‘Fashion is more art than art is,’ is the famous quote by Andy Warhol and an exhibition opening in Nicosia this month shows how. Synergy: Art into Fashion is the new temporary exhibition at AG Leventis Gallery, from April 14, that merges contemporary fashion and creativity with original artworks from the gallery’s Parisian and Hellenic collections. Through colourful and elegant clothing paintings from the gallery come to life.
Transporting the paintings onto impressive clothing designs, viewers of all ages are invited to experience in person the art that lives in the gallery, creating in this way a new conversation between art and viewer. The paintings encouraged a creative dialogue between distinguished Cypriot fashion designer Kika Ioannidou and businesswoman Maria Neoptolemou who during the March lockdown of 2020 began designing an impeccable haute couture collection inspired by the gallery’s pieces.
Head curator of the exhibition Filep Motwary has put together the fashion objects presented, aiming to achieve a hymn to creativity and mankind’s love for things beautiful. Along with the deep knowledge of Myrto Hatzaki, the AG Leventis Gallery Paris Collection in-house curator, who acted as the interpreter of the artworks, this project reflects the deep relationship between art and fashion, past and present.
With an incredible collection of unique fabrics, embroidery garments and jewellery gathered over the years by Maria and Kika through their travels, the two women designed striking dresses and clothes that take different elements from 14 paintings in the gallery’s collection. Now long-time friends, Maria and Kika combine their passion and eye for fashion to co-create this exhibition.
Some clothing items are inspired by a painting’s mood or historical period, others by the items or subjects it depicts and its colour palette. What is different in Synergy: Art into Fashion is that the exhibition begins outside the room, with several grand dresses displayed in the centre of the gallery space.
Upon entering the exhibition, dozens of clothes stand proud, some displayed in front of the painting that inspired their creation. Though they all form part of the same exhibition, the clothes are not connected to one another. They are not intended to form a collection, but rather each one is a separate entity. What they do have in common, however, is that they are all made of three or four different fabrics which is a characteristic of the exhibition.
The idea for the project began back in 2021 with the aim of creating a fashion show which then turned into an exhibition, open until June 26, which coincides with the eighth anniversary of the gallery. A few weeks before the exhibition opened to the public though, a fashion show did take place at the gallery for a few invited guests. March 21’s fashion catwalk was organised by the Cyprus Red Cross Nicosia Branch to present the haute couture creations and raise funds for its Social Welfare programme. Now, the designs and their paintings await to be explored in the gallery, engaging spectators, striking fabrics and invaluable art in conversation.
Synergy: Art into Fashion
Exhibition by fashion designer Kika Ioannidou and businesswoman Maria Neoptolemou. Curated by Filep Motwary. April 14-June 26. A.G. Leventis Gallery, Nicosia. Wednesday: 10am-8pm. Thursday-Sunday: 10am-5pm. Tel: 22-668838