A virtual tour of Gucci's 'No Longer/Not Yet' exhibition in Shanghai

A virtual tour of Gucci's 'No Longer/Not Yet' exhibition in Shanghai

Contemporary flair

Text: Adibah Isa

Image: Gucci,
Lu Yuchao,
Ren Yong,
Xie Yingjie

We bring you highlights from No Longer/Not Yet, where Alessandro Michele and Katie Grand question the meaning of contemporary at Shanghai’s Minsheng Museum

Gucci's relationship with the arts has been a longstanding one. This year alone, they've staged 'The Language of Flowers' and 'Camille Henrot' in Gucci Museo, and gave us a sneak peek of 'Gucci Tian' in their window installation in Colette Paris. Inspired by prints used in 18th-century tapestry and partitions, Tian is an ancient Chinese term referring to the belief of worshipping the heavens.

Designed by Gucci's creative director Alessandro Michele, the wallpaper is once again featured — this time in a larger scale as a backdrop in one of the exhibition rooms of 'No Longer/Not Yet', the fashion house's latest cultural venture. The root of it lies in a quote by philosopher Giorgio Agamben, propelling a debate of what exactly constitutes contemporary art.

Pooling together nine creatives from fashion photography and neo-conceptual artistry to sculpture, the exhibition is a must-stop if you're in Shanghai. But before that, here's a preview.

You can't disagree that Gucci's been stung by prints. Its recent Spring/Summer 2015 showcase had a healthy smattering of prints involving snakes, parrots and bees. The latter features in a wallpaper at the entrance, which is framed by a pink the Twiggy from the '60s would be proud to don. The quote by Agamben illuminates, reminding guests of the theme that runs through.

Gucci Tian, Alessandro Michele
Mirrored floors put child's play into perspective, reflecting the intricate Gucci Tian wallpaper, which featured in Gucci's window installation in Colette Paris. This 18th-century aesthetic leads you further into the 17th century with 'The Boy in Red', one of Michele's favourite paintings. This Renaissance-era gender-bender is reproduced by an artist, while Michele adds neon tubes to playfully bring it forward to the present day.

Gucci's autumn/winter 2015 advertising campaign and outtakes, Glen Luchford
Sussex-born and New York-based photographer Glen Luchford is your go-to campaign guy. He's captured the spirit of brands such as Levi's, Calvin Klein, Chloe and Yves Saint Laurent, and was recently picked to shoot Gucci's autumn/winter 2015 advertising campaign. You've already seen Luchford's street style-like shots for Gucci, but this exhibit takes you further into his craft, with never-before-seen outtakes as well as his other works for Harper's Bazaar, The Face and portraitures of Kevin Spacey, Kate Moss and Booby Gillespie.

Gucci's autumn/winter 2015 portraits, Unskilled Worker
We love Londoner Helen Downie's self-proclaimed, self-deprecating title of "Unskilled Worker" — a moniker referring to her lack of formal education in art. Even so, her eye and hand in illustration exists to amuse in the form of colourful, large-eyed portraits — evident in her recent work, inspired by Gucci's autumn/winter 2015 men's and women's collections. The imperfections in her drawings are deliberate, included to add the vulnerability that's been left out before.

Mr Time, Rachel Feinstein
With 'Mr Time', you enter the curious and uncertain world of fantasy and mortality. Created by New York-based artist Rachel Feinstein, this immovable gentleman stands to address themes surrounding debauchery and its seemingly negative effects over time. Feinstein's ideas are as three-dimensional as her works themselves — while 'Mr Time' possesses a distinct whimsy about him, his underlying current questions mortality. 

No Longer/Not Yet exhibition is held at the Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai till 16 December.