a dialogue with dries van noten's mind
“For me it is really about my way of working, the connections I make. It’s about intuition and emotion.”
The exhibition “Dries van Noten, Inspirations” in Les Arts Decoratifs Paris is the first personal show of Mr. van Noten. With an emphasis on the personal, the exhibition is a work of introspection and a reflection of van Noten’s fascination for creation in a broad sense. Dries van Noten and Pamela Goldin [the museum’s chief curator] explain that from the beginning on, it was clear that this exhibition was not going to be retrospective of van Noten’s work. Instead, the exhibition shows the intimate process of van Noten’s method and process of creating, a suitable choice of approach for the reserved Mr van Noten who masters the translation of his inspiration like no one else does.
Entering the first exhibition-compartment, a range of silhouettes are lined-up showing creations of Claude Montana, Georgio Armani, Thierry Mugler, Kenzo, Kansai Yamamoto and even Gianni Versace. All looks belong to collections, which were shown on the catwalks during the beginning of van Noten’s career. The designers on show serve as an introduction to the exhibition as they express the influential power they had on that period.
The obscured first floor is dedicated to collages of themes within the past collections of the Flemish designer. The overwhelming power of the selected creations of artists and designers in dialogue with the work of van Noten offers intimate snapshots of the private mind of the creator. Damien Hirst fills up the centre of the installation in the “Butterflies” vitrine with a piece from his Transgressor collection where Butterflies from all colours are ordered within a mandala shaped stained glass window interpretation. Elsa Schiaparelli parades in the foreground with her Butterfly printed dress from 1937. On both sides Dries van Noten is present with creations from his spring/summer 2000 collection. A collection inspired by the transformation of boys emerging into men and all of the aggression and vehemence that are involved in this metamorphoses.
The touching installation called “The Piano” is inspired on infinity and the cycle of birth and rebirth, our inexhaustible drive to survive and exist. Together with museum archive pieces of Schiaparelli and Worth, the work of van Noten’s spring/summer 1999 is combined with one of his favourite paintings; Mer montée by Thierry De Cordier, a painting of a black furious infinite sea which came straight from the Biennale in Venice. The Mussel Pot, by Flemish artist Marcel Broodthaers is coherently exhibited in front of all of the precious pieces on the floor.
While leaving the descriptive themes full of art, videos, sculptures, paintings and fashion on the first floor, behind the second floor visitors are welcomed into the personal botanical garden of Dries van Noten himself. His fascinations for the horticulture and the exotic have been present since the beginning of his career, and probably even before. From summer flowers to Bollywood and from flower power to orientalism, the work of van Noten is categorized in the breathtaking environment of the museum. The intimate dialogue amongst Mr. van Noten and his inspiration offers the visitors an indefinable experience of personal value. The exhibition is on until the 31st of August 2014 in Les Arts Decoratifs and will travel to the city of Antwerp in Belgium afterwards.