Holy Chic Poster to Print

Our social settings sanction religious belief. We seek individual meaning through
existential questions to which religion offers answers and comfort. Can similar vein
be seen when we seek social and spiritual salvation through fashion? What happens
when fashion and religion collide? To many, fashion is religion. It demands a stern
system of faith and belief. Aren’t religious practices and the rituals of a catwalk
performed in similar sequestered places, in comparative set sequence? Here, Holy
Chic offers some thought provoking views on the interchange between fashion and
religion. Installation artist WESSIELING paired devotional quotes collected from
parishioners with popular fashion language. The results could not be more telling.
Attention is drawn immediately to the enlarged text of I Am the Bread of Life Vs I Am
the New Black on the pillars of the magnificent Saint Dominic’s Priory. The work is
entitled to “A Heel Came Real”, which, will only reveal when read horizontally
through the interlined of gold characters. On the sidewall are a series of gold plates
with fashion language and biblical quotes etched on. What portent can be greater
than placing ‘The Ultimate Bag Guide’ and ‘The Mystery of Faith’ in a church? The
extenuated irony sees the juxtaposition of the text-work with the journey of the
crucifixion. Rarely would religious sculptures in a church be studied or examined, the
artwork engages with them in a playful yet stimulating dialogue. The installation
interweaves into Saint Dominic’s setting as if it has always been a part of it. The
choice of colour synchronises harmoniously with the church’s tonal system. Fashion
has meticulously assimilated to the religious norms. Presented in this context,
fashion is taken as an idea, a resource, an immaterial property and a soft power all of
which are at heart of WESSIELING’s work. Text and installation are the artist’s major
medium, who has, in previous occasions, ‘made’ poems using fashion advertising
slogans. Click here for more images

WESSIELING’s work concerns the aestheticisation of the everyday through the lens of fashion. Her practice uses text and installation to create work that addresses the cultural property and soft power of fashion. A trained cultural historian, she studied fine art in Central Saint Martin College of Art and Design (London). Draw on her dual role as an artist and academic researcher, her visual art practice spins off her inquiry of the (in)tangible assets of fashion, consumption, globalisation, (post-)colonalism, cultural hybridity and authenticity. Works were exhibited in OVADA (2015, UK: Oxford), Danson House (2013, UK: Bexleyheath Trust), Brunei Gallery (2012, London: SOAS), Saltram House (2012, Plymouth: National Trust), Victoria & Albert Museum (2011, London) among others. www.WESSIELING.com

Presented as part of The Late Shows 2016