Disorderly apparel describes garments that are badly damaged, utterly worn-out or made from textiles that have perished over time. The items exhibited in Present Imperfect are prized for these very qualities. However, similar apparel can be overlooked or suppressed, left to lie dormant or languish in museum stores.
Selected apparel includes a pair of Victorian kid leather gloves that are burned, forever contorted in corporeal gesture. A cotton ballet singlet, borrowed from the Rambert Archive, was once animate but now lies limp, imprinted by repeated exertion. Shattered linings are properties common to a contemporary Stone Island jacket and an afternoon gown crafted over a century ago by leading London couture house Redfern. Most recent is a template leather jacket by Alexander McQueen. It features photocopied and glued pattern motifs and red felt-tipped annotation redolent of cut-and-paste zines.
These seemingly awkward garments are framed by modular structures that safeguard and actively communicate. Each structure proposes a strategy that alludes to the human form in its absence: a glove placed at the location of a hand; an impression of a dancer’s figure milled from a 3D body-scan; representation of a pattern-maker’s measures suggests process and proportion.
Text is a routine method for interpretation and engagement. Present Imperfect playfully subverts the conventions of text panel and label. Narratives – actual and associative – such as time, transience and trauma are suggested as possible themes for finding meaning.
In order to share working processes and reveal multiple alternative narratives, the installation is configured as gallery and studio space. An intention is to highlight that within the evolution of any exhibition numerous choices and ideas are explored, rejected and chosen.