Cris Moor, Thu Sept. 22 1994.
Not in Fashion. Fashion and Photography in the 90s is the title of the new special exhibition at MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst. As the title already indicates the focus here is not on the glamorous fashion world of the rich and the beautiful. On the contrary, the show at MMK presents an anti-movement that in the 1990s consciously ran counter to the images of prêt-à-porter, haute couture and the mainstream fashion magazines. Especially in the first half of the decade, designers, stylists and photographers dedicated themselves to giving fashion strong roots in society not just as an industry with a feeling for the zeitgeist, but as an artistic form of expression and as a "politics of the body". Thus, fashion in the 1990s covered substantially more than the latest collections brought out by the in-labels. The pictures in MMK shed light behind the glittering scene of the cat walk. They speak of a feeling for life that is defined by a search for identity, individualism and a personally defined style. And the snapshots, such as those of completely exhausted and seemingly anorexic models, give the viewer a sense of the dark side of the industry.
The exhibition highlights just how radical and innovative the images created by the generation of then 20 to 30-year-old designers and photographers were, and pinpoints what influence they continue to have on the visual arts today. Visitors to MMK can likewise follow the origins of this generation. The simultaneous presentation from the MMK Collection The Lucid Evidence places the theme addressed in the special exhibition in the over-arching context of contemporary photography. It becomes clear in this context just how strongly the photographers in the Not in Fashion show were influenced by artists such as Larry Clark, Nobuyoshi Araki, Jock Sturges, Beat Streuli or Thomas Ruff—all of whom take up central positions in the Collection of the MMK.
Not in Fashion underscores the changing way the fashion scene saw itself, above all through the medium of magazines such as i-D Magazine, The Face, Six, Visionaire or Purple. A selection of original copies of fashion magazines is on show in the exhibition – alongside reproductions of influential photospreads and innovative ad campaigns, by the likes of Jil Sander or Yohji Yamamoto, for example. Graphic designers M/M (Paris), who ever since the 1990s have been making a trailblazing contribution to the worlds of fashion, advertising and magazine design, have kindly compiled this documentary overview on behalf of MMK.
The multi-faceted presentation in the exhibition Not in Fashion relies on some 500 photographs, original materials and a comprehensive events program to highlight how the realms of fashion design, photography and art influence one another.
The exhibition will be supplemented by numerous live events. The series of events also includes a Temporary Shop, that will open at MMK Zollamt in cooperation with Frankfurt fashion store 58's.
On the occasion of the exhibition, a comprehensive catalogue in German and English was published by Kerber Verlag. It contains over 200 illustrations by artists, photographers and designers, as well as historical campaigns and key picture spreads from magazines of the day. Essays by Michael Bracewell, Jason Evans, Antje Krause-Wahl, Jule Hillgärtner and by exhibition curator Sophie von Olfers a conversation between artist Sarah Morris and Mauricio Guillén and an interview with Helmut Lang.
The special exhibition is being kindly supported by two important institutions: Kulturfonds Frankfurt-Rhein-Main and Kulturstiftung des Bundes. Another partner is Deutsche Bahn.
Vogue Deutschland has kindly agreed to act as Not in Fashion media partner.