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News / Jeanne Vicerial, clothing next to the skin

Jeanne Vicerial, clothing next to the skin

At the Magasins Généraux in Pantin, the “Clinique vestimentaire” exhibition by the young designer Jeanne Vicerial has just presented the results of her experimental and doctoral research on clothing. A month-long exhibition-residence, mirroring her interdisciplinary and collaborative practice, questioning the standardized canons on the subject.

Investing 800 m² on the ground floor of the building, the proposal of the designer-researcher (see Intramuros # 206 , pp 88-90) invited by Anne Labouze and Keimis Henni, artistic directors of the place, gave to see a garment thought and designed in relation to the anatomical body, but also, in a fragmentary way, his workshop, place of a collective creation in perpetual becoming. Upon entering, the visitor was immersed in the heart of a parade at the crossroads of an operating theater and a couture catwalk, in a hushed musical atmosphere produced by sound artists such as Joseph Schiano di Lombo or Marco Paltrinieri.

View of the exhibition-residence of Jeanne Vicerial: “Clinique vestimentaire”, Magasins Généraux, Pantin. Photo: Mathieu Faluomi − © General Stores

On the sides, his handmade weaves, from yarn recycled over several tens of kilometres, are the first witnesses of his inspiration from the muscular weaving of human backbones. “Clinique vestimentaire is a research environment, she wrote in her notes to the public, […] without the constraint of producing a finalized collection. […] the universe of the clinic allows me to accommodate several fictitious “laboratories” […] and also to initiate a game of associations between the universe of the couturier and that of the surgeon. » In the center of the stage, like Gorgons from another world, his “clothing sculptures”, all dressed in black threads and cords, carried their heads on their bellies. Sumptuous, ghostly, these “biomimetic” Japanese-style dresses are the fruit of his reflection with robotics engineers, having given birth to the “knitting” technique, patented by him.

View of the exhibition-residence of Jeanne Vicerial: “Clothing Clinic” General Stores, Pantin. Photo: Mathieu Faluomi − © General Stores

The body-organ, in all its textile states


The free route of the exhibition also highlighted his decisive stay at the Villa Medici, between 2019 and 2020. The photo prints of his “clothing quarantine”, a project carried out with former resident and photographer Leslie Moquin, are plant self-portraits, resulting from his daily picking of flowers in the gardens of the Villa, during confinement. But above all, his new “Open Venuses” are the culmination of an event filled with references to the history of art, myths, fashion, science and craftsmanship. Medieval recumbent or “skinned” standing textiles, they reveal colored viscera-flowers, resulting from the collage of plants dried in Trinité-des-Monts. Very “couture” reinterpretations of the Venerina, a small Venus in wax by the ceroplast sculptor Clemente Susini, in the 18th century, symbolic of the history of anatomical dissection, these almost sacred “presences”, together with the other textile pieces on display, beat in breaches certain clichés in contemporary fashion. “Current clothing is neither constrained nor transformed according to the body, she writes again. Nowadays, it is rather the bodies that are transformed in an attempt to meet the “standards” developed by the fashion industry, by submitting to the trends of the moment. »

View of the exhibition-residence of Jeanne Vicerial: “Clothing clinic” General stores, Pantin. Photo: Mathieu Faluomi − © General Stores

Evoking the world of dance and perfume, the exhibition with multiple ramifications, conceived as a global, living work, glimpsed the clothing-body in the folds of its invisible anatomy. A garment-skin, “tissue of the 21st century”, the result of circular thought and economy, by a promising designer contravening current models.

Virginie Chuimer-Layen