B-Side: Hussein Chalayan

Avant-garde experimentalist and internationally acclaimed fashion designer, Hussein Chalayan has founded his career on pioneering pragmatic and conceptual designs. Placing his garments at the fore of design for their fusion of science, symbolism and complexity, he has been in the spotlight of the fashion industry since 1993, following his graduate collection of decomposed silk dresses entitled ‘The Tangent Flows’. Subsequentially awarded Designer of the Year in 1999, again in 2000 and an MBE in 2006, Chalayan has been heralded for his revival of the art of dressing and exploration of themes as wide and varied as culture, technology, science, geography and the human body. But less has been noted of his artistic significance independent of fashion. Showing from now until 23rd October, Spring Projects gallery in Kentish Town, London – a gallery renowned for paying tribute to the cross-pollination between creative disciplines – will show B-Side: Hussein Chalayan.

Finally paying homage to Chalayan the artist, Spring Projects features new and reconsidered pieces by Chalayan that explores his fascination with the body, movement and voyeurism. The coalition of artist and designer is presented in two separate projects: Anaesthetics and Inertia.

Anaesthetics, a film sketch-book narrated over eleven chapters, explores our relationship to everyday processes and their conflict with nature, something Chalayan calls ‘institutions which codify behaviour in order to conceal violence”. Supporting lightboxes with film stills and three-dimensional objects also support the film, first shown in 2004.

The second narrative is a continuation of Chalayan’s Spring 2009 collection entitled Inertia. Moulded-latex dresses frozen in aerodynamic motion narrating car crashes, collision and dresses as a vehicle for a narrative, where what Chalayan described as “All about the speed in our lives and how it can only result in a crash”. This part of the exhibition features a “freeze frame” in the process: the moulds in which each garment was fused.

A must visit for anyone intrigued by the notion of Chalayan the sculptor, animator and film-maker.

- Ciara McCullough