Manus = “Hand”; Machina = “Machine”
These two seemingly disparate words join together for the title of the Costume Institute’s newest exhibition for the spring of 2016: Manus x Machina. Presented in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Robert Lehman Wing, this exhibition explores how designers are reconciling the handmade and the machine-made in fashion.
Andrew Bolton, curator in charge of the Costume Institute, shares the meaning behind the exhibition’s title, writing that “Manus x Machina suggests a spectrum or continuum of practice, whereby the hand and the machine are equal and mutual protagonists in solving design problems, enhancing design practices, and, ultimately, advancing the future of fashion.”
It’s such an intriguing concept and introduction to a new design world. Some say we’re living in a new Renaissance, one where the lines between art, fashion, and technology are blurring. I find it exciting to be living in such an age!
BOF shares that with 170 pieces, “Bolton debunk[s] the idea that something that is handmade is necessarily more valuable or more earnest, and insisting that, whether a garment is made by hand or machine, it’s the heart that counts. ‘I focused on designers who are known for either fetishising the hand or fetishising the machine or combining the two…I wanted to challenge the assumption of the hand versus the machine…Sometimes, a garment produced by a machine is so much more time consuming and complex.’ ”
Amongst all the beautiful, individual garments, I think the charm of the exhibition lies within the detailed explanations beside each piece on display. They explain the techniques and processes used in the making of the masterpiece and remind viewers how significant the creation process, which is often forgotten, is. I have yet to personally view Manus x Machina, but I have heard that it’s the kind of exhibit that you visit over and over again because of its immensity and enlightenment.
Below are some images from The MET’s Select Images. “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology” is on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art now until August 14. I encourage you all to visit this exhibition and see a glimpse of brilliance this summer!
All images ©The Metropolitan Museum of Art0