SHOWstudio’s latest exhibition, 'To Bed', is a collection of works by iconic artists and fashion designers based around the idea of sleeping. The show features Andy Warhol’s first film 'Sleep', which was a video of his lover, John Giorno, sleeping in the nude for five hours, and pictures from Corinne Day’s photographic diary after being diagnosed with a brain tumour. The acts of dreaming, resting and sex are interpreted by the artists involved and To Bed explores how they differ in their depictions of humanity in its most vulnerable state.
The link between sleep and fashion is also explored in works by Chanel and Viktor & Rolf, who once sent a model down the runway with a lace-trimmed pillow strapped to her back. SHOWstudio SHOP director Carrie Scott talked to Dazed about the thought process behind the exhibition.
Dazed Digital: How did 'To Bed' come about?
Carrie Scott: The bed, as a site of complex contradictions, is fascinating. Not only is it a place of rest and comfort but it's also implicitly sexy. Artist's have investigated this multifaceted construct for as long as arts been around. Think Manet's Olympia, Ruben's barbaric bed scenes. So, it seemed rather natural to do a show that focused on the bed. And of course, I knew about Nick's incredible and first ever global, live fashion shoot where he invited nine top models to the Metropolitan Hotel to sleep. Literally. The girls were styled, had their hair and make-up done. And then were put to bed in their separate hotel rooms. Viewers then logged in from midnight on and watched as the woman slept. As a group of videos, the result is an incredibly intimate and unique portrait of women in a most vulnerable state.
DD: Why does the act of sleeping and the image of the bed appeal to so many artists and fashion designers?
Carrie Scott: I think that it is exactly because of the bed's multiple associations and sleeping's unknown perimeters that the bed becomes infinitely fascinating to artists and fashion designers. We know and understand very little about what we do when we sleep and yet we spend half our lives doing it. What's not compelling about that.
DD: The exhibition evokes a range of emotions such as sexuality, peace and comfort – is there an underlying emotion that ties the works together?
Carrie Scott: Whether the bed's been sexualized, as in Jeremy Kost's work, or is featured as a source of healing , as in Corinne Day's self-portrait, there is a essence of calm that stretches between each piece in the show.
DD: Which is your favourite piece in the exhibition?
Carrie Scott: I, of course, like them all but Maiko Takeda's take on the reclining nude grabs me every time. She's a young graduate from Saint Martins' whose work I was introduced to by one of our incredible interns, Bea Bradsell. This particular composition plays with the viewers role as voyeur and prevents the subject of the shadowed painting from falling into that ever too familiar to-be-looked-at female role. In one minute we see the seductive figure, the next we can't make out her shadow. It's all about perception and that art historical game that makes us wrestle with our desire to look and study the vulnerable pose.
DD: What do you dream of?
Carrie Scott: You know, the usual; running, falling, flying, skiing, crying, laughing, and always bumping into people who shouldn't be where they are.
'To Bed', January 27 - March 12, SHOWstudio, 1-9 Bruton Place, London W1