Eastern European Collectors
Knoll Galria Budapest


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AES+F: Defile

AES+F, Defile #1, 2007, Lightbox, 205x106x22 cm

In „Defile“ we explore the way individuals deal with the concept of mortality by juxtaposing images of death with images of beauty, in this case high fashion. In pairing fashion with death, we have found a modern-day counterpart to the traditional juxtapositions of love and death and beauty and death. It appears a fundamental aspect of human nature to only conceive of death in conjunction with something else, as if to take the burden off thinking of death exclusively. An obsession with fashion, symbolizing temporality, can be seen as a way to deal with the fear of death. It is an ancient preoccupation, as can be seen in the elaborate rituals in Western and non-Western cultures associated with death. Humans have always attempted to „decorate“ death, based in part with a desire to ward off death. It is this idea we intend on exploring in our project.

With the help of modern digital technology we intend on creating virtual events that evoke the spirit of medieval carnivals, in particular Dances of Death. We plan on shooting, on video and photo, unknown dead bodies in a morgue, then shooting haute couture dresses on live models in Paris, Milan or London. We will obtain such fashions through exclusive arrangements with designers who represent the most challenging and progressive artists in fashion today, and with whom we hope to collaborate in our project. The images we record will then be digitally manipulated, such that the unknown corpses will be clothed in the high fashion garments. The corpse/models will float over an invisible podium, the edges of their clothes fluttering as if they were gliding over a catwalk.

In developing our project „Defile“, we were motivated by the idea of pairing fashion, with its extreme temporality, with death, with its constancy and inevitability. At the same time, we intend to leave participant/spectators with a sense of the circularity of life, and, in part, make death easier to contemplate. In granting these morbid forms a sense of dignity and beauty in death, in a sense an afterlife, we hope our audience will find something of value in this project.