Hedi Slimane is illuminating his Celine store at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands for this holiday season in the most emphatic way possible: by unveiling an installation of chandeliers in various stages of collapse. This tangled confection of metal chains, white fluorescent light, and wire may seem chaotic, but it makes sense when you consider the brainchild behind it: the New York painter and sculptor Banks Violette, known for his subversive, obsession with the theme of death and influences of black metal music.
The repeated modular forms deconstruct minimalist frameworks reminiscent of the godfathers of minimalism and conceptual art, Dan Flavin or Sol LeWitt, pushing them into a theatrical collapse.
Violette is no stranger to Slimane, often credited as one of the proponents of Gothic Romanticism in art. In 2007, Slimane curated an exhibition in Berlin named ‘Sweet Bird of Youth,’ featuring a bevvy of young artists injecting the New York scene with their boundary-pushing work. Among the names was Banks Violette. Last year, Slimane rekindled his collaboration with Violette, featuring an embroidery of an American flag painting titled As Yet Untitled (Flag) (2006) by the artist on designs for Celine’s Winter 2022 menswear collection.
Banks Violette’s sculptures often feature broken drum sets, skeletal architectures, and vacated stages splintered by shards of white fluorescent light, all echoing the undertow of death metal’s societal impact. His work for Celine (pictured) continues this theme.
The installation in the Singapore flagship store is just one of the 14 that Violette designed for other Celine stores worldwide. In crafting these chandeliers, Violette aptly captures the emotional essence of the times. He explains, “It’s as if Aristotle was raised in a warzone, which he probably was, and the poetics of post-traumatic stress disorder meet the aesthetics of boredom.”
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