Martin Margiela at Lafayette Anticipations

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Plaster, wood, acrylic paint. Lacquer on fibreglass. Oil pastel on a repurposed projector screen. Silicone and natural dyed hair. Materials that come to mind when you think of his garments. Martin Margiela, the fashion designer who retired more than a decade ago, cited frustrations with the increasing demands of the industry as the reason for his retreat. Known for the unconventional use of materials, taking objects out of context, deconstructing and reconstructing them into outfits. Margiela constantly questioned the boundaries, value and meaning of fashion.

The ex-designer who have gradually withdrawn from the public eye as his career progressed, finally “disappeared” in 2008. Well, at least that is what we thought. As recently, he “reappeared” as an artist with his first solo show at Lafayette Anticipations (until 2 January 2022).

Martin Margiela at Lafayette Anticipations

Martin Margiela, DÉODORANT, 2021, Micro-perforated vinyl. Courtesy of the artist and Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp. Produced by Lafayette Anticipations. 

Martin Margiela at Lafayette Anticipations

Martin Margiela, FILM DUST, 2017-2021, Oil on microbead-coated canvas. Courtesy of the artist and Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp. Produced by Lafayette Anticipations.

Martin Margiela at Lafayette Anticipations

Martin Margiela, INTERIOR, 2021, Oil pastel on velvet-laminated canvas, wooden box and polyurethane foam. Courtesy of the artist and Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp. Produced by Lafayette Anticipations.

Martin Margiela at Lafayette Anticipations

Martin Margiela, BUS STOP, 2020, Metal, dirty Plexiglas, and synthetic fur. Courtesy of the artist and Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp. Produced by Lafayette Anticipations.

Martin Margiela at Lafayette Anticipations

Martin Margiela, MOULD(S), 2020, Plaster, wood, and acrylic paint. Courtesy of the artist and Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp. Produced by Lafayette Anticipations.

Martin Margiela at Lafayette Anticipations

Martin Margiela, RED NAILS, 2019, Lacquer on fibreglass. Courtesy of the artist and Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp. Produced by Lafayette Anticipations.

Martin Margiela at Lafayette Anticipations

Martin Margiela, MONUMENT, 2021, PVC tarpaulin print, vintage sofa, and audio loop. Courtesy of the artist. Produced by Lafayette Anticipations.

Martin Margiela at Lafayette Anticipations

Martin Margiela, VANITAS, 2019, Silicone and natural dyed hair. Courtesy of the artist and Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp. Produced by Lafayette Anticipations. 

Martin’s art, featured in the exhibition, is not exciting because it is revolutionary (as his fashion once was). It is exciting because it somewhat signifies Margiela’s existence. Finally, after 10 years of silence, he “made a contact” with an audience through his, conceptual yet tremendously tactile, Art. 

The elements that make up the showcase: drawings, painting, sculptures, films and installations are meant to be viewed as one larger artwork. The individual elements draw on themes that are consistent with Margiela’s earlier (fashion) outputs. Transience and transformation, presence versus absence. Bricolage, Dadaism, Arte Povera. 

The Martin Margiela, exhibition-turned-labyrinth, consists of more than 20 works by the ex-designer. The show ultimately leaves wondering: was Margiela an Artist all along, and fashion merely one of his creative mediums? 

Photo Credit: Pierre Antoine

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