Monday, March 16, 2009

Arty-farty: Extreme Beauty in Vogue

Unknown Models, by Clifford Collins Dolce & Gabbana, American Vogue and the mayor of Milan will fete the Extreme Beauty In Vogue exhibition at the Palazzo della Ragione with a red-carpet event on Monday March 2, with the likes of Kate Hudson and Naomi Watts. “This show is about the beauty in its most challenging sense,” Vogue’s Anna Wintour said at a press conference Saturday. “It’s not about lipstick, it’s not about hairspray, but about the very definition of beauty in complicated and sometimes disturbing ways.” The exhibition is designed by French architect Jean Nouvel and features 89 photographs from the past 80 years of American Vogue, exploring contemporary ideas about beauty and coincides with Dolce & Gabbana’s launch of its debut makeup collection. Photographers include Edward Steichen, Erwin Blumenfeld, Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton and Steven Klein, plus an entire section is devoted to Irving Penn. “The photographers that you see on the walls have thought deeply and creatively about these questions,” Wintour continued. “Looking at their work from the perspective of the challenges that we are all facing today, offers a reminder that sometimes the most difficult times can be the most productive in the arts.… As [Italy’s] own great poet Dante wrote, ‘Beauty awakens the soul to act.’ I hope you will feel this after the show.” The exhibition opens Wednesday March 4, in Milan and runs through May 10, before moving to London, New York and Tokyo.

Beauty is "the only thing that time cannot kill. Philosophies die, religious creeds vanish, but the beautiful lives forever. It is the gift of all the ages, the sustenance of all peoples everywhere, and an eternal treasure" - Oscar Wilde

How I wish that I were in Italy! This exhibition is simply breathtaking -- I love how the photographs look like paintings, esp. the work of Clifford Collins, which appears to emerge from the Surrealist movement. Aimed to investigate the role of beauty in our culture, this exhibition captures the cultural attitudes towards female appearance and self-expression while audaciously challenging the limits of contemporary ideas about beauty as we perceive and aspire to it. I'm amazed at the diverse range of ideas of beauty executed in the masterpieces, for example the two works above. While one portrays an abstract fleeting moment of beauty, the other is a classical portrait of Coco Rocha, depicting a traditional concept of beauty. In all, 'Extreme Beauty in Vogue' is definitely an iconic exhibition, what do you think?

1 comment:

  1. that swimsuit desert shot is just stunning

    - karen