Eddie Zammit has to be one our favourite people – his enthusiasm is infectious, his creativity is unbound, and, well, his t-shirt collection kicks absolute fkn ass over anyones. As the mastermind behind T-World, Eddie has teamed up with the girls from just Another Agency to present Melbourne with something that only those who went to Outpost Festival last year have had a chance to see – a snapshot of his amazing collection of shirts right in the heart of the city, at the NGV studio in Fed Square.
“Since 1990, T-shirt culture has boomed worldwide, but Melbourne really got started in the ‘80s.
A joint collaboration between Just Another, NGV Studio and T-world, TEES: Exposing Melbourne’s T-shirt culture examines and dissects the last 25 years of the city’s graphics on cotton through the eyes of avid T-shirt collector Eddie Zammit. Zammit digs into his 4,500+ tee collection to uncover influential items that demonstrate the power of Melbourne’s T-shirt past and its future direction.”
This isn’t, however, your run of the mill show. Although the shirts comprise a large portion of it all, the team behind TEES has presented it in such a way that it brings focus to those individuals and collectives who have, over many years, strived to create new and exciting wearable art for the masses. Tshirts, urban, low brow and street art intermesh in many ways – something about the near DIY attitude of it, and then utilising that attitude to propel your creations onto a public-facing canvas has changed the face of modern art over the past few decades.
Thus, like street art and graffiti, T-shirts as a form of public artwork are quite unlike works within a gallery – their often subliminal manifestations form a part of our environment, they can either grab your attention right away, force their presence upon you, or leave an impression in the corner of your mind – whispering their style and form to your subconscious, erupting without warning upon free associations or recognition.
That the TEES crew are now taking these works of art and placing them in the gallery, it is the former, in your face presence that is the aim – and when viewed in this context, their collective power is manifest. The question between whether these works are art unto themselves (they are), or merely a medium of conveyance (they are) is inconsequential – when you are dealing with a movement that dwars almost every other modern art movement, then who really gives a fuck about such philosophies?
Okay, so I’ve rambled a bit – but I love t-shirts so much that its justified fkn rambling, right?!
The stories behind all of these wearable works is a hugely important aspect of TEES, and as a part of the show, the ever amazingly talented Nicole Reed has photographically documented some of the leaders in the field – and these images and visages bring even more context to the show. They are, as always, beautifully done, and we have a whole bunch of preview shots below …
Head down to the opening night this Friday, or at any time over summer – it will be on for a little while over xmas, and it really is something that everyone should go and check out whilst they are in the city.
Who: Eddie Zammits amazing collection of t-shirts
What: I Love Tees – T-shirt exhibition
Where: NGV Studio Space, The Atrium, Federation Square, Melbourne
When: Now until February 17th 2013. Launch party will be this Friday 14th December from 6pm!