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Empty Dress: Clothing as Surrogate in Recent Art

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The body’s absence demands that we read between the lines, examining the meaning of what is not represented-examining the conditions of representation itself. The fabric of each work is woven of many threads. “Everything is to be disentangled, nothing deciphered.”

The clothing we wear serves as a form of non-verbal communication to the people with whom we interact. Clothing can identify gender, beliefs, lifestyles, occupations, and anything else one wishes to announce about oneself. As long as clothing is worn, though, the only information communicated will be about the wearer. Only when we are completely denuded, when we examine clothing abstractly, can we come to understand its unique language. What form conveys male as opposed to female? What makes a certain style of cut, fabric, and colors straight or gay? Empty Dress analyzes clothing as a form irrespective of a specific wearer, through powerful works by artists including Cindy Sherman, Leslie Fry, and Elise Siegel, and shows the viewer the depth of information in every stitch we wear.

Felshin, Nina. Empty Dress: Clothing as Surrogate in Recent Art, Independent Curators International (ICI), New York, 1993. 72 Pages. 10.6 x 9 inches, softcover. ISBN: 0916365395. $24.95




 

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