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Art Basel 2017

Hong Kong show offers glimpse into creative mind of Gucci’s Alessandro Michele

Fashion house’s chief creative force has made three-dimensional version of A Magazine issue he guest-edited in 2016 for exhibition on the theme Blind For Love

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 23 March, 2017, 3:34pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 April, 2017, 10:31am

Art Basel Hong Kong may be dominated by heavy hitters from the art world, but Gucci’s new multimedia exhibition, “A Magazine Curated by Alessandro Michele”, gives a fashionable perspective on the fair.

Open to the public and hosted at PMQ in Aberdeen Street, Central, this is the third exhibition Michele has created since he became Gucci’s creative director. While it’s described as a re-creation of an issue of A Magazine that Michele guest-edited in 2016 (and which featured 280 pages of exclusive content developed by the designer), the exhibition goes a step further by offering visitors an intimate look at Michele’s wildly artistic and unconventional inspirations, which have made him one of fashion’s least traditional designers.

“It’s a 3D version of elements found in the issue, but also features unpublished photographs and works that we didn’t originally include. More than that, the exhibition is an opportunity to bring the magazine to a new audience, while revealing Michele through a different lens that isn’t just about fashion. It offers a different insight into the man,” says Dan Thawley, curator and editor-in-chief of A Magazine.

The exhibition covers three rooms, and features specially created art pieces and visuals that have been inspired by a sentence taken from a manuscript written by 18th-century writer Fanny de Beauharnais which proposes the exhibition’s theme – “L’Aveugle Par Amour” or Blind For Love.

Contributors hail from the worlds of art, fashion, music and beyond, with notable pieces from the likes of Vogue contributing editor Grace Coddington, photographers Glen Luchford, Venetia Scott and Paolo di Paolo, and artists Unskilled Worker (with whom Michele has collaborated before). These sit alongside more literal inspirations, including original decorative textiles from designer Fortuny dating to between 1910 and 1930, Italian 19th century paintings decorated with antique jewellery, and porcelain wall hangings. Relic boxes created by Michele himself include swatches of embroidery mixed with personal keepsakes such as a replica of actor Jared Leto’s eyeball. The soundtrack in the background features singer Florence Welch quoting lines from a William Blake poem.

After exploring the designer’s artistic realm, visitors are led into the world of photographer Petra Collins, a 23-year-old Canadian artist at the forefront of a new movement that celebrates the powerful vision of female photographers. The room’s walls are covered with blown-up photographs of Collins’ home in her native Hungary and are decorated with documentary-style portraits of members of her family, creating a tale of modern domestic life.

Interview: Gucci's Alessandro Michele on why he has no wish to be a celebrity

The final room is what Thawley describes as the “Blind for Love cinema”, which loops a three-minute video featuring a landscape of images taken from the magazine, including unpublished material. The images zoom in and out so as to create an experience that transports you somewhere else.

The exhibition will continue its Asia tour in Beijing at the end of March and Taiwan in May, and will feature the works of two other female artists, Coco Capitan and Gia Coppola.

A Magazine Curated by Alessandro Michele, until March 26 at The Qube, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central, Hong Kong