Why did you want to put on North: Identity, Photography and Fashion?
AM: Lou and I were keen to collaborate on a project. The North of England has been central to my practice for years so I brought a very specific knowledge. Lou is interested more broadly in how fashion relates to culture and society and has previously worked on projects that explore these themes. We both shared an interest in the link between space and cultural output. The time seemed appropriate now because as the exhibition shows, there is a proliferation of work that directly relates to the North of England.
LS: I think it felt very appropriate timing wise. There is a casual spirit in fashion at the moment, particularly men’s fashion that draws extenstively on the casual culture of Northern England in the 1980s. Similarly interenational designers are, with increasing frequency, drawing on the North, be it Raf Simons or Virgil Abloh. Mark Leckey’s show is on at Momu – I could go on! In many ways this exhibition is long overdue. As Adam says, I have a broad interest in the link between space and cultural output. I think everyone is hugely shaped by where they grow up – the streets they walk, the clubs they frequent, the playgrounds they have those formative chats in. I’m also very interested in subcultures and style movements that tie to broader culture, whether that’s, say, music or sport. Finally, I’m fascinated by myths – stereotypes and ideals that grow and develop over time. I suppose this exhibition ties all of those things together.
What are you trying to ask and explore through the exhibition?
LS: We are looking at the influence of the North on fashion and visual culture, considering also the way the North has been represented in a selection of fashion collections, images and editorials. It’s not an exhibition about Northern style, it's about how ideas and ideals of the North have grown and in turn spread.
AM: The intention is that the breadth of work presented both in the exhibition and on SHOWstudio will encourage audiences to really consider the themes presented. I think people’s understanding of Northern culture is different depending on their own life experiences or the existing work that they have engaged with, whether this is academic or mainstream media. I hope that North encourages reflection, new debate and ultimately new creative work.
Who is contributing to the exhibition and why is their interest in the North so significant?
AM: I feel really lucky to have been able to work with such a fantastic range of artists for this show. It seems to be a topic that resonates closely with everyone involved so each person has been very generous with contributing work. The significant aspect for me is the variety of contributors; ranging from real icons of British culture such as Peter Saville, hugely respected designers such as Raf Simons and Christopher Shannon, prolific photographers like Alasdair McLellan and Alice Hawkins, Turner Prize winning artists Jeremy Deller and Mark Leckey, all alongside many other pieces of work.
What are the exhibition’s biggest talking points?
AM: I would like the whole exhibition to act as one conversation starter. Throughout the research process Lou and I were very keen not to present this as a set of conclusions, rather, it is a set of questions for reflection and discussion. As visitors spend time in the show, they may well be able to relate to some of the themes, but some may find it quite different to their own experiences of Northern England. Either way, it should be one big talking point.
LS: As Adam says I hope there is something for everyone within the show. We are very thrilled to have a new film by Alasdair McLellan – an original commission for the show.