16 February–2 April 2011
This exhibition was part of ongoing research by Judith Clark, who is a Professor of Fashion and Museology at London College of Fashion and an independent exhibition maker, into how a story or a chosen history is reconstructed and displayed through the use of mannequins, the selection of clothes and exhibition props. Written history v. staged history is central to the conversation within dress curating today about the links between a ‘faithful’ representation of history and one that is acknowledged to be an interpretation. The Judgement of Paris was chosen as both the subject and title of the exhibition for both its familiarity and its obscurity. The Judgement of Paris is important in art history but largely unknown to fashion students, for whom Paris is simply known as the fashion capital of the world. The exhibition used the story of Paris and the three Goddesses – Hera, Aphrodite and Athena (or as the Romans called them, Juno, Venus and Minerva) – with its narrative about the competing qualities of Power, Beauty and Wealth, to explore how one story is told over and over again, and how we might recognise the protagonists, the individual goddesses, often undressed.
The story repeatedly draws attention to the convention that beauty is best represented in profile – the nose, the forehead, the chin, the breasts shown to full effect – and that accessories and props, and accessories as props, were essential to the exhibit.
Judith Clark has been at the forefront of fashion curation since establishing the seminal Judith Clark Costume Gallery in Notting Hill in 1997. Exhibitions at her not-for-profit space have included work by Hussein Chalayan, Simon Thorogood and Alexander McQueen, simultaneously championing British designers while extending the theoretical and practical possibilities of exhibiting fashion.
The Judgment of Paris was curated and designed for Fashion Space Gallery by Judith Clark.