Art in Fashion: MASP Renner

MASP - Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand

Mar. 22, 2024 - Jun. 9, 2024

Avenida Paulista, 1578 – Bela Vista
São Paulo,

MASP — Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand presents, from March 22 to June 9, 2024, the exhibition Arte na moda: MASP Renner [Art in Fashion: MASP Renner], on the 2nd basement floor of the museum. Curated by Adriano Pedrosa, artistic director, MASP, and Leandro Muniz, assistant curator, MASP, the exhibition features all the costumes created by the different pairs of artists and fashion designers over the course of three seasons, between 2017 and 2022. The project reflects on the concept of fashion as a field of knowledge, articulation and study, while translating the cultural diversity of the institution’s art collection through garments created from a wide range of themes and languages. The exhibition is sponsored by Renner, Brazil’s largest omni fashion retailer.

Since the founding of the museum, fashion has been a language considered relevant to the institution’s activities. Pietro Maria Bardi (1900-1999), founding director of MASP in the early 1950s, together with Lina Bo Bardi (1914-1992), who designed the museum’s current building, played a fundamental role in conceiving and developing a series of fashion-related initiatives, such as the implementation of a clothing collection from sporadic donations, known at the time as the “Customs Section,” as well as organizing fashion spectacles. In 1972, the Rhodia collection, created through collaborations between artists and fashion designers, was added to the museum’s collection. MASP’s collection currently consists of around 600 garment-related items.

The partnership between artists and fashion designers was the starting point for the expansion of MASP’s fashion collection, under the artistic direction of Adriano Pedrosa, and the pieces were produced directly for the collection, without prior use or circulation. This characteristic suggests a reflection around clothing as artwork, and not just as a historical document or authorial item that becomes part of a collection after its use. In this sense, the MASP Renner collection has a characteristic that makes it different from the MASP Rhodia collection, in which the pieces had been used in fashion spectacles and advertising campaigns and were only later incorporated into the museum’s collection.

Muniz reflects on the function of the pieces: “Our relationship with the clothes produced for the project is projective: they have the scales of the body and a strong tactile appeal, they evoke sensations and movements, but we cannot wear them. They cease to be functional objects and become objects of reflection, above all about the clothes themselves, their historical and social meanings, the codes they carry and their symbolic possibilities.”

Throughout the three seasons of MASP Renner, Patricia Carta, Lilian Pacce and Hanayrá Negreiros were successively invited as joint fashion curators to work on the selection and accompaniment of the creative duos, alongside Adriano Pedrosa and the museum’s curatorial assistants, Olivia Ardui, Guilherme Giufrida and Leandro Muniz. “Although it was developed over the course of three seasons, the collection is not chronological. The clothes take into account the feasibility of being worn by a human body but test the limits of this possibility. Diversity is the focus of the project – some duos are maximalist or minimalist, political or intimate, meticulous or subversive, humorous or profound, emerging or historical,” says Muniz.

The duos do not fit into general themes or even styles, but it is possible to identify four central operating modes in the constitution of the works. In pairs such as Alexandre da Cunha and Reinaldo Lourenço, Beatriz Milhazes and Andrea Marques, Erika Verzutti and Isabela Frugiuele, Aline Bispo and Flavia Aranha, Sandra Cinto and Lucas Magalhães, images produced by the artists are transposed onto the designers’ characteristic patterns. This procedure includes the ways in which the shape, the fit on the body and the image modify the perception of the silhouette.

Questioning the boundaries between clothing and sculpture, some duos follow similar procedures with textiles, shapes and colors. The three-dimensional nature of the clothes is pushed to certain limits or explored in detail, as can be seen in the outfits of Sonia Gomes and Gustavo Silvestre, Lidia Lisbôa and Fernanda Yamamoto and No Martins and Angela Brito. The last duo, for example, used gold as a starting point to create three outfits based on elements from the game of chess, which complement each other by alternating concave and convex shapes.

There are duos who reflect on the codes that clothes carry and represent, such as Leda Catunda and Marcelo Sommer, who use clothing as a gender code and ironize this dynamic. Gender is also discussed in the collaborations between Panmela Castro and Walério Araújo. Imagined communities are present in the productions of Vivian Caccuri and Francisco Costa and Criola and Luiz Cláudio Silva, who produce clothes to be connected to each other. Ayrson Heráclito and André Namitala understand clothing as a religious and class code, while Laura Vinci and Gloria Coelho have included items related to the Covid-19 pandemic in their production.

Finally, some creations test the conceptual limits of what a garment is. Edgard de Souza and Jum Nakao use one of the mannequins from the museum’s collection to transpose an embroidery by the artist into the three-dimensional form of a dress sewn directly on the mannequin. Laura Lima and Guto Carvalhoneto made a multifunctional garment with the necessary adaptations for a clandestine border crossing; Detanico Lain and Walter Rodrigues created a metalinguistic outfit; Randolpho Lamonier and Vicenta Perrotta used a tent belonging to a homeless person to construct the skirt of the Casa Transcomunal [Transcommunal House] garment, on which they sewed T-shirts from social movements collected by the duo throughout the process.

“We can read the pieces in the MASP Renner project as fictions that contain memories, gestures, desires, movements and narratives that are dispersed in social life. Far beyond being a social determinant, clothing is a factor in fictionalizing bodies and opening up other identities and expressions of the subject. If the pieces in the collection do not necessarily reflect an everyday sensibility, since they have never been worn, they preserve fictional memories that, like all good fiction, say something about reality from the edges,” Muniz concludes.

The MASP Renner project was developed with the participation of 26 pairs of artists and fashion designers over three seasons. For the first one, the following were invited: Alexandre da Cunha and Reinaldo Lourenço; avaf and Amapô; Beatriz Milhazes and Andrea Marques; Caetano de Almeida and Alexandre Herchcovitch; Daniel Senise and Gilda Midani; Ibã Huni Kuin and Ronaldo Fraga; Iran do Espírito Santo and Marta do Espírito Santo; Leda Catunda and Marcelo Sommer; and Sandra Cinto and Lucas Magalhães. The second included: Ayrson Heráclito and André Namitala; Detanico Lain and Walter Rodrigues; Erika Verzutti and Isabela Frugiuele; Jaime Lauriano and João Pimenta; Laura Lima and Guto Carvalhoneto; Laura Vinci and Gloria Coelho; Sonia Gomes and Gustavo Silvestre; and Vivian Caccuri and Francisco Costa. Finally, the third was comprised of Aline Bispo and Flavia Aranha; Criola and Luiz Cláudio Silva; Edgard de Souza and Jum Nakao; Larissa de Souza and Diego Gama; Lidia Lisbôa and Fernanda Yamamoto; No Martins and Angela Brito; Panmela Castro and Walério Araújo, Randolpho Lamonier and Vicenta Perrotta and Valdirlei Dias Nunes and Vitorino Campos.

Art in Fashion: MASP Renner is part of MASP’s annual program dedicated to Queer Histories. This year’s program also includes exhibitions by Gran Fury, Francis Bacon, Mário de Andrade, Lia D Castro, Catherine Opie, Leonilson, Serigrafistas Queer and the large group show Queer Histories.

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