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May 17, 2021

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Hermes opens window on unique artwork

FASHION and art meet together in the Summer Windows at Hermès Maison in Shanghai.

The French luxury brand recently unveils its Summer Window display designed by Chinese artist Xu Zhen, and also hosts Xu’s solo exhibi­tion on the fourth floor of the mansion.

Both entitled “Newcomers,” the new win­dows and the exhibition echo Hermès’ annual theme: “An Odyssey,” presenting an aesthetic outlook that transcends the shackles of time, and building a poetic connection between my­thology and reality.

Shanghai-based Xu is dedicated to producing artwork across multiple media and platforms, and presents the exhibition featuring two col­lections — “Newcomers” and “Under Heaven.” He creates a dramatic, exquisite and passion­ate baroque experience with a black sense of humor.

The “Newcomers” series is based on the clas­sic sculptures of Laocoon, Zeus and Poseidon from ancient Greek mythology. The installa­tion “Newcomer 01” made of fiberglass, paint and stainless steel is an adaptation of “The Laocoon and his Sons.” The sea serpents en­tangling Laocoon and his sons are replaced with serpent-like pink Roman columns, while the disproportionality of big heads and small bodies wraps the art piece under a comic facade.

The “Newcomer 02” is a sculpture of Zeus or Poseidon, who lost his sacred weapon. Naked, he stretches his arms, where the Cantonese delicacy of roast pigeons stand in a line. These humorous and contrasting images might be a metaphor for the dilemma of world cultural integration today.

The “Under Heaven” series, four oil paintings that depict mouth-watering cakes in dazzling colors reminiscent of cream decorations, pos­sibly suggests the hedonistic trend of society and sensual indulgence in reality.

The Summer Window display at Hermès Maison, also designed by Xu, is inspired by the evolution of visual art throughout his­tory. Figures of humans and gods from Greek mythology are suspended above urban sky­scrapers and submerged among corals on the sea floor.

In each window, objects from the Hermès collections are displayed in an inventive and surprising way to depict an unknown future. In the women’s window, human characters bravely explore the depths of the ocean with the help of the Greek gods. Floating silk scarves are transformed into “divine powers” that escort them as they advance towards the handbags that symbolize treasures on the sea floor.

In the men’s window, unknown objects rep­resented by bags, accessories, and perfumes lure adventurers to explore the mysteries of the universe. The fantastical visual effects prompt viewers’ minds to wander between the connections of the past, present and future.

Dates: Through June 5, 11am-8pm

Venue: Hermès Maison

Address: 217 Huaihai Road M.


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