Jonathan Meese

Meese Haute Couture (La Haute Couture de l’Avenir s’appelle Sommeil)

Five years after his last exhibition, Jonathan Meese is set for a spectacular return to Paris with his very own “MEESE fashion show”. This vibrant exhibition lights up the gallery space with a mix of installations, sculptures and paintings in a homage to the capital of fashion. With a zany tribute to the late Karl Lagerfeld as his starting point, Jonathan Meese creates a gallery of portraits depicting some of the main figures of the fashion world, such as Coco Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and John Galliano, as well as Louis XIV, presented as the first fashion icon.

Playing on the ambiguity of these figures, Jonathan Meese takes us on a personal and playful journey into the secret history of haute couture. He references everything from the nudity of Adam and Eve to the Reign of Terror and the uniform of Hitler Youth girls. From the medley emerges a strange pantheon, where the ghostly figures of Saint-Just and Robespierre rub shoulders with self-portraits, vampires, monsters and a whole host of fashion victims.

Jonathan Meese questions the boundary between culture and nature, creativity and conformism, appearance and power, themes which have been haunting his work for the past twenty years. At a time when the fashion industry has comprehensively appropriated contemporary art, which has in turn made its way into the work of countless designers, Jonathan Meese presents an exuberant reversal of hierarchy, imagining a world in which art is the predominant guiding force.

The artist

Born in 1970 in Tokyo, Jonathan Meese is a German artist who lives in Berlin. He has developed an uncategorizable body of work, lying somewhere between expressionism and actionism, combining painting, sculpture, installations and performance. His personal mythology is a blend of historical, legendary and science fiction references, evoking figures as varied as Fantômas, Maldoror and Stalin, all of whom represent different facets of the artist’s identity. His work espouses the ‘dictatorship of art’.

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