The decision by Pope Francis to wear his own black shoes rather than the red slippers of St Paul is not just a catholic curiosity, but also a very subtle confirmation of the cultural importance of footwear in modern society.
Until September 29th 2013 an insight into the multifaceted nature of this cultural relevance can be viewed in the exhibition “Starker Auftritt – Experimental Shoe Design” in the Grassi Museum for Applied Arts Leipzig.
Co-curated by Liza Snook from the virtualshoemuseum.com, Starker Auftritt presents over 200 creations from 150 artists and designers and aims to explore the shoe in terms of seven themes including, for example, Art/Convention/Kitsch, reduction or fetish.
As with all good exhibitions the focal point is not the objects per se, but rather what the objects tell us; shoes as social criticism, shoes as environmentally friendly solutions, shoes as confirmation of identity….
And not necessarily shoes for everyday use.
Which is probably just as well; the majority of the examples on show being more appropriate for an Elton John à la 1976 than the new Pope!
Starker Auftritt – Experimental Shoe Design can be viewed at the Grassi Museum for Applied Arts Leipzig until Sunday September 29th 2013.
In addition to the exhibition the museum is also running an accompanying programme.
Full details can be found at http://www.grassimuseum.de/veranstaltungen.0.html