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Chanel to Sponsor Venice Biennale Art

Tightening its links to the art world, Chanel said Wednesday it would be a principal sponsor of the French Pavilion at this summer's Venice Biennale, which will feature the work of Sophie Calle.

PARIS — Tightening its links to the art world, Chanel said Wednesday it would be a principal sponsor of the French Pavilion at this summer’s Venice Biennale, which will feature the work of Sophie Calle.

In addition, WWD has learned that Karl Lagerfeld and Zaha Hadid will be in Venice June 9 for a joint press conference to reveal details of the traveling art pavilion being constructed by the avant-garde architect.

The spaceship-like structure — dubbed Chanel Contemporary Art Container and currently under construction on the Isle of Wright — is expected to alight in Hong Kong for its inaugural exhibition before traveling to other world capitals. Lagerfeld has christened the initiative “Mobile Art.”

A fan of Hadid’s futuristic buildings and furniture and an avid photographer, Lagerfeld also plans to document the making of the structure.

“She broke the visual impact of Bauhaus,” Lagerfeld said.

In recent years, Chanel has stepped up its art-related activities, commissioning works for important flagships in Hong Kong, Paris and Tokyo. As reported, the brand’s new Beverly Hills location, slated to open in July, will feature artworks by Jean-Michel Othoniel, Paolo Pivi, Johan Creten, Peter Dayton and François-Xavier Lalanne.

Calle’s art is conceptual, examining — often through voyeurism — such subjects as human vulnerability, identity and intimacy. To wit: When selected to represent France at the art fair, Calle placed a want ad seeking an exhibition curator, a vetting process that resulted in 200 replies and the ultimate selection of Daniel Burn. The Biennale runs from June 10 to Nov. 21.

Meanwhile, Zahid’s collapsible pavilion — with a shell of fiberglass-reinforced plastic etched in a grid pattern in homage to Chanel — boasts exhibition space of more than 6,000 square feet. The 7,500-square-foot pavilion also will house a cafeteria, cloakroom, reception area and restrooms.