Tagging, the act of announcing to the world your graffiti name with a healthy dose of spray paint scattered across urban bars and barricades, is one of the most maligned and misunderstood forms of self-expression. A rolling stone gathers no moss? All veils and misty, it’s one Temper in excess Trending Time.
Temper Magazine’s Trending segment casts a net upon all that is throwing tantrums within the world of China Fashion across a variety of global sources. This very necessary segment dips its toe into the deep indigo-dyed pool that is the ocean of Middle Kingdom fashionable and thus socio-cultural astonishment.
This time around, we get some CHIcn art hearts fashion mystify me — well, “us”– inspiration going as the question beckons…
Is art superior to clothing or do the stones of fashion ever roll forward? Time to roll dem chill design dice.
Nan Fang Paints The Town Cabbeen
Cabbeen is a leading brand in the still rather flat landscape of Chinese menswear with edge. The brand most recently indulged in one with bated breath anticipated collaboration with famed Chinese oil painting prodigy Nan Fang for their new season collection. Leaving all broken chinos classicos hearts behind.
Nan Fang was born in 1976 in Bengbu City, Hebei Province, and in 1999 graduated with a degree in Oil Painting from Hebei Normal University, the same school where he currently works as an associate professor in the Oil Painting Department of its College of Art and Design. Nan Fang has previously worked as a researcher at the Digital Art Center of the National Academy of Fine Arts in China. His artwork is generally described as “not bound by tradition”. The artworks Nan Fang creates, present their viewer audiences with a simple yet positive atmosphere.
The visual visionary always rolls with the notion that “art should not be ‘high’,” and its physical expression should be “direct, as we want to talk to you” when putting his brush to canvas.
Fang’s collaboration with Cabbeen mostly reveals the artist’s influences gained from a personal lifestyle combo incorporating oil painting and skateboarding, as Fang has recently also started putting brush to board as well as oil to wall whilst skateboarding. Talk about “ramping” things up, eh. Fang explained his motivation for the Cabbeen collaboration as follows:
“I hope that my work can roam around the world of thought and imagination. Only by integrating art into life can your attitude or values become more widely transmitted. Skateboarding is a type of carrier and clothing, too, can be the carrier of my artistic views. Cabbeen is a brand with attitude and one that has the courage to express itself to the world — whether it agrees or not. At this point, we are two like-minded brushstrokes of luck.”
Note from the editor: That last remark was indeed heavily edited to keep with the ever so elegantly wasted flow de flâneur we at Temper got goin’ on.
Chinese KSIEZYC: The Philosopher’s Stone
In order to get a better grasp of Wang Jiang’s latest project with Meng Yueming’s brand KSIEZYC, hauntingly entitled “The Hidden Ghost”, the following philosophical notes are a must:
“The culture industry perpetually cheats its consumers of what it perpetually promises. The promissory note which, with its plots and staging, it draws on pleasure is endlessly prolonged; the promise, which is actually all the spectacle consists of, is illusory: all it actually confirms is that the real point will never be reached, that the diner must be satisfied with the menu.” Quote, Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno in “Dialectic of Enlightenment: Philosophical Fragments”.
Influenced by philosophers and sociologists Bourdieu and Adorno, the latest KSIEZYC project unveils the extensive representation of artsy commodification and fetishism in our society. One thoughtful Wang X Meng collab conception, the inextricable relationship between art and commodity, and their mandatory contingency, are represented in the ultimate form of materialization: Fashion.
We fetish that.
As Adorno once wrote, “Art keeps itself alive through its social force of resistance; unless it reifies itself, it becomes a commodity” — mind you, reification does not equal commodification, or so Temper has been told.
This paradox that is the relationship between art, commodity and value demonstrates itself through two veneers of art: KSIEZYC’s clothes are packed up and exhibited inside the Wang-composed boxes made for one whole year. In doing so, both the clothing as well as the boxes serve as commodities, whether in true art form or merely as the mode in a cardboard mask, the truth of which hides underneath the packaging.
Twenty black panels decorated with warning texts made from gold leaves form a quasi-religious and -undecipherable matrix of value. Nevertheless, and ironically so, this illusion is shattered into gold dust upon spotting the surrounding cardboard boxes bearing their oversized gold price tags, heralding the ultimate fate of the objects.
What is being wrapped up by commodified art is in se yet another form of commodity, i.e. one serving as the last layer covering the naked human body.
Meng’s self-proclaimed “sensitivity in femininity” comes to life in the most exquisite designer details. His wish of manifesting women’s intrinsic nature is subtly tailored and woven into the fabric. His sophisticated aesthetic is always balanced with a laid-back attitude.
The street-chic style emphasized by the Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah — vocab switch-up in an attempt to add a lighter note to the sea of severity — back details and drawstring-embellished sleeves is his way of interfacing with contemporary society. Meng’s work transmits a sense that clothes exude the distinctive power to both veil as well as unveil the mysterious, elusive and self-contained nature that is a one woman show. Meng deems art superior to fashion, and this is where he draws his inspiration from. Elegant simplicity, without compromising practicality, is the sublimation of one man’s revering the arts.
By the early 17th century, a rolling stone was referred to as a type of wastrel — one who would amount to nothing. In “A dictionarie of the French and English tongues,” Randle Cotgrave back in 1611 listed the French word rodeur and gave it this definition in English:
“Rodeur: A vagabond, roamer, wanderer, street-walker, highway-beater; a rolling stone, one that does nought but runne here and there, trot up and downe, rogue all the country over.”
Fast forward three centuries and it seems the rolling stones of fashion do gather moss.
Rogue is the new Revered.
EDITED BY ELSBETH VAN PARIDON FOR TEMPER MAGAZINE
FEATURED IMAGE: FAMOUS HONG KONG INSPO. MONSTER BUILDING AS PHOTOGRAPHED FOR THE VALE MAGAZINE, 2019. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
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After tackling Beijing for some six years where she worked for China International Publishing Group, she spent a moment in time moseying down steep alleyways and writing about their fashionable and underground features in Hong Kong.
Van Paridon most recently managed to claw her way through a Europe-based academic endeavor called "Journalism". 'Tis in such fashion that she has now turned her lust for China Fashion/ Lifestyle and Underground into a full time occupation.
Van Paridon hunts down the latest in Chinese menswear, women’s clothing, designer newbies, established names, changes in the nation’s street scenery, close-ups of particular trends presently at play or of historical socio-cultural value in Chinaplus a selection of budding photographers.
Paired with a deep devotion to China’s urban underground scene, van Paridon holds a particular interest in the topics of androgyny, the exploration of individuality and the power that is the Key Opinion Leader (the local term for “influencers”) in contemporary China.
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