The notion of the female form is constantly being rewritten. Posturing: Photographing the Body in Fashion at 10 Thurloe Place, London, is one such example of this. Pulling together practitioners whose techniques have pushed the boundaries of the medium over the last seven years, the exhibition examines the contemporary trend of portraying models in unusual, even awkward stances. In an industry where women are often held up to traditional standards of beauty and posture, these images challenge the viewers’ perception of the female figure and subvert centuries of established norms. The show also rewrites the relationship between form and clothing, encouraging the observer to question the role of the body in physically shaping the garments, as opposed to the other way round.
Work from renowned photographers such as Charlie Engman, Johnny Dufort, Marton Perlaki and Zoe Ghertner are on display alongside shoots from the archives of British Vogue, AnOther, i-D, Interview, Double and Self Service, working together to form a line-up of pivotal images from leading publications that assess posture as a performative notion. For example, Blommers & Schumm’s Navy for The Gentlewoman contrasts recognisable poses with extraordinary angles, disrupting outdated ideas of aesthetically pleasing placement and behaviour. Members of the public pass by unperturbed as the model, now liberated from the constraints of composition, assumes a plethora of uncomfortable positions on the street, in the road and across flights of stairs. The clothing, originally designed to hang downwards to create a certain silhouette, now resists gravity, revising its conceptual and visual meaning. Brianna Capozzi’s Laura Ashley for Double Magazine also plays with perceptions of place. Transforming recognised ideas of form, the seemingly rotated compositions cause the spectator to question their own viewpoint in relation to the image, as well as the placement of the camera.
The show also deconstructs creative processes. Split into five sections, Posturing provides an intimate insight into the world of editorial image-making. Casting, styling, location, props and art direction unravel alongside the development of the final piece, delving into the mechanisms that drive the industry forward and presenting the puzzle pieces of composition. Curated by The Ground Floor Project, an initiative founded by Shonagh Marshall and Holly Hay exploring style through a visionary lens, the exhibition is the first part of an interdisciplinary partnership with luxury retailer THE OUTNET.COM. Expanding the project to examine other media, forthcoming projects include a film, Filming the Body and book, Writing the Body.
Opens 2 November. Find out more: www.facebook.com.
1. Photograph by Blommers & Schumm, Navy from The Gentlewomen, Autumn/Winter 2010.