Addressing the Century: 100 years of Art and Fashion

Hayward Gallery

Hayward Gallery, 8 October 1998 – 11 January 1999

Addressing the Century: 100 Years of Art & Fashion, curated by the writer, curator and film theorist Peter Wollen, brought together over 250 works of art, fashion, photography, theatre design, video and film in celebration of the close relationship between art and fashion throughout the 20th century.

As Wollen explained, the exhibition traced the development of a ‘common set of visual and conceptual discoveries’, rather than the influence of one form upon the other.

The exhibition was one of a number of large-scale thematic shows at the Hayward Gallery that explored visual art's relationship with parallel art forms, not least cinema and sound. After the Hayward Gallery showing, Addressing the Century toured to the Kunstmuseum, Wolfsburg.

It was divided into five roughly chronological thematic sections: Decoration, Function, Fantasy, Performance and Convergence.

Opening with Henri Matisse’s costumes for the Ballet Russes and designs by Parisian couturier Paul Poiret, the exhibition culminated in a section showcasing the work of contemporary artists, including Lucy Orta, and Ann Hamilton. In addition to the thematic sections, the exhibition included a display of hats and shoes from 1930 to the present that looked at the body as a site for innovation, invention and transformation.

The exhibition was designed by architect Zaha Hadid, who attempted to create what she described as ‘a total theatre of art and fashion’.

Hadid’s designs made use of the Hayward Gallery’s architecture. In a letter to contributors Comme des Garcon, Exhibition Organiser Fiona Bradley described the designs as ‘dynamic and exciting ... they involve making two catwalk-like platforms on which to display the garments and artworks, extending from the ramp which is an integral part of the Hayward’s design.’

Hadid herself noted that her use of ‘...light and darkness, as well as shifting sight-lines and viewpoints’, helped her to resolve what she described as the ‘paradox of exhibiting objects which are normally in transition’.

List of works in Addressing the Century.

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