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Exhibition Design + Context

June 25, 2012

What a great show!

Last week, along with hundreds of other street culture lovers, I attended the opening of Reboot: Function, Fashion and the Sneaker and The Converse Blank Canvas Project at Brisbane’s Artisan gallery.

Curated by Kirsten Fitzpatrick, Reboot: Function, Fashion and the Sneaker included some of the fabulous sneakers on generous loan from the Sneaker Freaker archive, including designs by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, Yohji Yamamoto, Keith Haring, Mihara Yasuhiro, Undefeated and Alexander McQueen. Alongside this A-list of artists and designers were 20 local heros putting their talents squarely behind the The Converse Blank Canvas Project, customising classic Chuck Taylor All Star’s to raise funds for the Cathy Freeman Foundation, supporting indigenous education. These bespoke sneakers will be sold by silent auction during the exhibition. Artists and designers involved include: Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan, Jason Bird, Dean Brough, Rob Corless, Sebastian Di Mauro, Christian Duell, Simone Eisler, Paul Fairweather, Rafael Gomez, Dai Li, Alexander Lotersztain, Charles Robb, Rebecca Ross, Wade Schaare, David Shaw, Gail Sorronda, Simone Tops, Sam Tupou, Judy Watson, and Benjamin Werner.

If the sneakers (and some were truly fantastical) weren’t enough inspiration on their own, the backdrop to the exhibition certainly was. Street artists from Jugglers Art Space wielded their spray cans across the gallery walls to create an edgy ‘back alley’ mural, filling the space with the vibe of the ghetto.

This got me thinking about the importance of considering all the details across a project, which can take it in top gear from good to great. The exhibition space was totally overhauled, giving the sneakers context, which created a powerful atmosphere. It was as though you could hear ghettoblasters and see dancers krumpin’. The result would have been totally different if the sneakers were shown in a traditional ‘white box’, taking the vibe from the street to the somewhat inaccessible spaces of ‘high-culture’ where you would not usually come across the ‘street’ vernacular.

Making Place (pictured), my 2009 wallpaper and textile development project took a holistic approach to context. The project’s aims were twofold: 1. Create a range of locally designed and manufactured wallpaper and textiles and, 2. Connect people to place through wallpaper and textiles. This connection was made by inhabiting the wallpaper and textiles in a domestic space, and capturing this in a large format photograph. The site chosen had gone through multiple incarnations, from stately family dwelling to squatted, transient space. The resulting photograph captured both worlds, uniting them through the strong urge to belong. It is this sense of context that is so important in grounding a project and moving it away from the mere presentation of an idea towards something that evokes emotion.

Go and see Reboot: Function, Fashion and the Sneaker and The Converse Blank Canvas Project, which run until 16 August 2012 at Artisan…

5 Comments leave one →
  1. June 27, 2012 1:00 AM

    Sounds a fascinating exhibition…wish I had been there. Love your blogs by the way!

    • June 27, 2012 8:58 AM

      Thank you Robyn! It sounds like you’re having a wonderful time in Paris. Keep documenting your trip, c’est trés intéressent!

  2. June 28, 2012 1:16 PM

    Glad you enjoyed it, KT! Thanks for the shout out – we really appreciate it x

    • June 29, 2012 9:00 AM

      My pleasure! This is a must-see show, with serious street cred!

  3. July 2, 2012 8:58 AM

    KT you are a superstar! Congratulations on such amazing dedication. And a solo exhibition!! See you at the opening! xxoo

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