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ARRRGH! Monsters in Fashion

Start Date 15 May 2011
End Date 31 July 2011
Venue Benaki Museum
Location Athens, Greece
Curator Vassilis Zidianakis
Designer Stamos Fafalios
Exhibition display of mannequins dressed as monsters

ATOPOS Contemporary Visual Culture (ATOPOS CVC) presents ARRRGH! Monsters in Fashion at the Benaki Museum, Athens – the first exhibition about Character design in fashion, curated by Vassilis Zidianakis.

The exhibition is participating in the Athens Festival 2011.  

Characters are abstract and reduced figures with a strong anthropomorphic appeal and bold graphical silhouette.  

Over the last decade, they have humorously sampled and remixed their way through visual codes and media, confronting the viewer head-on, regardless of cultural background.  

This aesthetic approach has a strong influence on contemporary fashion and costume design. International artists create playful dresses, avant-garde costumes and hairstyles, re-inventing the human body and sending their monstrous, enigmatic, radical and grotesque new Characters onto the catwalk and beyond. 

They redefine the relation between body and costume by mixing visual communication codes and questioning the established aesthetic norms.

The exhibition ARRRGH! Monsters in Fashion has been realised with the contribution of the following fashion designers and artists, Maison Martin Margiela, Walter Van Beirendonck, Bart Hess, Jean-Charles De Castelbajac, Mareunrol’s, Bas Kosters, Issey Miyake and Dai Fujiwara, Henrik Vibskov, Dr NOKI’s NHS, Charlie Le Mindu, Hideki Seo, Alexis Themistocleous, Boris Hoppek, Craig Green, Bernhard Willhelm, Marcus Tomlinson, Bronwen Marshall, Rejina Pyo, Cassette Playa and Gary Card, Andrea Ayala Closa, George Tourlas, Digitaria, Niek Pulles aka HEYNIEK, Piers Atkinson and Pyuupiru amongst others.

With official loans from the following museums and institutions, ATOPOS CVC (Athens), The Μiyake Issey Foundation (Tokyo), Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (Rotterdam), Benaki Museum (Athens), Museum of the History of the Greek Costume (Lyceum Club of Greek Women, Athens), MoMu, ModeMuseum Province of Antwerp and the Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation ‘V. Papantoniou’ (Nafplion).

Together with the exhibition, ATOPOS CVC presents the fully illustrated publication NOT A TOY. Fashioning Radical Characters, edited by Vassilis Zidianakis, ATOPOS CVC, published by Pictoplasma Publishing, Berlin, 2011.

This extensive, colourful compilation about the growing influence of Character design in fashion and art highlights an international scene of established and upcoming designers and artists, some of them represented in the exhibition. It features original essays by leading scholars in the field: Ginger Gregg Duggan & Judith Hoos Fox founders of the international curatorial partnership C2, Jose Teunissen, professor at the ArtEZ Institute of the Arts, Arnhem, Francesca Granata curator and editor of Fashion Projects: A Journal on Art, Fashion and Visual Culture, Valerie Steele, chief curator of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York and Ted Polhemus anthropologist, curator and writer of the renowned book Streetstyle: From Sidewalk to Catwalk.

ATOPOS CVC is a non-profit Cultural Organisation, founded in 2003 in Athens by Stamos Fafalios and Vassilis Zidianakis.  

Its aim is to implement innovative projects of contemporary visual culture, with particular emphasis on the human figure and costume. It operates by researching projects of international interest, collaborating with designers and artists and realising new ideas in the form of exhibitions, publications, performances and events. ATOPOS CVC has participated in various exhibitions and projects such as Ptychoseis= Folds + Pleats. Drapery from Ancient Greek Dress to 21st Century Fashion, Benaki Museum, Athens, during the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, Bulls Eye SPECIAL 2008, 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT, Tokyo and Atopic Bodies [THREE]: The Leiotrichous Tribe, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris, in 2011. ATOPOS CVC became internationally acclaimed through the exhibition RRRIPP!! Paper Fashion which was first presented at the Benaki Museum, Athens in 2007 and has since traveled to the Μusée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Luxemburg, ModeMuseum, Antwerp and Museum Bellerive, Zurich. Since 2010, Barbican International Enterprises Ltd has undertaken the promotion and tour of the exhibition RRRIPP!! Paper Fashion.