• Fall/Winter 2022
- November 30, 2022
“Place a drop of water on each leaf of a plant and you will get as many images of the sun as there are drops”
In the 13th century, Vincent de Beauvais’ Speculum majus endorses the mirror as an essential knowledge instrument. Through the mirror, it is, in fact, possible to reach a transparent and exact comprehension of reality. “Prodigy of immediate and total reproduction, the mirror becomes the symbol of the unaltered vision of things” (J. Baltrušaitis). According to this perspective, its reflective capacity would make it possible to faithfully approach the ontological status of the world: from such a view, things would be exactly as
we see them.
Quite a stifling perspective though. I’ve always been averse to the myth of the exact vision that inevitably ends up in freezing the immaginific power of the world. For this reason, I wanted to restore another feature of the mirror. That is, building aberrations, enchantments, ghosts. I’m thinking about the magical mirrors described in the catoptrics treatises of the 1600s: mirrors set into precious wunderkammer, that behave like machines of expansion and transfiguration of reality.
In these theatrical machines, the weirdness of the optical trick creates dizziness and wonder: a head losing its eyes, a tree growing into a forest, human bodies turning into horses, divinities becoming multiheaded. It’s the celebration of the metamorphosis, where the playful mechanics of refractions shatter every spatial limit and pave the way for escape.
“Multiplications, substitutions, overturnings, magnifications, reductions, dilations, constrictions of the forms” (J. Baltrušaitis): these are the operations through which the baroque mirrors create a fantastic alter mundus. But also, the operations needed to make the clothes, that are the magical mirrors par excellence: the means through which we can re-enchant our presence in the world.
The clothes, in fact, are capable of reflecting our image in an expanded and transfigured dimension. As a theatrum catoptricum polydicticum, clothes offer themselves as makers of manifold. Wearing them, means to cross a transformative threshold where we become something else; it means to be able to enhance and articulate in a different way our identity and our exhibiting potential.
Therefore, I use the metaphor of the magical mirror to approach the phantasmagorical power of fashion. A sacred power that radiates from the surface of the fabrics. And there
I work, on this tactile surface, through cross references, alterations, loopholes and grafts. Juxtaposing worlds and meanings. Altering the stability of perception. Manipulating and magnifying the existing. Through these interventions, I celebrate thelothes as real optical labs: magical machines that can give birth to fairy tales of metamorphosis and re-enchantment.