Atelier E.B: Passer-By, Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens, London, W2; Weds 3 Oct--Sun 6 Jan 2019; free
This autumn, the Serpentine presents Passer-by, a new exhibition by Atelier E.B, the collaborative fashion label by designer Beca Lipscombe and artist Lucy McKenzie. Taking the figure of the mannequin as its central theme, the exhibition will transform the Gallery into three distinct interiors: a bespoke showroom for Atelier E.B’s latest collection, in which visitors will be able to try on and order clothes; a display of historic material, photography and objects, and a series of newly-commissioned works by contemporary artists including Tauba Auerbach, Anna Blessmann, Marc Camille Chaimowicz, Steff Norwood, Elizabeth Radcliffe, Bernie Reid and Markus Selg, and collaborations with artists Calum Stirling and Markus Proschek.
In Passer-by, Atelier E.B will create a hybrid dreamscape – part World Fair pavilion, part retail emporium – and explore the future of display in the digital age. Atelier E.B creates fashion collections, commissioned displays and interiors, as well as textiles, live events and publications. At the Serpentine, Lipscombe and McKenzie will explore the relationships between art, design, commerce and display. Mannequins are part of the rich history of display in consumer culture and for this exhibition Atelier E.B has extensively researched their roles in the World Fairs of the early 20th century through to the department store, ethnographic museum displays and fashion retail under Communism.
The Serpentine exhibition will explore this research through Atelier E.B’s selection of historic sculptures, photographs and objects, including works by mannequin maker Adel Rootstein, sculptor Rudolf Belling, artist Fred Wilson and fashion photographer Pasquale De Antonis among many others. These interests extend to the history of window dressing and its expert ‘trimmers’, including Gene Moore, Natasha Kroll and Michael Haynes, whose relationship with cultural institutions created a template for exhibiting contemporary fashion that is enjoyed by the wider public today.
Collaboration is at the core of Atelier E.B’s practice, which is characterised by a passion for working with artisan materials and quality-led production methods. For this exhibition, Lipscombe and McKenzie have invited a number of contemporary artists to produce a mannequin or display device on which to present garments from Atelier E.B’s previous fashion collections. These artists recognise the cultural significance of clothing within their own practice and are customers and collaborators of the label. They include Tauba Auerbach, Anna Blessmann, Marc Camille Chaimowicz, Steff Norwood, Elizabeth Radcliffe, Bernie Reid and Markus Selg.
Jasperwear, Atelier E.B’s highly anticipated new collection, which features cashmere wovens, merino and jersey knitwear, jewellery, tracksuits, shirts, skirts and outerwear, as well as an umbrella, incorporates collaborations with labels and manufacturers they admire, including Vionnet, Ratti and Fulton. The Jasperwear collection will be showcased in a series of interiors within the exhibition, including a trompe l’oeil shop window, a dressing room for visitors to try on and order items, new works by Atelier E.B and artists Markus Proschek and Calum Stirling.