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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Hint Tip: Gotscho

In this era of conglomerate-sponsored art, French artist Gotscho is that rare breed, a stylish loose cannon whose take on fashion consumption has a decidedly sinister tinge. Gotscho has been putting clothes center stage in his installations since the 90s, through collaborations with Maison Martin Margiela, Yohji Yamamoto and Comme des Garçons, to name a few.

For this month's Carré Rive Gauche, an annual group show of 120 galleries (antiques and fine art) on Paris's Left Bank, gallerist Eric Allart turned his space over to Gotscho to show his dark and mysterious "Ladies First" series (through June 19). In one piece, fragments of silk slip through fitting-room doors as though the customer has dematerialized through the looking glass like a repentant shopaholic desperate to get out. Nearby, a silver rolling rack sports a dozen seemingly banal garment bags with a row of identical black pumps ready for transport, one atop the other. It's only on closer inspection that you find the bags have an embroidered burkha slit at eye level, and the shoes are fused together in a permanent state of travel readiness.

Which begs the question: does Gotscho love or hate la mode? "I'm on both sides. I'm eternally attracted yet always looking for an escape," he says. "I was shocked the first time I saw a woman wearing a burkha. I didn't understand how it was possible, but I wanted to say something about it diplomatically. A garment bag is for travel and shoes are for walking, so both are about movement. What you have here is the possibility of movement, but the reality of immobility."

For the upcoming couture shows in Paris, Bruno Frisoni, artistic director of French shoe house Roger Vivier, will unveil his own pair of Gotschoesque-fused footwear, for those who prefer to look at stilettos than wear them.

—Rebecca Voight


Ladies First W10 (2007), Ladies First W31 (2007)


Odalisque (2007)

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