and segregation: Men wanted to differ from women, the colonizers wanted to differ from the colonized, the rich from the poor, the private building from social housing, the public space from fields of privacy, the outside from the inside and youth cultures from the world of adults. Regarding contemporary design one could say that these stereotypes of distinctions are dissolving – at least on a formal level. Maybe one could say that these distinctions and segregations are still alive, maybe even more than ever before, but now they are noticed within the individual person and the individual object of design. Facing a contemporary person who is confronted with a diversity of expectations and needs, one could describe this person as a multitude of identities. Individuality is related to the question of how to manage the multitude of differences within one body and one life. E.g. in the context of sexual identity the body is just a screen for social and private projections, embedded in a field of hetero- and homosexual-, lesbian- or feminist-, trans-, queer- and gender-discourses. One person can perform a variety of sexual identities and consequently favour distinctive modes of design and fashion. The former gap between the self and the others has entered the realm of identity. In this respect, identity is based on dialogues that are taking place within one and the same person. The individual view of a person is based on an »inter-view« of that person, speaking to him- or herself as another one. Casual clothing and elegant dresses only represent different scenarios within the spectrum of one person. Fashion design offers the possibility to show up as another person, to feel differently and to perform another character, an alien or an avatar of oneself, a person enfolded in privacy or a person of public interest. The former distinctions between the outside and the inside are getting ambivalent in their positions and changing places continuously. Increasingly public spaces are turned into privatized zones and, in regard of social media, it seems that there is nothing more of private interest than making moments of privacy public. All these differences are not contradictions anymore but moments of transitions: They belong together and depend on one another as signifiers of dialogues that are structuring subjectivity and identity as well as the design of every single object. The contemporary dialogue is the translation of the former monologue into languages of transition. Philosophically speaking one could say that the transition is a way to resist changes paradoxically by adopting the changes as an issue of permanency. The status of transient appears as a momentum of solidity.

AD-DRESSING is focussing on these dialogues that one can find in the individual designs – not just in the differences between the various labels but within the particular forms and handwritings as such. Symptomatically an increasing number of labels or architectural offices are working as teams on the basis of debates and dialogues. The meaning of the name of a label or an office is echoing the desire for the individuality and uniqueness of a product. The label’s name unifies the team to a momentum of subjectivity, if you like: it ensures a distinction – it continues the desire for particularities and yet creates it differently. What the different labels and the differences between fashion and architecture do have in common is the difference that they have incorporated in the identity of their designs. That is why we identify the works of the fashion designers and the architect we are pleased to present as a political and cultural performance of importance. It is a question beyond the mere realms of markets and industries, economies and power structures. AD-DRESSING is addressing difference differently.

Andreas Spiegl