Walter Van Beirendonck spring—summer 2001. Maori man, 1999.
Fashion is the starting point for this exceptional exhibition, in search of historical, ethnic and aesthetic points of contact. From these several angles, MUTILATE?-VERMINK? offers a survey of the various ways throughout history and all over the world man has used extreme, bizarre, crazy and singular forms of fashion, body decoration and manipulation. It shows how man is forever adapting his appearance, mostly for social and religious reasons. Among other things, it shows several aspects of the history of Western fashion, including 18th-century crinolines and corsets and more recent expressions of fashion such as body painting and other Western body cultures. In addition it focuses on ethnographic and anthropological items such as skull distortions, scarification, lip discs and so on.
MUTILATE?-VERMINK? offers an insight into various forms of bodily mutilation, in which context avatars also assume significance, as if this were a provisional end to an evolution that is both characteristic of humans but at the same time alien. MUTILATE?-VERMINK? cannot be placed under a single heading, but provides, rather, a picture of various approaches, in which the notion of ‘fashion’ is questioned and apparently divergent phenomena are brought face to face.
Curator: Walter Van Beirendonck Design: Walter Van Beirendonck with B-architecten Coordination, research and secretariat: Kurt Van Belleghem and Els Roelandt for Aprior