When we talk about the term “fashion photography”, the part “photography” seems to serve as an extension that helps to manifest an even greater imagination on fashion. Fashion is the trending style of the outfit while photography is the means of documentation. At the most superficial level, fashion photography can be seen as the means to document fashion. However, the relationship of the two goes way beyond that.
The Beyond Fashion photography exhibition at ArtistTree is showcasing over 100 pieces of fashion photography and videography by 48 renowned photographer and up-and-coming artists. Visitors will have a chance to see the works of celebrated photographers Nick Knight, Peter Lindbergh, Miles Aldridge, and Sølve Sundsbø. Alongside are the works by a new generation of talented photographers such as Erik Madigan Heck, Ina Jang, Feng Li, and Viviane Sassen. The avant-garde fashion photography has exceeded the boundary of fashion and created a stunning feast of visual stimulation. It guides the viewers to explore the art, culture, and history of fashion and shows them a glimpse of the representation of fashion and art photography at different times.
令人最興奮的是SHOWstudio創辦人Nick Knight為展覽揭幕，在2000年、Youtube和Social Media未興起的年代，Nick已成立SHOWstudio以錄像去表現時裝和直播時裝展，率先地把時裝推向數碼化。他分享Alexander McQueen於2009年最後一次參與的fashion Show “Plato’s Atantis”，由SHOWstudio現場直播，並得到三百多萬人次觀看。「這為時裝帶來翻天覆地的改變，時裝展成為了一種娛樂，我們正身處不斷轉變的環境中。」自此，遠在世界另一端也能透過螢光幕即時觀看時裝展。「時裝攝影是反映社會的產物，不但能見證著世界的改變，也見證歷史與文化的變遷。時裝賦予人力量，我們能選擇穿些什麼，或是以時裝去塑造自我的風格。」展覽中的每一張時裝照，都充滿著無法言喻的感染力，超越時裝層面，成為一種藝術語言。
With Nick Knight, founder of SHOWstudio.com, opening the exhibition, this is unquestionably an exciting event not to be missed. Before YouTube and social media gained any popularity, Knight was already a pioneer in bringing fashion into the digital age. Back in the year 2000, he founded SHOWstudio.com where he used video as the medium to present the world of fashion. On SHOWstudio.com, Knight also tried to live-stream fashion shows. When he streamed Alexander McQueen’s final show Plato’s Atlantis in 2009 on SHOWstudio.com, over three million viewers were attracted to watch it online. “This has radically changed the world of fashion. Fashion shows have since then become a form of entertainment. We are currently situated in an ever-changing environment.” From this point on, with the help of the computer screen, the physical location has stopped hindering one from watching a fashion show live. “Fashion photography is a representation of the society itself. It witnesses the changes as seen in the world as well as the changes in history and culture. Fashion can be empowering — we can choose what to wear, we can as well shape our own style through fashion.” Every single piece of exhibited fashion photography exudes inexplicable power; these photos have gone beyond fashion to become an artistic language itself.
The curator of Beyond Fashion, Nathalie Herschdorfer, is herself an art historian. She, therefore, tried to analyze Knight’s Alexander McQueen, Snakes from a historical perspective. Snake is a mythical symbol that represents multiple meanings with a feminine connotation. The artist did not explicitly connect the female figure in the photography to a mighty goddess or a wicked witch; all he did was to compose an ambiguous and mystical vibe. At first glance, one may mistake the photography as an oil on canvas painting. It was staged in a Renaissance style and in some way even resembles the paintings of Gustav Klimt. In addition to photography, SHOWstudio.com also produced 30 videos for the exhibition which aim at giving the viewers an alternative visual experience.
Elena in Gaultier, Numéro #91 by Sølve Sundsbø, 2007
拍時裝錄像出身的Sølve Sundsbø相信錄像比相片更符合網上世界的需要，對錄像的著迷，驅使他拍攝的時裝相片都充滿了動感，著名的作品《Elena in Gaultier》猶如把24格的菲林都濃縮在一張相片之中，呼應了〈Invitation à la danse〉的主題。
The fashion video artist Sølve Sundsbø believes that when compared to photography, video is, in fact, a better medium to suit the digital age. The passion for video art has prompted Sundsbø to bring rich elements of motion into his photography. His iconic work Elena in Gaultier appears as if he has consolidated 24 frames into one. The way this photo shoot captures movements undoubtedly complements the title Invitation à la danse.
Untitled 099 from Roxane II series by Viviane Sassen, 2018
The only exhibits that are not framed should be the Dutch contemporary photographer Viviane Sassen’s Roxane II series. The untitled works from this series are fixed on the wall with only two thin nails. This casual presentation makes her photography genuinely approachable for viewers. Ever since 2012, the model Roxanne has been the muse and subject of photography for Sassen. The photos with her as a model are intimate, delicate yet playful. The photos capture the model with colorful paint on her body. This arrangement has succeeded in intensifying the visual impact and magnifying the sensation. The bold depiction has made the works full of vital energy.
The new generation Korean photographer Ina Jang takes a minimalistic approach to narrate her bizarre yet poetic world. Her photography clearly demonstrates her one-of-a-kind creativity. Jang’s collage works blend in everyday objects into her photography, together with the use of bright colors, she manages to create a world full of playful and humorous images.
COMME des GARÇONS by Erik Madigan Heck, New York Times Magazine, 2017
As one of the most up-and-coming photographers in the new generation, Erik Madigan Heck took up photography at the age of 14 and has been winning numerous awards ever since. Known for his unusual perspective to interpret fashion, his love for highly saturated hues has elevated his evocative images. The series has utilized colors of strong contrast with a poetic composition, as a perfect representation of the abstract form constructed by Rei Kawakubo.
Beyond Fashion Date: 12 January – 24 February 2019 Time: 10 am – 8 pm (Monday to Sunday) Venue: ArtisTree, 1/F Cambridge House, Taikoo Place, 979 King’s Road, Quarry Bay, Hong Kong