Dreams from the wardrobe - November 28 - April 30, 2018
One of the more intriguing exhibitions opened last week at the Design Museum Holon: “Je t’aime, Ronit Elkabetz”, an exhibition created in collaboration between film director Shlomi Elkabetz and fashion curator and historian Ya’ara Keydar.
It was powerful and inspiring to attend the opening night with hundreds of guests who honored Elkabetz memory, who passed away last year in the age of 51 only.
Ronit Elkabetz was an award-winning actress, director, screenwriter and fashion icon, had a prolific 27-year long career, which she divided between Israel and Paris. The exhibition is the result of an 18-month-long research in her wardrobe, comprising 528 apparel items meticulously collected and stored in Tel Aviv and Paris over four decades and recently donated by the Yashar and Elkabetz families to Design Museum Holon.
“This exhibition looks inward at an iconic and inspirational muse who transcended cinema, art, fashion and activism; in this sense Design Museum Holon is re-claiming the ancient Greek meaning of the museum as "the muse", seeking to inspire people and invite them into a thought-provoking dialogue where design, culture and art are melded” says Maya Dvash, Chief Curator of Design Museum Holon.
The exhibition is divided into 31 ‘scenes’, illustrating how Elkabetz created and reasserted the act of dressing as a transgressive performative act, charging the garment with powerful meanings and imbuing it with her own subjectivity and personal interpretation. Together with movies, video art projections and clips from her red-carpet moments and fashion and editorial photoshoots, as well as Elkabetz’s notes and sketches, the exhibition provides an almost tangible encounter with Elkabetz’s multi-layered identity.
“Fashion, the stated discipline the show is born of, is revealed to be a complex tapestry telling a rich story. Each object in this treasure trove has a biographical, symbolical and psychological significance. Fashion for Elkabetz was a way of transcending the physical appearance and creating an identity cherishing transgression, freedom, sexuality, identity and power through fabric. It was and still is a source of power for women everywhere. On screen, on stage, on the red carpet, anywhere and everywhere – Elkabetz shone a light on otherness, on difference, on the margins, allowing us to dare and dream of another reality – and make it a reality." Ya’ara Keydar, Fashion Historian and curator of Je t’aime, Ronit Elkabetz
Working from the political reality of her ancestry – both distant and immediate – focusing on dress allowed her to highlight and express the place of the other, of the exceptional. Doing this, she revalorized difference, transforming it from something that should be denied and suppressed into a reality that should be fostered and nourished, used to create new standards – “visiblising” the other, making it memorable. She was removed from the fashion world, but was simultaneously at its very heart, creating new subjects to look at, making people wonder what had brought about her choice to become ‘the queen of black’ – even when wearing white. Under her hands, dress became a live action, a performance combining the ways we are gazed at with the way we gaze at ourselves." Shlomi Elkabetz, Artistic Director of Je t’aime, Ronit Elkabetz