J.W. Anderson’s Disobedient Bodies
The Designer Walks Us Through His
Exhibition at Hepworth Wakefield


Film: Angelo Dominic Sesto and Thomas Jeppe
Text: Thomas Jeppe
Jonathan Anderson (b. 1984), creative director of J.W. Anderson and Loewe, has risen to become one of fashion’s most celebrated figures in recent years. A measured iconoclast, in Jonathan’s world nothing can be taken for granted.

His work consistently casts a critical eye on every form of construction—from gender roles to material function—and pairs the latest in textile technology with a calculated review of the historical vernacular. Anderson consistently defies expectation, representing both an homage to, and a fracturing of, traditions.

At the centre of this universe is always the body: what it is, what it “should” do, how it is coded, and how it breaks free. Reflecting his foundations in fashion alongside his passion for Modernist art and craft, The Hepworth Wakefield invited Jonathan to curate “Disobedient Bodies,” an exhibition posing encounters between more than 100 works that span over a century.

As fashion designer-turned-curator, Anderson draws astute analogies between wildly varying objects. Helmut Lang’s reductive fetish harnesses oversee the protracted gaunt figure of Giacometti’s Standing Woman; the flattened cut-outs of Comme des Garçons’ 2D collection face the intersecting planes of Gabo’s Head; Jean-Paul Gaultier’s “Madonna” dress morphs in repose to echo the golden curves of Henry Moore’s Reclining Figure. Pieces from J.W. Anderson and Loewe feature throughout the show, physically positioning Anderson’s work within the lineage of its inspiration—an emphatic history of transgression in the human form.

In the lead-up to the show, the following documentary offers a behind-the-scenes perspective on “Disobedient Bodies.” Conceived as a landscape film, the artworks, garments, and design pieces are examined, enlarged, and turned from surface to total environment. The interview, made on the eve of the opening, offers a personal portrait of Jonathan Anderson, his process, the significance of selected works, and his personal reflections.

Film: Angelo Dominic Sesto and Thomas Jeppe
Text: Thomas Jeppe