Pamela Kleemann-Passi
Photographer & Visual Artist

IBS Dress


IBS Dress (Irritable Bridal Syndrome)

Created for the White Dress Narratives exhibition for the 2018 Latin-American Arts festival Ventana Fiesta. White Dress Narratives was a continuation of the work of African-American artist Adrienne Wheeler, who, as Artist-in-Residence at the Frankston Arts Centre, invited a number of women to contribute to her community project. Each artist was given a white dress blank canvas to decorate according to her individual perspective and interpretation of the white dress, whether it be communion, debutante, wedding…

Hair, human and synthetic, was carefully layered on the blank canvas to mimic the layered cultural symbolism of both hair and the white wedding dress. Exposed in the centre of the bodice is the heart, the symbol of love.

Hair is simultaneously subject (on your head), object (on someone else’s head) and abject (on the salon floor as waste, or in your food)… It embodies both desire and disgust and can be extremely irritating when it tickles your skin. Culturally, it’s embraced and reviled… Consumers invest vast amounts of time and money making the crowning glory shine, or removing ‘unsightly’ armpit and pubic hair. In some cultures hair needs to be covered or hidden completely.

Similarly, the white wedding dress is a loaded signifier: a symbol of purity, virginity, innocence, but with hope and potential. The white wedding dress signifies a ‘commodity’ being transferred from ownership of one male (father of the bride) to another (bridegroom).A bride can become an extremely irritable ‘bridezilla’ when dealing with the pressures of organising her wedding. So the white dress becomes something much darker… As desire waxes and wanes during a marriage, this symbolism is often eroded by small, irritable, unfulfilled frustrations, potentially escalating to anger and violence hidden behind the facade.

There were 17 decorated dresses in the White Dress Narratives/Pure Power exhibition. The original white dress, from which the template was cut, was hand-made for Adrienne’s mother’s Year 8 Graduation. This is her ongoing project and has been exhibited in different formats in many locations.

Artists involved: Valeria Benavides, Nikita Dunovits-Ferrier, Tania Ferrier, Kathleen Gonzalez, Roxana Fuentes, Sandra Hill, Stephanie Kabanyana Kanyandekwe, Pamela Kleemann-Passi, Mariana Pulgini, Jenny Ramirez, Negin Sharifzadeh, Carly Sheppard, Anabela Sobrinho, Adrienne Wheeler

IBS Dress: mixed media – human/synthetic hair and cotton thread on canvas

2018 – White Dress Narratives/Pure Power group exhibition, Frankston Arts Centre, Frankston, Australia, as part of the Latin-American Arts Festival Ventana Fiesta, focusing on women in the arts.
2018 – Degrees of Refinement group exhibition, Articulate Project Space, Sydney Australia