A common interest in the history of motifs and retail display inspired designer Beca Lipscombe and artist Lucy McKenzie to form the Atelier E.B fashion label.
Their first major exhibition in France combines contemporary creation, the history of fashion and museum design. It opens with a bespoke showroom for their new collection, Jasperwear, and continues with historical research into the figure of the mannequin, from ancient sculpture to department store windows. It ends with a series of commissions by contemporary artists.
The title of the exhibition, Passer-by, acknowledges consumers of fashion not just as individuals who buy garments, but everyone who glances at shop window displays and enjoys fashion through books, magazines, exhibitions, and other means.
The exhibition at Lafayette Anticipations follows the first staging at the Serpentine Galleries in London, in autumn 2018. Content has been reconfigured for the Paris context, with new works spread over two floors. Atelier E.B has also reimagined the gallery's central space using original elements from the (now defunct) Art Nouveau staircase of Galeries Lafayette department store.
For Atelier E.B, the overlap between art, design, commerce and display is centred upon the figure of the mannequin and the runway show – as modes of artistic expression and reflectors of cultural change. From the World Fairs and Expositions of the twentieth century to iconic department stores, ethnographic museums and fashion retail under Communism, Atelier E.B presents the fruit of two years of research into the practitioners behind this rich and at times undervalued visual history. The exhibition makes special reference to the contribution women have made to this history, as artists and craftswomen.
Atelier E.B invited artists Tauba Auerbach, Anna Blessmann, Marc Camille Chaimowicz, Steff Norwood, Elizabeth Radcliffe, Bernie Reid and Markus Selg to produce a mannequin or display device on which to present selected garments from their previous fashion collections: Inventors of Tradition (2011), Ost End Girls (2013) and Inventors of Tradition II (2015). Each of these artists recognises the cultural significance of clothing within their own practice, and are collaborators of Atelier E.B.
There are collaborations with several other artists including Zoe Ghertner, Eileen Quinlan, Markus Proschek, Josephine Pryde and Calum Stirling.
Featuring the work of a dozen practitioners, Passer-by is underpinned by Atelier E.B’s rigorous approach to research, collaboration and production. Shifting through different times, histories and ways of looking, visitors become passers-by within Atelier E.B’s hybrid dreamscape.
This exhibition was initiated by Serpentine Galleries, London (Atelier E.B: Passer-by, 3 October 2018 – 6 January 2019) and coproduced by Lafayette Anticipations, Paris.