Underground Gallery presents Club Med, a solo exhibition by Anne Martens featuring sewn mixed-media sculpture and installation. In Club Med, the artist explores connections between medicine and the human body, using the hospital gown as a visual and conceptual metaphor.
Club Med consists of hospital gowns modified to suggest the female form and designed to communicate sexuality. As objects with potential meanings, they are considered individually as sculptures and collectively as installations. They are also worn in performances for the camera.
The design of a standard hospital gown is shapeless in order to fit many body types. It is open from the back for quick and easy access. In this impersonal garment typically worn for examinations and procedures, the patient becomes an object of observation and vulnerability, invoking philosopher Michel Foucault's illustrative concept of the "medical gaze." Ironically, the modest coverage afforded by the hospital gown offers a sense of privacy and protection from other forms of observation, such as the "male gaze" that women have always been subjected to. The metaphorical dualities implicit in the design of a standard hospital gown are emphasized in Martens’ versions through absurd alterations such as darts and cut-outs, and over-the-top materials like sequins, ruffles, and sheer fabrics.
“My intention with Club Med is to provoke thoughts about health, mortality and inequality through the seemingly banal lens of couture fashion,” says Martens. “I like to consider meaningful topics with a playful approach, so that the viewer is invited to engage.”
Anne Martens earned an MFA from The Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, NY. She works as a media writer for a Los Angeles museum and as a freelance critic for various art publications.
For more information, please contact Underground Gallery Director Armando H. Torres at 213.413.5913 or firstname.lastname@example.org.