Somerset House - North: Fashioning Identity
Today I went on a trip to London with my parents; we explored our favourite locations in London, but the main purpose of the visit was to attend the Somerset House exhibition, North: Fashioning Identity held in the East Wing Galleries.
As we approached the location, we were presented with a large stunning ice rink situated in front of the building’s magnificent architecture. This would make the perfect winter day out; a skate day or skate night with family and friends. It is, in my opinion, London’s most beautiful ice rink.
Somerset House has been home to great fashion and beauty exhibitions recently, from Hair by Sam McKnight: Celebrating 40 years of iconic hairstyles to Guy Bourdin‘s exhibition a few years ago, to the more recent perfume exhibition that was there this summer.
North: Fashioning Identity is Somerset House’s most recent exhibition and is an eye-catching fashion exhibition, in collaboration with Adidas. We booked this exhibition as me and my mum in particular wanted to explore an event that celebrates the talented contemporary artists, photographers, designers and stylistic representations from the north of England; everyone from photographer Alasdair McLellan to designer Gareth Pugh.
When we were walking round the exhibition, I was most intrigued by the range of outcomes that were displayed: the walls were filled with contemporary photography, fashion and multimedia work. I liked looking at the fashion garments that were presented. We also experienced a social documentary film and photography, highlighting how the realities of life in the north of England, captured in the mid-20th century, continue to influence new generations of photographers, artists and designers.
Wandering around, I was thinking about all of the possible themes and topics present in the collective visions of northern England. It made me wonder why the representations of the regions are increasingly a source of inspiration. I believe that they are still so ‘idealised’ because many of the works are inspired by style and culture, whether it be music, film, sport, fashion, landscapes and communities. I feel that this helps individuals relate to the work and I always find that I connect more with something if there is a background story/narrative to it.
I enjoyed reading the personal reflections on the artists’ sense of northern identity: interviews with northern talent looking at how their home towns have influenced their creative output.
If I had to describe the exhibition in a couple of words, I would say that it was intelligent, celebratory and encourages participation with the subject matter: the passion in the work was very evident. I would definitely recommend popping down to the exhibition if you get a chance.
Throughout this post I have inserted a selection of my photographs that I took on the day in the exhibition.