On October 24, 2013, PAVILION center for contemporary art and culture hosted a dialogue between Eugen Rădescu and Andreea Pătru, under the title “Corpo santo”.
This event, in the frame of the exhibition “Affluence of the working class from differentiation to collectivism”, was a debate on the connection that can be established between fashion and the usage of religious symbols. Fashion is a cultural practice with its own rules and structures, and its theoretical schemes which are based on the ideas of domination and oppression suppose, mostly, a means in which the dominant shuts out the oppressed, by bringing them closely to invisibility – fashion makes no exception, here also the obvious way by which the repressed fight back this condemnation to invisibility seems to be the perseverance in making oneself seen/ remarked/ breaking the limits of the mainstream pattern.
The statement to which the western cultural practices in fashion and style relate is the cornerstone of the Christianity: God made the human being after His Own image. The human is a product of His creator tainted by the imperfection brought on by the original sin. Clothes hide, yet express – a style is a developing process. The true mission of fashion is the one of a means of expressing, of communicating yourself to the world. Should the influence of Christianity in fashion be a statement of the religious beliefs by which we are driven or the emancipation of faithful? Sometimes, the influence of religion can be seen in the chastity of the clothing items, the average wearing of a small necklace with a cross, the simplicity of the seaming and the colors which remind us of the modest monastic clothing. Should modesty and humility be considered the new attributes of the religious influence in fashion or, with some exaggeration, blasphemy?
The dialogue was not a criticism of several cults, nor a fashion show critique, but an analysis of an obvious influence in a culture, which, actively or not, could be considered profoundly religious. Religious icons are not so different from the glossy retouched images in contemporary perfectionist advertising. Both kinds of representations have been created, following the aesthetic codes of their own, to seduce us from their pedestal. Consequently, they have a major influence in our behaviour and in the way we conceive our bodies and they are meant to incite devotion, trying to convince us that we should aspire to be more like them, because they are a better version of ourselves.
Eugen Rădescu is politologist (specialised in moral relativism and political ethics), cultural manager, curator and theoretician. He wrote for various magazines and newspapers. He curated, among others, Bucharest Biennale 1 with the theme “Identity Factories”, “How Innocent Is That?”, “presently i have nothing to show and i’m showing it!” and “Common Nostalgia” at Pavilion Bucharest. He published the book “How Innocent Is That?” at Revolver Book Berlin. He is co-editor of PAVILION – journal for politics and culture and co-director of Bucharest Biennale (with Răzvan Ion) and the chairman of the organisational board of PAVILION and BUCHAREST BIENNALE. He is member of the selection board at apexart for the programs “Franchise” and “Unsolicited Proposal Program”. He held different lectures at several institutions such as apex, New York, Badisher Kunstverein, Karlshrue, Casa Encedida, Madrid, University of Arts, Cluj. Currently he is working on a new book, “Moral relativism – two perspectives”. He is Phd in political science at Babeș-Bolyai University. Also he is professor at Bucharest University and Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj. Lives and works in Bucharest.
Andreea Pătru is cultural manager and communication and public relations specialist. Presently she is coordinator at PAVILION – centre for contemporary art & culture and executive director of Bucharest Biennale. She participated at ManyFest – Visual Arts Festival, Timișoara and took part in organising NexT, International Film Festival. She holds an MA in audio-visual and multimedia production and she has been published in different newspapers and magazines. In 2011 she graduated SNSPA with the work: “Cult images in the cinematography of Andrei Tarkovsky – a chrono/topogenetic meditation”. She won the CineMAiubit prize for film criticism and is working on a new project “From white cube to black box and vice versa. Image and iconography in cinema and post-cinema”. Currently lives and works in Bucharest.
Photos: Sorin Florea
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