Leather, eyelets, hats, shirts, vest, trousers
Photographs:Hansol Kim, Dada service
“패션전시회” is a speculative exploration of the cultures of fashion exhibitions in Korea. The exhibition brings together an emerging generation of Korean fashion producers and artists in an untraditional manner, performatively juxtaposing artworks and fashion products to ask the various ways that clothing cultures are “exhibited” in a contemporary South Korean context.
While South Korea does not boast a rich history of fashion exhibitions (a recent exception including UNCOMMERCIAL at Ilmin Museum), exhibition strategies are evident in the country’s prolific consumer culture, where the last decades of rapid economic growth has led to a prolific expansion of the country’s fashion and art industries simultaneously. Exhibitionary and curatorial tactics are enthusiastically and experimentally employed in Seoul’s select shops, pop-ups, and flagship boutiques, which often share physical location with commercial galleries and art spaces. These blend together in one dynamic image of a culture-savvy lifestyle narrative of various shoppable aesthetics, where the threshold between marchandise and artwork have become porous. Designers, too, have opted for exhibition-making tactics as part of their marketing strategies, assuming the role of artists or creative directors to generate hyped experiences that feeds back into their brand as added value. This exhilarating, if at times confusing, proximity of art and fashion collapses numerous long-held distinctions, not only between museum and shop, but between product and artwork, and points to the porosity of “the curatorial” in globalized consumer cultures, no longer the exclusive property of Western institutional definitions of fine art. Artists, designers, and curators alike must navigate and negotiate this new exhibition culture, choosing either to embrace, reject, or subvert the branding incentives that increasingly underwrite staging shows in the 2020s.
Playing with the palpable zeitgeist of “artistic fashion” in contemporary Korea, “패션전시회” explores the fashion exhibition from a variety of perspectives: as a hype-machine, as a social aggregator, and as an institutional legitimizer of experimental art practices. Presenting a series of artworks and fashion products in a single exhibition architecture, the exhibition invites viewers to reflect on the shared tactics of showcase seen in fashion boutiques, art museums, pop-ups, and their countless hybrids.