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  • Pia Camil. Photo by Marco Scozzaro. Courtesy Marco Scozzaro/Frieze.

  • Pia Camil’s “Wearing-Watching” project at Frieze New York 2015. Photo by Marco Scozzaro. Courtesy Marco Scozzaro/Frieze.

  • Pia Camil’s “Wearing-Watching” project at Frieze New York 2015. Photo by Marco Scozzaro. Courtesy Marco Scozzaro/Frieze.

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The artful ponchos of Pia Camil

Mexican artist Pia Camil impressed art critics, fairgoers and fashion lovers during the latest edition of Frieze New York with her “Wearing-Watchingproject, which included 800 colorful ponchos that were given to visitors for free during the fair. Camil’s unique designs were placed in a special booth that was set up as if it were a shop, allowing visitors have a look at the wearable artworks and pick up their favorite ones. Blending art and fashion, the bespoke ponchos were inspired by Brazilian artist Hélio Oiticica and his capes of habitable paintings, titled “Parangolé”, which he created back in the 60’s in order to explore the relationship between the spectator and the artwork.

All ponchos were made of fabric leftovers and remnants that Camil collected from local Mexican factories, using a traditional poncho pattern as a guide. The artist worked closely with her team during 4 weeks, creating 60 ponchos per day, in order to make it on time for the fair, but the final result, with visitors literally going crazy for a poncho, was definitely worth the effort! Camil’s participatory installation, which formed part of Frieze Projects, a section curated by Cecilia Alemani, brought a different touch to the fair, transforming visitors into walking pieces of art and raising questions on the way we perceive art in relation to the body.

Asking a visitor to wear a piece of fabric, not only demands the direct participation from the viewer but exemplifies the experience of art fairs in general, where the act of looking at art is just as important as that of looking at each other and oneself,” the artist told Phaidon. “Some will choose to parade it as a fashion item or a desirable object, through selfies (…) some will take it home and value it as an art object and, who knows, others may give it away. The fact that it is free is unexpected and makes it even more desirable,she concluded.