”Fashioning Art from Paper”: A peek at Isabelle de Borchgrave’s Speed Art Museum exhibit Wednesday, Mar 17 2021 

By Grace Welsh

From now until Aug. 22, the Speed Art Museum will host the world-renowned work of Isabelle de Borchgrave. The Belgian artist’s work consists of life-size paper costumes representing five centuries of fashion history. The exhibit, like all exhibits at the Speed Art Museum, is free to all current University of Louisville students.

Born in Belgium in 1946, Borchgrave seemed to come into the world with a passion for art. She famously said once that, “The same day that I could walk for the first time, I picked up a piece of paper, started to draw, and I have not been able to quit since then.”

She was classically trained at Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels and opened her own studio by the time she was 18.

Borchgrave filled her life with pretty and inspirational things. Opening a store in 1975, called La Tour de Bebelle, she sold dresses, paintings and home décor.

Over the years, she took a liking to the craft of paper maché and was struck by inspiration after visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in 1994. Combining her wisdom and expertise with that of Rita Brown, Borchgrave assembled her first series, “Papiers à la Mode,” which caught the eye of curators of prestigious institutions around the world.

Borchgrave’s superpower is more than just fashioning the outfits themselves. The artist utilizes an elusive trick of the eye called “trompe l’oeil,” which tricks the museum-goer into thinking they are looking at real fabrics, carefully assembled into extravagant outfits by the artist, but they are really an intricate take on paper maché.

The exhibit, titled, “Fashioning Art From Paper,” is divided into five major collections.

 

“Papiers à la Mode”

This is the largest and earliest showcase of centuries of fashion across cultures. From royal English and French gowns to traditional Victorian wear to chic streetwear, the exhibit takes the viewer from the Renaissance to the early 1900s with the magic of color, patterns, texture and beauty.

“Splendor of the Medici” and “The World of Mariano Fortuny”

Immersing visitors into the streets of Italy, this piece tells the story of the Italian Renaissance with inspiration from portraits of the Medici family and artist Mariano Fortuny. Borchgrave’s pieces reveal her unique interpretation of their art and colors and guide the viewer to experience the atmosphere of her work in the way she intended.

“Les Ballets Russes”

This most recent addition to the exhibit showcases costumes, outfits and drawings of twentieth-century Russian dancers that Borchgrave feels revolutionized modern art upon their entrance into the 1908 Paris art scene. Borchgrave breathes life into their stories and through her careful use of color and texture, allows them to live again and be seen by twenty-first century observers.

“Kaftans”

Inspired by her trip to Istanbul, this section of her exhibit showcases an appreciation for central Asian textiles.

Having a life-long fascination with the Silk Road, an ancient transcontinental trade route that connected Eastern Asia to Europe, Borchgrave worked in collaboration with artist Saeed Sadraee to highlight this ethnically and culturally diverse region that was a center for artisanal textile production. The textiles she selected, or “Kaftans,” illustrate the relationship between the nomadic people of Central Asia’s natural and cultural world.

 

The Speed Art Museum is free for U of L students and faculty and will be showcasing this impressive exhibit until August 22, 2021. For information on how you can reserve tickets, click here.

Photos by Anthony Riley // The Louisville Cardinal

The post ”Fashioning Art from Paper”: A peek at Isabelle de Borchgrave’s Speed Art Museum exhibit appeared first on The Louisville Cardinal.

Speed Art Museum features new exhibits for Spring 2021 Thursday, Feb 4 2021 

By Maria Dinh —

The Speed Art Museum is now open during its regular hours. Visitors must wear a face mask and practice social distancing. As always, University of Louisville students can go in for free by showing their cardinal card. Here’s what’s coming up at the Speed in these next couple of months:

Featured Exhibits

The Speed Art Museum said goodbye to the Andy Warhol: Revelation exhibit last November to make way for their next featured exhibit: Collecting – A Love Story: Glass from the Adele and Leonard Leight Collection. Coming February 6th, 2021, Leight’s art collection will contain many contemporary glasswork pieces that the couple had collected during their marriage.

From February 19 – August 22, a fashion exhibit inspired by early works of 18th and 19th-century art will be coming to the Speed, titled “Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper.” Look closely to observe the intricacies and details of the painted paper dresses.

“I am really enthralled by the artist’s use of color, so I’ve found myself drawn to the Mariano Fortuny dresses she has recreated – there are beautiful, unusual color combinations that are so inspiring,” Erika Holquist-Wall, curator of European & American Painting & Sculpture, said about the exhibit.

“I think visitors are going to leave this exhibition inspired by possibility – whether that is the inspiration to create their own artwork, play with paper, or just take a closer look at the artwork in the rest of the museum and appreciate the effort and creativity it requires to make something.”

Speed Online

Visitors can still have a quick “scroll” around the Speed from home with Museum from Home on their website for free. For the inner child that misses going downstairs at the Speed to play at the Art Sparks room, the website has downloadable .pdfs of coloring pages, crafts, and games to play at home.

Freshman Eleanor Ferguson has already visited the museum in person. She talked about how visitors are socially distant from others when viewing the art; “I’d say the majority of it [the museum] was safe, but there were a couple of rooms with too many people for me to be comfortable in, so I dragged my date out till they left. Everyone wore masks though.”

After Hours at the Speed

In a COVID-19 free world, the Speed would host a monthly event on the third Friday with performers, food and drinks and family fun. After Hours at the Speed will continue being held virtually every third Friday of the month until further notice. Check out their Facebook page to see who will perform and watch on their Facebook Live.

Photo Courtesy // Speed Art Museum 

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