Filling the North Greenwich gallery space with avant-garde shapes and primary colours, the artist and fashion designer, Charles Jeffrey, has created an absurd reality for the public to delve into. The Come Up, as the exhibition is called, is a further extension of his LOVERBOY brand. It comprises an interactive three dimensional installation that explores identity through the merging of fashion trends with the pulsating vibe of London nightlife.
The three dimensional trippy exhibit is a deliberate celebration of the individuality that has always been the centre of Jeffrey’s brand. Self-articulation, as the designer describes it, has long been central to his eccentric fashion collections, and has also seeped through to his approach to visual art. The drastic shapes floating through the room certainly let the imagination loose, and by letting the audience express their own artistic selves as a part of the exhibit, Jeffery caters to the modern lure of individuality. Bonus points for insta-friendly, right?
As a part of the younger generation of creatives, Jeffery also has an eye for the new romantics and that movement’s avant-garde visual style. Manifesting this throughout his work, the forward thinking designer incorporates traces of this through the colour scheme of red, yellow and blue against a base of black and white. Giving the 80s movement a modern tinge, Jeffrey still captures its initial spark of reinvention and rebellion.
The transcendence of his work, both in fashion and The Come Up, takes account of the absurd. According to Sartre, absurdity is an inescapable consequence of any sensitive effort to live in the face of an indifferent reality. Though Jeffrey certainly plays with these absurdist ideas, he also rebels against that daft frame of mind.
Absurdist theory sees life as a pattern of routine propelled by triviality, only to occupy the mind, so that people do not have to face the hopelessness of the human condition. However, Jeffrey uses these patterns in new light, to break out of this mentality. Taking the interesting aspects of absurdity and making them playful, he masters the timeless artistic balance of fun and trivia, without losing ground.
Innovation is Jeffery’s highest artistic asset. His way of using old material and influences in an entirely new light makes him one of the most exciting artists on the scene. The way that this exhibition encourages audiences to take part makes The Come Up the latest in a line of successful interactive shows at the Now Gallery.
Talking about the project, Jeffrey states that:
“With this project I’m exploring some of the ideas and forces in my life – and so many others’ lives – that couldn’t be more seismic. Interconnectivity, nightlife, the idea of clubs as safe spaces, identity, imagination…There’s a huge amount of very personal work going into it, and I couldn’t be happier about working with NOW Gallery on this!”Now Gallery seemingly have the flair for innovative projects, as curator, Jemima Burrill says: “NOW Gallery is committed to presenting the opportunity for an outstanding contemporary fashion designer to create new unprecedented work expanding their creative practice in a gallery setting. Phoebe English and Molly Goddard captivated audiences with their installations for the NOW Fashion Commission in 2015 and 2016. The addition of Charles Jeffrey this November and his formidable vision reminds us of the power of the creative mind, that fashion is a way of looking at the world, and Charles Jeffrey will expand his view into a gallery installation with attitude and personal intention.”
The Come Up is a marvellous work of intricacy, lacing absurdity together with the flamboyant influences of the New Romantics within a forward-looking perspective.
The Come Up is at Greenwich Peninsula until 11th February, 2018. Entry is free.