ART TRANSPORTS TIME AND WITH IT,
ITS STORIES AND LEGENDS
BY JEAN-LOUIS FROMENT
Chanel’s time would never have existed without the Parisian artistic brilliance in which Gabrielle Chanel lived.
Painters, musicians, poets, choreographers, photographers and filmmakers were all part of her life sharing the same creative spirit. Very early on, she understood the highly demanding nature of artists, their tenacity to give form to their thought and above all, to challenge time: to produce a body of work around one’s difference.
The five themes of this exhibition - Origin, Abstraction, Invisibility, Liberty and Imaginary - go deeply into the historical background of the values of CHANEL, striking a chord with the fundamentals of the life story of its creator.
Here, manuscripts, drawings, photographs, precious objects, rare documents, fashion designs, perfumes and jewelry come together to reveal a unique landscape made of secrets, sentiment and inventions: a cabinet of curiosities that would have had the shamelessness to open itself up and where art has nothing more to say than what exists in its close relationship to the objects revealed.
Thus, the works become a wise, sensitive and sometimes unexpected contemporary companion to the imaginary element within Gabrielle Chanel’s creations. From a cubist cut up to the construction of a garment, from a musical score to a perfume, from a poem to a piece of jewelry; all these are part of a complete, historical and cultural creation.
Together they constructed a story, transmitted messages, never ceased airing their points of view, exchanged their languages, strived for a new set of aesthetics, invented new freedoms, grasped, marked, designated and projected a future, to which they measured up, and became the irreversible signs of a unique historical and cultural experience that was missing in the world.
Preface of the book "Culture Chanel". Published for the exhibition in Beijing that was curated by Jean-Louis Froment, this trilingual edition in French, English and Chinese is available at the Éditions de La Martinière, Abrams and Artron.