BOZAR commissions the first anthology of the poetry of fashion designer, musician, painter, and Paris icon Vava Dudu. Her poems that she publishes on garments transit fashion and music in an outstanding exercise of pop and punk cultures. Translated from French to English by New York artist, musician and educator Geo Wyeth, and edited by Castilian writer and curator Alberto García del Castillo, this anthology is a threefold that includes: Five six-meter long drawings issued from a 2020 notebook of more and less recent poems and drawings by Vava. A book edited from the same notebook and published by Berlin-based publishing house TABLOID press. And the reading of those poems in an exceptional evening of words and music.
Vava starts working in fashion in the 1990s. After experiences with designers like Jean-Paul Gaultier, for whom she designed corsets, she gains recognition for her collection of accessories in ancient beads. In 2001 she is awarded the prestigious ANDAM fashion price for her collaboration with Fabrice Lorrain. Vava and Fabrice refuse conventional costume making, instead they modify and write on already existing clothes in a DIY manner. In 2002 Vava, Nikolu and Stéphane Argillet form the electro-punk band La Chatte. Vava is the lyricist and singer of the band. Soon after, Vava starts publishing poems on second hand clothes that she customizes. Many of these poems are issued from her song writing practice with La Chatte, and are originally handwritten in French on garments styled in punk tastes. They have all been issued in uncountable copies and variations, which Vava writes and paints in exhibitions, shops, concerts and parties. Some are sold, some are kept in Vava’s studio in Paris. Courrèges and other fashion houses have recently collaborated with Vava. When writing, Vava uses markers, Vava stitches and draws, Vava uses paint: white paint on red faux leather.
Geo works in the realms of music, performance, narrative sculpture, and video. Their ongoing project Muck Studies Dept. connects black/American music, extractive industry sites, and techniques of investigative journalism to trouble the swampy waters of racial histories and ideas of homeland. Geo has shown work at the New Museum, Stedelijk Museum, MoMA PS1, Dutch National Opera, Triangle France, Anthology Film Archives, The Kitchen, TENT, Arsenic, Biquini Wax, LA MoCA, New York Live Arts, The Studio Museum in Harlem, Boston ICA, La MaMa Theatre, Human Resources, The Pyramid Club, Joe’s Pub, and many others. They are co-founder of the queer social space Tender Center in Rotterdam. Geo was in residence at the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten for the years 2015 to 2016 in Amsterdam, and currently teaches at the Dutch Art Institute (DAI) where they focus on embodied tactics of performance, storytelling, and remembering.
Alberto is most well known for writing the biography of French-Italian merman, musician and entertainer Steev Lemercier in 2017. Alberto has recently scripted and performed the words of Esther Newton, Ocaña, and Luis Zapata, this last one in collaboration with Mexican scholar Susana Vargas Cervantes. Alberto has published two other books, Midpoint and Retrospective, and written for periodicals such as Girls Like Us, Petunia, and the review of the Photo Museum of Antwerp. With Marnie Slater, he runs the Brussels-based queer arts initiative Buenos Tiempos, Int.
TABLOID Press is a Berlin-based textual platform initiated in 2014 by two poets, Nat Marcus and Zoe Darsee. TABLOID Press is intended to stimulate and integrate poetic environments within social communities.
The book's publication is made possible with additional support from Spain Arts & Culture in Belgium.