2006 | Death of Taste Symposium


Fashion in Film Festival will contribute a screening to The Death of Taste conference held at the ICA (24-25 November 2006). With other contributors including Dame Vivienne Westwood, Bodymap’s Stevie Stewart and Kim Jones.

They are asking me:
-Are you part of British fashion?
-Am I part of anything? Am I part of the Universe? That’s what I’d like to know…
Leigh Bowery, 1986

Fashion in Film Festival
in association with The Death of Taste Symposium and the ICA present:

Absurd, dir. John Maybury. UK, 1990, 5′

Excerpt from Hail the New Puritan with Leigh, Trojan, Rachel and Michael, dir. Charles Atlas. UK, 1987. 6′

What’s Your Reaction to the Show, dir. Dick Jewell. UK, 1988, 44′

This programme revisits the outlandish icon Leigh Bowery who in his lifetime liked ‘to appeal to maybe one or two people’ but whose influence across fashion, costume design, art and music has been immense. Equipped with a sewing machine, endless fabrics, cello tape, sequins, wigs, prosthetics and plenty of make up, Bowery was among those of the 1980s London club scene who utilised clothing and body adornment to fashion themselves as self-made (and usually home-made!) originals. Bowery’s compulsion to take this form of uncompromised individualism to the extreme eventually lead to his entrance into the world of fine art in the late 1980s – an ‘elevation’ that he very much enjoyed. Sublime, effervescent, unsettling, systematically outrageous and hilarious, his unique position of dandy-meets-clown-meets-sculpture defied not only established categories of creative practice – something that his London contemporaries were quick to point out – but also established categories of being in, and interacting with the world. Bowery, it seems, continues posthumously to grow in size, spilling his proverbial body-mass over the bondage of good taste and acceptable bad taste alike.