Virgil Abloh: Echosystems at Galerie kreo Spotlights the Late Designer’s Most Recent Works

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Virgil Abloh: Echosystems Exhibition Opens at Galerie Kreo in Paris

Paris-based Galerie Kreo is currently hosting the Virgil Abloh: Echosystems exhibition, featuring the latest creations by the influential designer. Curated by Hugo Vitrani, the exhibition runs from September 21st to November 1st, 2023, and showcases Abloh’s work alongside pieces by artists and designers who have influenced his style and language throughout his career.

The exhibition provides insights into the diverse influences that have shaped Abloh’s world. As a black American with Ghanaian heritage, he grew up in a predominantly white neighborhood in Chicago, which impacted his perspective on race and culture. He was also exposed to music by Fela Kuti, James Brown, and Miles Davis from an early age. Additionally, his passion for skateboarding allowed him to navigate the city in a unique way, challenging its conventions and structures.

Graffiti played a pivotal role in Abloh’s creative journey, influencing his artistic language and the iconic logos he admired from brands like Alien Workshop, Santa Cruz, and Droors. Graffiti is deeply rooted in hip-hop culture and has revolutionized various forms of artistic expression. Abloh once stated that the greatest contribution to black art was the invention of connecting two turntables and a mixer, likening his creative process to that of a DJ, sampling ideas from different disciplines and weaving them together in a syncopated language.

Abloh’s work is characterized by disruption and deviation, aiming to modernize established concepts and languages. In 2021, he introduced his theory of the ‘3%’ which advocates for incorporating elements of modernity into classic designs. He believes that exposing ourselves to the ‘new’ without overwhelming or disorienting viewers can expand our perspective and create something fresh by sampling existing ideas.

The exhibition also pays homage to the artists who have inspired Abloh’s creative language. Marcel Duchamp, known for his ironic approach to art, is a significant influence. Grand Mixer DXT, a pioneer of turntablism, represents the musical aspect of Abloh’s work. Graffiti artists like Futura 2000, as captured by photographers Martha Cooper and Bruce Davidson, have also left their mark on Abloh’s aesthetic. The vibrant lines and colors of artists like Keith Haring and A. R. Penck resonate in his designs. Additionally, the exhibition features the perspectives of artists such as Gordon Matta-Clark, Konstantin Grcic, Jerszy Seymour, and Tom Dixon, who have each contributed to Abloh’s distinctive style.

The exhibition showcases two notable pieces: the WORLD LEADERS ladders and the Midway Village Bench. The WORLD LEADERS ladders pay tribute to impactful black figures from various fields, including Pop Smoke, Phase 2, Aaliyah, Michael Jordan, Malcolm X, Grand Mixer DXT, and Ella Fitzgerald. The ladders represent unrecorded histories and metaphorically speak to how histories are constructed. The Midway Village Bench examines the history of benches as meeting spots and places for contemplation in different contexts. Abloh’s minimalist approach and fluorescent trails evoke the unruly growth of graffiti in urban spaces.

Virgil Abloh: Echosystems at Galerie Kreo offers a comprehensive exploration of the late designer’s world, delving into his inspirations, creative journey, and unique artistic language. The exhibition celebrates Abloh’s impact on the art and design scene and pays tribute to the artists who have shaped his legacy.

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