LOOK AT ME: LEIGH BOWERY
5 Feb 1999 -
13 Mar 1999
Robert Buckingham and Rachel Young
This multimedia exhibition is about the life and work of Melbourne-born artist, Leigh Bowery (1959 – 1994). Jointly curated by Robert Buckingham (Creative Director, Woolmark Melbourne Fashion Festival) and Rachel Young (RMIT Gallery), it traces the work of Bowery, his influence on contemporary fashion, art and performance.
The exhibition will feature photographic material documenting Bowery’s development as an “art object”, film footage of his performances featuring his costume designs and a selection of his garments. Designed by Melbourne architect, Randal Marsh, “Look at Me” will use multi-media to capture the atmosphere of Bowery’s infamous London nightclub, Taboo.
Performance artist, fashion designer, nightclub sensation, pianist, artist’s model for Lucien Freud and inspiration for fashion gurus including Vivienne Westwood, Jean Paul Gaultier and Alexander McQueen, Bowery traversed the worlds of fashion, art, film and music. Born in the Melbourne suburb of Sunshine, he moved to London in 1981 where he began making clothes as a masquerade to obscure his own appearance. His extraordinary fashion sense was not commercially viable so he used himself and his body as an art work – using paint, make-up, piercing, costume and physical distortion to create a human exhibition.
Bowery’s mantra “dress as though your life depends on it, or don’t bother” made him famous and this exhibition is an exploration of a larger that life character who inspired anarchy in fashion.