New Nordic Fashion Exhibition Captivates Georgians

The captivating artworks of twenty-one modern illustrators from Estonia, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway gathered together in Tbilisi last week preceding Tbilisi Fashion Week. The New Nordic Fashion Exhibition was held in Tallinn and Helsinki prior to its arrival in Georgia. The new display offered a comprehensive picture of the creative approach of the brightest Nordic illustrators and a selection of their works of a more commercial nature. This fascinating exhibition was organized by the Estonian, Swedish, Danish and Norwegian embassies in Tbilisi in cooperation with Tbilisi Fashion Week to help First Step Georgia (NGO dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for children with special needs) and Dog Organization Georgia (a dog shelter).

The smiling faces and expressions of satisfaction of invited diplomats, Georgian government officials and public figures proved the uniqueness of the event.

Estonian Ambassador to Georgia, Priit Turk, took time to speak about the exhibition with Georgia Today: “We Estonians are a part of the Nordic countries and are very happy to show it to our Georgian friends through this kind of corporation. I think the most fascinating aspect of the artwork here is the fact that some of the participant artists have worked for very famous brands like Nike, Coca-Cola, and H&M. We are very privileged to bring such an exhibition to Tbilisi.”

Mads Berg, Danish illustrator, explained the exhibition: “Fashion illustration, including my own work, is a lot about attracting the eye. An attractive piece of work is not about the textile or clothing but more about the display of color and composition.”

Fashion Illustration has been around for some 500 years, though not always in such limelight as it is today. Flourishing between the two world wars of the 20th century, its firm position started to dissipate in the 1950s with the powerful emergence of photography and a mercantilist perception of the world. Yet it made a new breakthrough during the optimistic pathos of the sixties, paving the way for new aesthetic approaches. Unfortunately enough, this did not come about without a certain degree of vandalism, with many masterpieces from previous epochs ending up in the trash.

Over time fashion illustration has managed to synthesize into its graphic toolkit the presence of many great European masters, from the Renaissance to Pop-Art. Durer, Ingers, Degas, Japanese impulsiveness and minimalism, the dйcor of art nouveau and art deco, and the psychedelic 1960-70s are only a few examples within the rich variety of illustration techniques and traditions. In modern times, where commercial art is largely based on computer skills, fashion illustration has remained true to pristine manual arts and crafts, even when including a synthesis of techniques for post-processing with the computer. The power of hand, pencil and brush, even when mixed with the multitude of options provided by design software programmers, creates a feeling of uniqueness. In that sense, it is not an overstatement to say that it belongs on the same pedestal as haute couture.

“Nordic artists have established a myth of the creator who sees beauty from afar, from the edge of the world, generalizing the temporal and the timeless with a mere line stroke,” says Toomas Volkmann, curator of the exhibition.


Meri Taliashvili

15 October 2015 21:59