Mannequins & Emotions

This image was taken in the MOMU store rooms, it is a large and open space with an industrial element to the design, a line of dressed mannequins stand in a line, as though ready to be inspected
Mannequins dressed waiting for their archive photoshoot © Elisa De Wyngaert


Just a few years ago, using the word ‘emotion’ seemed dated and frivolous when the fashionable terms leaned more towards the ‘rational’.  Yet, today, I feel that there is an urgent need for more empathy, human connection in society. I want to research where emotion ‘fits’ within a fashion exhibition. Do people sometimes experience an emotional reaction while visiting a fashion exhibition? What caused it? Did it make them want to stay at the exhibition longer? Did the feeling last in the wake of their visit?

As a curator, my work is 2D. Besides writing, there is a lot of cutting and pinning images on walls. While I’m doing this, I have a sense of the ‘emotion’ in the narrative we are creating. In the exciting final stage of exhibition making, when the exhibition designers and the production team take over from the curator, the 2D plans, texts and mood boards morph into architecture. The emotion now transforms into experience, and the story becomes real.

For this specific project, I want to investigate what can generate connection and emotion in a fashion exhibition. I want to think about the role of the mannequin and the importance of the stories we secretly make up for them. I will do this through the medium of collage and I am hoping to collaborate with the storytellers in this network. Perhaps they can help me compose new ways to tell stories and to transfer real emotion to our visitors?

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