The latest creations from Ignacia Zordan are suspended in a distillation of artistry where the familiarity of tradition touches the vagueness of things to come. Retrospective detailing takes us on a pilgrimage through the history and culture of her native Chile. The layering of the clothes acts as a provocative juxtaposition of the clashing branches of Chilean history, referencing both Spanish colonialism and indigenous, Mapuche heritage.
The structural quilts, fastened by lacing and hardware, call on the memory of colonial undergarments of the Criollo caste, jarring with the braiding and outsized jewellery reminiscent of indigenous Chilean peoples. Can these opposing cultures ever be reconciled visually? Or are the inconsolable disputes between them what makes this collection so exquisitely unsettling?
Zordan’s use of the colour red is a new direction for her work, and a highly symbolic one. In the context of the conscious reference to Chilean heritage, the colour evokes a sense of violence, power and sexuality, which were inextricably intertwined in the history of colonialism. The addition of lacing and corsetry deepens this reference to human bondage and oppression playing with the power relations in history and sexuality.
The symbiotic discourse between habiliment and flesh, elicits memories of cloth in the apertures and suggestions of nudity in the clothing. Explicit ambiguity of gender delves into an almost primitive depth of human psyche, where the lines society draws between genders dissolve entirely. The bandage-like red chokers are particularly poignant, juxtaposing the colour of blood with one of the most vulnerable parts of the human body – the neck. This mingling of power and weakness, constriction of body and freedom of gender, gives the collection its dynamism; concepts exist at odds and yet in harmony.
The scope of the aesthetic goes beyond the borders of Zordan’s native country. The metallic coated ribbing references futurism: the world envisioned in the 1960s and 1970s through art, film, and music. In fact, this imagery describes a period of time that we ourselves are approaching, and the decoupling of expectation then and the reality we experience now flickers on the surface of the collection.
This ambivalence of temporal perspective, style, and meaning culminates in the use of texture and form. The voluptuous, organic draping is at odds with the stiff metallic tunics and disjointed use of layers, the rhinestones set in pearly teeth and the fresh face interrupted by a shock of red or silver paint, all set against the incongruous baroque interiors.
The collection brings together fragments of imagery to create an almost dreamlike manifestation of beauty. It seems as if the figures have transgressed into a time and place that is not their own, but whether it is from the past or the future, it is impossible to say.