The “No Longer/ No Yet?” exhibition based at the Shanghai MinSheng Art Museum, is the first fashion exhibition held by luxury Italian fashion house Gucci exhibiting no actual fashion content. The bold move made by the brand is the first of its kind, exploring the question that preoccupies the minds of most fashion designers today: what is contemporary?
The innovative project led by creative director Alessandro Michele of luxury Italian brand Gucci and co-curator Katie Grand, the founder and editor-in-chief of Love Magazine aim to explore the idea as opposed to re-telling the story of the brands heritage. Striving to fuse creativity of the contemporary and commercial kind, the artistic display has shunned all exhibition tropes with its culturally rich elegance.
Inviting seven artists from different fields to present their work, the exhibition is comprised into a series of rooms displaying their installations through different mediums.
Adopting the ancient Chinese term Tian, referring to the religious belief of heaven worship. Gucci Tian is inspired by designs used in 18th-century tapestry and folding screens. While neon tubes are used to adorn the space around the frame displacing Alessandro’s favourite painting The Boy in Red.
Offering a new perspective within the creative display, British photographer Glen Luchford displayed enlarged unseen outtakes from the Gucci Autumn/Winter 2015 advertising campaign.
Talented British photographer Nigel Shafran questions how a designer can pre-figure the contemporary. Using his images to document the nine-month lead-in creative process of Michele’s current collection.
Multi-media artist Cao Fei makes reference to the rapid urban expansion of China by adopting video footage of her studio being destroyed, combined with a cosmic army of robot vacuum cleaner’s sweeping a Gucci carpet.
Illustrator and artist Unskilled Worker host a narrative of portraits with its subjects adorning Gucci. Commenting of the piece, Michele claims;
“It’s a work in progress between real life and social media. It’s fresco of my life with the company.”
Chinese Op artist Li Shurui, debuts five acrylic paintings arranged on five walls around a hexagonal space. The Mindful Storage Unit makes homage to a space where the core of identity, self-awareness and consciousness circulates.
Mr Time by New-York based sculptor, Rachel Feinsten host underlying malevolent dark traits, the fantastical sculptural installation appears somewhat whimsical revealing it to be a momento mori.
Discussing the rationale behind the intriguing project, the creative director of Gucci states;
“It’s about the now. I am not obsessed about the word “future.” The future is a beautiful dream but more inspiring to me is what’s now, in my mind and outside. It also tells a sort and shows my personal approach to time and what is contemporary.” Alessandro Michele (L’Officiel Magazine, 2015)
When questioned on why they selected specific artists to partake in the exhibition, Michele and Grand claimed it was simply down to their personal admiration and talent. With the artistic display based in China, the Gucci creative aimed to embrace the culturally diverse environment. Believing it’s a contradiction to the norm and hoping it provokes a question.
Describing her personal ideology of what is contemporary, Michele claims;
“We are contemporary. We are asked or companies ask us to do something new! It’s still a question that you keep asking yourself. Therefore I keep coming out with new things.”Alessandro Michele (L’Officel Magazine, 2015)
L’Officiel Magazine (2015) What’s Contemporary? [Online] Available at http://Www.lofficial.com [Accessed 2015]
Wallpaper (2015) What is contemporary?: Gucci ponders big questions at Shanghai’s Minsheng
Read more at http://www.wallpaper.com/art/no-longer-not-yet-gucci-explores-the-contemporary-at-shanghais-minsheng-art-museum-shanghai#GE0X0StDEb2FqLAc.99 [Online] Available at http://What is contemporary?: Gucci ponders big questions at Shanghai’s Minsheng
Read more at http://www.wallpaper.com/art/no-longer-not-yet-gucci-explores-the-contemporary-at-shanghais-minsheng-art-museum-shanghai#GE0X0StDEb2FqLAc.99 [Accessed 2015]