Putting on a coat as performance art?

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I saw this image (detail, below left) from a magazine ad for the Akris fashion house. As you can see, the woman is wearing a coat featuring an image of a guy putting on a coat … seeing this, I couldn’t help but wonder, what is this all about?

Of course there’s no simple answer, so see if you can follow me here. Albert Kriemler is the creative director of Akris, and he saw an exhibition by Vancouver artist Rodney Graham at the Hauser & Wirth Gallery in Zurich. This six-panel piece by Graham (below, top right) was one that caught Kriemler’s eye, and it features the artist in a sequence depicting the act of putting on a coat. Both the idea of a motion-sequence study along with the use of a background grid is Graham’s homage to the work of Eadweard Muybridge, one of the first practitioners of serial photography as a way to study motion via photographic stills. You can see a Muybridge piece (below, bottom right), titled “Animal Locomotion, Plate 340,” from 1887, which is part of the collection of the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.

Akris fashion with Rodney Graham and Eadweard Muybridge

As a result of the inspiration from this art gallery visit, Kriemler reached out to Graham, and an agreement was made to collaborate, resulting in Graham’s images appearing on handbags, scarves, and overcoats – back to our original concept of putting pictures of coats on coats.

Click here to see more fashion by Akris, and click here to see more work by artist Rodney Graham.

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