Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Deconstruction & Part-Object

Martin Margiela collection in 1991 and Lygia Clark, "Proposition," 1966-8

In “Deconstruction Fashion: The Making of Unfinished, Decomposing and Re-Assembled Clothes,” Alison Gill uses the idea of decontruction borrowed from philosophy. Jacques Derrida was a French philosopher who named the process of breaking down established forms. The term is normally applied to text but also describes breaking down conventions and normal boundaries. Gill suggests the fashion style of deconstruction, called “Le Destroy,” by the French, is an intentional effort at unfinished forms that are coming apart, recycled or transparent. Rei Kawakubo, Karl Lagerfeld, Martin Margiela, Ann Demeulemeester and Dries Van Noten are the designers in this category. The basis of all decontructioned clothing is aestheticized non-functionality that amounts to anti-fashion.

In philosophy, deconstruction reveals the instability of meaning of words and phrases. The deconstuction of style was first observed in communication design in the Cranbrook Acadmey. A 1988 exhibition at MOMA about deconstructivist architecture brought the term into larger consciousness. Gill suggests that Martin Margiela is an example of deconstruction architecture of the body. His clothing is composed of parts of other clothes, linings, zippers or fixtures from many places with transparent assembly. “Margiela literally brings the secrets to the surface.”

Margiela S 2007 and Margiela jacket made of a Swiss Army bag 2006

Deconstruction is also a living critique of the fashion system. Decontructivist designers reveal fashion’s charms – ornament, glamour, spectacle, illusion, fantasy, and exclusion. Importantly however, the designer is not just not destoying. It is instead a simultaneous “forming and deforming, constructing and destroying, making and undoing clothes.” The design and anti-design are equally essential.

Margiela boots, 2008 and Margiela Glass Slipper, 2009

In “Part-Object,” Yve-Alain Bois and Rosalind Krauss begin by explaining that the presentation of Swiss artist Giacometi’s “Suspended Ball,” (1930) was embraced by the surrealists. The divided ball hanging above a curved wedge created a tension in the viewer’s experience. The work was not about the ball being suspended as much as the moment of suspense, suspense forever unfilled in this installation. The work actually prompted Dali’s articulation of the idea of “surrealist objects.” Yet Dali’s objects consistently depend on the need for explanation, like illustrations of his text. The authors suggest that the “part object” sexualized content of Giacometti’s work resists the thematic, narrative type of explanation. Psychoanalyst Melanie Klein considers organs as things that are not connected to the body but rather considered as abstract, loaded symbols. Bataille’s surrealist photography of the body often alters angle to transform the body into an abstract shape. Lygia Clark's “Propositions” from 1966-1968 are sculptures that engage the human body into the art work.

Lygia Clark "Propositions," 1966-1968

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