Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka
For more than fifteen years, the Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave has been producing a completely original body of work that is quite easy to explain but very difficult to categorize. Her central project has been to recreate exquisite, life-size historical costumes entirely from paper. Taking inspiration from the rich depictions in early European paintings, iconic costumes in museum collections, photographs, sketches and even literary descriptions, de Borchgrave skillfully works paper to achieve the effect of textiles: crumpling, pleating, braiding, feathering and painting the surface. The artist’s exhibition PULP FASHION: The Art of Isabelle de Borchgrave is on view February 5 to June 5, 2011, at the Legion of Honor as part of the Collection Connections series. Fine Arts Museums director John E. Buchanan, Jr., says of the exhibition, “I am proud to say that this exhibition, so appropriately presented in the galleries of our Legion of Honor museum, is the first to offer an overview of the artist’s most important bodies of work: from the white dresses and Papiers à la Mode to the Fortuny and Medici collections and her newest creations.”
Click here to purchase tickets on-line: PULP FASHION
Photos, Seán Martinfield
The Legion’s presentation of over 60 trompe l’oeil masterpieces draws on several themes presenting quintessential examples in the history of costume—from Renaissance costumes of the Medici family and gowns worn by Elizabeth I and Marie Antoinette to the designs of the grand couturiers Fredrick Worth, Paul Poiret, Christian Dior and Coco Chanel. Special attention is given to the creations and studio of Mariano Fortuny, the eccentric early 20th-century artist, who is both a kindred spirit and a major source of inspiration to de Borchgrave. Additionally, five creations inspired by four paintings in the Legion of Honor’s European collection will be presented for the very first time.
The exhibition is presented in six sections:
The Artist’s Studio is recreated to provide insight into de Borchgrave’s creative process.
In White showcases the purity of craftsmanship in a selection of nine dresses devoid of color.
Papiers à la Mode features iconic looks from key periods in fashion history; gowns worn by such legendary historical figures as Elizabeth I, Madame de Pompadour, Empress Eugénie and Marie-Antoinette. Famous designers such as Charles Fredrick Worth, Paul Poiret and Coco Chanel are represented by signature pieces.
Photos, Seán Martinfield
Fortuny is an immersive environment created under a feather-light paper tent populated by recreations of Fortuny’s famed pleated and draped gowns.
The Medici is the artist’s most extravagant series, with elaborate velvets, needlework lace, ropes of pearls, and intricate coiffures transformed into paper sculpture.
Inspiration — During a visit the Legion of Honor in the summer of 2010, the artist selected four paintings from the museum’s European painting collection as the inspiration for her latest body of work. The paintings are: Massimo Stanzione, Woman in Neapolitan Costume, ca. 1635, Konstantin Makovsky, The Russian Bride’s Attire, 1889, Jacob-Ferdinand Voet, Anna Caffarelli Minuttiba, ca. 1675, and Anthony van Dyck, Marie Claire de Cory and Child, 1634.
The artist at work on a piece based on Massimo Stanzione’s Woman in Neapolitan Costume, 2010.
Photo courtesy Créations Isabelle de Borchgrave
Woman in Neapolitan Costume (1635). Massimo Stanzione. Collection, Legion of Honor
Paper creation by Isabelle de Borchgrave
Isabelle de Borchgrave is a painter by training, but textiles and costumes are her muses. Working in collaboration with leading costume historians and young fashion designers, de Borchgrave creates a world of splendor from simplest rag paper. Painting and manipulating the paper, she crafts elaborate dresses inspired by the rich depictions in early European painting or by the iconic costumes in museum collections around the world. In her work, she explores the minds of the artists who created or depicted the gowns and imagines the psyche of the women who wore them, transporting her audience to another time and place.
Though de Borchgrave’s knowledge of textile traditions is encyclopedic, she does not literally duplicate patterns. Instead she masterfully works the paper to a desired effect. With her trompe l’oeil gowns, she invites her viewers to explore her imaginary world and to create their own illusions. As de Borchgrave explains, “Although my inspiration springs from the period dresses in the great museum collections, this is just a wink at history. My work is a confluence of influences—paper, painting, sculptor, textiles, costume, illusion and trompe l’oeil.”
Photos, Seán Martinfield
COLLECTION CONNECTIONS is a series that presents new works that aim to reinterpret traditional objects from the Fine Arts Museums’ permanent collections. The contemporary artists create installations that transform the conventional experience of museum visitors. For each project, artist and curator draw inspiration from the permanent collection, offering nontraditional connections that provide visual and educational opportunities to explain, interpret, and recontextualize the art objects on display throughout the museum. Through these projects, visitors are given a window into the ways that artists and cultural institutions construct and disseminate knowledge about historical understanding and current attitudes.
Click on the photo to order the catalog on-line:
The exhibition catalogue explores the exquisite paper costumes of the Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave. Author Jill D’Alessandro contextualizes de Borchgrave’s work against the rich tapestry of art and couture history, examining how the artist brings long-lost fashions to life through an intricate process of tailoring, crumpling, braiding, pleating and painting paper. Luxurious reproductions of de Borchgrave’s astonishing trompe-l’oeil effects offer an intimate encounter with the work, from the austere white dresses and Papiers à la Mode to the lavish Fortuny and Medici collections. A special section focuses on the making of a new work inspired by a seventeenth-century Italian portrait in the collection of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. The catalogue is available in the special exhibition Museum Store (hardback 104 pages, $29.95).
Isabelle de Borchgrave, Eleanor of Toledo, 2006. (Center left) Inspired by a ca. 1545 portrait of Eleanor and her son Giovanni de’ Medici by Agnolo Bronzino in the collection of the Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence.
Photo, Seán Martinfield
See related material:
Seán Martinfield YouTube with Janet Roitz – ‘Marked Woman’ (1937) and the song that gave it pizzazz – ‘My Silver Dollar Man’
“Would You Like A Souvenir?” – Sean Martinfield and Janet Roitz explore a song from Film Noir classic NORA PRENTISS (1947)
YURI POSSOKHOV’S RAkU — Stunning World Premiere At San Francisco Ballet
CLYBOURNE PARK – A Bright Debut for Director Jonathan Moscone at A.C.T.
THE RITE – Right into the trash
NOIR CITY 9 — Festival closes today at the Castro Theatre
“NUREMBURG: It’s Lesson For Today” – Rare Documentary Restored
COMPANY C CONTEMPORARY BALLET – Opens 9th Season
SAN FRANCISCO OPERA – Opens September 9th with with Iréne Theorin as “Turandot”
PEARLS OVER SHANGHAI – Thrillpeddlers Extends Hit Show Through April 9th
BUDRUS – A Documentary on uniting Palestinians and Israelis
LANG LANG – Tonight At Davies Symphony Hall
VOICES OF MUSIC – In Concert, “Concerto Barocco”, January 28th–30th
AVNER DORMAN, Composer – SF Symphony Presents World Premiere of “Uriah: The Man the King Wanted Dead”
CAMERON CARPENTER – Organist signs with CAMI Music and Konzertdirektion Schmid
THE ELIXIR OF LOVE FOR FAMILIES (The Movie) – Free Screenings At The Herbst
BEETHOVEN – A Two-Week Gig At San Francisco Symphony
ASIAN ART MUSEUM – Proposed financial agreement provides long term stable financing
AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’ – Yoshi’s SF presents Tony Award-winning Broadway musical
PIANIST HÉLÈNE GRIMAUD – This Week with the SF Symphony
FILM NOIR FESTIVAL – At the Castro Theatre, 1/21–30
THE PALACE OF FINE ARTS – Opening Celebration, January 14th
WOMEN ON THE WAY FESTIVAL – “The Dark Season”
JENNIFER EWING: Artist-in-Residence, at the de Young Museum
THIS WEEK IN THEATRE – Dirty Little Showtunes, Shrek, The Nutcracker, A Christmas Carol, and Lisa Vroman
GISELLE – Opens SF Ballet’s 78th Season, 1/29/11
A Conversation with Elza van den Heever
Greg Weber – Appointed Director of Production by SF Opera
A.C.T.’S RENÉ AUGESEN – to Participate in Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship Program
THE BLACK SWAN – Don’t Save The Drippings
HEART OF A SOLDIER – SF Opera Commissions New Work
ARTHUR SZYK: Miniature Paintings and Modern Illuminations
SF SYMPHONY – Announces 2011/12 Centennial Celebration
I LOVE YOU PHILLIP MORRIS – What were they smoking?
SHREK THE MUSICAL – Ogres and Freaks and Spells, “Oh, my!”
CD: MAHLER’S “Songs With Orchestra” – SF Symphony Completes Mahler Recording Project
SHREK THE MUSICAL – Opens 12/1 at the Orpheum Theatre
GENIUS WITHIN: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould
KARITA MATTILA – “Viva To The Diva!”
CLUB FOOT ORCHESTRA – A Conversation with Richard Marriot
TIMOTHY SEELIG – Takes His Baton To SF Gay Men’s Chorus
RECLAIMED: Paintings From The Collection of Jacques Goudstikker
WEST SIDE STORY – Most of it, anyway
DR JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE (1920) – Spend Halloween Night At Davies Symphony Hall
JAPANESQUE – At the Legion of Honor, Japanese Prints in the Era of Impressionism
BEYOND GOLDEN CLOUDS – At the Asian Art Museum
SCHEHERAZADE – A Spectacular Opening Night for Alonzo King Lines Ballet
FLEET WEEK – Souvenirs From the Party At Pier 39
MADAMA BUTTERFLY – A Beautiful Ensemble At San Francisco Opera
Dr. ELISA STEPHENS – My Visit with the President
TALES OF THE CITY – Casting for A.C.T. Workshop Announced
PHILHARMONIA BAROQUE ORCHESTRA – 30th Anniversary Gala, 9/24
TENOR RAMÓN VARGAS – A Worthy “Werther” At San Francisco Opera
AÏDA – Spectacular Opening Night At San Francisco Opera
OPENING NIGHT AT SF SYMPHONY – A Mixed Bag
CUBAN BALLET – An Interview with Octavio Roca
A Look At “Giselle” with Ballerina Lorena Feijóo
DREAMGIRLS – High Gloss and Not Much Soul
DOLORA ZAJICK – Internationally Acclaimed Mezzo To Receive Merola Distinguished Alumni Award
NORMA TALMADGE & GILBERT ROLAND – “A Woman Disputed” At The Castro Theatre
JULIAN COX – Appointed Chief Curator of the de Young Museum and Founding Curator of Photography
BACH & FRIENDS – West Coast Premiere At The Kabuki, 7/14
FROM BEGINNING TO END – At the Castro Theatre, FRAMELINE34
DEBORAH VOIGT – A Captivating “Fanciulla del West”
JEANETTE MacDONALD – Hollywood Diva Remembered at the War Memorial Opera House
SABINA ALLEMANN – Former SF Ballet Ballerina Returns In A.C.T.’s “The Tosca Project
CD/DVD Release: CAMERON LIVE! – Organist Cameron Carpenter
THE RUFFATTI ORGAN & CAMERON CARPENTER at DAVIES HALL
AMANDA McBROOM – A rose for new CD, “CHANSON”
CAMERON CARPENTER – Stellar Organist Returns to San Francisco May 2nd
THE LITTLE MERMAID – “This Girl’s Got Everything!”
PEARLS OVER SHANGHAI – An Interview with Russell Blackwood
PIANIST MISHA DICHTER – A Conversation
ZUILL BAILEY – A Conversation
DAVID PERRY – On the “Dos and Don’ts of Social Media”
CAMINOS FLAMENCOS – A Conversation with Yaelisa
A CONVERSATION WITH LUCIE ARNAZ
JANE MONHEIT – At The Empire Ballroom
CAMERON CARPENTER – Up Close and Very Personal
RUBÉN MARTIN CINTAS – Principal Dancer with San Francisco Ballet
CHRISTINE ANDREAS – A Conversation with Beautiful Broadway and Cabaret Star
CD Review – REVOLUTIONARY, Cameron Carpenter, Organist
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Seán Martinfield, who also serves as Fine Arts Critic, is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
SENTINEL FOUNDER PAT MURPHY
Photo By Luke Thomas FogCityJournal.com