Judith Clark calls herself an “exhibition maker”. She has the rare talent to associate scenographer skills and those of a fashion show curator. Through fashion, Judith Clark likes to show her interest in architecture (her initial training), weaving new links between the inside or outside spaces of buildings and the architecture of a garment (cut, manufacturing secrets, invisible interlining etc.).

Views of the exhibition Chloé. Attitudes, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2012

Views of the exhibition Chloé. Attitudes, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2012

The Uncertainty of the Poet 1913 Giorgio de Chirico 1888-1978 Tate Gallery

Her signature consists in playing with shapes and concepts, freely following associations of ideas, having fun and delivering unexpected translations. For her exhibition “Chloé. Attitudes “at the Palais de Tokyo in 2012, she reproduced one of Alfred Janiot’s bas-reliefs decorating the facade of the building, which she placed at the back of a showcase showing the Chloé dresses by Stella McCartney with applied rearing horses as motifs. In the same exhibition, she quoted a famous painting by Giorgio de Chirico, Gera (1913), by the juxtaposition of a giant banana photographed on the invitation card and an embroidered dress of a trompe l’oeil of chiton and peplos, clothes of Greek antiquity (see images bellow).

Chiton Ionique

Peplos

Views of the exhibition Homo Faber, Venice, 2018

Her latest exhibition “Fashion Inside and Out” at Homo Faber, shows her gift for surprising and inspiring associations of ideas. Organized by the Michelangelo Foundation for Craftmenship, the exhibition held this summer in Venice on San Giorgio Maggiore, aimed to reveal what man does better than the machine. Within the 11 exhibition spaces of this vast project combining design, restoration workshops and demonstrations of craftsmanship, the fashion section was given a difficult space: a swimming pool out of use from the fifties with large windows overlooking the lagoon. But Judith Clark takes up the challenge, playing with the constraints of the place. As an allusion to Venice, she creates a pathway on pontoons and pilings in the middle of the pool, where three mannequins are crawling, headdressed by Stephen Jones in transparent plastic hats looking like splashes. As the title mentions it, “Fashion inside and out “, the show creates a confusion between the inside and the outside of the garment, between noble and rough textile through unusual diversions. The talent of the shown fashion designers become an ability to surprise. Haute Couture is made from poor materials, such as hessian cloth, or on the other side of the spectrum, a John Galliano raincoat turns out to be made out of totally permeable frayed silk organza. When fashion and crafts are concerned, one would expect to see twinkling embroidery of Swarovski crystals. But Judith Clark shows the unexpected: a Schiaparelli set consisting of 25,000 tiny knots, or a Chanel wood marquetry jacket by Karl Lagerfeld with a skirt entirely embroidered with sequins imitating cork.

Around the pool, the collaboration between Natacha Ramsay-Levi and Rithika Merchant is revealed. Judith shows the creative process from the initial inspiration: starting with two Chloé dresses by Karl Lagerfeld with large hand-painted patterns, then a few pattern essays that will end up not being used for final production, then fabrics from the atelier, and delicate little paper dolls created at the precise moment of the creative process, when the two-dimensional illustrations of Rithika Merchant were placed on the templates to turn them into dresses, moving sculptures … Visitors discover some of the many steps, errors and achievements behind the four fine figures that will eventually parade. If one can say that “the hand thinks”, clothing demonstrates it, in one of the most sensitive and alive ways.

Views of the exhibition Homo Faber, Venice, 2018

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