PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Dallas May 2023

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Yayoi Kusama and LouisVuitton L ouis Vuitton has a storied history of artistic collaborations — one that has seen some of the world's preeminent artists lend their touch to its offerings. In marrying the magic of art with the intricate craftsmanship of LV artisans, Vuitton has shown both a sincere interest in promoting the fine arts while transforming its luxury objects into functional works of art. Previous collaborators have included Sol LeWitt, Richard Prince, Takashi Murakami, and Jeff Koons. The latest launch, Louis Vuitton x Yayoi Kusama, sees the house, for the second time, collaborating with famed Japanese-born artist Kusama, who first worked with the brand in 2012 under former creative director Marc Jacobs. This collab sees Kusama's art transforming objects across the entire spectrum of the Vuitton world. Kusama is one of the most successful living female artists in the world. Her artistic journey has spanned more than 70 years and seen her move from Tokyo to New York and back again, with both success and challenges along the way. A lifelong struggle with depression and mental health issues led her to a mental health facility in the 1970s — where she resides to this day, leaving to work at her nearby studio. She has often been quoted as saying, "If it were not for art, I would have killed myself long ago." This complex mind has created a world of transformative dots and flowers that have captivated audiences and made her a revered figure in the contemporary art world. The utter simplicity is magnified artist and maker that is imminently relevant. The collection includes ready-to-wear for women and men, bags, shoes, accessories, luggage and trunks, and fragrances, and appears in two parts, each with distinct thematic motivations and motifs. The themes include Painted Dots, Metal Dots, Infinity Dots, and the Psychedelic Flower. The Painted Dots are a direct translation of the artist's work using a complex serigraphy technique and embossed printing on both leather and canvas. These colorful iterations of Kusama's work transition to the Metal Dots collection, inspired by the artist's mirrored orbs, which were first shown at the 33rd Venice Biennale in 1966. Here, silver orbs of varying sizes have been embedded in women's bags and trunks. We morph once again to Infinity Dots, perhaps the artist's most recognizable work, which Vuitton has used to great effect across all collections. "My desire was to predict and measure the infinity of the unbounded universe, from my own position in it, with dots," wrote Kusama in her autobiography, Infinity Net. Finally, we find the Psychedelic Flower, inspired by her 1993 Flower painting, where we see iterations of the artist's work spread across ready-to-wear for both men and women. In a world of endless collaborations, ceaseless requests for our time, our energy, and our money, it's rare to find one that truly stands out. Most are worthy to some degree, yet, like the latest news cycle, they are here one minute and gone the next. This feels different. Both Kusama and Vuitton have staying power. They also share conviction and creative drive and are worthy of your attention. In today's world, that's saying quite a bit. to create an otherworldly effect with pastels, metallics, and psychedelic flowers, all carefully placed and repeated, giving her works a magical appeal. For context, simply look at the images that frame these words. It's as if one has been transported to a wonderful, surreal place — a place that we can only hold in wonder. The house hails Kusama as the "Priestess of a total, hypnotic and colorful art," and the relationship between artist and brand continues to evolve. The placement of each dot has been presided over by Kusama, precise to the millimeter, with brushstrokes meant to detail the exact texture and weight of the artist herself. It's a unified pursuit of greatness — an artist connecting her touch with Vuitton's craft — that makes this more than simply another collaboration. Rather, it's a story of By Steven Hempel. Photography Iván Aguirre. Art direction and styling Michelle Aviña.

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