THE SWEDISH AVANT-GARDE

Pall Mall Galleries, London, UK, 2009
The New Swedish Avant-Garde – Fashion, Freud and the Forbidden Identity explores a new development in Swedish design identity – a fashion avant-garde. The radical garments simultaneously clothe the body and explode perceived norms in Swedish culture and psyche. Drawing on the work of Sigmund Freud the exhibition proposes that the avant-garde render explicit and externalise what Swedish people might repress from their unconscious. Some of the presented themes are uniformly collective vs. conspicuous narcissist, realism vs. mysticism, save and restraint vs. spend and excess, Introvert vs. extrovert, designed home vs. designed self.

By presenting the clothes in the visual context of naive Swedish folk art Kurbits paintings from the 18th and 19th centuries and the experimental 1920s Les Ballets Suedois, it juxtaposes allegory and avant-garde. The exhibition contains works by Ann-Sofie Back, Patrik Söderstam, Sandra Backlund, SWD/Skyward, Martin Bergström, Kling by Kling, Johan Åkesson, Åsa Westlund, Nakkna, Cecilia Hummel and Nhu Duong.

Special thank you to Judith Clark and Amy de la Haye.

Photo: Alexey Sorokin