ZAMEK Culture Centre

Patch It! Darn It! The Long Life of Clothes

Exhibition

April‒July 2024


ARTISTS:

Susanne Friedel

Agnieszka Kasztelowicz

Małgorzata Markiewicz

Małgorzata Mirga –Tas

Anne Peschken & Marek Pisarsky

Paulina Poczęta

Anja Schwörer


Curatorial text

We live in an era of overproduction of all kinds of goods. The mountains of clothes offloaded to just lie there in Africa or South America are a sign of our times. The Atacama Desert in Chile has become one of the world’s largest textile landfills. This is the result of our entanglement in the highly eco-unfriendly and unethical mechanisms of fast fashion.

Fast fashion means relatively cheap, fashionable clothes we buy in chain stores. Such apparel imitates the latest trends created by famous designer houses. Their manufacturers outsource the sewing of their products all over the world, in most cases paying workers very low wages. The quality of the materials is not superior, either. Every season, many of us succumb to the fashion fever, buying lots of new clothes and throwing away the old ones. In doing so, we drive the pace of fast fashion and add to the heaps of clothing that pile up in various corners of the planet. Artists make us aware that the clothing we no longer have use for is dumped in many parts of the world. They also highlight the fact that the fabrics used in fast fashion are not biodegradable and will take thousands of years to decompose, as well as draw our attention to the exploitation of those working in the clothing industry. We are shown both anonymous seamstresses working in massive factory halls and specific people employed in the clothing industry who, unafraid to give their names, speak of exploitation and difficult living conditions. However, education of this kind no longer suffices today, as the task of art is also to suggest strategies to help us reduce overproduction and change the habit of discarding clothes we grow bored with too quickly. Art calls for a change of the mindset.

Thus, the works shown as part of the Patch it! Darn It! The Long Life of Clothes not only assert clearly that the problem exists, but above all offer certain solutions. Such a narrative, aimed at positive change, is already apparent in the title, which directly addresses every one of us and encourages us to take action: to patch and mend things, which is the simplest way to prolong the life of clothes and give used ones a makeover that yields something new. The artists themselves sew, mend and recycle what is apparently no longer fashionable, creating slow fashion. Simultaneously, they indirectly expose the social and political contexts of fast fashion, suggesting that it is possible to do things differently: in a more eco-friendly and empathetic manner. Moreover, the very bringing back to life of used clothes and old fabrics is a ritual that can be performed alone or collectively. It is a ritual that enables us to activate our senses of touch and smell as well as relate to the history and memory of the mended, altered, stitched or patched textiles. For this reason, most of the exhibited items can be touched.

Marta Smolińska, curator

Exhibition producer: Magdalena Tomczewska

Visual identity: Ewa Hejnowicz

WYSTAWY TOWARZYSZĄCE

Wydarzenia towarzyszące wystawie

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