By Team IAnD
Photography: Thijs Wolzak; courtesy Kossman.dejong
Read Time: 2 mins
Nature and culture coalesce in theatrical discovery and extraordinary artistic display of feathers; touching the psyche at a deeper level, for those who seek...
How many of you remember Ginger Roger’s ostrich-feather dress in the song ‘Cheek-to-cheek’ in the 1935 cult film, Top Hat?! Or the European fashionistas of early 1980’s with their headgear dressed in exquisite plumage?? Well, the National Museum of Ethnology in Leiden, Netherlands that is predominantly about people, is hosting ‘The World of Feathers’, where plumage from all over the world is being exhibited, drawing aesthetically culled parallels to influence and inform behavioural types and cultural innuendoes.
Designed by exhibition maestros, Kossmann.dejong, the exhibition is curated as a woven multi-layered narrative with the thematic traversing from room-to-room, highlighting topics such as ‘cultural exchange’, ‘imposing feathers’, ‘feathers of seduction’ and ‘feathers and power’; with dedicated theatrical scenography creating a distinctive all-consuming aura for the visitors.
With fascination for nature being the key undercurrent in the exhibition, light, sound and media designers generate a holistic experience in which all senses are stimulated. Scenarios vary from a fashion studio, where visitors look through the seamstress’s magnifying glass, so to speak, to actually study feather working techniques; to a true ‘behind-the-bars’ tableau that has visitors ensconced in an enormous cage with story boxes, animations, artefacts, light, text and illustrations depicting how humans exploit birds and feathers; whilst the birds are outside the cages; or a celebration of contemporary haute couture feather-art with rhythmical light and sound effects and the like.
Enthralling children and adults alike, these intriguing visual spectacles metaphorically reference the relationship of man and his environment. Playfully, light-heartedly drawing on the insights, the designers weave a striking tale – relatable without being preachy.
The show-stopper is none other than Marilyn Monroe covered in just a couple of feathers in a burlesque boudoir of saturated reds greeting people at the entrance to ‘feathers of seduction’! The clandestine feeling is enhanced as the tableau comprises tiny peepholes in a dramatically large padded wall, granting visual access to a private performance of strange birds and seductive feathers in sultry music surrounds.
Venue: National Museum of World cultures, Museum of Ethnology Leiden (NL)
Area: 800 sq. m.
Dates: Oct. 14, 2016 – March 5, 2017