Monday, 13 June 2011

I was hoping for this exhibition to be great. I mean I paid about a tenner just to get anywhere near the V&A (excluding the £5 student entry to the exhibition). And I'd also been to the Barbican's Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion twice, which was freakin' amazing (hence going twice). It was in fact there that I learned of Yohji Yamamoto, as well as Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo and more or less every single Japanese name that could be found in the Vogue Fashion handbook I borrowed from the local library. I was impressed by the designs and particularly how well considered the layout of the exhibition was.
I was expecting very much the same at the V&A.

Firstly I was disappointed at the size of the exhibition. About the size of two tennis courts. Come on - Yamamoto's archive goes at least 30 years back! Fiver! I paid a fiver (for your information, a fiver is a lot for a student) for this...
Well I have to make the most of this exhibition, I remind myself, so I started sketching. Oh wait, no sketching? Yes, I got told off for sketching. OK, I can understand how photography could be unreasonable, but sketching?! Sure, take notes, but just don't sketch. Even at the Barbican exhibition I was allowed to sketch more or less the same clothes that were being exhibited here! The hell? Exhibitions and museums are sources of inspiration and creativity, so artists should be allowed to create and think uninhibited by irrational rules.
I attempted to continue sketching but due to the open-plan nature of the exhibition room and too many security guards per square metre milling around, it just wasn't worth breaking the room's law.
Thus not being able to sketch immediately saps a lot of interest and engagement from me, so another telling off for not abiding by another crude invisible rule would certainly piss me off further.
Yes this kick in the teeth came in the form of being asked by a security guard to carry my 60s hiking rucksack in my hand and not on my back in case of knocking any of the mannequins over.
The mannequins were not behind any sort of velvet rope so in theory you could get as close to the mannequins as you wanted to. However being told off for my rucksack potentially knowing over one when I was no where near one  and never going dangerously close to any of them was such a kick in the teeth I lost patience and walked out five minutes later, intentionally swinging my bag in my hand precariously close to the exhibits to somehow prove that holding in the hand was more risky than wearing on the back. In hindsight I really should've knocked over one of the mannequins because that would've clearly proven my point about this ridiculous rule-making.

Nevertheless there were aspects I did enjoy of the exhibition. I in fact mostly found the videos of the seasonal catwalks considerably more interesting than the mannequins. Maybe because the mannequins are static and you can't see how the clothes move unlike in the videos, how the designer envisaged them to exist - alive. Or maybe because I got scared off by going too close to the mannequins. Either or.

Final conclusion? Totally not worth it. Buy the book, see the video, just don't go to this exhibition. It's anti-art.