Fashion Drive. Extreme Clothing in the Visual Arts
Exhibition at Kunsthaus Zürich

20 April – 15 July 2018

Why ‘fashion drive’? Fashion is both drive and dilemma; but first and foremost it is a barometer of changing times. This exhibition looks at 500 years of vestimentary expression through the prism of art, and asks: how did artists react to extreme phenomena such as slashed clothing, codpieces, crinolines and the dinner jacket? Georg Simmel, in his ‘Philosophy of Fashion’, describes it as follows: ‘Considered objectively, living in accordance with fashion is a mixture of destruction and creation.’ Fashion is both an economic factor and a seismograph of social sensitivities, the expression of longing and an instrument for mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion. The exhibition, which focuses on the period from the end of the 18th century to the start of the 20th with digressions into the Renaissance and the present day, considers the manifestations of fashion at the tipping points where it is extreme, vibrating, loud, disguised or prohibited. In a modern age of globalization and homogenization through ‘fast fashion’, this show attempts an overview of the critical and sensory observation of clothing in art, the problematic and subversive turns in fashion history, through the techniques of painting, drawing, sculpture, installation, photography and video art. With 50 artists, including Joseph Beuys, Giovanni Boldini, Leigh Bowery, Daniele Buetti, Salvador Dalí, Honoré Daumier, Albrecht Dürer, Esther Eppstein, Sylvie Fleury, Emilie Flöge & Gustav Klimt, Natalia Goncharova, K8 Hardy, Herlinde Koelbl, Peter Lindbergh, Manon, Malcolm McLaren & Vivienne Westwood, Mai-Thu Perret, Tula Roy and Christoph Wirsing, Wolfgang Tillmans, Félix Vallotton and Andy Warhol.

A co-production with the Festspiele Zürich

Supported by:

Swiss Re, partner for contemporary art

Exhibition website