Fashion Spaces/ A Theoretical View is to accompany the exhibition Retail Apocalypse in Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal
Vésma Kontere McQuillan
August 29, 2022
Fashion Spaces/ A Theoretical View is selected to accompany the exhibition Retail Apocalypse in the octagonal gallery of Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal.
Retail Apocalypse is relaunch of a research project originally initiated by curators Fredi Fischli and Niels Olsen Retail Apocalypse at ETH Zurich and takes place from 15 April 2022 to 15 January 2023.
Relaunched at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal (the CCA), Retail Apocalypse is conceived as a narrative in three phases and offers an additional "reading list" - a selection of books to accompany the exhibition.
In 2001, The Harvard Guide to Shopping notoriously asserted that shopping had become the last remaining form of public activity. The 800-page tome was an exploration of how shopping had dramatically refashioned cities at the turn of the century. Observers declared a “retail apocalypse,” following a wave of retail-chain bankruptcies in 2017, Shopping as an urban activity was entering its terminal phase.
Retail Apocalypse at ETH Zurich
It was in this context that curators Fredi Fischli and Niels Olsen initiated Retail Apocalypse at ETH Zurich, producing a compendium of case studies ranging from Félix Vallotton’s depiction of the Bon Marché to Friedrich Kiesler’s display windows to TELFAR’s critical utopias. The research project can be read as a time capsule for the entire glorious, messy, self-aggrandizing history of retail.
Relaunched at the CCA, Retail Apocalypse is conceived as a narrative in three phases.
Visit Retail Apocalypse of The CCA here.
Chapter I: Modern Tales
which unpacks the ETH’s research. Pages from the project publication provide context for objects displayed from the CCA’s collections and critical reflections on canonical case studies.
Chapter II: Bonfire
in which a series of documentary films and video essays contextualize the so-called retail apocalypse of the early aughts. The CCA Octagonal gallery mirrors a surveillance room where visitors can observe spaces of accumulation, saturation, decline, and crisis.
Starting September, the exhibition will reflect on contemporary transformations in retail with
Renaissance. On display will be architectural case studies and fashion brands testing the limits of commerce as a site for critical practice – challenging the notion of capital itself and confronting politics of labour, gender, class, and value.