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Inside Martin Margiela’s solo exhibition at Lafayette Anticipations

By Rachel Douglass

Nov 12, 2021

Culture

Image: Lafayette Anticipations, Pierre Antoine

For his first-ever solo show, designer and artist Martin Margiela presents over 20 installations, sculptures, paintings and films in a headline exhibition at Lafayette Anticipations, Paris.

Presented for the first time to the public, Margiela’s artworks are labyrinthed through a myriad of immersive spaces composed to highlight the creator’s obsession with transformation. Like his designs for fashion, through his namesake house Maison Margiela, his artworks intend to push the boundaries of aesthetics and reality, with pieces inspired by anatomy and abstract forms.

Image: Lafayette Anticipations, Pierre Antoine

The exhibition marks Margiela’s ‘return’ to the spotlight, as he continues to reframe himself as an artist, since stepping down as creative director of Maison Margiela in 2008. Art, however, has been a consistent part of his life, for which he has previously operated multiple international exhibitions hosted alongside his work for the Margiela label. Since his departure from the fashion world, the designer-turned-artist has completely devoted himself to the visual arts, so displayed within the walls of Lafayette Anticipations.

“He constantly pushes us to question our view of the world…”

“Martin Margiela is an artist. For over twenty years, he has never ceased to offer new areas of experience,” explained the director of the gallery and curator of the exhibition, Rebecca Lamarche-Vadel, in a release.

Image: Lafayette Anticipations, Pierre Antoine

“He constantly pushes us to question our view of the world. The passage of time, chance, the secret, are themes that nourish his work and renew our perspectives.

“Against the current of dominant values, Martin Margiela and his work cultivate mystery, an obsession with disappearance, discreet beings, neglected objects, unnoticed places and events. unnoticed. He elevates them to a new dignity.”

Installations included in the exhibit look to transform the banal and trivial into wonderment and surprise, illustrated in sculptures like a fluffy bus stop or human-sized fake nails leant delicately against a wall. This refocusing of perspectives aims to celebrate the beauty of vulnerability and fragility.

Image: Lafayette Anticipations, Pierre Antoine

“It is as if Martin Margiela felt he had to conceal the art, the painted surface, not as a refusal to share or show anything, but rather by creating a position for himself in the art,” noted Chris Dercon, president of the of Réunion des Musées Nationaux. “A position which, given his place in the discipline of fashion, seems at first uncomfortable, but which is resolved by a rather literal return to the essential conditions of the artistic medium.”

A catalogue complimenting the exhibition is also available to purchase, supervised by Margiela himself in collaboration with graphic designer Irma Boom. Within the pages, details of each installation’s process are unveiled, including ‘making of’ images, research and inspiration. Texts outline the thinking behind dedicating his life to art through the words of those involved in the exhibition, alongside an additional interview with the man himself, covering his life back to his childhood days.

The exhibition is available to visit until January 2, with free entry.

Image: Lafayette Anticipations, Pierre Antoine