It’s a week of major art with the ongoing Singapore Art Week, especially with today’s opening of the much-awaited tentpole event Art SG, billed as Southeast Asia’s largest contemporary art fair. For art – and fashion – lovers, there are still more pleasures to be had. In a nod to the momentous debut of Art SG, Valentino has just unveiled a special collaboration with renowned Thai artist Pinaree Sanpitak that features the maison’s new Toile Iconographe motif. The work is open to the public from now till January 25, at the lobby of The Warehouse Hotel.
The Toile Iconographe motif, Valentino’s new signature print, was first introduced as part of the brand’s Resort 2023 collection.
Now for the uninitiated: Pinaree Sanpitak is one of the region’s foremost artists, known for her decades-long practice of celebrating the female form. She has come to be synonymous for her Breast Stupas, an ongoing series of sculptures that uses various metaphors to pay homage to the sacred – and sensual – power of the breast. The stupas (hemispherical structures with roots in Buddhism, the predominant religion of Sanpitak’s home country) is one such metaphor.
And one could say breasts themselves are metaphors, what with their life-giving qualities and intrinsic connections to birth – indeed, the birth of Sanpitak’s own son, fashion designer Shone Puipia, provided much of the basis for this series of work (more on that later).
This body of work naturally formed the basis for this collaboration with Valentino, which also marks the first time the artist is teaming up with a fashion brand. “It is a celebration of the body as the site of the sacred and the sensual,” says Sanpitak. “I see the Valentino Toile Iconographe on the bodies of models and on my own sculptures in a (parallel) view to the maison’s values of freedom, community and inclusivity.”
Since Sanpitak first coined the term “breast stupas” in 2001, the sculptures have appeared in innumerable iterations, sizes and materials. For this outing, a pair of sculptures titled Breast Stupas Valentino have been crafted in black and red respectively, wrapped in fabrics emblazoned with the maison’s Toile Iconographe motif. Following the showing at the Havelock Road hotel, the works will be sold – with proceeds going to United Women Singapore, a fund that is dedicated to women’s empowerment and gender equality.
Pinaree Sanpitak collaborated with Valentino to birth two special versions of her signature Breast Stupas sculptures, wrapped in fabrics printed with the maison’s Toile Iconographe motif. This latest project is much in line with Valentino’s notable efforts in recent years in ramping up its support for the arts.
For fans of the artist, the Breast Stupas Valentino sculptures themselves are only one part of a larger experience curated by veteran curator Chomwan Weeraworawit – there’s also an earlier work Breast Stupa Topiary (a set of two steel structures) as well as Breast Stupa Cookery, a by-invite-only ephemeral dining experience.
Below, the artist shares more of her thoughts on this special collaboration and more.