‘Iris Van Herpen: Sculpting The Senses’ Opens At GOMA

July 1, 2024

An exhibition celebrating Iris van Herpen, one of the world’s most forward-thinking living fashion designers, opens at Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art from tomorrow.

QAGOMA Director Chris Saines said ‘Iris van Herpen: Sculpting the Senses’ would feature 130 of the renowned designer’s visionary Haute couture creations and accessories, fashioned from the most innovative materials and new technologies.

‘Van Herpen’s extraordinary garments have been worn by the likes of Lady Gaga, Cate Blanchett, Tilda Swinton, Björk, Rihanna and, most recently, Beyoncé, for whom van Herpen created the custom Heliosphere dress for the singer’s Renaissance World Tour,’ Mr Saines said.

‘Developed by the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, the exhibition is a sensory exploration of the Dutch designer’s multidisciplinary practice that merges fashion, contemporary art, design, technology and science.

‘After a remarkably successful inaugural season in Paris, ‘Sculpting the Senses’ opens at GOMA on Saturday 29 June from 10.00am to 5.00pm daily until 7 October.

‘The exhibition will also open late every Friday with a bar and DJs from 5.30 to 8.30pm from 12 July until 4 October.

‘This extensive survey highlights van Herpen’s unique approach to transgressing conventional clothing norms while embracing both traditional couture craftmanship and innovative techniques,’ Mr Saines said.

Curated by Dr Cloé Pitiot and Louise Curtis from the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in collaboration with Nina Miall and Dr Jacinta Giles from QAGOMA, ‘Sculpting the Senses’, features van Herpen’s Haute Couture garments in dialogue with objects from natural history and works by artists including Philip Beesley and the Living Architecture Systems Group, Megan Cope, Cai Guo-Qiang, Yayoi Kusama, Kohei Nawa, Anne Noble, Japanese art collective Mé, Damien Jalet, Casey Curran, Rogan Brown, Ren Ri, and Courtney Mattison.

QAGOMA Curator of International Art Nina Miall said the exhibition was presented across nine chapters: Water and Dreams, Sensory Sea Life, Forces Behind the Forms, Skeletal Embodiment, Growth Systems, Synaesthesia, Mythology of Fear, New Nature and Cosmic Bloom.

‘It includes an evocation of van Herpen’s Amsterdam studio; a Wunderkammer, or cabinet of curiosities; and a space dedicated to the designer’s fashion shows.

‘It is also accompanied by an immersive soundscape by van Herpen’s partner and collaborator, the Dutch sound artist Salvador Breed, which weaves the various works together and enriches the sensory experience of the exhibition,’ Ms Miall said.

Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said Queensland welcomed Iris van Herpen and her award-winning sculptural designs, which are celebrated on catwalks and in museums around the world, in another QAGOMA Australian-exclusive exhibition.

‘In a fusion of art, fashion and technologies, ‘Iris van Herpen: Sculpting the Senses’ is a stunning retrospective of the designer’s work that will inspire and engage visitors and further boost our state’s reputation as an international cultural tourism destination,’ Minister Enoch said.

‘Through the Queensland Government’s blockbuster exhibition funding, QAGOMA has a strong track record of securing globally significant arts experiences for Queenslanders and visitors to the state, with exclusive exhibitions generating more than $140 million in economic impact since 2016.’

Born in 1984, Iris van Herpen grew up in the village of Wamel, The Netherlands, in harmony with nature and the living world. Nature, along with classical dance which she practiced intensively from an early age, are among the most creative wellsprings from which she draws inspiration in her work.

After a formative period working with Alexander McQueen and Claudy Jongstra, van Herpen founded the Maison Iris van Herpen in Amsterdam in 2007. She has built an international reputation for combining the subtleties of craftsmanship with the pioneering spirit of innovation and technology, opening up her practice to a host of other disciplines in sensorial designs that capture the intricacy and diversity of the natural world.

In 2010, van Herpen joined the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in Paris and that same year she presented her first 3D-printed garment, the Crystallization top. Only one year later, van Herpen created the Escapism dress, which was named by Time magazine as one of the fifty most exciting inventions of the year.

From 10.30 to 11.30am on Saturday 6 July, join designer Iris van Herpen in conversation with exhibition curator Cloé Pitiot in Cinema A, GOMA. The event is free, no bookings required. Seating is limited and available on a first-in, first-seated basis.

At 11.45am and 2.00pm on Saturday 6 July, dancer Elijah-Jade Bowen (Mununjali & Guugu Yimithirr) performs a short dance in response to the exhibition soundscape.

From 1.00 to 1.30pm on Saturday 6 July, join artist Megan Cope in conversation with Nina Miall, Curator of International Art, QAGOMA, speaking about her sculptural installation Whispers Wall 2023 featured in the exhibition with the support of the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland. An exhibition ticket is required.

‘Iris van Herpen: Sculpting the Senses’ is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland’s Major Events Program, and Major Partners Shayher Group and Urban Art Projects. A full list of supporters is available online.

The exhibition is co-organised by the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris and QAGOMA, Brisbane based on an original exhibition designed by the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris.

For more information and to purchase tickets to ‘Iris van Herpen: Sculpting the Senses’ visit www.qagoma.qld.gov.au

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