Runway Gallery is a fashion focused art gallery and the virtual home of Beautalism, a new and emerging art movement acclaimed for bringing beauty back into the London art scene.
Made up of a group of artists who stand as the antithesis of the urban, East London art movement, the creations of the Beautalists are far from gritty. The artists themselves are a diverse group of eccentrics and misfits, who use an array of mediums. As such their art ranges from the traditional to the obscure, but one thing they all have in common is a drive to elevate art by returning to beauty.
The past few decades have seen artists and critics placing value on ‘ideas’ over and above aesthetic appeal in art. Favouring concept rather than appearance. This over conceptualisation reinforces the elitism and stereotypical snobbery of the art world, which deprives the artist and the public alike by making art seem unreachable.
Through creating artworks that are both decadent and attainable, Runway Gallery and the artists of Beautalism have a unique contemporary perspective of art. Through merging art with fashion they invite the viewer to see art both as beautiful and for everyone to enjoy. Their aim is to roll out exhibitions, events and art that the public can relish and engage with.
Runway Gallery is where you can witness the birth of a new art movement and the exquisite talent of the artists of Beautalism.
Beauty is of course subjective. Yet it is a concept that we all experience, and we all know it to be deeply connected to art.
When reflecting on aesthetics, philosopher Immanuel Kant famously connects beauty to the human imagination, nature and also to ‘the sublime’. Kant explains that the sublime is a sensation only accessible in the mind, and is induced by encountering things we find overwhelmingly beautiful and powerful. It can also be related to feelings of awe, and Kant argues that we experience the sublime through looking at nature and art.
This sense of awe is what Runway Gallery and Beautalists aspire to. They value art that we can stare at, get lost in and visually devour.
A theme that runs throughout Runway Gallery is the bringing together of art and fashion. Despite fashion being excluded from the realms of Art History for centuries, these two subjects have always overlapped and influenced one another.
For example the clothing and jewellery worn in historic portraits can be decoded as a complex language system, which communicates the artist’s intentions, the personality of the wearer or the politics of the time.
Furthermore, artists and fashion designers frequently collaborate, which blurs the boundaries between where one craft ends and another begins. Salvador Dali famously designed the Shoe Hat with Elsa Schiaparelli for her 1937 collection. He was also responsible for two of the most iconic garments of the 1930s, the Organza Dress with Painted Lobster (1937) and the Tear Dress (1938).
Despite its relevance it has only been since the 1990s that fashion has received a growing sense of respectability both from within academia and the art world. Fashion now occupies the centre ground in popular understanding of modern culture. Now, fashion has been positioned within academic literature as an important conduit for the expression of social identity, political ideas, and aesthetic taste, and this model of interpretation has influenced a revaluation of all creative practices, including art.
Runway Gallery’s overt inclusion and reference to fashion as an art form itself is what separates the Beautalists from their peers.
Lydia A Kaye BA (Int), MA