When the show is over, what is the fate of its costumes? The scarred, sweat stained, fabric ghosts of performance. Rare items deemed culturally valuable might end up venerated in archival conditions – sacred relics to be interpreted down through the ages to come. Never to be worn again. Many others might be repurposed, sold off, dumped with the profane physical detritus of performances now vanished.
This exhibition steps inside the costume archive of seminal choreographer Lea Anderson, whose companies The Cholmondoleys and The Featherstonehaughs, have formed an iconic part of the British dance landscape since the 1980s. Focusing on three costume remnants – a set of masks, a tailored suit, a Dead Skin; Smithereens traces the startling stories of these (dis)embodied garments. Costume installations, photographs and short films bear witness to these mercurial ghosts. To listen closely, and trace their marks and bodily imprints. A persistence in the face of the performance’s vanishing.