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Fashion

Fashion Book: Did Lisa Rovner Help Pioneer the Fashion Film?

By Rebecca Roberts

April 12, 2013

Lisa Rovner’s work is a mix between film, advertising, and fine art. Her references are narrative, romantic, and are drawn from the early days of conceptual art. Rovner’s discipline includes writing and image-making, a combination that informs her work. Each project is addressed by the story the brand, character, or subject embodies. It is never singular, instead it draws references from the personal and the collective.

We spoke with Rovner about moving images, still photographs, and using humor as a means to disarm.

WHITEWALL: When did you first become interested in fashion images?
LISA ROVER:
There was no epiphany, no revelation to report, I was always somewhat conscious of fashion in images. I grew up in the ’80s with an older brother and my interest in fashion came from music, and not from fashion magazines or advertising.

WW: You work a lot with moving images versus still. Especially in the light of fashion, is there a different narrative to tell with moving image then there is with the more traditional format of fashion stills?
LR: I think there is more opportunity for storytelling, which for the most part, I feel, moving fashion content is being deprived of.

WW: We first became familiar with your work through your “fake” films that you made without a commission for various labels including H&M, Acne, and Repetto, among others. You made these right before fashion films became an integral part of how brands market. What urged you to make these works?
LR: They are in some ways, a form of protest. A protest of the existing order of things. They are dream ads, meant to show how one could reshape both the concept and function of communication and why brands should think of mass media as a curatorial space.

WW: Your work has poeticism and a sense of humor, which we really enjoy. Can you talk about that?
LR: What I love about humor is that it’s so disarming…

WW: Who influences you now?
LR: Everyone and no one at the same time.

French American writer, artist, and creative director, Lisa Rovner, was born in 1979 in Silver Spring, Maryland during a snowstorm. Through her films, photographs, writing, and performances, Rovner has collaborated with some of the most internationally respected artists and brands including Pierre Huyghe, Liam Gillick, Sebastien Tellier, Opening Ceremony, Maison Martin Margiela, and Acne. Her first film, Somewhere You Can Find Me, debuted at Gavin Brown’s Passerby in 2004 and is now part of Agnes B’s private collection.

Rovner’s work has also been presented at the FIAC Art Fair, Art Basel Switzerland, the Paris Film Festival, the Anthology Film Archives, the Center for Contemporary Art Santa Monica, Barcelona, FRAC Museum, Normandy, The Grand Palais, Paris, and the Bruce High Quality Foundation Brucennial in 2010. This summer her latest film, Abstract Expressionism will be screened On the Big Screen in New York. Since 2007 she has been a regular contributor to Acne Paper writing about contemporary art. In 2009 she started her company, Message is the Medium, providing creative consulting. Rovner holds degrees in Political Science from both McGill University in Montreal and L’Institut d’Etudes Politiques et Sociales in Paris.

Lisa RovnerRebecca Roberts

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