As part of the biannual Pitti Immagine Uomo men's fashion trade show, Florence's De’ Medici Museum is presenting ‘Vestis’, an exhibition by the artist, Afran, in which fashion and sculpture merge.
Afran, Francis Nathan Abiamba, is a Cameroonian artist based in Lecco, Italy, who creates busts made from denim.
It's a material that for him contains many meanings: “For me, denim, jeans, is not just a material, it is above all a philosophy, a symbol of our times. It is a material that carries in itself civil rights struggles and that has an enormous personal history,” he says.
The exhibition displays various pieces that recall classical art, such as busts of David, Dante and the tribute of Canova’s Napoleon.
“It is something that has a strong connection with encomiastic portraiture, and also to De’ Medici portraiture. The parade portrait, the celebratory bust. The materials, however, are no longer the aulic ones of marble or bronze, now there is a profoundly democratic fabric which is jeans,” says Samuele Lastrucci, Director of De’ Medici Museum.
The combination between art and fashion, ancient and contemporary, local and global, is the foundation of the artist's research, and fascinates the exhibit’s curator, Matteo Chincarini.
“It is correct, especially in these places, giving contemporary art the opportunity to explain how it manages to make the aesthetic canons of the past, still current," he says.
Vestis will be hosted in the Museo de' Medici (De’ Medici Museum) in Florence until the 15th of February, 2024.