With all this Brexit nonsense looming in the distance, one can only hope that travel to Paris via the channel doesn't become a drama-filled experience. For the time being, however, I continue to find great use for frequent train rides back to the continent from London; this most recent bit of Parisian travel was primarily to allow for some visual research at Musee Bourdelle at their just-concluded exhibition, Balenciaga, L'oeuvre au noir.
When it comes to mastering line and form, to achieving a balance between simplicity and extreme elegance, Cristobal Balenciaga was peerless. I took the opportunity as a chance to merely sit and quietly observe how a selection of garments from the Spanish couturier's oeuvre hung in display amongst Bourdelle's sculptural models and casts.
Of particular interest were the pieces shown here: the iconic cone-shaped Gazar evening dress and a voluminous coat with a strong collar and oversized pocket flaps. I was able to peer closely at the construction but could only barely see evidence of the stitching, and moreso, I marveled at the structural shapes he was able to achieve from cloth... Impressive.
It is that latter quality I wanted to better understand, from an aesthetic point of view, as I continue to work on a series of masks for Au Courant Vol. 03, each shaped in the three-dimensional from materials that might require more than a bit of coaxing.
The exhibit closed on July 16th in Paris, but I believe another take on Balenciage is currently mounted at the V&A in London and runs until next February.
Artistic Director / scenography | Olivier Saillard, directeur du Palais Galliera