Jonathan “J.W.” Anderson is a man of great taste and little limitations. That’s why every time anything new he has worked on surfaces; people prick up their ears and lap it all up. The latest outpouring from Anderson’s treasure trove of inspiration is the “Disobedient Bodies” exhibition, a major curatorial effort opening March 18 at The Hepworth Wakefield gallery in Yorkshire. The expo will delve into the human form as it is represented in fashion, art and design. The prolific Northern Irish designer was also just announced to be the Special Guest at Pitti Immagine together with Virgil Abloh in June, following Tim Coppens and Raf Simons, so there’s plenty of J.W. to look forward to this season.
As the much-lauded and innovative creative director of his namesake label J.W. Anderson as well as Spanish luxury heritage label Loewe, Jonathan Anderson has built up a devoted following who look to him to reimagine what menswear and womenswear can look like. For “Disobedient Bodies”, a selection from Anderson’s personal favourite figurative sculptures will be displayed in contrast with photography, design objects, Anderson’s own designs and important fashion archive pieces like 50s Dior Haute Couture. As a long-time modern art aficionado, work from greats such as Louise Bourgeois, Barbara Hepworth (the famed sculptor to whom the gallery is dedicated and a great inspiration of Jonathan Anderson’s), Constantin Brâncusi, Alberto Giacometti and Henry Moore will also be presented alongside creations from Jonathan Anderson’s personal archive by icons like Yves Saint Laurent, Jean Paul Gaultier, Alexander McQueen, Maison Martin Margiela, Christian Dior, Helmut Lang, Issey Miyake, Madame Grès and Rei Kawakubo (honestly, the list of legends goes on).
In line with his own collections for J.W. Anderson, gender and its fluidity is an important factor in how the human form has been re-interpreted in art and design and this becomes evident in the experience of “Disobedient Bodies”. A series of images by the great Jamie Hawkesworth will be juxtaposed with the abstract work of artists like Henry Moore ask viewers to question their notion of the beauty and absurdity of our human bodies. A book of Hawkesworth’s images, including a series of 123 Yorkshire school children in clothing from the expo, is set to accompany “Disobedient Bodies” – seeing these kids lounging in Comme is just the best. The exhibition’s design was created in collaboration with Tom Emerson and Stephanie Macdonald of London firm 6a architects (who also designed Juergen Teller’s West London studio).
As with the recent “North” expo and the upcoming Chatsworth House retrospective, the year’s most intriguing British fashion and design exhibitions seem to enjoy straying far from London – a trend VisitBritain is sure to be thrilled about. Direct me to the nearest flight to Leeds Bradford before Brexit kicks in, please.
“Disobedient Bodies: J.W. Anderson Curates The Hepworth Wakefield”
Saturday March 18 – Sunday June 18
Vernissage: March 17 from 7 – 10 PM
10 AM – 5PM (Tuesday – Sunday)
The Hepworth Wakefield
Wakefield, West Yorkshire
More info on the exhibition here.