#3 Pre-Fashionality

I went to the McMichael Canadian Art Collection a few weeks ago to help install art works by Camal Pirbhai, for the gallery's latest exhibition 'Fashionality: Dress and Identity in Contemporary Canadian Art.' The exhibition was put together by a Canadian writer and curator Julia Pine, who specializes in North American visual culture of the twentieth and twenty-first century. In the Urban Dictionary, "fashionality" is defined as one's personality expressed in their clothing, 'fashion personality', or one's nationality expressed in their clothing, 'fashion nationality'.

Fashionality at McMichael Canadian Art Collection will be on display from May 5 - September 3.

When I arrived at the McMichael, the installation had already begun. The installation team was working with the artists, trying to figure out the electrical needs, lighting fixture, hardware at the spot where the curator designated each piece to be displayed. The staff at the McMichael were present at the scene as well, who also worked with the rest of Fashionality team.

Camal at the Fashionality Installation Day

Although I have been to numerous galleries and exhibitions, I am only familiar with the finished, well dressed exhibitions. I rarely see the collection coming together like this.What I learned was that not all the artists were present at the installation day. If you're the artist, and your works are displayed at a gallery, wouldn't you want to see the process of installation? I guess it depends on the work itself. For example, if your work is more fixed and solid such as a painting or a bronze sculpture, you wouldn't mind missing out. But what if your work is more "loose" just like Camal's? (Camal's pieces are mainly made out of fabric, so the look changes each time they are moved to a new location). I would consider Camal's works "semi-loose". I would call the installation art "loose", since the positioning may change depending on the space provided. Having said that, there were pieces that were "loose" for the Fashionality collection. I just thought it was interesting to see the different perspectives of the artists towards an exhibition installation.

I discovered that there is a lot of preparation and time required to organize an art exhibition. I hope that there will be more opportunities of putting an art show such as Fashionality. I have gone back to McMichael to see the final outcome of the exhibition, and it looks amazing! I enjoyed both the installation and the finalized exhibition. If you haven't checked out Fashionality yet, make sure you do!

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