Sunday, September 22, 2019

Road Trip: Fashioning Art From Paper -- the Ballet Russes

A few posts back, we visited the Isabelle De Borchgrave "Fashioning Art from Paper" exhibit at Flint Institute of Arts and focused on the gowns and historical interpretations she designed and fashioned out of paper that she had painted.


But the exhibit also includes a large room with her interpretations of costumes from Les Ballet Russes.


Most of the costumes were suspended in mid-air by an almost invisible wire. Consequently, they gently turned with passing movement or the gentle movement of air from the air conditioning. It made for a magical effect.


The Ballets Russes costumes were inspired by the Russian impressario Serge Diaghilev's ballet company that ran from 1909 to 1929.  The company was based in Paris but toured worldwide and was considered by many as the most influential ballet company of the 20th century because of its artistic collaborations which were sometimes controversial and a step beyond the traditional ballets like "Swan Lake." (Although the company did indeed perform classics including "Swan Lake.") Other popular ballets were based on Russian folktales.


The piece below is a costume from "The Blue Gold," after a costume by Leon Baskt in 1912. Baskt had been inspired by Cambodian motifs for the costumes and the ballet was considered a failure.


Composers working with Les Ballets Russes included Debussy, Stravinsky and Prokofiev. The scene and costume designs were "modern" and Diaghliev worked with artists such as Picasso and Matisse, along with Coco Chanel.


Other names of renown that were integral to the company's success over the years include Nijinsky, George Balanchine, Michael Fokine and Anna Pavlova. Productions included "Afternoon of a Fawn" and "The Firebird." The costume below is the Sea Horse from "Sadko" (1911) with music by Rimsky-Korsakov.


Many of you had questions included in your comments from last month's post that featured de Borchgrave's amazing work and I'll answer as best as I can. (I should mention that the photos shown below of Isabelle creating in her studio are from the fabulous show catalogue -- actually a gorgeous coffee table book -- by Dennita Sewell.

Source: Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper by Dennita Sewell

Where Can I see the Show? There is only one more showing of this exhibit in the U.S. on this tour and it is in Atlanta, beginning October 4 and going till early January. For those of you in the south, I am thinking the words "road trip." Even if you have seen earlier exhibits of her work, there are items in this show that haven't toured with others. She has done several collections (the historical collections, the Fortuny gowns of the 20th century, Les Ballets Russes, etc.) and pieces from many of all the collections are part of the current tour.


How do they ship these from site to site? I was curious about that, too. They are packed in crates specially designed for each specific gown and made to fit fairly closely. The gowns are packed on their stands or mannequins, set in the crate and some materials are placed around them that prevent them from damage if they slide a bit in the crate. (Below, one of the paper gowns called "Delphos Dress and Coat" based on designs by Mariano Fortuny.


The museum director said that the Ballets Russes section of the exhibit, about one third the size of the gowns, took at least twice as long to set up as the gowns did because most of the costumes are suspended and not on stands, making them harder to ship, set up or move.


Does Isabelle have assistants? Yes. She has at least 10, according to the show catalogue, which is actually a lovely book. She originally worked with Shaw Theatre Festival designer Rita Brown, who, as a costume historian, knew how to create accurate patterns for the gowns. Isabelle paints the patterns onto each outfit. Assistants help assemble them.


Where is her atelier located? It is located in Brussels. As the of the writing of the catalogue, it is open to the public.


Does Isabelle only do the paper costuming installations? No, she also has done work for Caspari, Villeroy and Boch, and party items for Target. She also has costume installations in museums, including one of Jacqueline Kennedy's wedding gown in the JFK Library.


Were there many people there and what do you do about food and drink? There were quite a few people there on a Sunday afternoon. Busy but not so crowded you couldn't see or get close. As for food and drink, while I didn't see a sign, I suspect they would have snatched food away or asked you to eat at the tables outside the cafe.


Is her work available for sale? The museum gift shop and her online site has some of her jewelry available. I believe the website might have other items as well.


 I have to admit, I was overwhelmed by this exhibit, as you can probably tell. Even if costume isn't your thing, or paper work or painting, one has to admire the dedication to work from an inspiration piece and create something in a completely different media, perhaps matching identically and in other cases, using it as inspiration with some unique changes.

Source: Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper by Dennita Sewell

And, to do it, from top to bottom, jewelry, shoes, hats, purses, all accessories and the garment itself really demonstrates the commitment de Borchgrave has to authenticity and her dedication to her art.

Source: Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper by Dennita Sewell

It is safe to say my head was spinning!


Maybe as much as a spinning ballerina!

Sharing with:    Best of the Weekend      /     Let's Keep in Touch    /     Pink Saturday   

52 comments:

bobbie said...

My head would have been spinning too!!! How awesomely gorgeous was this!! Thanks so much much for sharing ~

Misadventures of Widowhood said...

That artist and her work is mind blowing! You have to keep reminding yourself that her pieces are PAPER. I used to have a think for handmade and rice papers and loved all the samples I sent away for but I never, ever would have dreamed you could create such wonderful things with that as your media.

Joyful said...

Exquisite works.

DUTA said...

Human creativity - at its best!

Valerie-Jael said...

This paper art is really out of the world, I hope the exhibition will one day come over here! The artist is more than talented. Thanks for sharing, hugs, Valerie

Iris Flavia said...

Ohhh, I love paper - but sadly I´m not that creative. Made some mobiles and have a ton of paper not knowing what to do with it!

I´m for very sure not talented to create such beauties!

"Sadko" sure reminds me of Chinese New Year, when I nearly dropped my camera, LOL.

Oh, how I´d love to go on another roadtrip and visiting your country for the first time - in warm/hot temps.

?? Villeroy and Boch I only know for bathroom design! Maybe I have another name in mind?

It´s so sad. My Brother is a goldsmith (and Optometrist) and lives in a small town that does not value individual artwork.
He is talented (every big Sister says so, but he really is! ;-)...) and he can´t find a way to show (Internet is no option for this "old man" that he is inside).

My paper brollies and balloons at least spin when I open the kitchen window :-)

Rustic Pumpkin said...

How do you begin to take in something as amazing as this? I am off to read your previous post over my coffee. As you say, completely overwhelming, and how do you take it all in on just one visit? Thank goodness for books and exhibition catalogues!

roughterrain crane said...

These are really amazing works.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Some amazing work and how creative to replicate the movement of the dancers in this way. Long time since I went to a performance - too long in fact. Maybe it's time for Nutcracker again this Christmas.

Joanne Huffman said...

What a delightful talent!

eileeninmd said...

Hello, the paper art is just amazing. It is wonderful there are so many creative people in the world. The costumes are just beautiful. Enjoy your day, wishing you a happy new week!

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

Wow! that is all I can say. Such a talent with an unusual expression of creativity. Hope your week is beautiful!

Olka said...

Are they all are really made with a paper? Wow! It's such an incredible art!

Karen said...

I LOVE IT! Breathtaking

Mae Travels said...

You've again created a beautiful and fascinating blog post with lots of new ideas to ponder!

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

NanaDiana said...

WOW AND WOW AND WOW!!! What an amazing talent!!!!!!!!!!! xo Diana

Sandra at Maison De Jardin said...

Jeanie, my head is spinning too. This is absolutely amazing. This is truly proof there some extremely talented souls in our world. Thank you for this wonderful, interesting and informative post. Great week to you, Jeanie.

The French Hutch said...

Jeanie, I'm sure this was a magical exhibit. Such creative talent and personally I think this is beautiful. Seeing it live with the occasional air circulating must have been amazing. Loved reading this fascinating post!

Hena Tayeb said...

That is absolutely magnificent..

Karen @ Beatrice Euphemie said...

So amazing! Love the detail, bright colors and the artist's dedication! Wouldn't a ballet production or play using her dresses be wonderful? Thank you for sharing - so beautiful! xx Karen

Marilyn Miller said...

This exhibit is stunning and breathe taking. I would have been mesmerized. Oh those hanging ballerina outfits, OH MY! I have always love Fortuny, just stunning. All of it is quite wonderful. Thank you for sharing it with us.

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

I am in awe over such talent, Jeanie! I am overwhelmed too looking at the detail of such an exhibit. I'm sorry this exhibit will not be coming near us, so thank you so much for sharing!

Liz@ HomeandGardeningWithLiz said...

Amazing! Hard to believe these are all made of paper. I was wondering how they transport these but I see you’ve answered that question!

My name is Erika. said...

Holy cow! I was floored by the last visit but this time I am in some ways even more floored. Those voluptuous pants can't be really made of paper. It was quite amazing and I think this was a great and inspiring visit. hugs-Erika

Prims By The Water said...

Were these all made from paper too? If so just amazing...amazing anyway if not. Janice

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I remember seeing one of her exhibits years ago, but the gowns were NOTHING like these ballerina outfits. These are stunning and totally incredible. So glad you brought us along.

Linda said...

Beautiful and fascinating. Thank you for sharing your visit.

thepaintedapron.com said...

It is indeed hard to wrap my head around creating all these magnificent pieces! And moving the exhibit, how do they ever manage that! Simply incredible, thanks for taking us Jeanie!
Jenna

R's Rue said...

Beautiful

Danielle L Zecher said...

Some of those costumes are beautiful! I can't even begin to imagine the skill and patience she must have to do all of that.

Pam said...

I would never have guessed those were made of paper! Never...that is totally cool.

Pam Richardson said...

Jeanie, this is so amazing. I would love to see it in person and it could be a possibility while it is in Atlanta. I only live 2 1/2 hours away. Thank you for sharing this gorgeous exhibit!

Judy at GoldCountryCottage said...

Just beautiful, Jeanie. Such artistry it is hard to imagine. Thanks for your sweet visit..Happy Fall..xxoJudy

Susan Kane said...

That is incredible. Such creativity.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Unreal. Her art is out of this world. I'd never guess the costumes were made from paper!!! Thanks for sharing this with us! I won't get to Atlanta so am glad you shared it with us!

William Kendall said...

Impressive work!

Evi Erlinda said...

Amazing dresses!
Lol, the last ballerina is spinning slowly, I hope you're okay :)

BeachGypsy said...

Oh yes!!---the paper art, from last month!!--I remember it well and how intriguing it was. What an amazing thing to create and what talent it takes. I love that dress and coat one....Yes, I can definetly see myself going to the grocery store in that one!! ha ha ha LOL I also like the ballet one that was a failure, I thought that one was particularly pretty. Well, they ALL ARE, really. Just look at those tutus.....so many layers and they look ruffled, so nice. Just a really really neat exhibit and I would've never have known about it if you hadn't posted. You always have such interesting things to share with us! Hope your week is going great so far.

Valerie Cottage Making Mommy said...

OK...these are amazing. The detail is exquisite. I was a ballerina and my dad's birthmom was a polish ballerina who fell in love w an American soldier and had him. Ballet is close to my heart.

laurie said...

Oh my gosh the talent and vision of this amazing artist, the detail and colour, absolutely amazing, the time involved creating and setting it all up, wow, I enjoyed this so much, thank you for bringing this beautiful inspirational post! Love it!

Latane Barton said...

truly fascinating. I could look at those all day, trying to figure out how she did it.

Lowcarb team member said...

A most wonderful artist and her work is incredibly beautiful.

All the best Jan

Vivian Swift said...

Marvelous work. Assistants, eh? Wish my cats would assist, but they are too busy napping.

Sandra Cox said...

These are just stunning. What talent.

Pamela said...

So fantastic! Thank you for posting about the show and answering all the questions!

Anca said...

I love seeing this pictures from this amazing exhibition. I've enjoyed all of them. Her talent is so impressive.

Sandra Cox said...

Party items for Target? That seems like falling from lofty heights doesn't it?

Jacqui Murray said...

How beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Jeanie, thank you so much for sharing this with us. This is magnificent, and I would never have known about it if not for your amazing blog!

Jacqueline~Cabin and Cottage said...

You get to see the most amazing things! I remember when Victoria Magazine featured her work a long time ago. Or maybe some other publication. What a gift. As usual you make the most of your days! Hope it's a lovely fall for you!

Tracy said...

WOW...wow... and it's all paper!! What fun she must have making all these things... It does seem odd to go from making all this fancy stuff, and fancy exhibits, to making a party range for Target. But what FUN to see all this! Thanks for taking us back, Jeanie :) ((HUGS))

Jennifer Richardson said...

Creative humans never cease to amaze me:)
Thanks for sharing,
Jennifer

Popular Posts