Performance artist Marina Abramovich and Barbara Franchin

Tresures of the Archive – part 2

15 March 2013


Here we go with the second part of our survey on some of the most interesting stuff we have in the ITS Creative Archive, which contains 194 outfits, 138 accessories and jewelry pieces, over 700 photos and 12,000 portfolios from 80 countries… In case you missed part 1, you can read it here.

When we look at the piece by ITS#FOUR finalist Eli Effenberger, we realise hers is no ordinary story. First of all, the piece we have isn’t of her ITS collection (and you’ll understand why in a minute), but rather of a side-project that the 2005 finalists were asked to develop. Basically, they had to customise a white t-shirt. A student of the Hogeschool Antwerpen, Eli got selected for her incredible conceptual universe, for her hand drawing abilities and for her capacity to translate her dolls into real life.

Because Eli has an incredible passion for the development of dolls. Her customised t-shirt for instance came with two doll-like arms, and her ITS collection even featured an entire doll exo-skeleton. The collection by the way – this is what we know – was thrown away by Eli before abruptly leaving Antwerp to go back to Israel, perhaps because she was fed up with fashion. She went on to become a one-of-a-kind illustrator and producer of dolls. Click on her name, it will take you directly to her website.

Chau Har Lee’s footwear is just incredible. We could talk for hours of every single shoe she designs. When you look at the details, they are truly quite revolutionary. At the time titanium in shoes was quite an unconventional material. But most of all it is the structure of the shoes which often strikes the most. When she came back in 2010 to present her new collection for instance (since she had won Accessories Collection of the Year at ITS#EIGHT), one piece struck us as a jaw-dropping evolution: she had developed a beautiful shoe in plastic that could be entirely disassembled and save space when packed in a bag for example.

The idea had aroused figuring out ways to build shoes without using glue. In the pictures included here you can see the Creative Archive piece (the wooden one) close to this specific plastic shoe. One can see the hand of the maker is the same, right? Looking at her creative archive piece we can’t avoid thinking about Chau’s recent marriage, and for one particular reason too: the groom’s outfit was by ITS#EIGHT winner Mason Jung, a former colleague of Chau at Royal College. We love when we discover these “interactions” among finalists!

Heaven Tanudiredja‘s is one of the most singular stories we can tell. Indonesian, he arrived in Belgium to study at the Hogeschool Antwerpen and immediately showed such impressive abilities that it was quite a mystery where he had learned them. A one-of-a-kind finalist, he is one of the very few (there’s just another two like him, Yuima Nakazato) and Takahiro Ueno who were able to be selected for two different fields in the same year. Heaven didn’t do just that. He was selected the first time in 2006 for his menswear collection while in his 2nd year (another very rare thing among ITS finalists… it is very difficult to find young designers who already have such a high quality in their work when still in their 2nd year…).

The year after he got selected twice, with a womenswear collection and with a jewelry collection which changed his career forever. Though still consulting as a fashion designer, Heaven after ITS launched his eponymous jewelry brand made of strikingly beautiful pieces. One of these is preserved in our creative archive and it tells a lot of the impressive evolution that Heaven’s jewelry made throughout the years: it is very interesting to notice that in his ITS menswear and womenswear collections he was already showing a great interest in very rich, quasi-jewelry details on his outfits. One can quite understand why he gradually decided to step away from fashion design. It is such a pity though since his outfits too were breathtaking. A unique case in our creative archive, we have his entire womenswear collection from 2007. He trusted us more than himself to preserve it from damage on the long run…

There’s another set of pictures on the wall of the ITS Creative Archive which cannot remain unnoticed. It’s from another photography finalist who definitely does not limit himself to one single media: Dutch past finalist Levi Van Veluw. Since his graduation from ArtEZ Institute of the Arts in Arnhem Levi has produced multi-disciplinary works that include photographs, videos, sculptures, installations and drawings, often with his own body (preferrably his head) being the focus of the work. We see him as a terrific performance artist and are quite sure you’ll agree after watching this. The photography project he presented at ITS in 2007 testimonies the beginning of his self-portraits series which go back to his years at the Art Academy. The works of this period were produced impulsively without any predetermined concept.

By experimenting again and again, certain typical traits that define his work in self-portraiture were brought to the forefront: the angle from which the photograph is taken for instance, or the formal approach and the use of his own face and head, as well as the usage of common objects and materials. It is not intended to portray the artist himself but to explore his formal features, the shape and the contour of his head. Levi’s body of work is to the least extraordinary and he is also receiving deserved recognition: the Huffington Post recently interviewed him about his latest work, “The Collapse of Cohesion”, defining him as “one of the breakout stars in the twenty-first century art world” and nobody can argue about that, it is the simple truth. There’s a great way to discover his unbelievable talent and it is through his first publication, “Origin of the Beginning”, a survey of all the photographs, drawings, installations, sculptures and videos produced by Levi from 2006 to 2013. A perfect compendium of his body of work, a piece of which is jealously protected in our creative archive.

On the ladder: photo project by Levi van Weluw
On the ladder: photo project by Levi Van Weluw

As written in the first part of this ITS Creative Archive survey, with so much material one can imagine how many curious stories and anecdotes can be told. Most of the times what is so interesting is that each piece represents evidence of the earliest stages of some of today’s most recognised and appreciated young talents. All together they represent 12 years of hard work in searching the most unexpected creativity, a history of its evolution in the past decade or so.

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