Performance is something integral to fashion, in industry, and our everyday experience: from catwalk presentations, photo shoots and red carpet events to the dressing up we engage with in our daily lives, all are very much acts of performance in an industry that is necessarily expressive. Artist Adele Varcoe’s work is concerned with these functions – a keen observer of the phenomenon of fashion and our responsive behaviour, her performance events and happenings aim to address fashion and our experience of clothing.
A two-part collaborative project between the National Gallery of Victoria and Vestoj, we explore the often-unseen spaces of a gallery archive with photographer Adam Custins and writer Winnie Mitford. Following a selection of garments assembled by curator, Paola Di Trocchio, each unique with its own provenance, maker, wearer and cultural context.
This is the curious thing with garments from the very distant past: the more we speculate – bring them forwards with our clumsy words, tie together loose stitches and reverse the processes of time – the more they erase themselves, in silent defiance. We lose them in our own imperfect memories, whispers misheard, glimpses misread, illusions mistaken for the real.