Dior exhibition celebrates art background of house founder

Tan Weiyun
A new Art'N Dior exhibition in Shanghai, for ART021, is a tribute to the first vocation of Christian Dior, a gallery owner and collector before becoming a couturier.
Tan Weiyun
Dior exhibition celebrates art background of house founder

Dior is presenting a new Art'N Dior exhibition during the Shanghai Contemporary Art Fair – ART021.

Perpetuating its strong ties with China and art in all its forms, Dior is presenting a new Art'N Dior exhibition in Shanghai, for ART021, the Shanghai Contemporary Art Fair. An odyssey through creative projects, the exhibition celebrates the passion – and first vocation – of Christian Dior, who was a gallery owner and a collector before becoming a couturier.

Visitors are notably able to discover the eighth edition of Dior Lady Art, a unique concept for which captivating artists from around the world have played a part in the metamorphosis of Lady Dior.

The reinventions by Mircea Cantor, Jeffrey Gibson, Gilbert & George, Ha Chong-Hyun, Lee Kun-Yong, Mariko Mori, Ludovic Nkoth, Hilary Pecis, Mickalene Thomas, Zadie Xa, and Michaela Yearwood-Dan are unveiled by turns. So is that of Xu Zhen, a leading figure of today's Chinese scene, whose reinterpretations of the iconic Dior bag are set against two of his own emblematic works, named respectively Under Heaven- 0302PR2132 and TOPJOBS,TOPJOBS,TOPJOBS.

Dior exhibition celebrates art background of house founder
Ti Gong

Dior Lady Art #8, 2023, Xu Zhen

Xu's "Metal Language" series serve as an inspiration for his two versions of Lady Dior bags, which are made of transparent plexiglass and leather with a mirrored-effect print. The bags are adorned with golden and silver phrases and exclamations on reflective surfaces, symbolizing the vacuity of language that has lost its practical function. These word groups are emphasized by metallic chains.

Through his works, Xu contemplates the significance and worth of communication by playfully taking over some pre-existing phrases in an exaggerated manner.

The South Korean artist Ha Chong-Hyun's works, which appear nearly monochromatic at first glance, transform and reveal their true colors as the light passes through them.

For Dior, Ha transposed his iconic paintings onto four Lady Dior bags, creating a quartet of captivating art objects that play with nuance and materials. One of these bags is inspired by a foal shoe designed by Roger Vivier for Dior, while the rest come in shades of blue or red, and are beautifully crafted with couture artisanship to reproduce in three dimensions the lively, animated, and textured character of Ha's symbolic oeuvre. The exquisite craftsmanship on these bags elevates them to a new level of luxury and elegance.

Continuing this dreamlike journey, the Miss Dior As Seen By retrospective also brings to light the spellbinding carte blanche given to nine outstanding women who share their virtuoso visions of the Miss Dior fragrance. Ingrid Donat, Wang Hua, Eva Jospin, Haruka Kojin, Zhou Li, Sabine Marcelis, Pia Maria Raeder, Brigitte Niedermair, and Liang Yuanwei have rethought the fragrance's instantly recognizable bottle, essential codes, and irresistibly timeless spirit.

The painting Zhou has created for Dior draws inspiration from her Peach Blossom Spring series, but also captures the spirit of Miss Dior fragrance. Its pink hue, with houndstooth pattern on the bottom, and the bow evoke a sunny and exceptionally elegant feminine image.

Zhou adopted a variety of materials and techniques in the creation process. The houndstooth pattern was made using silk-screen printing, while the moisture and hard edge of the Xuan rice paper formed a contrast that added depth to the piece. The artwork employs the artist's signature soft pink color to create a hazy smoke-like pattern, reflecting the gentle, rational, yet infinitely powerful force of femininity.

As a final surprise, a room dedicated to the Medallion chair reveals the fascinating dialogue forged between Dior and Philippe Starck, combining artisanship, heritage and innovation.

Dior exhibition celebrates art background of house founder

Dior by Starck reveals the fascinating dialogue forged between Dior and Philippe Starck.

Invited for the first time in 2022 to revisit this symbol of the House, the internationally renowned creator conceived the Miss Dior chair, striking a balance of audacity and grace. In 2023, he designed the Monsieur Dior armchair; such exclusive pieces paying homage to Christian Dior and Catherine, his sister. It offers a sublime duality, reflecting the savoir-faire of excellence combined with cutting-edge technology.

An unprecedented Dior event, fusing culture, design and couture, in the name of the plural beauty of creation.

Date: through November 12

Venue: West Hall 1, Shanghai Exhibition Center

Address: 1000 Yan'an Rd M

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