Idols and humans in Riga

  • 2011-03-30
  • By Sam Logger

IDOL WORSHIP: Fashion photography, with its roughness, opens a debate on human emotion.

RIGA - Photography is a person’s trusted confrere which outlines history and encloses emotions. This piece of evidence, which reflects life, is full of somebody’s experience. The Museum of Decorative Arts and Design opens a new exhibition, ‘Idols and Humans,’ to present fashion photography – witness of an era, with emphasis on human values and passions.
Initiated by the Center of France’s Culture in Riga, the exhibition carries an elegant French touch – this creative collection, which is especially chosen for Latvia, is the property of the French National Fund of Contemporary Art (FNAC) and consists of creative works taken by top photographers who showcase the aesthetic values of Western culture and its people of the last century. By all means, the name of FNAC itself represents the highest standards available. The fund owns the most prestigious international collection in France, and its artworks come from all over the world.

But obviously the exhibition gives something more than just an awareness that photos belong to the world-known art fund. Images included in the exposition portray fashion from a different angle, merging the art and human together. It then broadens the horizons in the understanding of glamour and beauty. And even more, it makes fashion look like a fantasy world where dreams and desires are filled with art. Art historian Inese Baranovska admits that “to take pictures of fashion is some sort of escape from reality, to the world where the human can still find a place, at least in the role of a spectator and evaluator.” Surprisingly, the face of a poser becomes a lot more important than the clothes this poser promotes. Still, in such photography the clothes gain the invaluable privilege to be embraced by the artistic approaches and creativity of the photographers. In a way, this thought echoes also in the remark of the exhibition curator Agnes de Gouvion Saint-Cyr, who states that “the term ‘modele’ has two parallel meanings in French.” One reflects the meaning of high fashion (haute couture), but the other indicates the person whose task it is to popularize these clothes.

So what makes this exhibition eye-catching? Possibly the fact that the visitors will be invited to watch a special movie about the designer Christian Lacroix’s fashion show “Defile.” On the other hand, fashion lovers will be easily drawn into a historical interpretation about the time when the industry changed its direction. Maybe it is Pierre Boulat’s playful stories of urban streets, or Peter Lindbergh’s independent woman’s image in the industrial environment, the model earned a chance to be a personality. And this position has not changed ever since. Just like the role of a woman as always dynamic and unpredictable, the fashion standards apply to an evergreen wish to be unique. That’s why there is no place for such opinions, which demand to be perfect!

Photos speak with their roughness, blur, and sometimes even ugliness to brighten the lines of a woman’s body, soul, and social or emotional status. Fashion – without a doubt – turned out to be the voice of a lady’s presence, which was clearly powerful and outstanding. No matter how unordinary those pictures looked, they performed both feelings and heartlessness, both sophistication and insipidity. Today these photos are the golden legacy of the fashion industry.

It can be said that this exhibition is made for all people. Basically every single person can find something to enjoy in this event. Why? Despite the fact that the main emphasis is on fashion photography, it also opens a debate on human emotion. Is it possible that one certain work of photography can tell the story of a whole generation? Is it true that pictures emanate the story of a person’s lifetime? These are the questions where answers are found within the colors.

Exhibition is open from March 31 till May 15.