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The Funk of Forty Thousand Years
(One Year)

In the beginning of his career, Belgian fashion designer Martin Margiela buried fabrics. He treated clothes with bacterias so they would rot and grow funguses to stain an entire collection of long skirts and preppy jackets. Not a particular fresh look, but the fashion in-crowd loved him for it. For years to come, the clothes of the mysterious Martin Margiela from Antwerp were the ones to look out for.
        It is December 2018 and it is “assessment time”. Together with the other teachers, I am walking around the presentations which the graphic design students have set up, and I find myself thinking of these resting grounds that Margiela made for his precious garments. I wonder what more could possibly be buried there… Maybe some of these works? It is not that these student creations seem dusty or old, but not a lot of the produced pieces are exactly easy to look at. Some are visually likable at first sight, but then have a creepy feeling to them when examined a little longer. I wonder what is it about this particular aesthetic that is has so many students occupied right now. Are their urges to make work to look uneasy similar to that one of Margiela, some 25 years ago? Perhaps something to talk about this next semester…
        If you go through the curtains of this room, you will enter The Unpleasant Room. In it, you will see a series of somewhat larger works that have been produced in our department over the last year. I consider them unpleasant because of their creepy exteriors and unapologetic use of material. Because I am writing this before The Unpleasant Room is being set up, I am simply imaging it to look like this: The floor is covered in flower and egg yolks. There are balloons in every corner, but on the floor, not bouncing at the ceiling, and never too many. On the wall, a wooden panel with latex blob-shaped letters read a hopeful yet sinister message. A silly adaptation to Make America Great Again, or something… There is another large metal skeleton structure and draped from it are stained buttoned up shirts and undergarments smelling of coffee and vinegar.
        Favored colors used are mustard yellows and powder pinks and greens, and all fifty shades of white. The room shows an abundance of details and is decorated with stickers of sports brands, sea shells, hair extensions and charming but unambitious made ceramic shapes. In the back, three students in Mad Max inspired outfits are talking selfies.

A pastel Père Lachaise.

        If you are somewhat uneased by the pieces in 'The Unpleasant Room', and you sense that the maker of the work is standing just by it, here’s how to strike up a conversation…

You sigh: “Terribly unpleasant” when they ask: “How are you?” Answer: “… to my stomach!” to the question “What do you think of our show?” They’ll say: “Right?!”, to which you reply: “Sooo Dave Cronenberg 1988!”

If you spit on the floor and slam the door on your way out, they’ll love you for it. Trust me, I do it all the time…

Words by Bart de Baets
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The Funk of Forty Thousand Years
(One Year)

In the beginning of his career, Belgian fashion designer Martin Margiela buried fabrics. He treated clothes with bacterias so they would rot and grow funguses to stain an entire collection of long skirts and preppy jackets. Not a particular fresh look, but the fashion in-crowd loved him for it. For years to come, the clothes of the mysterious Martin Margiela from Antwerp were the ones to look out for.
        It is December 2018 and it is “assessment time”. Together with the other teachers, I am walking around the presentations which the graphic design students have set up, and I find myself thinking of these resting grounds that Margiela made for his precious garments. I wonder what more could possibly be buried there… Maybe some of these works? It is not that these student creations seem dusty or old, but not a lot of the produced pieces are exactly easy to look at. Some are visually likable at first sight, but then have a creepy feeling to them when examined a little longer. I wonder what is it about this particular aesthetic that is has so many students occupied right now. Are their urges to make work to look uneasy similar to that one of Margiela, some 25 years ago? Perhaps something to talk about this next semester…
        If you go through the curtains of this room, you will enter The Unpleasant Room. In it, you will see a series of somewhat larger works that have been produced in our department over the last year. I consider them unpleasant because of their creepy exteriors and unapologetic use of material. Because I am writing this before The Unpleasant Room is being set up, I am simply imaging it to look like this: The floor is covered in flower and egg yolks. There are balloons in every corner, but on the floor, not bouncing at the ceiling, and never too many. On the wall, a wooden panel with latex blob-shaped letters read a hopeful yet sinister message. A silly adaptation to Make America Great Again, or something… There is another large metal skeleton structure and draped from it are stained buttoned up shirts and undergarments smelling of coffee and vinegar.
        Favored colors used are mustard yellows and powder pinks and greens, and all fifty shades of white. The room shows an abundance of details and is decorated with stickers of sports brands, sea shells, hair extensions and charming but unambitious made ceramic shapes. In the back, three students in Mad Max inspired outfits are talking selfies.

A pastel Père Lachaise.

        If you are somewhat uneased by the pieces in 'The Unpleasant Room', and you sense that the maker of the work is standing just by it, here’s how to strike up a conversation…

You sigh: “Terribly unpleasant” when they ask: “How are you?” Answer: “… to my stomach!” to the question “What do you think of our show?” They’ll say: “Right?!”, to which you reply: “Sooo Dave Cronenberg 1988!”

If you spit on the floor and slam the door on your way out, they’ll love you for it. Trust me, I do it all the time…

Words by Bart de Baets
Preview Title Assigned by
a Selected Gerrit Rietveld Academie
b Specimen D'Affiche Artistique Van Gogh Museum
c Compiled Feelings Elisabeth Klement
d Dibi Däbi Papiershop Julia Born
e Recourse 1900 Van Gogh Museum
f Gerrit Workshop Hours Gerrit Rietveld Academie
g Chubby Lip Gloss Bart De Baets
h The Graphic Design Department Gerrit Rietveld Academie
h The Fashion Show 2019 Gerrit Rietveld Academie
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