Memory Beholden

Memory Beholden

Artist: Lee Scott
Affiliation: Fashion and Textiles, Durban University of Technology
Country: South Africa 

Synopsis and description of the Work  

A garment artefact created in response to the themed 2020 International Fashion Art Biennale  ‘The Moment’ which took place in Seoul, Collage of Design, Kookmin University. 

Because of the pandemic and world-wide restrictions, the Korea Fashion & Culture Association (FCA) held the Fashion

Art Biennale in November as an ‘innovative on-line performance event’, a virtual/digital fashion show that opened on the 19th of November 2020.  

This colourful long shift dress, painted and encrusted with Barbie clothes and accessories along with a life size representation of Barbie and a carved stone Venus figurine represents old memories of childhood and a yearning for simpler times. Inspired by my visceral response to lockdown level 5, these emotive responses are represented by both Barbie – for me a symbol of lack and the elongated Venus figurine unearthed in Sé, Hungary. The Venus figurine embodies connectedness, of being ‘earthed’, and very simply, the power of the feminine.  

I’m interested in the breakdown of the lines between art, fashion and design and looking to personal and social stories, how dress figures into those areas. ‘Garmenting’ refers to the use of clothing as a medium of visual art and speaks to issues larger than the oft apparent concerns that the fashion world is ephemeral in nature. Items of clothing can signify diverse aspects of everyday life, amour, camouflage, as a form of protest or indicator of belonging. Reflecting on the artefact postproduction, I noted a pattern in that I often use bright vibrant colour as a form of camouflage, as subterfuge to make social commentary. I also was cognisant that being afforded the opportunity to create in the ‘round’, enabled me to move away from a mode restrained by the two dimensional to that of the sculptural. In turn, the dress and simple act of ‘walking the dress’ along with viewing it through the lens of the virtual unveiled a multi-dimensional and performative aspect to the work. 


August 25, 2022