February 18–April 18, 2009
Sprüth Magers Berlin is delighted to host Andrea Zittel’s artistic enterprise, ‘Smockshop’, in their gallery space in Berlin this spring. This is the first time the Smockshop (www.smockshop.org) has set up its stall outside North America, and it is also scheduled to be the last time it opens for business at all, making this a unique opportunity to experience Zittel’s artistic and economic experiment. Two artisans will work in the gallery for the first four days of the exhibition making the smocks that are available for purchase right after their production. The works will be then on view in the gallery throughout the whole exhibition period. The double wrap-around garments designed by Zittel collectively represent an aesthetically diverse yet functionally uniform body of work. Extending Zittel’s longstanding interest in the form and function of everyday life, the smocks develop a modernist tradition of clothing design and manufacture, extending back to the Russian avant-garde, which emphasises utility and economy, and inclines towards an alternative experience of clothing to the prevailing discourse of fashion.
Each smock conforms to the same basic shape and form, but there is nonetheless an infinite array of colour, texture and pattern possibilities, as their method of manufacture derives from Zittel’s principle that ‘rules make us more creative’. Since it was founded in 2007, almost 300 smocks have been made by the collective. The process of making is collaborative, as each smocker is given license to interpret and rework Zittel’s designs according to their own interests and skills. The clothes range from monochrome simplicity to lurid dazzle, and from formal elegance to sculptural inventiveness. Yet though each smock is completely unique, they have all been designed and made with a sense of universal functionality in mind; suiting most body sizes or shapes, and offering socially appropriate attire in both casual and formal settings, the smock is conceived as a garment for everywoman (and maybe everyman) at any time.