My first exhibition project as an MA student of Culture, Criticism, and Curation at Central Saint Martins titled ‘Embodying The Character’ is inspired by the influential work of Jeanetta Cochrane (1882-1957) and the collection of materials in her archive at CSM’s Museum & Study Collection.
As our group began researching further into the archives of costume and set design in February, we had ambitious plans to ‘set the stage’, so to speak, in the form of a physical exhibition and window display within the CSM Museum. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to adapt and move everything online.
This culminated in creating a dedicated website as an online exhibition connecting Jeanetta Cochrane’s work with contemporary costume design and performing arts practices at embodyingthecharacter.com, here you will find examples of illustrations from her personal archive, a series of exclusive interviews with current students and industry professionals, as well as shared content from other sources that inspires and intrigues.
Our curatorial statement reads:
‘The body is a blank canvas in the realm of performing arts. In this theatre, the body is manipulated – through actions, gestures, mannerisms, speech, diction, tone, projection– and the actor comes alive on stage as a character. Costuming is more than a decorative touch. Costuming helps to dictate and communicate a character’s presence. This project was born out of a curiosity to investigate the ways in which costume and fashion design effects and influences a performance; it is an exploration of the sartorial, the theatrical, and the moments these elements coalesce.’
We hope to build on this community of costume and theatre design in recognition of Jeanetta Cochrane’s contributions to the practice. We also have an instagram page that details our journey from the beginning – so please give us a follow!