PARIS — Louis Vuitton has brought the spirit of contemporary Moscow — complete with its grime and chaos — to the gallery atop its flagship on the Champs-Elysées here.
It commissioned 11 Moscow-based artists for its latest exhibition, “Moscopolis,” and seven realized their works on site: one streaking tar on sheets of plastic to create ghostly, half-imagined urban landscapes.
Curator Hervé Mikaeloff said Moscow’s architecture — from hulking Stalin-era skyscrapers to the banks of the rubbish-infested Yauza River — was the overwhelming subject for all the Moscow-based artists he visited.
Valery Koshlyakov, who did the tar paintings, noted Moscow’s cityscape has an unreal quality, given most of its citizens live in characterless, five-story buildings.
The fast-growing metropolis — choked with wealth and traffic and with buildings forever being torn down and replaced — compelled Stanislav Shuripa to construct a model city of crumpled paper, and Oleg Kulik, he who gained fame for his outrageous caged-dog performance pieces, to install a contemplative Mongolian yurt.
Mikaeloff noted many artists are reacting to Russia “becoming too money-oriented,” which is quickly wiping out remnants of Soviet life. This can be seen in artist Olga Chernysheva’s melancholy portraits of men and women whose job it is to observe crowds in the Moscow subway. “It will disappear in a few years,” Mikaeloff noted.
Connections to the fashion world are tenuous in the exhibition, but Vuitton has a long history in Russia, having supplied trunks to the imperial family and the court of Tsar Nicholas II. Vuitton now has an outlet in Gum, the luxury mall smack in Red Square. The exhibition runs through Dec. 31.