Atelier Impopulaire Captures the Essence of Dries Van Noten


Under their collective name Atelier Impopulaire, artists and curators Pia Bolognesi and Giulio Bursi have crafted an impressive roster of artistic collaborators. In their pursuit of “the identity of the image, deconstructing and reinterpreting its politics of representation,” they recently co-curated the work of pioneering intermedia artist Aldo Tambellini for the Italian Pavilion at this year’s Venice Biennale. Their latest film, “Embodies,” may mark a shift in subject matter, but their experimental use of video remains present.

Dries Van Noten—the Antwerp-born fashion designer—produced “Embodies” in collaboration with the creative duo, forming a new work based on video recorded during Van Noten’s Spring/Summer 2015 Women Collection runway show. “Embodies” first appeared in an exhibition during Berlin Gallery Weekend, accompanied by the carpeted moss runway it features, and today Interview exclusively premieres it in the U.S.

The film begins in the format of typical runway show, with rows of models walking down a catwalk—albeit, a mossy one—and quickly transforms into a surreal vision. Models clad in Van Noten’s stripes and florals dissolve into one another, warping as they walk. One by one they all repose on the runway, as though entering the haze of a balmy summer day. The warmth of Van Noten’s palette is amplified through the film’s visual effects, which mimic a mirage, as though heat waves are emanating off of the runway.

The scene cools with the appearance jewel toned clothing made of decadent materials, like a sparkling blue coat. Blues and deep purples blend with the carpet, nearing total abstraction, but never loses sight of the feeling present in Van Noten’s collection. “Embodies,” and Van Noten’s pieces, appear as though they emerged from a dream, or at least from the memory of a long, bright day becoming a breezy, blue summer night.