Pierre de Belay, Yves F. Louis Caradec, Z. Coste, Charles Cottet, Louis François Couché, Alfred Darjou & Alexandre Leroux, Karl Pierre Daubigny, Robert Delaunay, Henri Delavallée, Célestin Deshays, Louis-Marie Désiré-Lucas, Théophile Louis Deyrolle, Jean Epstein, Ferdinand, Monique et Robert Gessain, Achille Granchi-Taylor, A. Godard, L. Guerdet, Henri-Gabriel Ibels, François Hippolyte Lalaisse, A.J Lallemand, Lavieille, Adolphe Leleux, Jean-Julien Lemordant, Lucien Lévy-Dhurmer, Paul Mathey, Edgard Maxence, Robert Pouchin, Armand Seguin
special appearance : Val Piriou
Passerelle Centre d’art contemporain present an exhibition questioning representation of Brittany identities – real and fictional – costumes since the XIXe century.
Through a selection of paintings and engravings from 1860 – 1940 and extracted from the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Brest’s collections, through documentaries of the 30’s extracted from the Cinémathèque de Bretagne’s collections, on custom and habits in Brittany and clothes from the 80’s of the stylist Val Piriou, this exhibition tried to summarize the tools of representation of Brittany’s identities. The idea is not focusing on the historical aspect but to have a contemporary critical eye on how ethical and social values are seen. This exhibition is organized in multiple chapters, linked to labor representations, portraits, religion, celebrations and family. Women hold a vital place in these works; they combine various essential roles in social organization.
The work displayed question the contemporary issues of clothing representation. Brittany’s costumes reveal things about the situation; regional, geographical, matrimonial even. Since the French revolution, it became a mean to express both individuality and a symbol of belonging. On a closer look, we come to a better understanding of Brittany, included today’s Brittany which develops a strong local and cultural identity.
In the 50’s, René-Yves Creston (artist and ethnologist 1898-1964) took an inventory of 66 different trends and their variations representing communities with various personalities. Brittany’s costume was way more than clothes, it was full of symbols. Each headdress was unique and original. Each costume featured a level of wealth. The costume was out for special occasion, professional or solemn.
Brittany’s farming clothing trends began to disappear in 1914 in favor of casual and urban clothing.
Painters of these times, famous or not were inspired by everyday life, maritime and traditional, often favoring realistic representations of farming life even when they’d rather paint “beautiful” festive clothing during the “Pardons” or the marketplace. These clear representations and character postures aren’t far off the postcard’s pictures. It is the picturesque and change of scene painters were researching. Some cities like Concarneau were thriving in the second half of the XIXth century and Brittany’s themes were really popular in Paris. This exhibition’s goals aren’t much to present various costumes but rather explain and suggest a fresh look on representations and construction of Brittany’s identities and moral values through paintings, engravings, drawings, videos and contemporary trends.
Traditional costume, its colors, know-how and materials are still available. On the contrary, traditional Brittany’s trends inspire contemporary stylists. In the 90’s, Val Piriou from Quimper who died prematurely in 1995 already proved herself in Haute couture through her own brand founded in London and clearly inspired by Brittany’s traditional costumes. She gave it a second breath and more by drawing from a huge and untapped cultural heritage. Just as Jean Paul Gaultier ou de Christian Lacroix were influenced by bigoudène’s costumes, Val Piriou saw ahead of her time the poetry, creation and potential hidden within these traditional costumes.
This exhibition was set up in partnership with the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Brest, the Cinémathèque de Bretagne and MP Piriou’s collection.
Films were selected by Marie-Anne Dutertre and Gilbert Le Traon from the Cinémathèque de Bretagne
curator : Ulrike Kremeier