Held at the Minsheng Art Museum in Shanghai from October 17-December 16, the two-month-long “No Longer/Not Yet” exhibition is drawing art enthusiasts and aficionados from all corners of the world. They are flocking to witness the beauty of the creation curated and co-curated by Alessandro Michele, Gucci’s newly-appointed Creative Director, and Katie Grand, founder and editor of Love magazine, respectively.
It is the job of every great designer to be entirely contemporary, to capture the ephemeral pulse that separates “passe” from “too soon”. However, fashion has an unprecedented relationship with time. Given its industrial nature, clothes have to be designed, showcased and manufactured before they can be bought. Therefore, designers who solely exist in the present run the risk of being left behind. Instead, they have to free themselves from the present, to dislocate themselves from the here and now, in order to successfully anticipate the now that is to come.
Philosopher Giorgio Agamben exerted a profound influence on Alessandro Michele and the collections he has created for Gucci since becoming its creative director. This is what prompted Michele and Katie Grand to approach seven artists they both admire and invite them to create work on the subject of contemporary, using Agamben’s writing as a focal point.
Born in Sussex in the UK but based in New York, fashion photographer Glen Luchford had his first commercial commission in London in 1989 when he photographed the band The Stone Roses for The Face magazine. Since then, Glen has had overwhelming success working for magazines such as Rolling Stone, Interview, Vanity Fair and Arena to name a few.
Meanwhile, his work has been exhibited at the Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills, London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York. This year he has embarked on a prolific long-term journey with Gucci and has already photographed three of the brand’s campaigns.
Glen’s images for the exhibition display Gucci’s Autumn/Winter 2015 advertising campaign, including previously unseen outtakes. They are enlarged to an epic scale and afforded a new perspective within the rarefied atmosphere of the gallery. However, the photographer’s work enjoys its fullest vibrancy within its environments: in magazines, billboards, on bus stops and at subway stations.
Cao Fei is a Beijing-based artist who creates multimedia projects that span photography, performance, computer-generated imagery and film. Her work addresses the relationship between escapism and disillusionment experienced by a generation who have grown up in the fluid and fast-changing environment of contemporary China. Much of Cao Fei’s work concerns costume play (cosplay) and online avatars.
Being one of the most internationally renowned figures in China’s contemporary art scene, Cao has participated in almost 200 art shows around the world since graduating from Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts in 2001.
Cao Fei’s installation, Rumba 2, features a herd of self-motivated robot vacuum cleaners programmed to cover and clear a space as efficiently as possible; they sweep across a carpet decorated with a print from Gucci’s Autumn/Winter 2015 collection, retrieving a series of coloured balls. What the artist had in mind when she created this was Beijing’s rapid urbanisation and the consequent fragmentation of land in the space between the city and its rural surroundings.
Nigel began his career in the late 1980s shooting editorials for renowned magazines such as The Face and British Vogue among many others before turning to fine-art photography. His interests lie in the mundane details of everyday life, and he staged his first solo exhibition in 2000 at Tokyo’s Taka Ishii Gallery.
For this series of images, Gucci gave Nigel an unprecedented level of access to the preparations for one of its fashion shows. In the weeks before Alessandro Michele’s debut presentation for Gucci, he followed the entire process of putting together the collection: meetings of the design team in Milan, model castings, fittings, alterations in the sewing room, run-throughs of the show and documenting each stage right up to the big day.
London-based painter and illustrator Helen Downie chose her alias Unskilled Worker based on the fact that she has received no formal education in art. She is known for her peculiar interest in painting colourful, large-eyed portraits, executed with an appreciation for imperfection. All the works portrayed at the exhibition are new works directly inspired by Gucci’s men’s and women’s collections for Autumn/Winter 2015. Each of the portraits depict a look from the collection.
A New Yorker at heart, Rachel Feinstein spent her childhood in an environment full of animals—one of the main reasons she believes may have sparked the fantastical element in her work. Her work features drawings and paintings on cutout sheet materials arranged like stage flats to create three-dimensional installations.
For the “No Longer/Not Yet” exhibition, Rachel installed Mr Time, which is another one of her phenomenal installations she is well known for. It references the baroque and addresses the ideas of ruination and debauchery. Time is another subject that has always interested the artist, specifically its fleetingness in relation to beauty and life.
As a student at Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts 11 years ago, it was Li’s desire to “paint light” that inspired her to take photos of an LED display at a local nightclub in Chongqing on her mobile phone and turn them into paintings in acrylic. These works of the artist has allowed her to explore the interaction between space and light, a pivotal relationship in her work. Five acrylic paintings make up the Mindfile Storage Unit, displayed on five walls arranged around a hexagonal space. It nods to a space where the core of consciousness, identity and self-awareness resides.
Jenny Holzer is a New York-based conceptual artist. After studying at Rhode Island School of design in 1975, she moved to Manhattan and attended the Whitney Museum’s independent study programme where she developed the art practice she is known for today: hijacking the corporate forms that dominate public space such as billboards and advertising slogans, and using them to display provocative words.
Displayed at the exhibition is a selection of Jenny’s work from the past 10 years. The photographic prints consist of phrases that recur across media and remain resonant over the years.THE OUTCOME
The “No Longer/Not Yet” exhibition is the joint brainchild between two maestros in their respective fields, Alessandro Michele and Katie Grand, both with a love of fashion. Prior to the launch, Indonesia Tatler had the opportunity of visiting the brand’s flagship store at Shanghai’s IAPM Mall to view the special Gucci cruise pop-up corner featuring an entirely different concept and the new designs by Alessandro Michele. The fresh new concept of floral and paisley prints in pastel colours is currently the second of its kind in the world after Gucci’s headquarters in Milan, with more stores heading in the same direction in the near future.