What made the invisible visible and turned commonplace, unseen items of clothing into striking brand-name fashion? Why is menís underwear so ugly? Or is it? Can real men really wear tights? What do men want to say with their underwear and to whom? Do underwear patterns from the 1970s look wonderfully nostalgic or do they still make your hair stand on end?
Menís underwear is a serious matter. So serious, in fact, that it has its own culture, history, research tradition and symbolisms, which reflect the progress of the manly world over centuries of time. The exhibition Unmentionables makes the most of the topic. Art meets academic research, resulting in a hilarious visual survey of the principal trends and subcultures of underwear. Four themes are used to open windows into the world of underwear: daily life, aesthetics, the hidden and male image.
The exhibition tells a bare and charismatic story of the long journey of underwear from chamois or sheepskin protection to trendy product advertised on billboards. Advertisements from different decades reveal the harsh truth of the radical change of the male image. Contemporary Art assigns many symbols to menís underwear, from resigned men with their dreary grey and saggy pants around their ankles to erotic gods and an absolutely fabulous Adonises. Art adds tragedy and humour but also a female perspective to the exhibition.
And what would an exhibition about underwear be without underwear? The exhibition will display old and new, long and short, colourful and colourless, imaginatively decorated and ascetic and plain. What is the definition of underwear? Are sports and swimwear like underwear? These questions will also be examined in a study that is a part of the exhibition.
The partner of the exhibition is Nanso Oy.
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