After a successful opening last December, International Library of Fashion Research (ILFR) now presents its second exhibition in central Oslo, Paper Afore Press. It includes commissioned and archival work, such as the French audio artist and composer Frédéric Sanchez, the Italian artist Alia Mascia, and the Dutch artist collective Amsterdam Warehouse. It explores paper’s role in fashion where garments and collections all commence from it before designers can enter someone’s life in a tangible way through magazines and books — made of paper.
Vésma Kontere McQuillan works as an architect and professor at Kristiania University College in Oslo and was ILFR’s spatial design project architect from its conception in 2020 until its opening in 2022. She’s now overseeing the exhibition space-making as the new head of spatial design. McQuillan’s research from 2015 was focused on the collaboration between OMA/AMO and Prada, particularly at AMO and Prada fashion shows, and the design process behind these joint productions, which resulted in the book Fashion Spaces: A Theoretical View, published in 2020.
With this new research focus and examinations of fashion spaces for an upcoming exhibition project for this fall, ILFR took notice of the paper set of Prada’s SS23 menswear and womenswear fashion shows. The show space, designed by the mentioned Rotterdam-based architectural office OMA/AMO, saw walls made of rolls of regular white paper folded from the ceiling more than 10 metres high, and the seating was made of corrugated cardboard in the same colour as the paper for floors. Prada now donates ten of these cardboard seats to ILFR, implying a deeper understanding of the field, namely paper architecture, which refers to creating utopian fantasy projects that could not be realized in real life but can exist in such a library space.
ILFR has previously reused and recycled props and objects from the National Museum to create a future space for the institution to preserve fashion industry objects and artefacts. The reimagined seating from a fashion show in Milan will now be transformed into a mobile auditorium for fashion researchers and enthusiasts in Oslo, who can use these seats as mobile auditoriums across public programming in the physical space.