"Nude Descending a Staircase No.3," paintingby Marco Brambilla
Who said shopping wasn’t a cultural experience? Maison Margiela begs to differ, tapping Milan-born, NYC-based film and video artist Marco Brambilla to transform its SoHo shops entrance into an active gallery.
Spread across 11 monitors, Brambilla’s "Nude Descending a Staircase No.3," a piece that deconstructs the human figure, giving new dimension and perspective to movement, something that equally fascinates and influences fashion designers.
“Dennis Freedman introduced me to (Margiela creative director) John Galliano, and we explored how best to work together,” Brambilla says. “The ‘deconstruction’ of the human figure in the original painting inspired both myself and Galliano.”
That “original painting” is of course Marcel Duchamp’s 1912 piece, "Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2," a classic that was inspired by yet another iconic work.
“Duchamp was inspired by Eadweard Muybridge’s photography of subjects in motion to make the cubist masterpiece,” Brambilla says. “This captured my imagination, since he was painting a subject while referring to a highly-technological medium at the time. My use of technology and connecting these techniques to Art history are central to my work.”
Guests who enter the store on Crosby St. have the chance to see Brambilla’s first indoor installation. The videos are presented asynchronously to one another, just as technology disrupts our lives, for better or worse. Based on a painting of Brambilla’s by the same name, the figures maintain their cubist shape, although the now-animated characters were created using state-of-the-art motion capture and machine-learning technology.
It’s not the first time Brambilla and Magiela have teamed up. The piece was projected onto the facade of Margiella’s flagship store in the Miami Design District last December. He also recently worked with Cate Blanchett and Marina Abramović, and he was also behind that giant video installation Apollo XVIII which took over Time’s Square in 2015, a feat for which he partnered with NASA.
Brambilla’s "Nude Descending a Staircase No.3" is the first in a new series of artist activations coming to the SoHo store in the coming months. Visit Maison Margiela at 1 Crosby St. to see the installation on display now through July 6.
Photography by: Courtesy Marco Brambilla, Nick D’Emilio