Daniel Lismore exhibits textile sculptures

As Daniel Lismore walks through the bright entrance hall of his purple creation this sunny morning at the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum in Coventry, the tall artist does so with a certain grace. With the piece of clothing reminiscent of a traditional costume, he wants to draw attention to the situation of women in Syria, he says later. First, however, he addresses a few words in a gentle voice to the guests who have arrived that day to see his exhibition of “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken” in his hometown. This show, says Lismore, “is a reflection of my life, the things I have seen and experienced,” the clothes he has worn. “Because I live like a work of art.” After stations in Australia and the USA, among others, this is his first exhibition in the UK for the artist, who now lives in London. But who is this designer that fascinates so many people?

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His show shows pictures of him, scanned and molded in plastic, stylized like a mannequin, mostly with closed eyes painted black and a bright red mouth. The 50 life-size “sculptures” as he describes them carry creations from recent years that fascinate and challenge. Sometimes his haute couture is an explosion of colors with golden chains and pearls, sometimes the imaginative clothes adorned with fishing nets, flotsam and feathers.

“I want to encourage people to be themselves”

In addition, the exhibition in a dedicated space offers never-before-seen memorabilia from the artist’s private archive: photos with Boy George or Pamela Anderson, pictures and doodles he made with friends on an evening of drinking. A sign can be seen on a bookshelf. It says “Be yourself”. When asked about the purpose of the exhibition, the artist addresses this motto: “I want to encourage people to be themselves” – without harming anyone. If he could do it with only one person, he emphasizes, he would have already achieved a lot.

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Formerly bullied, now a star: Daniel Lismore is considered one of the most dazzling eccentrics on the fashion scene.

Garments convey political messages

It is no coincidence that this is such an important concern for him. Because Lismore, he once confessed to a fashion magazine, was bullied especially in his childhood and youth. It was especially bad at school. He often spent his free time alone painting and making things out of clay. “I think it had a big impact on my work.” After that, the clothes for the now 37-year-old were always a way to prepare for the outside world. His eccentric fashion allowed him to be himself, “to be many himself”. This strategy eventually turned into a career: Lismore became a designer and traveled the world. As creative director of the luxury brand Sorapol, he dressed stars like Mariah Carey, Naomi Campbell and Boy George. Now his designs can be admired in his hometown of Coventry as a sign of reconciliation with his difficult time as a young man.

But his clothes also convey political messages. The exhibition shows, among other things, an extravagant black and red ensemble, which Lismore wore during protests for the activist and whistleblower Julian Assange. The Wikileaks founder is threatened with extradition to the United States, where he will be charged with leaking secrets. “Julian is a very good friend of mine,” Lismore admitted at the protests, “and I would like to draw attention to the fact that press freedom is at stake in this matter.” Lismore also recently posted a photo on Instagram with Stella Moris, wife of Julian Assange. Assange and Moris were married on March 23, behind the prison walls of London’s maximum security prison, Belmarsh. Pictured are Lismore and Morris standing side by side in front of a fireplace as part of the wedding celebrations. “It was absolutely heartbreaking to see Stella alone on her wedding day,” the artist wrote.

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The exhibition looks forward to June 26

But other topics are also important to the artist, such as the environment and sustainability. He also recently appeared on Instagram with a new design: a blue, loose-fitting suit. Next, it says: “Our governments are not doing enough to help the Ukrainian army and locals. Write to your MPs, make a noise. If you are Russian, go on the streets. ” In late March, Lismore appeared in London’s Trafalgar Square in a pink suit vaguely reminiscent of armor. There he waved a blue and yellow flag. His comment on the short video on Instagram: The people of Russia should know, “that soldiers are being lied to”, that “Putin is sending them meaningless in death”. For Lismore, being yourself, as it turns out these days, means not only showing yourself who you are, but also pointing out complaints.

Info: The exhibition “Be Yourself, Everyone Else Is Alled Taken” at the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum in Coventry can be seen until June 26, 2022. Admission is free.

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