FASHION IS FAST: Interview to artist and designer Anna-Sophie Berger

By Anna-Sophie Berger. October 8, 2013


"...the new has been institutionalized over and over, thus becoming a value for sale" (Roland Barthes)

Visual artist and fashion designer Anna-Sophie Berger goes through art galleries and catwalks with her designs –irreverent, intelligent and powerful. Her fashion collections, photographs, performances, videos and texts engage in endless talks with the codes governing both systems –art and fashion– so different and so similar sometimes. Her latest collection, Fashion is Fast, poses an analytical reflection, deep and playful, on the codes that determine what is going to be the latest trend in fashion as well as on the human obsession with the new, amplified by the complicity of digital tools –always so fast, always available.

We found her work inside Argentinian magazine Labor and we've got completely hooked on it since that moment. Fashion is fast is forever is now.

What do you see if you raise your eyes from this question?
I see my second, bigger screen that I use when there is loads of things to do and work on. It helps me to control my chaos.

We discovered your work through Argentinian magazine Labor and we became enchanted by it. What is your best memory from this collaboration?
I think my best memory is the publication as such. You know how it goes with digital communication, you send emails back and forth and even if you think the other person at the end of the line is nice, you have nothing really to hold on till you see the actual outcome. I couldn’t have been more pleased when I held the issue in hands. I think it manages something quite rare, its diversity of content made me really want to READ through. This seems like a commonplace given a magazine, but I have to say that hardly any publication these days manages to do that.

Your work seems to be highly reflexive although it manages to convey a true feel of freshness and spontaneity. How do you feel about this statement and how do you face this duality?
I think this duality, as you describe it, is key to good art. As problematic as it might be to say so, but I think ultimately, our enjoyment of things works through two channels, that is the intellectual component and the aesthetic wholeness, if you will. I’ve just recently been to a Roy Liechtenstein show in Paris and it struck me how much amazingly critical potential was conveyed through playful, comical spontaneity. In that terms it is no real duality, its an aesthetic whole. This opposition of concept and shape is, in my opinion, rather a split done by the commercial division between art and design.

You have named your last collection Fashion is Fast and you accompany it with a poignant extract from Roland Barthes' The Language of Fashion. What moved you to create this collection?
Many things moved me, but above all I was interested in trend, people’s attachment to certain shapes in certain times, our ability to distinguish a person’s in-timeness. I am very much interested in fashion and clothes as social even psychological phenomena, as an important part of understanding a body in time. So that is how I started of and where I found Barthes really amazingly helpful in his description of the role of language to define a trend.

How would you describe your feelings towards contemporary fashion?
Hmmm, interesting question. Firstly, for me there is hardly such thing as the one entity of contemporary fashion. There is young commercially working designers, I like some of their creations more or less. What I am really interested in is designers who come up with alternative techniques and approaches to the fashion industry, be it through their marketing, how they sell or present their clothes. As I am an artist working in different medias I usually tend to be interested in people who treat fashion or clothes as a media to broadcast their ideas, rather then people working simply on design objects, though I find both ways completely liable. If I had to name a few, I would always cite Cosmic Wonder for their amazing installations, Eckhaus Latta, my former teacher Bernhard Willhelm who just came up with an amazing new campaign or Adeline André who I worked for in Paris.

What is the soundtrack of this interview?
It is Ariel Pink’s latest album, a friend of mine intruduced me to it, we’ve been listening to it all summer in the car at the seaside and I guess I am not yet quite ready for winter.

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