One of the key points in the work of Berlin-based artist Vermibus is a critique of contemporary consumerist culture and its main features – the most significant being fashion industry and advertising. The artist is well known for his specific approach to the field of culture jamming, which consists of several stages. The artist first collects fashion posters from the streets, then alters the imagery by removing the facial features of the models with solvent and brushes, to finally reintroduce the same posters to the original environment, modifying the initial messaging. In his ongoing fight against depersonalizing and dehumanizing effects of fashion advertisements, Vermibus reveals the hidden aspects of the fashion industry and its prevailing trend of exploitation of human bodies in marketing strategies, at the same time creating unrealistic and unattainable standards of physical beauty. Throughout his work, Vermibus reflects on the power fashion industry has in influencing the opinions on beauty standards, opening a dialogue on constructed nature of the ideals of bodily beauty that we’re constantly exposed to and affect by in our everyday lives.
Vermibus Challenges Fashion Week Glamour and Celebrations of Consumerism
Cleverly titled Unveiling Beauty, the latest and largest project by Vermibus, with the support of OPEN WALLS Gallery, shows the other notion of beauty, the one that appears when poster layers are brushed off and models are stripped of their retouched masks. Last week, we talked extensively about the Unveiling Beauty series and its beginnings in New York, touching upon the themes of consumerism and critique of the fashion industry, as a framework for Vermibus’ work. We also introduced the main idea behind the project, which is the artist’s journey to four cities, coinciding with their respective Fashion Week events, in order to deconstruct the imposed standards of beauty at those same venues where they are being established. After a series of public interventions in New York, Vermibus continued his project in London, and today we’re looking at the fruits of his labor in Britain’s fashion capital.
Unveiling Beauty Project Continues in London
Over the course of his visit, Vermibus installed seven new artworks on the streets of London. Even more than in the case of New York, the striking thing about the London works is well-though out and clever choice of locations, which contribute to the aims of the projects immensely. Two of his posters appeared on the streets of Shoreditch, which has been experiencing considerable gentrification in the past years. Two other posters were placed in front of the Harrods department store, one of the most popular shopping venues and a home to many luxury fashion brands. Consequently, Sloan Square in high-end Chelsea district became a host of another of Vermibus’ installations, thoughtfully placed in front of a Hugo Boss store. The final two artworks, featuring Vermibus’ signature eerie models were found outside of Victoria and Albert Museum, institution which hosts one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of fashion items in the world. The careful selection of locations adds to the idea of democratization of public spaces the artist is trying to implement, but it also increases the effects of his critique of contemporary consumerism and fashion industry’s role in it. From London, Vermibus proceeded to Milan and Paris, so stay tuned for the last two parts of the Unveiling Beauty series. In the meantime, enjoy the photographs of Vermibus’ London installations below…