Torn. Moth-eaten. Tarnished. Degraded. Discarded. From the infinite potential of a pair of unworn shoes to a tweed jacket crumbling from years of use, our clothing resonates with memories of our lives.
Among the billions of human experiences of the world, it is the common ritual of dressing that captures our individuality. Not just by what we choose to wear, but through the intimate contact of skin to garment, leaving behind the detritus of our bodies on our clothes. These stains, holes and frays are evidence of our existence imbedded in fabric which will likely outlive the wearer.
When we are separated from our clothing, what happens to these abandoned documents of human experience? What could be known about our lives from what hangs in our closets? Sifting through the coffee stains and mended knees of worn clothing, we become archaeologists of memory, with our garments the monument to untold histories.
Displaying garments from The Contemporary Wardrobe Collection spanning the last two centuries, Requiem: Material/Memory explores the intimacies and contradictions of memory as embedded in fabric. From the Berserkers of Viking lore to modern fashion criticism, this exhibition considers the truth and tangibility of recollection, nostalgia, and what remains of “us” once we are gone.
Presented by curator and archivist Cyana Madsen with support from The Horse Hospital, Requiem: Material/Memory features works by artist and material culture researcher Ellen Sampson (http://www.ellensampson.com) and sound designer and composer Jonah Falco.
Image courtesy of Contemporary Wardrobe.