A Walk of Art
Can a pair of shoes be considered a work of art? They can at least be a walk of art, according to Parasol Projects Gallery latest exhibition.
“A Walk of Art: Visionary Shoes” explores the idea of whether a shoe that can’t actually be walked in can nevertheless be called a shoe – if it cannot, is it art? The display showcases approximately 60 designs by students and alumni of Israel’s premiere Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design. Additionally, it marks Bezalel’s first fashion exhibition. Those featured include Kobi Levi, whose shoes are worn by Lady Gaga and Whoopi Goldberg, Sigalit Landau, who is famous for suspending objects in the Dead Sea until they crystallize, Tal Arbel of Norman & Bella and Alessandro Briganti, who formerly worked with Alexander McQueen on designing the brand’s now-famous armadillo shoe.
Something about shoes as this mysterious object actually allows artists and designers to use this as a canvas to express social, artistic and design ideas. “A Walk of Art” curator Ya’ara Keydar, originally from Israel, has been operating with Bezalel for the last year to gather the exhibit. She is a graduate of the costume design program in New York, where she now teaches a class on fashion in museums.
Founded in 1906, the Bezalel Academy specialises in the making of both conventional and high-tech shoes. “A Walk of Art” juxtaposes handmade designs with technologically advanced ones, and lots of the shoes featured cannot really be worn. Some do not even come in pairs.
The artists turned to many different mediums — including timber, metal and glass — in producing the shoes, which come in various styles — stilettos, platforms, wedges, sandals, etc. Highlights include a 3-D-printed shoe by Arbel and Briganti, a design by Or Kolker carved from glued together chunks of leather and a ceramic shoe by Nimrod Gilo that is reminiscent of a particular Disney princess.
The concept of fragility and non-commercial substances bring to mind the fragility of the shoes of Cinderella. They bring the primary or mythical ideas society has had about shoes for centuries. The exhibition highlights the really interesting combination of fashion and art, desire and myth. Even though most shoes in the exhibition cannot be worn, that is not to say the artists don’t know how to make comfort shoes, they’re just far less appealing to exhibit.
The shoe business in Israel is quite Vibrant and some of the designers also sell their shoes all over the world. When they encounter the actual world, they understand how to make wearable, comfortable, commercial shoes. But what’s interesting is the way they learn how to do this is that they release all those bounds while they focus on creating new shoes.