The multidisciplinary artist breaking from convention - Jordan Gogos

JONAH WATERHOUSE, GQ, November 25, 2022
His boundless energy and broad, bold output–from sculptural furniture to wearables that defy easy definition–has seen the multidisciplinarian spectacularly take on the establishment.
 
“What is ‘switching off ’?” Jordan Gogos wonders aloud, although the question is not an entirely hypothetical one. “For me, not being laboursome is switching off enough,” says the multidisciplinary artist and designer. “But I feel relaxed when my mind is ticking.”
 
Jordan Gogos wears fleece, knit, shorts, socks, shows, and necklace, all by Dior Men. Artworks by Jordan Gogos. Photographed by Joe Brennan. Styled by Emma Kalfus. Grooming by Fernnando Miranda. Shot on location at Gallery Sally Dan-Cuthbert, Sydney.
 
Gogos is speaking to GQ from the Spanish capital of Madrid–on his 28th birthday, no less–where he is currently enjoying a well-earned holiday. But even while taking time out, his mind drifts back to his work; zoning out is a foreign concept for the creative, whose 2022 has been marked by events as wide-ranging and unpredictable as his output, spanning his monolithic steel furniture to the outré “wearable art” that has captivated the Australian fashion set.
 
The past 12 months have been particularly frenetic, even for him. There was the sophomore runway show for his Iordanes Spyridon Gogos label at Australian Fashion Week in May, a manifesto of colour from the designer and his 60 collaborators, many of whom were young LGBTQI+ designers.
 
Then there was his debut art exhibition in July, Un/constrained, at Sydney’s Gallery Sally Dan-Cuthbert, which encompassed much of his genre-bending practice, from flamboyant hand-stitched threading to that stark modern furniture. There has been production designing for a government advertising campaign, partnerships with business behemoths Vittoria and Booking.com, and an increasing number of editorial features such as this one. Through it all Gogos has continued to question the established systems that fashion and art exist within, his search for answers a key component of his seemingly boundless drive and creativity.
 
Right now, he’s querying the concept of “seasons”, which came to mind after strolling through Milan during the spring/summer ’23 shows. “When I came onto the Australian Fashion Week schedule, they told me the season was ‘resort’, but not even understanding what that meant was so freeing,” Gogos says of being instructed to design for a warmer climate. “Thinking about my show as ‘summer’, that would’ve effed everything up! All the pieces people loved–the heavyweight pieces and the knits–my mind, and the dialogue, would’ve been constrained.”
 
Still, looking at Iordanes Spyridon Gogos’s most recent runway, it’s hard to imagine any kind of limit to the designer’s vision. The takeover of the Powerhouse Museum’s Boiler Hall saw models of all gender identities, sizes and ethnicities dance around the multicoloured runway to fashion a psychedelic dreamscape that felt more like a party than a runway show.
 
Few motifs were repeated in this sea of idiosyncrasy, but one that did appear on multiple occasions was Gogos’s Trojan horse. This emblem of his Greek heritage signifies a sense of rebellion, of artful subversion, and took the form of motifs in knitwear, prints and as giant objects placed around the set.
 
“I didn’t really recognise the meaning of the Trojan horse,” Gogos says, who admits being drawn to it simply because “it felt like something statuesque, bigger than a logo”. Before long he was being referred to by spectators as the “Trojan horse of design” and felt his work should reflect that spirit. “I wouldn’t have picked a Trojan horse if it wasn’t symbolic, but I didn’t realise [its significance] at the start. I built meaning and storytelling around it,” he says. “I guess that’s what the brand is; it’s a pillar that constantly changes and moves.”
 
Gogos, raised in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire, says his family ingrained his drive to create. “I see my nan still working in my mum’s hairdresser. She’s been working in the family business for 30 years, sweeping the floors, and is in her seventies,” he says. “There’s a physicality to my work that drives me, because my work is quite laboursome, but there’s a point where you find inspiration in the people around you to keep pushing yourself.”
 
Gogos’s collaborators became his community, and he calls the five-month process of creating this year’s Iordanes Spyridon Gogos show “a domino effect and a ping-pong machine, back and forth, back and forth”.
 
Legendary Australian designer Jenny Kee, who worked with Gogos on the knits and silk pieces that reinterpreted her famous Earth First design of 1989, calls the experience “magnetic”, and says of his workshop that “a rainbow was coming out of that room the whole time, because every time I went down, it had such a beautiful, dreamy, but energetic [feeling]”.
 
Sally Dan-Cuthbert, the gallerist with whom Gogos worked on Un/constrained, is also struck by his ability to break from artistic convention. “As much as he’s multidisciplinary, every piece can be used in different ways,” she says. “That’s a really interesting way to look at art.”
 
For Gogos, that means a minimalist object might be used as a vase, an expensive sculpture as a doorstopper, or an artwork hung upside down. “People don’t look at my objects and go, ‘I know how to use this’,” he says. “Every single time someone uses one of those pieces, it’s recontextualised in a different way… people don’t know how to interact with them.”
 
It links back to his clothes, which embody fluidity and are the reason he’s an exciting name in fashion. Nonetheless, Gogos doesn’t believe men looking to experiment with their style need to dive off the deep end entirely. Rather, “it’s just about bringing an element of personality. To wear something completely plain sometimes does erode any sense of who you are.”
 
For someone who always seems to have an eye on the future, and whose career has so far been defined by shifting fields, mediums and perspectives, Gogos remains surprisingly nonchalant about what lies ahead. “The one thing I’ve learned is that wherever I thought I was going to end up, it always ended up being totally different,” he says. “Right now, I think it’s about embracing the change and going with it.” Finding the off switch will have to wait another day.
 
This story first appeared in GQ Australia's Men of the Year special issue.

 

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