The Mimesis Project: a set of clothing and objects created by the designer Lara Torres in close collaboration with jeweler Catarina Dias and the ceramist Mário Nascimento. Through exploring the techniques specific to each field, interdisciplinary crossover has led to form and technical answers seeking to crystallize, reproduce and materialize the ephemeral and the intangible thereby questioning the boundaries of clothing as a utilitarian object.
The task of the fashion designer taps directly into the discourse of Time. Fashion assumes for a diachronic dimension of time to be at hand,
as well as for the involvement of society in the historical process and, therefore, it plays the role of a harbinger of the spirit of the time.
However, our Present has witnessed a profound change in the associations triggered by the Zeitgeist. Time is not recognised as a unique, single form anymore. Quite the contrary, it claims to itself all artistic forms, all styles, all fashions whatsoever, without any single of these forms imposing its unity upon the rest for the sake of historical necessity or for the logic of seasonal changes (1). According to Walter Benjamin, the 20th Century was a time of alienation. Such was a problematic condition; especially if we take in account that human beings need to recognize up to a certain degree something of themselves in the space that surrounds them. They must find in it meaning, they must recognize similarities. It is precisely from such an unfound Present that Lara Torres’ work sets off into a detailed scrutiny of what is left on Man as he no longer recognises himself. Through an understanding of the mechanisms of memory, the designer strives to secure points of contact that would allow her to reach it or even fixate it. By creating clothing and object pieces, Lara Torres develops an unique discourse whose autonomy lies in as diverse materials as latex, porcelain, silver and cloth. Moreover, by employing the age-old tradition of plaster moulds, the designer is reproducing copies from an original form, albeit copies that go beyond simple imitation, if we acknowledge that it is done consciously about the fact that any mimetic movement leads necessarily to a failure. For something is always lost of the original. Thus, Lara Torres appropriates an impure, unattainable gesture. And from that body of impossibilities she extracts all its formal and critic potential, which, at the same time, becomes the moving force beyond her creations. In close collaboration with creators Catarina Dias and Mário Nascimento in the areas of jewellery and ceramics, the fashion designer has developed an experimental process that is particularly successful and relevant. Apart from clothing items, she has also created a series of ceramic pieces. Fragments, as it were, that remind us of the archaeological cataloguing and inventory processes of all available pieces. By approaching these models to Walter Benjamin’s, we see that what is being underlined is the importance of the trace, its meaningfulness towards the deciphering of the traces, the debris of the world. By describing and recollecting the remnants as in an archaeological station, its results depend far more on the mode of search and research than in the end itself (2). The work at present is actually deconstructing this whole process. Throughout the exhibition, the spectator will have the opportunity to face close up and personal Lara Torres’ discourse, which places at the precise crossroads of Fashion and Memory.
Text Ana Santos
Translated by Pedro Maia
(1) Perniola, Mário, “Enigmas: Egyptian Moment in Society and Art” (Portuguese Edition: Bertrand Editora, Lisboa, 1994)
(2) Benjamin, Walter, Gesammelte Schriften. Band VI.Fragment. Autobiografische Schriften. Frankfurt am Main, Suhrkamp, 1991, in Laanemets, Mari, Places that Remember, www.eki.ee/Km/place/pdf-s/KP1_09Laanemets.pdf
Mimesis at Fabrica Features in Chiado, Lisbon
Window intervention at the FABRICA FEATURES in Lisbon, Rua Garrett nº83 www.fabrica.it
Mimesis at Bread and Butter at the invitation of Philippe Pourashemi.
Mimesis Installation at the Bread & Butter Barcelona at 6th July'07
Lara Torres was selected among all the "Studio V" participants at Bread & Butter Barcelona, to work in a 52 mt2 Area developing an Installation project, the work-in-progress for project Mimesis developed in collaboration with the Ceramist Mário Nascimento presented in 2008.