Gallery MOMO presents Dress Code, a group exhibition exploring the use of costume in contemporary art. Dress Code features the work of well-established and new emerging artists, working in a variety of disciplines through the medium of costume.
Getting dressed is an essential activity of everyday life. We dress to accommodate social and environmental factors while indicating meaningful messages by way of what we wear. This signifying language of dress reads through the adornment of costume, asserting the identity of the wearer through the performativity of the coded attire. As a result, costume becomes the indicating factor that instructs perceptions of class, gender, and culture, influencing the way we interact with each other even before we meet.
Artists who work with the medium of costume seek to utilize, subvert, and critique its imposing character. As the nature of costume lends itself to performativity, many artists employ the medium of costume as a tool for social commentary. By linking what we wear to the complexities of representation and identity, Dress Code looks at ways in which costume becomes an evocative voice within contemporary art practice.
Exploring the medium’s collective and individual function, Dress Code looks to costume for signaling cultural belonging, aversion, and individual expression. This exhibition showcases the work of artists who employ particular technique and materials, adding multiple layers of meaning, coding and decoding perceptions of dress. However complex the didactics of costume and the performativity of dress, consistent in Dress Code’s exploration of the discipline is a commitment to celebrating costume and its role in contemporary art.
Participating artists: Ceil Ann | Lizette Chirrime | Rory Emmett | Ayana V. Jackson | Francois Knoetze | Lesiba Mabitsela | Maurice Mbikayi | Siwa Mgoboza | Sethembile Msezane | Mary Sibande