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BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 18 February '17
Vivienne Westwood’s Shanghai K11 exhibition presents fashion and art through the lens of activism
For the first time ever, fashion designer and activist Vivienne Westwood is asking the Chinese to help save the planet via a collaboration with cultural entrepreneur Adrian Cheng. The ‘Get A Life’ exhibition at K11 Art Mall, Shanghai will run until 28 February. It features highlights from Westwood’s collections, art and campaign work – presenting a fusion of fashion and art through the lens of activism.
The K11 art museum exhibition, co-curated by K11 and Westwood and her team, traverses six themes – from cutting-edge fashion to environmental advocacy – and invites contemporary Chinese artists to respond to the icon’s work and vision within the same space.
This merging of subject matter and creative disciplines is pioneering for China. The exhibition is open to the public until 28 February 2017.
‘We need art lovers because we are dangerously short of culture, which means we are short-sighted, blinkered in our thinking. Great art aims at perfection and is timeless; there is no progress in art… Art is true.’
Designer, campaigner, activist
A history of positive activism
Vivienne Westwood has always used her collections and catwalk shows as a platform to campaign for positive activism. She has spent many years tirelessly speaking out about the effects of climate change and overconsumption, and has mobilised international attention around ecological crusading.
The Get a Life exhibition was curated to explore Westwood’s role as both an iconic designer and activist. On display are looks from Westwood’s latest campaigns as well as important archive collections including ‘Save The Rainforest’ and ‘Mirror The World’.
As visitors journey through the six themes, they will come across Westwood’s various ecological philosophies, presented through hand-drawn graphics. They’ll see high-profile campaigns such as Greenpeace’s ‘Save The Arctic’, which features a series of 60 star-studded photographs that were showcased in London’s Waterloo underground station in 2015, alongside fashion film, photography, archive prints and illustrations.
All will be displayed to showcase Vivienne Westwood’s ability to fuse fashion and social commentary, as well as K11’s commitment to bringing fashion and art to the public.
Fusion with Chinese contemporary art
The installation will pose questions and prompt debates: can fashion be the vehicle that changes our environment? How will Westwood’s inspiring journeys in design, art and activism, in turn, motivate China and the rest of the world?
In response to the theme, and furthering K11 Art Foundation’s commitment to incubating emerging talent in Greater China, the sixth theme will feature artwork of seven Chinese artists and an artist group, including Sun Xun, Wu Junyong, Zhang Ruyi, Yu Honglei, Wang Congyi, Nathan Zhou and Zhu Xi.
‘It is my great pleasure to introduce this one-of-a-kind exhibition by Dame Vivienne Westwood to China. New World and K11 will continue to lead cross-platform collaborations in Greater China and we hope this exhibition will inspire people to talk more about the interconnecting relationships between fashion, art and the world in which we live.’
Founder of K11 and K11 Art Foundation
Cheng hopes the Get a Life exhibition will ‘inspire cultural exchange and creative exploration, epitomising the spirit of his own vision and philosophy: The Artisanal Movement and its mantra We Create, We Are Artisans’.
The Artisanal Movement is rooted in celebrating the original and sustainable and sharing the power of creativity to wider audiences.
Westwood, too, believes in the power of cultural exchange, especially with the influence of art.
Workshops, seminars and a series of art-related events will be held throughout the duration of Get a Life. A full schedule of events will be available on the official Shanghai K11 website.