Hannah Chamley and Laura Gardner Hands-freeOpening: Wednesday 21 May, 6-8pm Dates: 21 May-7 June 2014
‘It must be noted that a dressing object that is at first constituted by the degrading of a dress object can subsequently transform itself once more into a secondary dress object: this occurs as soon as the degrading actually functions as a collective sign, as a value. For example, the outfit can gesture towards the using of all buttons of the shirt; and then the dressing object of some sort leaves the top two buttons undone, this omission becomes dress again as soon as it is constituted as a norm by a particular group […]’ Roland Barthes, 1957
A garment is subject to a continual, repetitive relay between image and physical form, allowing us to look at a piece of clothing from every angle: from minute detail and as a spectacular image, until it reaches a point of obscurity. Hands-free deals with the physicality of a garment in its basic form and how this is obscured, fractured or misused by the body and the printed image. The exhibition explores the anomalies and by-products that occur in the necessary externalisation of clothing. The worn gestures and actions, where intent catalyses with the function of a garment, are considered in their happening, proposing a new way of looking at clothes and the circumstances in which they occur: worn, disrupted and adapted.
Animated by corporeal gesture, a piece of clothing is a catchment for material output, and phenomenal intersections occur in this space between social intention, body and clothing. These moments of misuse and adaptation interrupt our assumptions of clothing, re-instilling a sense of embodiment and phenomenal incidence of garment. We consider clothes – the inverse of what fashion has constructed ¬– and how they are misused by the body, individual intent and the printed image; reinforcing the notion that clothes begin and end with the body.
Hannah Chamley is a designer with experience across fashion and industrial contexts. Having exhibited at Craft Victoria and Penthouse Mouse, among others, her work is concerned with the dissemination of fashion via alternate platforms. Laura Gardner is a writer and editor for art and fashion publications. A collector of ephemera in visual culture, she looks at the in-between spaces: between art and fashion, industry and product, body and dress, text and image. Both Hannah Chamley and Laura Gardner hold a Bachelor in Design (Fashion) at RMIT University, Melbourne.