Curating the fashion victim: establishing strategies for exhibition-making towards the presentation of fashion and humour in museums and galleries
This practice-based research project aims to contribute to fashion museology and independent curatorship through the development of three strategic exhibition proposals on The Fashion Victim as a comic archetype. The research is multi-dimensional and inter-disciplinary, as the project interrogates contemporary exhibition-making, whilst at the same time contributing knowledge to studies of humour, fashion and visual culture.
Context and background
The praxis explores fashion exhibitions as a site for creative expression, and seeks to establish working methodologies as models for independent curators as opposed to curators who work within specific institutions. The Fashion Victim will take the form of a master exhibition proposal and variant versions developed according to the remits, collections and exhibition programmes of up to three London museums and galleries. The objective is to demonstrate how The Fashion Victim, or other independently formulated fashion exhibitions, might be proposed to diverse venues and their audiences, including art and design museums, special interest museums and art galleries without dress or fashion collections.
Jenna Rossi-Camus will develop the curatorial narrative by investigating the histories of fashion and graphic satire in Western Europe from the late Medieval period to the present.
The research engages with contemporary discourse regarding the role of the curator as a creative agent, informed by her experience as an artist-designer and curator, as well as by literature on contemporary curatorship.
The exhibition will examine fashion and the fashion industry in relation to morality, consumerism, the body and gender, while tracing the evolution of fashion invectives into fashion jokes. Humour theory - comprising both anthropological and psychological approaches - will underpin the analysis of fashion humour’s nature and significance. The work of theorists including Bakhtin, Baudelaire, and Foucault, will aid the research in investigating the nature of the fashion victim and positing fashion humour as a cogent agent of critical discourse.