NOT x Chris Saunders
NOT x CHRIS SAUNDERS
September 10-17 at 118 Orchard
‘NOT x Chris Saunders’ is a creative experiment that tries to make sense of this question through fashion and photography.
In a world of increasing globalization, what is locality and how does it reflect diversity? ‘NOT x Chris Saunders’ is a creative experiment that tries to make sense of this question through fashion and photography.
As an act, journalist Bill Moyers describes creativity as “piercing the mundane to find the marvelous.” This exhibition reflects the journey and dialogue between seven creators who step outside of familiar ground. It demonstrates how technology enabled creators living in different cities and countries, with very varying influences and processes to meet via the Internet, enter into an inter-disciplinary exchange and collaboratively produce garments, sculptures, still and moving images.
In January 2014, NOT, an experimental womenswear brand based in New York, becomes a roving studio and practice. Its designer, Jenny Lai, travels to Johannesburg to collaborate with photographer and filmmaker Chris Saunders. Chris’ personal work focuses on South African artistic subcultures; it is the linchpin to graft the project into multiple local contexts.
Cultural reinvention is frequently propelled by emergent practices, and often made by the next generation. ‘NOT x Chris Saunders’ places itself at this nexus. Over a period of two months, the studio moves between Johannesburg, Orange Farm, Soweto and Cape Town. It resides in homes and studios of four local creators who each work with Lai to reinterpret a selection of NOT garments.
The designs maintain elements of their original form, but the question is how will they remain the same or change under the vision of accessories designer Dennis Chuene, vintage clothier Dr. Pachanga, menswear designer Floyd Avenue, and costumer and puppet maker Macdonald Mfolo. Each bring their own aesthetic language and techniques that reflect something of their history, environment, and ideas.
With performance artist Manthe Ribane as protagonist, Saunders’ images narrate beyond mere documentation. He layers each image densely to situate each story in a uniquely South African context.
– Missla Libsekal, Another Africa (anotherafrica.net)
Prior to starting her womenswear brand ‘NOT’ in 2011, Jenny Lai traveled exploring the fashion industry from different angles. Her sojourns include time in Rwanda, Amsterdam (Viktor & Rolf), London (Boudicca), Mexico City (Carla Fernandez), and New York. NOT’s clothing has been featured in magazines such as WWD, Style Zeitgeist, and Surface Asia. She also designs custom performance-wear for musicians and dancers pushing the boundaries of interdisciplinary performance. www.notaligne.com
Chris Saunders is a South African born photographer and filmmaker in Johannesburg. His work includes documentary projects mainly focused on original subcultures of South Africa such as Pantsula, Izikhotani, and Shangaan Electro as well as commercial endeavours. In 2010, Saunders attended Fabrica – Benetton’s Creative Research Facility in Italy where he collaborated on Colors magazine and other projects for United Colors of Benetton and Fabrica. Saunders clients to date including Dazed & Confused, Adidas, and Ogilvy.
Christina Fleuron is a cultural producer based in Copenhagen. Christina works with socially engaged media, art-and architecture projects and spent the last few years in New York curating film screenings on rooftops, producing pop-up exhibitions in public space, and coordinating digital art projections underneath Manhattan bridges. After completing an MA from The New School in Media and the Urban Environment she has worked alongside a team of architects at SITU Studio realizing ambitious projects for the Architectural League of New York, Design Trust for Public Space, Times Square Alliance, Makers Biennial at the Museum of Arts and Design, The American Folk Art Museum and MoMA.