"Whether it be a crisply starched and ironed collar, a scruffy paint splattered striped pastel collar, or a zebra print dress collar - a seemingly fragile textile fragment exudes a strong personality. A history is presumed, a position is assumed, a performance appropriate to status, wealth and office is expected. Simultaneously obvious and nuanced, the collar is embedded with wide cultural knowledge and reveals quirky sub-cultural significance. Alexandra Gillespie and Somaya Langley's collaborative exhibition of twenty highly individual collars are presented at the actual height of the previous owner from neck to feet. Arranged spatially in conversational groups, these highly fetishised personal adornments create an absent crowd, a crowd that speaks both to us, and each theory, visually and audibly. Here coexistence is paramount as collars internal relationships interweave with the sensibilities of exhibition visitors... Langley and Gillespie's art forms engage us far more intimately and viscerally with phrases garnered from the collars original owners - significant others in the artist's lives - friends, family, colleagues and other artists. These text snippets are projected from within the textures and patterns that once caressed a treasured ones' neck."
From Dr Melinda Rackham, 2009.
Image: Alexandra Gillespie and Somaya Langley, installation view, 2009.