Daniel Lismore: Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken in Reykjavík

Photo by Jesse Pratt Lopes

You are you, and nobody else can be you. So why be anybody else but yourself?

This week Harpa, Reykjavík’s largest venue, will celebrate this idea and play host to a truly unique exhibition, put together by a very special artist. Opening June 2nd and a first of its kind in Iceland, Daniel Lismore, dubbed “London’s most outrageous dresser” by Vogue Magazine, has brought 30 of his incredible ensembles together, made up of over 3000 individual pieces for all of Iceland to see. This is a life’s work, in one room: a veritable terracotta army for the 21st century.

Photography by Colin Douglas Gray –
Taken from Daniel Lismore: Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken is published by Rizzoli priced at 6500ISK.
Knew Harpa Was The Perfect Place

Choosing a title for an exhibition of this magnitude was no easy task; and yet, it is also pretty clear. All Daniel has ever done in this life is to be himself, simply because he didn’t have time for anything, or anyone, else: life is too short. This is the most daring thing of all.

Why Iceland? And why Harpa? Daniel explains that “a friend introduced me to Iceland a few years ago. I love it here and come regularly […] when I saw Harpa and the grand architecture of the building, I knew this would be a perfect place for the exhibition. It spoke to me, and I wanted my work there”

History Of Art And Humanity In One Exhibition

Imagine everything. Everything that mankind has produced in the last 2000 or more years: ancient and cultural artefacts, fabrics, embroidery, sequins, gold, silver, intricate jewellery, metalwork, ornaments, symbols and precious stones come together to create the most elaborate and fabulous concoctions you have ever seen. Many remarkable articles come together to create each ensemble, and it is nearly impossible to choose those which stand out the most. The 150,000 crystal hand-stitched stingray embroidery and a two-thousand year old garnet necklace from ancient China are just two amongst thousands upon which you can feast your eyes. Pieces in the exhibition worn and made for and given to Daniel by likes of Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, Boy George, Adam Ant, Bjork, Azealia Banks, Lindsay Lohan, Rita Ora and Paloma Faith. Daniel’s reach truly has spread far and wide.

Photography by Colin Douglas Gray –
Taken from Daniel Lismore: Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken is published by Rizzoli priced at 6500ISK.

How does it all come together? It feels like looking at the cultural and artistic history of the human race, all in one place, and it truly is. You might not know how to feel at first, and it is entirely likely that you will move through a range of reactions; marvel at them, lose yourself in them, balk at them, be disgusted by them. It doesn’t matter how you feel, the point is that you will feel.

You may need to return more than once to take it all in. This really is the history of art, and the history of humanity in one exhibition. Each look takes years, and an entire world, to construct.

Lismore’s work becomes at once both a sponge and a mirror: the absorption of all things art, assembled together and shown to the world. In doing this it becomes a mirror, allowing us to see deeper into ourselves, challenging our fears, sensibilities and our very sense of self, challenging what we know, and what we think we know and understand about the world.

Daniel Lismore: Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken is Already Taken opens June 2nd at Harpa, runs through to June 30th, coinciding with Reykjavik Arts Festival, and sponsored by Iceland Air. Tickets @ 1.500 ISK and can be purchased online through Harpa. The book, Daniel Lismore: Be Yourself, Everyone Else Is Already Taken, can be purchased at the venue for 6500 ISK.
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