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Savvy Shopper, welcome to SWAP! item idem + Andrea Crews's conceptual exchange program of artistic identities! Shaped as an idea deviating into a narration, followed by an ephemeral shop, a collection of products, & a party; this very fun project has also been attracting the thunders of censorship from one of those mega brands... Read about it more in ArtAsiaPacific & WWD, and the SWAP diary in Hint Magazine!
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CULTURAL TRANSGENDERISM SWAP is a project conceived, directed & produced by item idem & Andrea Crews. As a project centered on the conceptual exchange of artistic identities, SWAP  states & unleashes a powerful vocabulary sourced half way between art & fashion production, and back & forth. SWAP's conceptual origin starts from a simple assumption/equation: If an artist can create a shop for a fashion designer, then why can't a designer produce the exhibition of an artist? Following his "very-last-first-solo-show-ever" entitled DISPLAYSTHETICS, item idem, teaming up again with talents, now unveils SWAP,  his "very-first-retrospective-ever", & invites the audience to consider art & design practices, being newly reshaped with necessary theoretical copyright renouncements & conceptual breeding. BACKGROUND INGREDIENTS FOR FUTURE ANTICIPATION Conceptual art-related puppeteer, item idem's direction & design for the  Bernhard Willhelm Tokyo boutique was recently awarded by " The Great Indoors Award 2007 ",  as a worldwide-leading project in terms of retail design. Purposefully reversing the process, his latest brainchild invites a creative studio & DIY fashion label to design his latest exhibition, & questions again the reversible position/role of an artist/designer inside a marketed environment: If an art exhibition may be constituted by non-artworks & products, does it logically induces that the addition of many artworks would synthetize as a final product? If an artist, leaving direction & design roles to other professionals, become the medium & the source of inspiration of his own exhibition, what happens to his works & ideas, when “copyleft” becomes the conceptual starting point of the entire project ? DESIGNING ART The pop-up " Swap Shop ", opening on April 19th, will be art directed by hip parisian creative studio Andrea Crews, lead by French artist Maroussia Rebecq who creates productive working methods that spin off into multiple exchanges with a strong leitmotiv: Fashion Art Activism! For the past five years, Andrea Crews has been hijacking clothing, collaborating with charities by recycling second-hand clothes, and labels by transforming basics (Nike, Agnès b.). Most of the time, the transformed items take on another existence, whether as temporary sculptures or as accessories for video art and performances. More than a brand, the collective is a genuine movement that is loudly proclaiming its desire for action and forming a relationship with creation that takes in its performative dimension. For them, clothing is an experimental and playful medium, a pretext to organize federating workshops as they did at the Palais de Tokyo in 2002, inviting more than a hundred fashion designers and artists to participate (from Item Idem to Chanel). Andrea Crews aims to wake up dormant ideas with joyous and cheeky gestures, such as making exhibitions into playground, organizing festive happenings in the public space and opening a shop in Pigalle that’s quickly becoming a center for emerging talent. Basically, Andrea Crews adopts attitudes that help create communal osmosis and allow art to invade the world. The collective will be invited, during a workshop of an entire week preceding the opening, to interpret item idem's codes & concepts with their own creative language, making its artistic identity their own, for the limited duration of the  SWAP project. The " Swap Shop " core design elements will be conceptually sourced inside the aesthetics of item idem's most iconic & personal projects:  From his trash-based sociological & practical design, inspired by Tokyo homeless shelters ( Bernhard Willhelm Tokyo ), to his recent  first " ready-to-wear" couture intervention, " MIDASPHALTARMACOAT 8002 ( for Joseph Beuys ), a shaman robe made out of deconstructed gold Louis Vuitton, tar, & melted car tires... Not to mention item idem's 2006's messoffice design, for Tokyo's hip retail temple Loveless window, or his relational aesthetics-inspired art studio Caniche Courage. FRAMING RETAIL REALITY The interaction between both parts of SWAP will also be framed by up-and-coming French set designer Jean-Michel Bertin ( collaborators of many, from Christian Lacroix  to Louis Vuitton, from Pharrell to JUSTICE....), bringing to the scene its own sense of direction, organizing elements, puzzling ingredients, and offering the project a perfectly fitted display shelf.  By this intervention, he will also participate to this exchange of artistic identities, muting into the visual merchandiser of a gallery space. RETAIL WINDOW CULTURE FOR INSPIRATION Teaming up with retail legend, & concept store model colette, the SWAP SHOP will ubiquitously duplicate itself into the SWAP SHOP WINDOW, and open simultaneously in the window of colette, from April 21st to 26th. A selection of products from the SWAP SHOP will then be available at colette, while mysterious ingredients of its branding will reappear inside the SWAP SHOP. THE MEDIA AS AN EXHIBITION SPACE Anticipating & healing item idem’s & Andrea Crews's shared overgrowing frenzy savage appetite for "mediation", Swiss based photo blogger & style reporter PLAY will offer a constant fresh eye on the project and its hazardous multi-directional growth. International audience will have no rest, as fashion microcosmos's holy nexus for the ultimate insiders point of view, New York based online revue HINT will guarantee viral spreading of SWAP's birth images and concepts, through its constantly updated & very popular blog. SEQUEL OF A CLONE Following a second tempo, SWAP part.2 will occur in Tokyo in 2008. Reactivating its own conceptual exhibition space, the Andrew Crews collective will be received at item idem's studio, Caniche Courage, to lead a multi-directional workshop of their own: Relocating all design elements issued of Swap part.1, along with local enthusiasts, the SWAP project  will then be entirely finalized as a  " Gesamtproductwerk "  ( perfect product ) entitled  the " Swap Show ", celebrating the final form of that back & forth constant exchange of ideas & visual vocabulary of all actors involved in the SWAP project.
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