Friday, November 9, 2012

Yolk Collective & The Little Black Jacket exhibition review

Check it out guys! I am now part of Yolk Collective - an Art Theory collective made up of COFA students! I did a recent post for the blog, a review of the Little Black Jacket exhibition - see below. Check out more at the blog here!

The Little Black Jacket (exhibition) Review

The Little Black Jacket exhibition view (Sydney) [Image source]
Combining the forces of Chanel's head designer and fashion high priest Karl Lagerfeld; the provocative stylings of previous Paris Vogue editor-in-chief Carine Roitfeld; and the faces of more than 150 models, actors and internationally reputed creatives, The Little Black Jacket exhibition employs an infallible recipe for an awe-inspiring impact. However it's curation in a blacked-out Piers 2/3 with dramatic lighting and an almost temple-like atmosphere is what drives the gravity of the collaborative exhibition to a T.

Uma Therman by Karl Lagefeld [source]
Although most well known for his work as a fashion designer, Lagerfeld's strength as a photographer is evidential through the varied styles of photography on display throughout the exhibition - exploring the genre of portraiture from ubiquitous upper body framing, to full body motion, close ups and even the back of Anna Wintour's head (her bob so perfect it seems almost like the round apple of Magritte's Son of Man). Repetition is avoided amongst the magnum-opus quantity of photographs with Roitfeld's styling referencing a variety of visual tropes including a theatrically sultry Uma Therman, a punk Astrid Berges Frisbey, a come hither Kirsten Dunst, and an uncanny Diane Arbus-esque Sama and Haya Abu Khadra. Of course there is an entertainment factor in recognising the famous faces, but more so an interest in seeing how the Chanel tweed jacket (the same style is worn by all subjects) is reinvented - cut, twisted, worn backwards, as a cape, as an accessory etc.

Sama and Haya Abu Khadra [source]
However, amongst all these qualities the exhibition's curation at Piers 2/3 is one of its major strengths. In contrast to the Biennale of Sydney's occupation of the site earlier this year, in which light played amongst the paper scrolls of Honore d'O's artwork Air & Inner, The Little Black Jacket has successfully created a black cube with temporary walls constructed to block out any outside light from filtering in. The portraits are lit by dramatic spotlights, the room dim and silent. As your eyes adjust from the daylight outside to the darkness of the exhibition, the quietness and the vastness of the space echo the atmosphere of a church, a museum of Old Masters - this is a place of reverence, the works a source of enlightenment. Combined with the subjects on display and the large scale of the prints, the grandness of the site reiterates the mythology around high fashion and more so is a zeitgeist of the legacy of Chanel's designs.

After travelling from the likes of Tokyo, New York, London and Moscow, The Little Black Jacket is now on in Sydney.

The Little Black Jacket

Location: Pier 2/3, 13 Hickson rd, Walsh Bay 
Opening Hours: 11am-7pm 
Until 11th November 

ps - an added bonus: free exhibition posters!


  1. How did you get away with taking photos? When I visited last week I encountered a young guy who objected about taking a photo of the exhibit sign out the front!

  2. Lovely!!!The post is actually the sweetest on this fashion topic. I agree with your conclusions and will eagerly look forward to your incoming updates. Great look everywhere. I just collect my legwear from Stee-Letas.

  3. Hey Terry! I didn't actually take any photos - the photos of the exhibit above was cited as from (,21827?pos=26)