Talk about three-dimensional chess: the World Chess Hall of Fame in St. Louis is venturing way off the board with an exhibition exploring the artistic and philosophical meaning of the queen.
Exhibition curator Sofia Hedman has pulled together a range of queenly art and fashion exploring nine archetypes: sage, mother, magician, enchantress, explorer, ruler, Mother Earth, heroine, and orphan.
And though the exhibition’s venue is a natural fit for the theme, don’t expect the show to be all about chess.
“The queen in chess can be seen not only as the most powerful piece, but also the most unpredictable one,” Hedman told Blouin Artinfo. “The pieces in this exhibition are not inspired directly by chess, but transcend all archetypes of the queen. We wanted to explore the complex nature of the queen, and present the different characters and personalities.”
The more than 30 featured designers include Alexander McQueen, Gucci, Jean Paul Galtier and Gianfranco Ferré. McQueen plays a starring role, with many pieces drawn from the world’s largest collection of his work, housed in St. Louis. The show also features photographs from "Love Looks Not With the Eye," a collection of more than 400 Anne Deniau photos of McQueen at work.
All good designers tell stories with their work, Hedman said, and the exhibition draws on Jungian archetypes and folk tales to explore feminine roles in literature, film, fashion and photography.
As the Chess Hall of Fame notes: a queen, both in chess and as an archetype, embodies tradition, yet possesses the creative freedom to redefine the rules established by a patriarchal system.
This exhibition breaks a lot of rules. Sounds like our kind of show. Here's a look: