This weekend, Collective Oslo Fashion Art Festival, formerly known as Uncontaminated Art Festival opened its doors to the public once more. The three-day event at Aker Brygge in Oslo, Norway is jam-packed with the most intriguing work from both leading and emerging international artists.
In the last four years, the festival has become a pioneering arena and an important measure for art in Norway with more than 23,000 visitors every year. According to the curators Generation X, specifically, is showing an increased interest in the convergence of fashion and art, this is partly why Collective Oslo has had major success with Oslo youth, as well as visitors from all over the world.
This year’s iteration brought together more than 30 artists to exhibit both new projects and a curated selection of their past work. We caught up with three of them—Oliver Latta (known as Extraweg), Edda Gimnes, and Dusan Reljin—on the cusp of their exhibitions.
Oliver Latta (AKA Extraweg)
Thirty-one-year-old Oliver Latta grew up in a small city in East Germany—now he lives and works in Berlin as a motion designer and illustrator. His work features 3D, 2D and live-action images that challenge the concept of reality, usually shown as a short video clip, almost to the point of a GIF format that captures your interest and evokes your imagination instantaneously. “The videos that I do tend to have neutral, nude, pleasant and harmless tones. However, as a counterpoint, I also deal with delicate topics, or show unreal and raw scenes,” explained Latta.
Exhibiting his work to the masses is important to Latta, and social media is one tool he’s not afraid to utilize. “Instagram has been my biggest platform or exhibition space so far. And it’s something great to reach many people and spread your work but it also barely allows you to interact with your audience.”
While his videos on Instagram appear straightforward at first glance, however, there’s always a hidden message. “Most of the videos don’t have a very obvious interpretation, so every individual is always forced to look for their own interpretation. It is also true, and it is something I use on purpose, that certain effects are pleasant to see because they produce some sort of satisfaction and they are somehow hypnotic.”
For this year’s Collective Oslo Fashion Art festival, EXTRAWEG exhibited almost all of his non-commercial work, around 30 moving images and six printed images. He used two different spaces, “one with some high-quality prints and another one reserved only to display the videos together with a sound created especially for the occasion,” said Latta.
Edda Gimnes is a Norwegian fashion designer, LVMH Prize nominee, and illustrator. Since graduated from London College of Fashion in 2015, Gimnes has since been blazing a trail through the fashion landscape with her innovation—capturing brush strokes in such a realistic way you would think her garments were painted on the body. Bright hues of green, pink, and yellow are scattered across her looks with contrasting black brush strokes to indicate the borders of her designs.
Collective Fashion Art Festival might seem like an unorthodox platform for Edda, who usually shows her designs in a runway format, however, she believes it’s important to exhibit art in a more publicly accessible way. “My aim is to combine fashion and art in a new and unexpected way. I feel like you should have fun with the clothes and I feel like wearing my collection is like dressing up for different characters,” said Gimnes. “I want people to wonder and question what fashion is, and get carried away into a fantasy world. I think it’s important not to take fashion too seriously, but have fun with the clothes dress up and make up your own narrative of who you want to be.”
Her design DNA is based on imperfection, playfulness and vibrancy, plus her whole creative process involves working backwards. “I will sketch out my collection and thereafter print the fabric, sort of pattern cutting the opposite way around. Instead of starting with the pattern, I start with my illustrations and then make the pattern accordingly,” the designer explained. “I let my imagination run wild with illustration, and then I transfer my illustrations onto white canvas clothing using digital printing. I love the sketching stage when you just make doodles and you aren’t too precious with your work.”
Belgrade-born Dusan Reljin has worked as a photographer for 18 years, publishing work throughout his career in Vogue, V Magazine, GQ and Elle to name a few. For this year’s festival, Reljin interpreted the future. He exhibitied “digitally manipulated 3D scans of Kate Moss.”
“I guess it’s my interpretation of the future through the present, cautiously and naively,” explained Reljin.
Reljin started his photographic career as an assistant for photographer Craig McDean, before venturing out on his own. “My work and work style are quite impulsive. I always have a set idea before shooting, but it always changes and adapts to the environment, like a living organism,” he said. “I like to feed off of others energies and allow them to contribute to the final result. Its a form of communication.”
Besides being known for his fashion and beauty images, Dusan has collaborated with artist Vanessa Beecroft and still collaborates on several photographic projects with artist Marina Abramovic, as well as the band Massive Attack.
What ignites creativity is hard to pinpoint, but for Reljin, it’s not always about the finished product. “It took me a while to realize this. It is creation, the possibility of releasing something from your soul and creating it. The process itself for me is far more important than the finished product,” said Reljin of his decision to pursue a career in fashion, art, and photography.
Reljin is optimistic about being part of a group exhibition like Oslo Collective Art Festival. “You get matched with other artists and you form some kind of a connection. Not always a positive one, which is not that important either, but more that you become a part of something,” said Reljin. “It can be a rewarding experience for the artist and the audience because of the structure of the group show and the eye of the curator you get to see the artwork from a new and unique perspective.”
Written by Madeleine Holth for L’Officiel USA