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A clutch of London-based artists and fashion designers are marking the Olympic and Paralympic Games with a series of idiosyncratic works inspired by the “excellence and performance” that the events aim to embody.
Eighteen artists and designers have partnered to create nine works that will be exhibited at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum in July in an initiative dreamed up by the British Fashion Council/Bazaar Arts Foundation.
The pieces from “Britain Creates 2012: Fashion + Art Collusion” will be unveiled at a gala fund-raising event at London’s Old Selfridges Hotel on June 27, and will then go on show at the V&A from July 6 to 29. Following the V&A’s exhibition, some of the works will be displayed in Selfridges’ windows, and there are plans in place for Phillips de Pury to auction the pieces. The artists and designers involved in the project include Sir Paul Smith and Charming Baker, Stephen Jones and Cerith Wyn Evans, Hussein Chalayan and Gavin Turk, Giles Deacon and Jeremy Deller and Matthew Williamson and Matt Collishaw.
Among the works are an untitled piece created by Deacon and Deller, who together have fashioned an imposing human figure inspired by the disparate worlds of athletics and paganism, which Deacon said has “a medieval feel.” The figure wears a plume of burnt peacock feathers as a headdress and a running suit accessorized with flowing robes, whose print is inspired by a William Morris stained-glass window. The duo has also produced tapestry-print pins, marathon blankets and beer mats to accompany the piece, which will be distributed to spectators during the Games.
“The whole thing with Jeremy’s art is that it’s very inclusive, so there’s a whole load of giveaways,” said Deacon of his and Deller’s decision to produce the accompanying pieces.
Deller, whose art is known for including the wider community, added: “The collaboration with Giles Deacon was very straightforward, as we both have a similar take on British culture. He is also a bit mischievous, which I like — you need that element as an artist.”
Meanwhile, Matthew Williamson and Matt Collishaw have created a beaded print of a crushed butterfly for their piece, which takes its cues from Collishaw’s Insecticide series of photographs. For this piece, Williamson employed his magpie’s eye, embellishing the image of the crushed butterfly with beading and gems. “I’ve gone into the image, making it 3-D with jewels and Swarovski crystals — and brought the butterfly back to life,” said Williamson.
“I have admired Matt Collishaw’s work from afar, and I think there is a synthesis between our work,” added the designer, who took the collaboration further, using prints loosely based on Collishaw’s nature-inspired art for his latest cruise collection.