Gucci Enlists Asian Artists To Commemorate (Not Appropriate) Chinese Art
With their latest collection, Gucci is taking us all on a whimsical journey through cyberspace to tenth century China. Their new Tian print, which is inspired by the bird and flower painting style popular during the Song dynasty, is characterized by idyllic depictions of, well, birds and flowers. This style of painting is also indicative of the Daoist ideal of living harmoniously with the natural world—an ideal that everyone at Gucci must have been mindful of while conceiving of this collection.
Tianzhuo Chen for #GucciGram Tian 陈天灼毕业于伦敦中央圣马丁艺术学院，是在崎岖的北京艺坛中脱颖而出的年轻艺术家。他从时装界转投至更刺激的艺术界，作品以揭示中国年轻人隐藏的丑陋一面为主题：毒品、性和名人。他将他于柏林知名夜店伯格罕参加过的一场表演的元素注入他的Gucci Tian图案作品之中。服装结合了京剧的视觉元素和风靡现代的嘻哈语言。谁会想到两者竟会如此合衬？Tian图案的鸟儿和猴子令画面更为生动活泼，体现Gucci和陈天灼彼此文化交融的一刻。 — @kchayka Tianzhuo Chen (@asian_dope_boys) is a young artist who has emerged out of Beijing’s gritty art scene, after attending London’s Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. Chen moved from fashion into the more provocative world of fine art, where he makes work that exposes the hidden vices of Chinese youth: weed, sex, and celebrity. His #GucciTian remixes spring from a performance the artist undertook at the iconic dance club Berghain in Berlin. The costumes mingle the visual culture of ancient Beijing Opera with the contemporary language of blinged-out hip hop. Who knew the two were so close? The Tian print’s bird and monkey figures further enliven the dynamic images, capturing a moment of cultural intersection that occurs both for Gucci and Chen. — @kchayka See more #GucciGram through link in bio.
To add depth of meaning to the Tian collection, and to spread this meaning to a broader audience, Gucci decided on an Instagram-based collaboration with 24 Asian artists for this season’s campaign. As part of this new #guccigram initiative, the brand enlisted artists like Gu Ye and Xu Wenkai to incorporate the Tian print into original works of their own, and then shared these “remixes” on Instagram.
Xu Wenkai, aka @aaajiao, for #GucciGram Tian 在中国艺术家徐文恺以GucciTian图案所创作的作品中，影像一开始是静止的，甚至有一种平谧的意味。过了一会，飞机开始远离观众的视线，轰隆的嘈杂声幻化成眼花瞭乱的图案，让人联想起古老计算机的显示屏。鲜蓝色的Tian图案背景变成了暴风雨中的海洋；不断重复的经典图案受到徐徐展开的、慢慢爬到影像中心的一个阴影「沾染」，令曾经完全平坦的空间，出现了前景、中景和背景。鸟儿化作数据，数据包围鸟儿，揭示了数码影像的本质。之后图案更被入侵、翻转和颠覆，喻意迎向后互联网世界。— @lrsphm In Chinese artist @aaajiao’s remixes of the #GucciTian print, the images seem static at first—tranquil, even. Wait a moment, and planes will start to peel away from the viewer, rumbling into noisy patterns reminiscent of technovintage computer displays. The bright blue backdrop to the Tian print turns into a stormy ocean; another iteration of the classic print is “infected” with a slow-blooming shadow that creeps into the center of the image, projecting a fore-, middle-, and background into a space that was once purely flat. Birds are reversed into data, and data frames birds, revealing the underlying structure of digital images. The pattern is hacked, flipped and subverted to embrace a post-Internet world. — @lrsphm See more #GucciGram through link in bio
The diverse influence of the contributing artists—some come from Thailand, others from Indonesia—is clearly visible in the incredible works. And yet still, amidst such stylistic diversity, the artists manage to come together thematically as vital members of a balanced and thriving ecosystem.
Q-TA for #GucciGram Tian 人形のパーツからなる昆虫やブーケ、月にキスをしようと身を乗り出す少女、草が生い茂る穏やかな谷の上を飛ぶ鳥と女性が合体した生き物。ファッション、ランドスケープ、クラフトがぶつかり合うQTAの奇抜なコラージュには、あらゆるカテゴリーからの要素が登場します。QTAによるグッチとのリミックスは、テイアン プリントの枝のモチーフからイメージの題材となるフレームを作り出し、本来、平面的なものと思われているコラージュに三次元空間を生み出しています。中央のモデルは中間地点を見つめ、髪の毛は地面で渦巻き、顔は花々で囲まれています。鮮やかなレッドのネイルをした浮かび上がる手――彼女の手なのか、ほかの誰かの手なのか？――それは見る者を驚かせ、鑑賞者とアート作品との距離が縮まるのです。―@lrsphm Fashion, landscape, and craft collide in Q-TA’s (@qta3) quirky collages, which feature characters in all kinds of predicaments: a doll part insect and part bouquet; a girl leaning over to kiss the moon; a creature half-bird and half woman hovering over a tranquil grassy valley. Q-TA’s Gucci remix creates a three-dimensional space within a collage we expect to be flat by nature, using the branch motif of the #GucciTian print to create a frame around the image’s subject. The model at its center gazes into the middle distance, her hair swirling on the ground, her face framed by floral components. A hand emerges—is it hers? someone else’s?—surprising the viewer, nails painted bright red, closing the distance between audience and art piece. — @lrsphm See more #GucciGram through link in bio
With this campaign, Gucci is making sure that their use of the print is appreciative, not appropriative. On their website, the brand acknowledges the historically fetishistic take on Chinese art in western entertainment and fashion, like 18th-century Chinoiserie. However, “by asking a group of Asian artists to remix it at will,” their website’s statement reads, “Gucci is also returning the pattern to its sources.”
Gu Ye for #GucciGram Tian – 顾爷拥有深厚的策展艺术感。这位艺术家透过他极受欢迎的微博，把自己描写成来自艺术史的著名画家，如克林姆和梵谷。这些影像就像一种伪装，让这位东方艺术家可想象身为西方艺术家的滋味。他也会为他的关注者发布一些经典画作，如卡拉瓦乔和鲁索的作品。当艺术世界愈趋网络化之际，像顾爷这种艺术家将扮演重要角色。他们将使作品的美学设计变得全球化。在这里，他为Gucci Tian手袋塑造出一个传统的中国形像，完美融合不同风格。— @kchayka Gu Ye has a deeply curatorial sensibility. Through his wildly popular Weibo (austingu), the artist pictures himself as famous artists from art history—Gustav Klimt, for example, or Vincent van Gogh. The images form a kind of dress-up, allowing a non-western artist to take on the western canon and make it his own. The artist also posts historic artworks for his followers, with favorites like Caravaggio and Rousseau. As the art world increasingly moves online, artists like Gu Ye will be key as aesthetic forces working on a global scale. Here, he shows #GucciTian bags melded into a traditional Chinese image, melding styles seamlessly. — @kchayka See more #GucciGram through link in bio.
Just as the bird and flower paintings of the tenth century symbolize harmony with nature, so too does this initiative symbolize harmony between the fashion and art worlds, as well as the harmony between different cultures. By simultaneously going backwards and forwards in time, Alessandro Michele’s Gucci is envisioning a future where aesthetic traditions from all over the globe can work together unproblematically, and create something wholly new and beautiful.
You can check out the full collection of #guccigram-tian works here.
Images via Gucci.