Trailblazing designer, stylist and art director Judy Blame is the subject of two concurrent exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. Judy Blame: Never Again and Artistic Differences showcase a personal curation of his prolific work in fashion and music, presented alongside a selection of work by the generation of creatives with whom he has collaborated and deeply influenced.
Judy Blame is the collaborative mastermind who has conceived and design any number of iconic images in fashion and music, for the likes of Björk, Massive attack, Boy George, Kylie Minogue and Neneh Cherry, whose contact sheet of images from the famous Raw Like Sushi album shoot is a stand out example of his work and his process.
Found and repurposed safety pins, pearls, razor blades, toy soldiers, keys, bottle caps and badges are coalesced becoming high-concept, do-it-yourself accessories and jewellery fully embodying the subversive punk fashion of the 1980s. Each is presented alongside the plethora of cover stars gracing the covers of The Face and i-D, draped in his trinkets and renegade bijouterie.
Collage in all forms features heavily, demonstrating his flair for juxtaposition and compilation. 25 covers for Couture Clash, poetry made from news clippings and pin-ups obscured by stickers and crude doodles scream his immutable irreverence loud and clear.
Ephemera from his collection are presented in small installations, illustrating a snapshot in time of creative inspiration and collaboration. Blame worked in a highly collaborative way, and founded The House of Beauty and Culture in 1985, so the exhibitions also include work by his friends and contemporaries including as well as the likes of John Marbury and Christopher Nemeth.
“I always tried to make them think about what they were looking at. I would take an idea like pollution and put it into a fashion context…I’m not only working on a glamorous image…you have to be attracted by it first, and then if you can just make people think about it as well,” he explains in an intimate interview with ICA Executive Director Gregor Muir screened in a room upstairs, ten feet away from work by collaborators and friends, like Linder’s It’s The Buzz, Cock! and 83 illustrations by Jake & Dinos Chapman adorning a full wall in matching frames.
Judy Blade has created an limited-edition zine Riot to accompany the ICA exhibition, which can be taken away for small donation.
Judy Blame: Never Again and Artistic Differences run until 4 September at ICA.
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