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UAL Research Online

Malign Muses: When Fashion Turns Back (mannequin prosthetics)

Filmer, Naomi (2004) Malign Muses: When Fashion Turns Back (mannequin prosthetics). [Art/Design Item]

Type of Research: Art/Design Item
Creators: Filmer, Naomi

A commission to create mannequin prosthetics for the fashion exhibition 'Malign Muses: When Fashion Turns Back', curated by Judith Clark, gave me the opportunity to speculate on jewellery, value, the body, display and adornment. It generated questions such as: Is an object designed to be worn by a static mannequin less significant than an object worn by a live body? Is it worth less? Can mannequin prosthetics even be described as jewellery if they cannot be worn by a living person?

To explore these questions I made a series of resin and crystal masks and prosthetic necks for the mannequins, reminding the viewer of the body form that normally goes un-noticed in fashion exhibitions. I focused on accents of human form around the collar bone, neck and chin, these being areas that did not interfere with the many high profile designers’ garments on display, which included Dior, Schiaparelli, Quant and Chalayan.

I also customised mannequin arms with Swarovski crystals and a waxen plastic coating to suggest the mannequin is a life size doll; and I coated a mannequin head in black flock to evoke popular Victorian profile portraits. As accessories to the customised mannequins I made a hand (electroformed in copper) and a pair of carved wooden harlequin feet, working in collaboration with specialist carvers and model makers.

Together these objects mimic the human form but are worn by the prosthetic body of a mannequin. They are paradoxical works moulded from a live body that have become divorced from it and attached to a false body to provoke series of speculations on the role of the body in jewellery and adornment.

Official Website: http://www.vam.ac.uk/collections/contemporary/past_exhns/spectres/
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > London College of Fashion
Other Affiliations > RAE 2008
Date: 1 September 2004
Locations / Venues:
LocationFrom DateTo Date
Mode Museum, Antwerp.18 September 200430 January 2005
Contemporary Space, Victoria & Albert Museum, London U.K. (as Spectres: When Fashion Turns Back)21 February 20058 May 2005
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2009 21:24
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2010 14:40
Item ID: 1694
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/1694

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