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Louis Vuitton unveils its collection with punk artist Urs Fischer

Urs Fischer made a collection for Louis Vuitton. The punk artist has drawn the logo of the famous brand freehand and the result is psychedelic.

The works of Urs Fischer (47) almost always elicit the same astonished reactions, whether they are photographs, paintings or installations, and whether they date from the 2000s or today. The expression “what the hell” sums up the feeling shared by many visitors to the exhibitions of this Swiss resident in the United States.

There was a time when artist Urs Fischer worked as a bouncer in Zurich nightclubs.
© MAEGAN GINDI

Urs Fischer first gained attention with “Untitled (Bread House) 2004-2005”, a life-size Swiss chalet made from loaves of bread, the decomposition process of which was part of the performance. In 2006, it sparked controversy again when he convinced the owner of the New York gallery “Gavin Brown’s enterprise” to dig the ground. As for the result, a hole more than 2.5 meters deep between the white walls of the gallery, the artist called it “You”. Dubitative, the New York Times called it “meditative.”

Among his more recent works: a banana suspended from a nylon thread, a mega clay bust of pop star Katy Perry in which the public was invited to sculpt their own “art”, or “Leo (George & Irmelin)”, a life-size wax sculpture of Leonardo DiCaprio and his parents – during the opening at the Gagosian gallery in Paris, Fischer lit it and Leo gradually turned into a pool of wax, as a reminder of the passage of time .

The hole in the “Gavin Brown’s enterprise” gallery in New York, a work by Urs Fischer.

Urs Fischer x Louis Vuitton

After the world of art, it is the turn of fashion to be enthusiastic about this photographer, sculptor and painter, thanks to Delphine Arnault. The vice-president of LVMH and art lover, gave her carte blanche to develop “Louis Vuitton x Urs Fischer”, a limited edition capsule collection, available online and offline in a few stores. In January, the Swiss therefore followed the route laid out by Stephen Sprouse, Takashi Murakami and Yayoi Kusama.

After the world of art, it is up to fashion to become enthusiastic about the artist Urs Fischer.

Psychedelic monogram

Urs Fischer would not be Urs Fischer if he did not want to provoke thought here too. For example, from the famous Louis Vuitton monogram. As a child, the Zurich resident did not know that it was that of the Parisian baggage handler since 1886. “I saw people everywhere carrying bags with this monogram, I found this mimicry … strange”, he recalls.


“Everyone should experiment a little more often: what is there to fear or to lose?”

He redesigned the logo so that passers-by will wonder if it was the famous monogram of the French house or a copy. Fischer calls his method “Memory sketches”. The result is psychedelic: the black, red and white patterns have melted, as if you had applied an iron that was too hot.

“This monogram is world famous and its meaning varies according to each one. That is why I decided to redraw it freehand, as if I were sketching it from memory. It is a bit like asking several people to reproduce the map of the world from memory and look at the result: on one, Europe will appear bigger, while on another, it will be India. ” For Fischer, the concept sometimes trumps reality: “The idea that memory distorts things in this way fascinates me.”

A bag from the “Louis Vuitton x Urs Fischer” capsule collection.
© MAEGAN GINDI

Humor

The capsule collection for Louis Vuitton was born between the two waves of the pandemic. With the creative team gathered in Paris, Urs Fischer worked from New York and Los Angeles via Zoom. “As an artist, I usually work alone. Reflecting with others was rewarding, especially in this time of isolation.”


“As an outsider, you are less bound by a ‘responsible’ luxury than as a designer.”

The Parisian workshop used the tufting technique to give a textured and tactile effect to the velvety surface of the monogram. Thus, the bags “invite to the touch, like a teddy bear”. The fact that his first name sounds like “bear” in French is a happy coincidence.

The concept of “Louis Vuitton x Urs Fischer” differs radically from its beginnings in the luxury house. In 2019, he was one of the artists who, according to the annual custom, had revisited a Capucine handbag in “Artycapucines”. His approach expressed his legendary tongue-in-cheek humor. The bag had remained unchanged, but had been accessorized with a series of “enhanced key chains”: a hyper realistic banana, apple, strawberry, mushroom and egg. At Fischer, humor is a constant.

Fischer transformed Louis Vuitton’s famous monogram into a psychedelic creation.
© MAEGAN GINDI

Fischer’s radically different approach to this collection clearly appealed to Arnault. Initially, it was only a question of a scarf, a tradition at LV since the one designed by the American artist Sol LeWitt in the 80s. “After the scarf, I was asked to design bags and clothes”, adds Fischer. “From there, the collection took off.” And probably reported big.

Art and fashion

Since Marc Jacobs (artistic director at Louis Vuitton from 1997 to 2014) asked fashion designer and graffiti artist Stephen Sprouse to let his imagination run free on a bag, in 2001, collaborations between artists and luxury houses have become must-haves in the fashion world.

According to Urs Fischer, collaborations are always interesting: “When, as an artist, you collaborate with a fashion house, it is not necessarily art or fashion: it is an in-between. This type of collaboration has a broader scope and is a good way to evolve: when you always work in the same segment, you don’t tell an interesting story. Everyone should experiment a little more often. one to fear or to lose? “

“Shadow”, Urs Fischer.

General public

But Fischer knows that as an artist there is another advantage of collaborations: “I come in, I jump in, then I get out”. Which, according to him, is liberating. “As an outsider, you are less bound by a ‘responsible’ luxury than as a creator. Artists tend to be adventurous, no doubt because they often create for themselves. food: when you cook for yourself, you have complete freedom to decide what you eat. ”

Urs Fischer comes from afar. There was a time when the artist was still a perfectly unknown photography student who worked as a bouncer in Zurich nightclubs. Today, the boss of Kering is also a big fan of his work: Fischer was the first to exhibit solo at the Palazzo Grassi by François Pinault.

It is therefore far from unknown, but if this collaboration is in line with previous experiments of the genre carried out by Louis Vuitton, it could well give it a completely different status. In someone’s arm, his work has, in fact, a greater scope than exhibited in a gallery.

The Louis Vuitton x Urs Fischer collection is available from this January in Louis Vuitton stores around the world.

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