Photography Abdella Ihadian
Art Installation Søren Bach | Tomorrow Management
This past Spring/Summer ’17 Copenhagen Fashion Week has welcomed every camera-totting insider with the latest FAN OUT group exhibition, which included marvelous works from today’s most ambitious minds in fashion & art. Forever oriented towards the public and envisaging a highly free and innovative selection of works, the exhibition fulfilled yet again the need of being a vital arbiter of new art and design. Combining everything from visual art and performance acts, to light-installation and abstract works by up-and-coming fashion designers, few artists could have attracted a more positive publicity than our very own Søren Bach.
A talented graduate of London’s Royal College of Art, his extraordinarily expressive and very often experimental works have been published in various publications and exhibitions around the world, utilizing hair artistry as his means of artistic expression. This time however, he mirrored his rebellious vision with an incisive and playful oeuvre, by creating a life-size, full-leather-body mannequin.
Mannequins are an important branch of creative design, and a vital element of our visual culture. We see them every day but often glide past them, more concerned with the garments they are used to display. In this sense they are sort of like the frames on paintings you see in museums – crucial to the visual impression but most often overlooked. Also often with fashion exhibitions – the story that’s told is of the wearer or the excitement of fashion, but very rarely do they look at the other side.
Søren’s concept and building process typified the intersection between art, craft and design. Described as a lifeless portrayal of a fashion victim, the presented mannequin is part of the most recent cycle of the artist’s works, illustrating the fashion field in a way that is exceptionally fickle and surprising. The stylized female form manifests the society’s interest in an idealized, plasticized if you will, female aesthetic, one that is overwhelmed by the creative choice. Irrespective of the fashion-filled backdrop, the model was laid down across the stand as a means of adding depth and perspective to an otherwise shallow, closed-back canvas.
When asked what was this project supposed to invoke, Søren Bach elucidated that one should perceive fashion (and all its tools, mannequin included) as a mere representation of the self. Anyone could have taken different meanings to it, but upon further inspection, the leather mannequin was the only present form that could assume all the other fashion displays it was surrounded by. Flamboyant garments in varying concepts, shapes and textures that illustrated the many spirits and poses that mannequin form could assume. The seemingly naked ensemble, unbowed by the creative splendor around it or by direct references known from the fashion world, held center stage declaring its presence.
This project Søren Bach embarked on turned out to be more of an urban instrument that demanded from the viewer primal psychological renegotiation about our comfort, embarrassment and egoism of the fashion spectacle. It’s an exhibit that will involve the senses: sight to measure the perfect lines and proportions, and touch to feel the shimmering expression of the material and to understand the dialogue between the realness of the mannequin’s ‘skin’ juxtaposed with the surrounding textures.
Søren Bach put (e)motion into the mannequin, experimented wildly with its composition and surreal touch, and presented the sculptural form to the trade that it reflected the human nature and body close to perfection. In an era already inclined towards cynicism and irony, his work is a collective piece of peculiar puzzles, specific rebuses of meanings for which fashion is merely a stimulus. Søren managed to showcase that even stripped down, mannequins can be mirrors of society, anthropomorphic objects of fascination and works of art, all at once.