November 30, 2014

Chequered Stripes
Curated by Darren Banks
24/11 – 30/11 2014

Stripes have not always been an innocent fashion statement, throughout the centuries they have been a symbol of the outcast or murderous. Darren Banks has selected a series of striped colour combinations inspired by clothing of characters in pre-modern painting. Before the colourfield of minimalism, the stripe operates as a symbolic code. Anyone whose circumstances, identity, work or abilities deviated from the normative culture or economy was marked by the stripe, including bohemians and heretics.
“… there are customs, laws, and regulations that require certain categories of reprobates and outcasts to wear striped clothing.  In Germanic customary law of the early Middle Ages, and again in the famous Sachsenspiegal (a collection of Saxon laws compiled between 1220 and 1235), such attire is imposed on or reserved for bastards, serfs, and the condemned. Likewise in the sumptuary laws and decrees concerning dress that proliferated in the towns of southern Europe at the end of the Middle Ages, it is sometimes the prostitutes, sometimes the jugglers and clowns, sometimes the hangmen who are required to wear either an entirely striped suit of clothing, or more often, an item of striped clothing…. Everywhere, it is a matter of imposing a visual sign indicating a deviation so that those who practice such trades not be confused with honest citizens.” Michael Pastoureau (2001)