Provocative photography and countercultural underground aesthetics have been on the iconic magazine’s agenda for two decades, since its launch in 1991. Dazed & Confused is now commemorating its 20th anniversary at Somerset House with an exhibition entitled Making It Up As We Go Along. The display celebrates the famed magazine’s contentious nature and its strong influence on contemporary magazine culture, through its daring reflection of the world of art, fashion and music.
The exhibition, curated by founder Jefferson Harris and Emma Reeves, presents a collection of the legendary cover pages and infamous shoots within the context of the magazine’s journey of combining fashion and art, alongside a selection of its controversial content.
…without ever generating a generic form of rebellion…
One of the highlights is Fashion-Able (1998), an initiative by Alexander McQueen, Nick Knight and Katy England that explored how beauty can transcend physicality. By portraying disabled individuals in a beautiful manner, they deconstructed the taboo of human imperfection to address the exclusivity and discriminating rigidity of the fashion industry. The magazine has never had a unified ideal of representation, and it is precisely this combination of heterogeneity and audacity that makes it so unique and important in our contemporary press culture.
Harris describes this ”spirit of curiosity” as the essence of the London-based magazine that provides a platform for visual individualism as well as social and political incitement. Dazed & Confused merges the fashion kingdom with artistic authenticity and daring nonconformity, without ever generating a generic form of rebellion, making it a pioneer
…capturing the Zeitgeist of the early 90s up until today.
Dazed & Confused has always had special relationships with its photographers, which is apparent in the honesty and openness of the works exhibited. Photographers such as Terry Richardson, Juergen Teller, and, of course, co-founder Rankin reflect the freethinking approach of the publication. Public personas like Kate Moss and Chloë Sevigny also had a strong impact on the magazine, as they epitomise the vitality and intelligence of the magazine.
As captured by this exhibition, Dazed & Confused not only reflects reality through its subjectifying lens, but at the same time evolves alongside its subjects and its muses, capturing the Zeitgeist of the early 90s up until today. It inspires by accentuating that we are the future – Making It Up As We Go Along.
The exhibition continues until 29 January 2012.
Image courtesy of Erol Sabadosh and Alexander McQueen