From Beer Street to Gin Lane and back again


I decided that contrast, the word accepted by our entire group, to be my master claim; lasting and strong contrasted with  destroyed and weak. I want to comprise these two ideas side by side in one costume. I do not want these two worlds to be in complete opposition, so I will try to create a similar climate for them. In fact, both graphics show only few alcohol consumers who crossed the line. Despite the fact that they are positioned in contrast, I see certain common characteristics. I would like to see them also in my costume.



I am wondering abort the use of color. On the one side if I left the costume only in black, white and grey it would become more calm and toned down, as well as dignified (serious). The entire attention of the viewer would concentrate on the difference of shapes and climates of both sides. I think, it would add drama to the whole. On the other side, introduction of color would bring additional value through which these two worlds could be distinguished. It could become some kind of a punch line. However if I were to introduce color to my project, I would do it very sparingly, with the intention of giving it a substantive message. I always have a feeling that “less means more”.

My costume is the abstract interpretation of  two Hogarth’s graphics. They present two different attitudes to life and have been depicted in the abstract ( symbolic) way, so I was not obliged to refer to costumes from the era. This allowed me to use more unconventional materials, such as sprayed jacket or modeling foam , thus giving them a second life.


I did not want to recreate or be inspired by costumes shown on prints. For me, rather the idea of contrast contained in Hogarth’s graphics was the starting point. Geometry on one side in opposition with sprayed fabric on the other, seemed the best way to express it.


Inspired by Works of Malevich ­ and other suprematysts I decided to remain in the aesthetics of geometry and simplicity of black and white colors, especially as it directly relates to them in graphics of  Hogarth. So the costume consists of simple geometric forms and the material which is substantial enlargement of lines graphic structure, as well as simplified to geometric stripes. 


Costume of others from the group strongly referred to the climate of costumes from the era. In the final presentation it appeared to be very beneficial for my project, as in such context my costume took on its proper meaning.


We interpreted today our starting point, that is Beer Street and Gin Street. The interpretation of these two graphic works is not obvious. They can be seen as opposites. 

Two worlds: positive – negative, full – hungry, moral – immoral, reassuring – terrifying and so on. However there is still another interpretation. In both graphics the characters look as if addicted to alcohol. It is easer to imagine a beer drinker to go for something stronger – gin, then gin lover switching to beer. Unless he will experience a radical transformation. 

Transformation - this is actually the key word for my project.

Both graphic could be signed “watch out: fortune is fickle”.

You may find yourself in both of these situations. Positive can turn into negative and vice versa. 


I the group of four we had to decide how the final presentation of our projects will look like.

Three people are to design costumes and one person to create a puppet. In front of audience all projects will undergo transformation – of course each transformation  will have specific drama, different interpretation. Our idea is to use a puppet as a woo-doo doll. It will appear first on the stage and as first will start the transformation from Beer Street into Gin Lane. My costume as the only one which does not relate directly to any specific characters from the graphics and symbolically represents these two worlds, will be positioned centrally. The other two will be placed respectively on the left and right. As my project uses abstract as the means of expression, it will symbolically influence the two other.


The characteristic feature of costumes from mid 18th century was the use of a very large quantity of fabric. Corrugated and stretched on racks it created large blocks. Because in one project I have comprise two extreme worlds - I think that geometry will be the key to solve the task. Using geometric motifs I can express in the most suggestive way differences between order and chaos. It is no revelation that in culture the negative attracts, focuses attention, provokes reflection!

Arranged, satiated world soothes and calms us, but also bores. Finding the balance between one world and the other - is an art!

When analyzing these two graphics of Hogart I was asking myself what is there really positive and what is negative.

The drama of the situation is that I know nothing about neither of them.

After I had finished the left side with irregular geometric shapes, I started working on the other side – more tranquil. I joined together many white and black rectangles, thus forming kind of checkered pattern. However, it became very heavy and overpowering. I concluded that in order to revive this side I will create a fine black and white raster on the fabric. I will give me possibility to form shapes abd make it more dynamic.

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