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Yves Saint Laurent – Shapes & Form: Decors and works by Claudia Wieser

Start Date 09 June 2023
End Date 14 January 2024
Venue Musée Yves Saint Laurent
Location Paris, France
Curator Elsa Janssen and Serena Bucalo-Mussely
Gallery view showing white hats displayed against a black alcove set into a white wall. To its right are three dresses against a blue wall near an artwork of mosaic tiles.
Six dresses in colour-blocked geometric patterns are worn on black mannequins alongside geometric artworks on a white plinth.
A monochrome long-sleeved dress is displayed on a tailor's dummy in front of a monochrome mosaic artwork.
A range of monochrome outfits are displayed on tailor's dummies in front of monochrome mosaic artworks. In the centre of the background is a rose gold sloped structure.

With the exhibition YVES SAINT LAURENT – SHAPES & FORMS, the couturier’s modern and enduring vision is echoed once again. Through a fascinating spatial arrangement, the artist Claudia Wieser engenders a dialogue with textile pieces and graphic art from the museum’s collections.

The exhibition presents some forty models by Yves Saint Laurent–both haute couture and ready-to-wear garments–accessories and sketches, which resonate with the decors and works by the German artist. This original approach undeniably places the couturier’s genius in our times.

Throughout his career, the legendary grand couturier Yves Saint Laurent never ceased reinventing forms. Already in 1958, when he was artistic director at Christian Dior, he affirmed his modernist approach with his “Trapeze”.

« I believe that young people are the driving element behind this fashion; above all their yearning for things that have been somewhat forgotten: simplicity, naturalness and openness to change. – Yves Saint Laurent, interview by André Parinaud, 1959, Institut national de l’audiovisuel

Beginning in the 1960s, his creations reflected a streamlined cut, well-defined lines and rich colors. His works were influenced by the artistic trends of the time–simple and geometric abstraction, constructivism and concrete art–whose many movements mirror the multi-faceted talent of Yves Saint Laurent.

A fashion revolutionary, the couturier designed minimalist dresses, often monochromatic compositions seemingly sprung from a single line: a bold, exacting gesture was the underpinning of his art.

A colorist, he imagined pure yet exuberant abstract compositions born from the juxtaposition of flat surfaces in vibrant hues. Transposing pictorial material into textile, he thus balanced color, form, surface and line.

An illusionist, he would juxtapose black and white to suggest movement in the garment through an optical illusion. By using flat, simple lines, shape prevailed over color.

Finally, the couturier had fun by playing with geometries, assembling endless colored and boldly partitioned fragments as if from a prism.

Whether with curves or right angles, spheres or broken lines–while paying particular attention to color and form–the German artist Claudia Wieser stages for us a veritable ensemble of forms. Influenced by the intuitive and spiritual work of Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee, the artist explores modernist-inspired geometric constructions. Recognized for her immersive and contemplative installations, Wieser offers us a totally immersive experience. For the YVES SAINT LAURENT – SHAPES & FORMS project, Claudia Wieser presents several of her own works, some of which have never been exhibited before.

Claudia Wieser

After training in ironwork and studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, Claudia Wieser (born in 1973 in Germany) developed an artistic practice dominated by an attention to geometry and space. She mixes techniques and materials (ceramic, mirror, wood, photography) by creating graphic compositions as well as decorative volumes. Since 2002, her work has been exhibited internationally and she has participated in numerous residencies. In 2010, she reinterpreted Le Poème de l’angle droit (The Poem of the Right Angle) by Le Corbusier at the Drawing Center in New York. In 2021, invited by the Public Art Fund of New York, the artist designed her first public art project: five monumental sculptures highlighting the dynamism of the city and its inhabitants.