Martin Margiela became a legendary designer by treating the human body as a sort of canvas for provocative, brilliant clothes. Now he’s cutting out the middleman and going straight to the canvas itself, announcing that his artwork will now be exclusively represented by Antwerp-based gallery Zeno X.
Since stepping down as creative director of his namesake house in 2008, the Maison Margiela founder has been focusing on art-making, and will present his first-ever collection of artwork in a solo exhibition at Lafayette Anticipations during next month’s International Contemporary Art Fair, or FAIC, in Paris.
“After many years, the human body as my only medium felt too narrow and the system became suffocating,” Margiela said in a rare statement to Artnet. “I needed a wider spectrum with total freedom in creative expression, and rediscovered my roots as a young boy in art school, enjoying pure creation without boundaries. Today I am proud to see my work recognized.”
The Belgian designer and artist has long been a mysterious figure in the fashion world, mostly avoiding from the public eye even during his tenure at Maison Margiela, which has been under the creative direction of John Galliano since 2014. For all his influence, few photos even exist of him on the internet. “I knew I could give more if I felt protected,” Margiela said himself in the aptly titled documentary Martin Margiela: In His Own Words, which was released last year. Certainly, his tendency to “give more” will also apply to his art: the upcoming show, which will feature more than 40 previously unseen works, will span mediums, from painting and sculpture to film and installation.