Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty (2015) – Art/Fashion Review

Now this is an exhibit that really needs the scene to be set… If you were to imagine a dark room. The anticipation, there is something coming.  The atmospheric music going with the dark shadows to set the scene. This music that felt the tense vibrations of the air. There is a dark elegance to come, to excite and invigorate you. This is like something nothing before seen. It is practically culture defining. Atmosphere set could not be more aptly named savage beauty. This is the very combination of love and desire of the beauty and the beast. The dark contrasting lights give way. An intense spotlight gives light to each and every figure. Figures disgustingly beautiful. The macabre instincts of man adorned to sexualise and make noble the very figure of humanity. Such majesty and grotesque shining out of the dark. There are quite a few figures of the 20th/21st century that deal in the beauty of the horrific. Alexander McQueen tackles fashion; H.R. Giger tackles painting; Damien Hurst tackles ‘sculpture’; Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails tackles music; Clive Barker tackles books; Antonin Artaud tackles the theatre; David Cronenberg tackles films. (This is by no means a comprehensive or final list, in fact the fact could be argued). The fact is we are attracted to the horrific beautiful or the beautiful horror – the very combinations of this form.

 

Alexander McQueen has become a big name. In fact this exhibit has become hugely successful. An introduction need not be necessary. It appears we’re fascinated by things that are truly morbid and primal to the point of finding it beautiful. For some they’ve managed to both recognise and use this to its full potential. What lies in this exhibit is a decent collection of works by the artist Alexander McQueen. Giving a good range of different achievements and including some very original works. Coming new to Alexander McQueen you would be able to see a good variety of pieces and be able to see some of his best achievements. An exhibit dedicated to his life, this one does well.

 

The way that these pieces were presented was also astonishing. How could anything be more fitting? Something that builds and builds, impresses and impresses. Dark and unsettling to epic and powerful. The music sets the tone and the feeling stays with you. Impressive rooms includes a room that actually recalls H. R. Giger. Patterns in bones and skulls frame every piece – how fitting. Another room worth noting, towards the end, after all the rooms of just above eye-level mannequins, so large and adorned with such a variety of media and pieces. Filmed pieces of Alexander McQueen’s shows intercut with mannequins, headpieces and boots. A large variety, epically scaled to dwarf you within the square room. It impresses just with its epic scale, an almost overload of information from everything around you.

 

This was an impressive exhibition full of a lot of variety and a lot different media. Each was adorned and presented with an appropriate theme and an appropriate display. This is an impressive presentation of Alexander McQueen’s achievements and it is no wonder it has become so successful. Well worth catching for those who are familiar with his work and also those who are brand new to it – there’s a lot there.

 

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty at V&A runs until August 2nd 2015.

 

Alexander McQueen Gallery:

 

Further Reading

Alexander McQueen

Savage Beauty at V&A

Guardian Review

Telegraph Review

Vogue Review

Independent Review

Creative Review

Savage Beauty Book

The Perception of Fashion



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