Berlin Fashion Week kicked off yesterday and if you're in town for the event and you have time on your hands, trying to explore the local art scene wouldn't be a bad idea.
If you have a limited amout of time on your hands, head instead to Epicentro Art's new exhibition space in Berlin Mitte where you can visit the just opened exhibition “To Die For”. The event revolves around the work of sculptor Iris Schieferstein and painter Hans Peter Adamski, two artists well-known for their provocations that often ended up inspiring fashion designers and stylists.
Hans Peter Adamski produced in the early '80s a meat dress for The Stern that, together with Jana Sterbak's “Vanitas” piece, was probably the inspiration for Lady Gaga's infamous steak dress.
Iris Schieferstein's sculptures made with animal parts and in particular her iconic high heels with toy revolvers made assembling horse and cow hooves, pigeon heads and snakes (slightly reminiscent of the fictitious creations in Geoff Nicholson's Footsucker....) inspired instead fetishistic footwear.
For the Berlin event the two artists paid tribute to fashion, presenting their latest works: Adamski used fashion as an allegory for second skin; Schieferstein employed dead animals and fragments of carcasses as the raw material to create hybridic objects dubbed “Fleischplastiken” employed to give death a new face and meaning.
Beautiful yet disturbing and disquieting the works of the two artists offer a commentary on life, death, desire and longing, as Annika Hirsekorn, Epicentro Art Manager and Curator, explains.
What inspired this exhibition and what fascinates you the most about the theme it tackles?
Annika Hirsekorn: This exhibition was inspired by a discussion with Hans Peter Adamski. In 1984 the artist designed a dress made of meat for the Stern magazine. More than 20 years later Lady Gaga gained international attention when she wore her meat dress at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards. Personally I’m fascinated by the artistic approach to fashion as a second skin: I find interesting those issues concerning variations of identity and created identity, the game of showing up and hiding.
How many pieces are showcased in this event and which is your favourite piece on display? And the most disturbing?
Annika Hirsekorn: The exhibition contains more than 20 artworks. None of the exhibited works is disturbing in my opinion and about my favourite piece, well, it’s a secret!
Both H.P. Adamski and Iris Schieferstein reference fashion in their works, but they also have very personal ways to relate and rethink the relationship between the body and its confines. In your opinion, what's the final message of their works?
Annika Hirsekorn: I don’t see a final message. Maybe it’s more about the search for one. When we consider that this exhibition also tackles a certain ambivalence of life and death it would be pretentious to claim having a final message.
What does this exhibition say about body mutations and modifications or would you say that the main themes of this event revolve more around anatomy or hybridisation?
Annika Hirsekorn: Iris Schieferstein uses dead animals as the raw material for her artworks. Taking individual fragments of the carcasses she assembles “Fleischplastiken”, that is flesh sculptures. So her work deals with body mutations and modifications as well as with forms of hybridisation. Since “To Die For” talks more about the relationship between art and fashion, the works, which have been produced for this exhibition, are a bit more - lets say - “dapper”. But still the visitor will rediscover also themes of hybridisation and mutation of the human and animal bodies.
Some of the works by H.P. Adamski and Iris Schieferstein included in the event were created a while back, but they are still very powerful now and they are even having an impact on fashion. Is this happening because we have become more accustomed with studies about the disarticulation and deformation of the human anatomy?
Annika Hirsekorn: This question came up for me too while developing the exhibition. But, really, I have no idea. I guess it that's what happens with new and progressive art – people need a while to accept and actually understand it and define it as art.
As a curator do you feel visitors will feel more repulsed or attracted by the works on display?
Annika Hirsekorn: I'm expecting both reactions. On the one hand this exhibition deals with fashion and in a certain way the displayed artworks are decorative. But of course Iris Schieferstein’s work attracts not only admires and it's not just vegetarians who feel repulsed and provocated by her artwork.
The exhibition takes place during Berlin Fashion Week, what's the fashion scene in Berlin like now and what do you expect from this year's fashion week?
Annika Hirsekorn: I feel that Berlin’s fashion scene is constantly growing and so many things are going on. It surprised me a lot for instance seeing really strong and innovative fashion trade fairs rapidly growing here. As far as I can see, I will just be working during Fashion Week waiting for visitors at Epicentro art.
Has Epicentro ever been involved or will it be involved in fashion shows and are there any links between this art institution and fashion?
Annika Hirsekorn: The Epicentro art is a private, contemporary art institution founded by Marc Fiedler in 2007. The passionate art collector Marc Fiedler is also founder and director of the Gruppo del Café Palermo, a communication and design company which is producing and hosting the Showroom Days Berlin during Berlin Fashion Week. This January more than 150 national and international designers and artists, from emerging to established, will show their collections, installations, retrospectives, and photography at over 50 locations across Berlin. “We Are Alaska”, a young band from Hamburg, will also accompany us, they will present their first EP on 18th January 2013, so during the Showroom Days.
“To Die For”, Epicentro Art, 5 Joachimstrasse, 10119 Berlin, Germany, until 5th Feburary 2013, Tue-Sat 12-6pmMember of the Boxxet Network of Blogs, Videos and Photos
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