The exhibit “ARRGH! Monsters in Fashion” is open From 15 May to 31 July in the Benaki Museum in Athens. The exhibit is part of the annual Athens Festival; its main characters are bright and strange personalities, who, at various times in grotesque, humorous, enigmatic and sometimes scary forms and shapes, tell of the world around us. They are found not only in fashion, but in art and design as well; in exhibition halls, on the street, in concept stores. The ancient Greeks used the word “monster” to describe everything that is strange and has unknown, albeit searched for, origins. In its way, this exhibition is the story of modern humans' relationships to their bodies and clothes, about the beautiful and the ugly, about expanding our boundaries, about challenging the aesthetic status quo and the evolution of visual language. The exhibition features works by both established and new designers. Displayed alongside well-known brands such as Maison Martin Margiela, Walter Van Beirendonck, Jean-Charles De Castelbajac, and Issey Miyake arethe Latvian design duo Mareunrol's (Mārīte Mastiņa and Rolands Pēterkops). In tandem with the exhibition, the Berlin publishing house Pictoplasma Publishing has released the book NOT A TOY. Fashioning Radical Characters. The author and curator of the exhibit is Vassilis Zidianankis, who also created the exhibition Paper Fashion, which has already toured several European cities – Antwerp, Zurich and Luxembourg, among others.
Mareunrol's work can be seen both in the exhibit as well as in the book. We asked Rolands Pēterkops to tell us some more about this project.
The exhibition's main theme is “monsters” – colorful, eccentric beings that can embody good, as well as evil. What do you think makes this image relevant right now?
I think that the creation of bold images is lately quite relevant in fashion. The search for characteristics, signs, symbols and heroes. Every designer has his reasons, sources of inspiration and influence, but the unifying element is a desire to tell a story, and as precisely as possible, so that it catches, stays in the memory and, possibly, serves as inspiration for another story. This exhibit is, in essence, about heroes and images that make you stop and think. Sometimes exaggerated, caricatured, maybe on the border of the grotesque, bet at the same time characteristic of these times.