Mar 19 2024

Dissecting the archive

18 April 2024 - 19 May 2024
Wednesday through Friday 16.00 - 19.00

ATOPOS cvc inaugurates its new program affective archives by inviting Elise By Olsen, founding director of the International Library of Fashion Research (ILFR), and Else Skålvoll Thorenfeldt Head of Communications at ILFR for a collaboration and curatorial intervention entitled Dissecting the Archive.  In line with ILFR’s goals not only to preserve fashion’s past but to understand its present and contribute to its future, Elise and her team will open up the two collections and examine the different categories, classifications, and themes. The project will highlight the actual anatomy of the archive, taking apart and looking closely at each part that formulates the ATOPOS cvc archive. Employing the idea of the collection and the archive as a corporeal assimilation of objects and ideas will allow for a critical engagement with the archive.

This collaboration between ATOPOS cvc and ILFR can bring forward an important synergy in fashion & art discourse from the periphery, and cultural exchange between our two countries. Both organizations are far removed from the European capitals of fashion since ATOPOS cvc is located in Athens, Greece, and ILFR in Oslo, Norway. Working from the periphery of Europe allows us to explore alternative networks of cultural mediation, adding to the discourse of decentralized fashion. At the same time, ILFR’s expertise in printed matter will offer a unique opportunity to mobilize a part of our archive which has not yet been activated, various fashion and exhibition ephemera ranging from printed matter to ephemeral sculptures and accessories which were part of the set designs of international designers such as Craig Green, Issey Miyake, Comme des Garcons, et al., positioned alongside Norwegian cultural heritage and objects, et al., from ILFR’s collection in Oslo.

Dissecting the Archive

A curatorial intervention by Else Thorenfeldt & Elise By Olsen. Two archives meet and greet each other: that of the International Library of Fashion Research with its contemporary specialist library of books, magazines and other printed ephemera – and ATOPOS cvc – with its extensive collection of primarily paper-based garments, costumes and design artifacts from international designers. With paper as the project’s red suture, the curators will dissect these two design archives with a delicate scalpel.

The project will not only preserve and cherish the past in the shape of historically valuable artifacts, but contribute to a wider understanding of the future of design and fashion cultures. The acute environmental and natural crisis stands in centrum, thus the curators look at the value of paper versus textile as material with a creative and critical lens. New possibilities and narratives around timelessness in design, and archeological considerations around the dying medium that is paper.

This research based project brings together objects from Atopos’ collection, publications and ephemera from the fashion world but also the concept of oral history as part of the archive. The project will be brought to life and activated through experiential tours throughout the presentation period, so that a wider audience from various fields can learn about design and archival practices – touch, grapple and interact with the objects that are on display. From books, magazines, invitations, sketches, posters and press releases, combined with clothing and costume made in paper.

The presentation will continuously evolve in the space and outdoor garden of ATOPOS cvc throughout the entire curatorial intervention period from 18 April until the 19th of May. With this, the curators wish to create dialogue between the archival material and the space in which it is shown, the public, various formats and interdisciplinary practices.

The curatorial intervention will be open Wednesday through Friday by appointment only from 18/04/2024 until 19/05/2024.

You can book your visit through the following link:

With support from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs / Design and Architecture Norway (DOGA).

The official exchange between ATOPOS cvc and ILFR started with two collaborations in 2023 in Oslo, through the exhibition “Paper Afore Press”, where we contributed materials from our archive, and the Fashion Research Symposium, where we participated as speakers. This exhibition project and exchange in Athens will hopefully extend into a long-term institutional partnership between our two institutions. Throughout this project, the aim is to raise questions on the affective and re-enactive aspects of memory while exploring different parts of the archive that resonate with our collaborators’ expertise and embodied experiences

The International Library of Fashion Research

Fashion is one of our most significant cultural artifacts — an expression of our values and fascinations, and an impression of a moment in time with social, political, and economic dimensions. Yet because much of its printed matter is created for commercial or informal ends, it rarely receives the thorough study it deserves. Ultimately there is a need for intellectual enterprise, new narratives and a healthy collective environment to interact with the actual production and positioning of fashion.

Founded in 2020, the Library will become the world’s most comprehensive repository of specialized fashion research and contemporary fashion publications. We will fill a much-needed gap in the preservation of and critical engagement with fashion’s printed culture at an institutional level, and build a free, globally accessible resource for fashion researchers, industry professionals, and amateur enthusiasts. International Library of Fashion Research is located on the campus of the newly built and prestigious 55,000 square metres National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design in Oslo, Norway