SHOWstudio's exhibition, 'To Bed', was dedicated to the notion of sleep and its many representations within art and fashion. Given that during winter months we tend to give over to hibernation, the somnolent show aptly ran throughout January to April. Curated by Carrie Scott, it included major works by Marina Bychkova, Chanel, Corinne Day, Jeremy Kost, Nick Knight, Mel Odom, Maiko Takeda, Viktor & Rolf, and Andy Warhol. In tandem with this dream-like exhibition, SHOWstudio.com broadcast an exclusive series of performances from the LiveStudio in Bruton Place.
Harmoniously related, the act of sleeping and the place where it happens have long been investigated by artists, designers and photographers seeking to exceed sleep’s humble boundaries and awaken the viewer to the extraordinary way in which we rest. Andy Warhol’s first film Sleep was a video of his lover, John Giorno, sleeping nude for five hours. John Lennon and Yoko Ono staged week-long 'Bed-Ins' for peace during the Vietnam War. Tracey Emin has made multiple sculptures that centre on her own bed. Called everything from works of genius to sophomoric stunts, these works of art spawned numerous reinterpretations and investigations into the site of sleeping in the decades since. From Corinne Day’s photographic diary, an intimate documentation of the artists’ most personal moments including her own hospitalisation after she was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 1996, to Maiko Takeda’s sensually shadowed sculpture that faintly outlines the soft curves of a woman in bed, To Bed sets out to show the boundless depictions of the vulnerable state and space of sleep and to investigate artist’s fascination with our twilight hours.
From seductive lingerie lace dresses reconfigured as haute couture, to the quilted Gianni Versace bedspreads wrapped around a bare skinned Jon Bon Jovi, bed is never far from fashion's collective consciousness. But designers' approaches to the concept of going to bed doesn't necessarily preclude sleep: the unique ergonomic shape of Karl Lagerfeld's '2001' bag for Chanel, first released in 1998, was designed with a dual function in mind - as a neck pillow for long distance travellers. The finale dress from Viktor & Rolf's A/W 2005 collection eschews sex appeal for nocturnal fantasy, a surreal confection that fuses eiderdown with evening gown, replete with lace trimmed pillow. A place to sleep, perchance to dream - and dreaming is, indeed, what fashion is built on.
As sites and displays that evoke an entirely diverse range of sentiment - passivity, sexuality, calm, and comfort - To Bed highlighted how artists and fashion designers depict and regard the complicated substructure of dormancy today.