CRISTÓBAL BALENCIAGA. FASHION AND HERITAGE. CONTEXTS
Museo Cristobal Balenciaga, Getaria
March 01, 2019 – January 21, 2020
Fashion and Heritage mantain a pardoxical dialogue that contrast the ephemeral with the permanent. This dialogue is embodied by Cristóbal Balenciaga. In 2018, the Cristóbal Balenciaga Museum began this curatorial series in order to explore, by means of a chronological and evolutionary discourse of the work by the couturier from Getaria, the process due to which what was in its day a simple item of clothing is today part of a Museum collection. Contexts, in this new instalment, prompts us to seek out the common places between history and fashion, the spaces behind the curtain, where everything’s done, the hows before the whys, and the formal parallelisms between the then of haute couture and the now of the museum work. Fashion and Heritage transform, with this new edition, to become a series. A work in progress, just like the Museum collection where the exhibition discourse grows, including the contributions of new research, new materials and new contents. An open, and living, proposal that progresses with new layers of knowledge and the possibilities of their exploration offered by new technologies.
The exhibition occupies six rooms, some 1000m2 of the Museum space, and contains 80 pieces of clothing which, in the main, have never been exhibited before. These are new additions to the Museum collection, deposits and loans and private collections. Technology is present in this exhibition, enabling an interactive process thanks to digital transformations which allow us to observe the detail (megapixel) of a piece, view it in 360°, study infographics on its technical construction. The expository discourse and the selection of pieces which accompany it, were produced by the Museum Collections Director, Igor Uria, while the spatial concept and its design are the result of the collaboration between the Museum team and the renowned fashion curator, Judith Clark, in a continuation of the work carried out with the start of this series.
Cristóbal Balenciaga. Fashion and Heritage. Contexts takes us on a chronological journey that covers the entire working life of Cristóbal Balenciaga and builds up a picture of his new approach in a cumulative way, assimilating and combining previous and current research. The exhibition traces the history of the emblematic firm and the creative evolution of the dressmaker and reveals a new relationship between the Fashion of Balenciaga and the Heritage of the museum, seeking the parallelism between their contexts. These contexts offer us the opportunity to understand where and how the creation of Cristóbal Balenciaga occurred.
Some of these contexts are hidden and are part of the trade and know-how of haute couture, such as the workspaces of the ateliers – fabrics, tools and hands – or the luxurious but intimate glamour of the salon for the exclusive customers. At the same time, the monastic atmosphere of the museum’s archives and restoration laboratory are also hidden and inaccessible contexts which in turn form part of the history of the objects. Other contexts are entirely public and have to do with socio-cultural environments and historical events which mark moments of creation and processes of dissemination and adoption of the innovations within culture, art, design and fashion in the twentieth century. In these contexts, the media plays a fundamental role, reflecting them for us, and, in the specific case of fashion, even creating them, and for this reason the media provides one of the voices of the exhibition discourse.