Slimane's 'Portrait of a Performer'
By Miles Socha
Taking his artistic expression into a new medium, Hedi Slimane tonight will unveil his first paintings at the Galerie Gmurzynska in Zurich.
However, the Dior Homme designer did not don a smock and pick up a brush and palette.
Applying the same modern rigor that defines his razor-sharp fashions, Slimane created sleek, machine-made marvels in which a computer-assisted robot applied to canvas a series of digits, representing the length of each track on David Bowie's seminal "David Live" album, recorded in Philadelphia in 1974.
"It's a purely numeric transportation of a sentimental thing," Slimane said in an interview in Paris. "You can almost sum up one's life with a few sound tracks."
Fascinated with music since infancy, Slimane has made it the key subject for his art-making, from photography books documenting the London rock scene to an eerie sculpture consisting of two microphones in two Perspex boxes, their cords entwined.
The Zurich show, titled "Portrait of a Performer," reflects Slimane's fascination with the stage, including photos of a These New Puritans concert he attended this month. Several of his new works are interactive, including one projecting a video of a tambourine player — along with a full-length black mirror, inviting the gallery-goer to jam along.
Also included are recent studio portraits of Courtney Love. "We were listening to her new album," Slimane said. "It's actually really, really good."
Slimane received the Bowie album at age six and it left a deep imprint.
"When you're a kid, you can stare at album covers for hours," he said. "Everything I've done lately, around music, even in fashion I guess, comes from that album."
Slimane likens a modern fashion show to a concert — a complex ritual that is performed only once. He also noted that performance is an idea gaining currency among young artists like Terence Koh and Bank Violette, a photo of whom is included in the Zurich showcase, which runs through the end of November.
Slimane hinted at another art-related project in the works in Berlin. He remained mum on negotiations to renew his employment contract at Dior Homme, which are progressing, according to market sources.