James Merry, hand-embroidery artist and Björk’s longtime collaborator and creator of the singer’s out-of-this-world masks, is making his debut on the screen.
Merry stars in the latest iteration of “The Performers” film series conceived by British GQ in partnership with Italian powerhouse Gucci and including five short movies. Dubbed “Act VIII,” the three-minute clip curated by the title’s editor in chief Dylan Jones, was directed by Matt Lambert and depicts Merry taking the audience to Iceland where he moved in 2009 from the U.K., to work and live with the Icelandic singer.
The country’s verdant forests and lakes and its naturalistic beauty on the outskirts of Reykjavik are a big part of Merry’s inspiration. As the artist — who sports pieces from Gucci’s fall collection — puts it in the video: “I always had this fantasy in my twenties,” he muses “of moving out of the big city and finding a remote cabin and living this gorgeous romantic life there…There’s an automatic impulse flowing down my arm, and quite often I’m just absorbing the nature that I’m seeing around me.”
The movie is debuting across GQ’s global platforms as well on Gucci’s on Thursday. Both companies called it “a global collaborative project,” in a joint statement.
Merry had already collaborated with Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele, when both worked on the Icelandic singer’s “The Gate” music video in 2017 and Michele created unique outfits for her. A fluorescent mask designed by Merry was also part of the exhibition marking the opening of two additional halls at Florence’s Gucci Garden space last June.
The short movie is part of the second edition of the collaborative project between the fashion label and the publication. It has so far enlisted Scottish choreographer Michael Clark — whose performance was also hosted at Gucci’s headquarters in Milan during the latest fashion week — and humanoid robot expert Hiroshi Ishiguro.
The last two acts will present American actor and playwright Jeremy O. Harris, and Jacques Auberger, French electronic music artist. They are slated to be launched in November and December, respectively.
Originally debuted in 2017, the first edition of “The Performers” series featured Bobby Gillespie, the lead singer of Primal Scream; Michelin-starred Italian chef Massimo Bottura, who is a close friend of Gucci chairman and ceo Marco Bizzarri; “Stranger Things” star Charlie Heaton; Japanese architect Junya Ishigami and Chinese artist Zhang Huan.