International weekend: Mariela Gemisheva

Controversial enough I think of myself as a fashion designer who is not interested in the fashionable… I believe that the clothes should not be consumed. They are not just a function of the market and the aesthetics of the dominant trend, which are only a prerequisite condition. I use clothes as a basis for artistic provocation, turning the fashion show into a performance and the models into art objects. The dress is an outer projection of the personality – individual style and space. It’s an original appeal. 

My work as a fashion designer and artist is a combination of two approaches – on one side, the approach of the classical fashion design, which pays attention to the construction of the dress in “surprising” mixture with the materials, the specifics of the accessories and the allover “image” that a particular outfit is creating; and on the other side – the approach of the distinctly sculptural form of the clothes. These could not be worn just any place or any time. Through the composition of their volumes as well as through the dynamic silhouettes, combined with a special hair styling and make up of the models I aim at my performances to be something more than a simple showing of utilitarian objects. For me, these are transformed into a space and time based unfolding of forms, materials, and silhouettes that builds up the sensation of a sculptural show that has gone out for a walk. The leading principle for me is the play and the use of various elements in the clothing; while at the same time I use forms and signs from diverse social and cultural domains in combination with a new harmoniously-disharmonious design approach. In this way, “fashion” is used in my works as a contemporary phenomenon and is a field of artistic activity above all else.

“The label “Mariela Gemisheva” means: clothes that think; Clothes that often operate with symbols while creating a specific duality of the presence/absence, of here and there, in and out of the dress, of the body, and of one’s self” (Vladiya Mihaylova)

I can see a certain parallel between my work and the work of artists who use in their work features and approaches from the domain of fashion, such as Sylvie Fleury and Vanessa Beecroft, as well as with the works of artists who work of designers who are working in the border between fashion and art such as Hussein Chalayan, for instance. For me the important thing is the connection between fashion, industry, and consumption in the works of Sylvie Fleury; the intimacy in the experience and feeling of the body in the works of Vanessa Beecroft; as well as the virtuoso play with symbols and signs in the fashion experiments in the works of Hussein Chalayan.

Thus, the center of my attention as an author I place on the specific functionality of the fashion sign. That’s why I am using performance and installation as media and field for experimentation at the same time; a field, which on one side is furthering the vital link between fashion and art, while on the other it affords a voice to the change in the attitudes towards the body, towards culture and politics where a person is inscribed and to which contemporary fashion design has its own special commentary.

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