CollectibleDRY – Escape to be | On the cover model Xu Meen wearing bodysuit David Koma
CollectibleDRY 7 – Escape to be | Escaping doesn’t always mean going away, forgetting. It can be a search for a new dimension. It can be a beginning, or experimenting a different self. It can mean breaking free of a cocoon to finally become that which you’ve always been. Forget or forge everything? This is the essence of escape.
Sometimes we wake with a desire to be someone else, different and elsewhere. We desire a new hypothesis for the future. In CollectibleDRY 7, you’ll explore extraordinary stories by people who have turned escapes into strength and transformation. Vlatka Horvat cuts out references to the infinite that dissolve barriers and erase memories; John Waters renders void the confines between tradition and destruction of tradition; Kensuke Koike overturns perceptions of the past… Then there’s Simon Denny, a fan artist who has created a flag for the state of Liberland, born through the use of blockchain technologies and bitcoins. Indian photographer Sujatro Ghosh uses provocative shots to denounce the female condition in his country, where women are worth less than cows. Can the same be said of other cultures too?
Recognition of women’s rights and their role in contemporary society, especially in places we think of as “evolved,” remains ambiguous and surprisingly critical. Already midway through the past century, major female artists denounced subordinate conditions and commodification of the female body, including all the problems connected with recognizing one’s own identity. Adrian Piper, a famous feminist artist who abandoned the US for Berlin, shares her archive with us. The great Carolee Schneemann, who won the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 2017 Venice Biennale, gives an extraordinary interview detailing her militant artwork, which has always put the female body front and center in order to free it from rhetorical and patriarchal conditioning. Niki de Saint Phalle is drawn between the savage side of her female character and her bourgeois family upbringing.
What more in CollectibleDRY 7? – There is no “genre” issue if society is fluid and that which surrounds the sexes dissipates into a mutating body. Accepting one’s own corpus is beautiful, if it is worth. That’s the important thing: never lose sight of value. Never sell yourself out. Then body and soul can remain united, seeking perfection even when it lies outside the pre-established, uniform or usual. You’re a man, you’re a woman; genre doesn’t matter. What’s important is knowing how to make your own choice. We can switch men’s and women’s clothing to become that which we desire in a given moment. Wearing a mask works too (check out the amazing piece by Charles Fréger, a photographer-anthropologist who wants to restore – through portraiture – identities and dignity to the protagonists of his works). Then you’ll enjoy a search for memory in a place that is an ancient home that has nothing to do with spirits, yet mirrors the soul of generations. Or explore landscapes shot by Matteo Procacci, immersed in an imaginary light, altering perceptions by inventing novel things. For Alessandra Mastronardi, a young Italian actress making a name for herself in the world, escape can be the choice to try new challenges and cultures, but also to return home, back to her familiar roots. She is featuring one of the covers of CollectibleDRY 7. The famous photographer Gian Paolo Barbieri generously opens his foundation to young people, revealing beauty through iconic images, exotic countries, divine creatures, interwoven with history.
The body doesn’t scare us anymore, even though we know that it continues to render us terribly mortal. Humans have tried to free themselves, remaining somehow alive, from their mortal remains (Their Mortal Remains is the title of V&A’s Pink Floyd Exhibition and book). The answer provided by Aldous Huxley and other theoreticians of escapism is another story. We’ll address that in upcoming issues, but let’s end here with a line that synthetizes their thinking:
I wanted to change the world. But I have found that the only thing one can be sure of changing is oneself.
Aldous Huxley, Point Counter Point