Gender Clothes @ DESIGNED.RS
Portal DESIGNED.RS was very kind to give me their web-site space for an online exhibition. Well, some kind of an exhibition. Thank you designed.rs team!!!
My friend Vladimir wrote a short review about the project:
Almost entire human interaction is based on ’the first impression’ – visual sensation which, by great deal, defines further development of human relationships. Such judgment often generates various forms of bigotry based on assumptions of someone’s identity. The main cause for this is the manner we present ourselves in – our gestures, hairdo, behavior, and finally – our clothing. Primarily being an indicator of both class and sex /gender affiliation, clothing possesses an irresistible power of transformation – whether we want to be visible or invisible we need it in order to self-define and position ourselves socially.
With this in mind, Danica Karaicic’s work Gender Clothes resulted from the situation at hand, therefore, as a reaction to the Serbian everyday life bordered with discourse of non-acceptance of otherness (of stances, ideas, people). During the exhibition she worked on, there was an outcry of the gallery staff who found dressing a male model into a gender neutral garments inappropriate. That accident provoked the artist to produce a series of photographs based on the method of matching the clothes, which names are nouns of male or female gender, with the adequate gender of the model. However, the artist doesn’t produce fashion photographs, an appealing editorial with the goal of advertising products. The models on her photographs do not pose in a photograph studio; they appear as if they have been portrayed for a police record in an isolated confinement of a police station. Deprived of exaggerated expression characteristic for fashion photography, the artist’s models become physical carrier of her personal deliberations based on the relativization of socially constructed patterns of gender roles in terms of clothing.
Fashion industry, per se, aspires towards experimenting in correspondence with market demands, thus the incorporation of dissimilarity serves exclusively for advertising, while the social and political engagement of the image mostly remains irrelevant. Within this context, one could say that Karaicic constitutes her personal position of retreat, critically deliberating the possibility of subversion of (fashion) photography.
Also, causing topsy-turvy in the interrelationship of images and terms, the artist focuses on the linguistic meaning of nouns of the used garments. Thus her works become studies of events that suggest the utmost patriarchal understanding of clothing in this region. If it developed in other languages (that also possess the concept of gender in its semantics), this project would gain completely different connotation and with the reenactment of performed compositions it would turn into a certain kind of anthropological note.
Anyway, it is apparent that the work Gender Clothing represents precisely articulated thought process coloured with the artist’s utopian strive for neutralization of strictly set concepts of gender and sex. With this in mind, Judith Butler’s claim that sex is a (biological) fact, and on the other side, gender a social construction, or a congregation of cultural markings which a body with certain gender properties receives, can absolutely be accepted as a subtext or base for this work.