Obsession at Louis Vuitton Maison, New Bond Street, London

Collaborations between fashion houses and the contemporary art world are nothing new. Unlike some of the commercial tie-ins we witness today, countless Olympic athletes promoting products as distant as UPS for example, everyone is a winner when these spheres work creatively together. Not only do they allow the brands to engage with an audience they may find difficult to access through traditional marketing initiatives, they also give much needed exposure to emerging artists and designers and allow established ones to realise works in innovative and experimental ways.

The latest in this long line of creative crossovers is The Louis Vuitton Young Arts Project, which encompasses REcreative. This project is an arts and education programme that was launched in 2010 by five public galleries in London (South London Gallery, Hayward Gallery, the Royal Academy of Arts, Tate and the Whitechapel Gallery). Building upon their 150 year history of working with artists such as Stephen Sprouse, Takashi Murakami and Richard Prince, Louis Vuitton is exploring the luxury brand’s relationship with contemporary art in a resonant and creative way.

For Louis Vuitton it’s not just about collections such as “Infinitely Kusama” and Grayson Perry’s mega- trunk which went on show at the Bond Street Maison last year, REcreative is a website devised by young people that has become a highly active online community which inspires greater involvement and interest in contemporary art. Young people can upload and discuss art works, watch exclusive video content, win prizes and get behind the scenes access to a range of arts professionals, artists including Tracey Emin and Grayson Perry, art critics such as Ben Luke and Oliver Basciano and the publisher of Dazed & Confused, Jefferson Hack.

Following on from their sponsorship of the Yayoi Kusama show at Tate earlier this year, REcreative invited artists to create their own “Obsessive” art work. The work could be in any media but had to respond visually to the theme of “Obsession”, taking reference from the different ways the artist explores the idea in her own work.

The works by this year’s winner and shortlisted entrants are now on display at an exhibition at the Bond Street Maison. Yi Dai’s winning work, entitled Pure Land, is a meticulously compiled paper collage, which was chosen out of nearly 100 submitted projects by the competitions panel of judges: Kusama herself, Tate Modern Director Chris Dercon, South London Gallery Director Margot Heller and Tate Modern curator Frances Moris. You can read more about Yi Dai’s work on the Tate website here. Also on display in the store is; Rhiannon Lewis’ (aged 23) Obsessive Rolling, a collection of rolled up printed promotional material that the Leeds-based artist collected from her doorstep, Laura Navin’s (aged 23) The Flies, a clay work comprised of hundreds of handcrafted tiny clay flies that the artist carefully ordered in rows and columns, Gabriel Calderwood’s (aged 18) It Never Changes to Stop, a film piece that uses the infinite pattern of the eyes to create a haunting prison and Georgia Henn’s (aged 20) mesmerising work Numeric Obsession, a beautifully edited work that takes the viewer on an endless journey up a seemingly never-ending flight of stairs, while the overlaid voice of the artist counts them in a non-chronological order. You can watch Henn’s work above. I think you’ll agree that when fostering creativity and young arts talents of the future are the order of the day, the results are worth paying attention to.

Obsession, 08/06/2012 – 08/07/2012, Louis Vuitton Maison, 160 New Bond Street, London, W1S 2UE. www recreativeuk.com/www.louisvuitton.co.uk


The Aesthetica Art Prize is a celebration of excellence in art from across the world and has developed from the Aesthetica Creative Works Competition. In its new incarnation, the prize offers an even greater opportunity for artists to showcase their work and further their involvement in the international art world. The Aesthetica Art Prize is committed to innovation in the arts and we welcome entries from artists working in all mediums. Aesthetica is accepting Art Prize entries until the 31 August. For more details on how to enter please visit the website: www.aestheticamagazine.com/artprize. You can also read an interview with last year’s winner and recent recipient of the Catlin Art Prize, Julia Vogl, here.

Numeric Obsession (2012).
Courtesy the artist

Text: Bethany Rex