Nicolas Saint Gregoire’s exhibition, “Art Couture,” combines the artist’s passion for design and his own practice as an artist. This exhibition pays tribute to Yves Saint Laurent whom, for Saint Grégoire, has been a major influence on his practice as well as a friend. Nicolas, who is mentored by Pierre Bergé, president of the Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent Foundation, started his research in 2008 when he was given exclusive access to the YSL archives. The 1960’s Pop Art Collection, which was inspired by iconic works of Mondrian, Braque, and Wesselmann, is the starting point of this journey. Saint Gregoire has transformed these iconic dresses to light sculptures using cold cathode tube lighting and Perspex. At the opening of “Art Couture,” I had a very interesting conversation with the artist who told me about his friendship with Mr. Saint Laurent and Mr. Bergé, a couple not only famous for having established one of the most prestigious brands in the world but also for their quest in collecting art as well as inspiring artists. Nicolas pretends that he doesn’t know much about fashion but the contrary became evident from his words of admiration for what Saint Laurent created both from an artistic and commercial standpoint; something unique that not many other designers could recreate. Mr. Bergé once said that Yves Saint Laurent was the last couturier and that no one has emerged since. I asked Nicolas whether he believes in what his mentor said. The answer is an emphatic explanation of that statement made by someone with a lifelong passion and reverence for an artist, a partner and a brand. The conversation echoed the rivalry between Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld and their cliques of friends, artists and bon vivants – beautifully described in The beautiful Fall, a fantastic book by Alicia Drake (Bloomsbury, 2006) on the excess of the Paris fashion world in the 70’s.
Cold cathode tube lighting and Perspex - 160 x 60 cm
Wesselmann 2 -2011 Cold cathode tube lighting and Perspex 200 x 72 cm
NICOLAS SAINT GREGOIRE
Art Couture in association with Fondation Pierre Bergé / Yves Saint Laurent
An off-site exhibition | Gallery 27 | 27 Cork Street Mayfair, London W1
12-24 September 2011