SOPHIE BRAMLY
Crazy Legs (from Rock Steady Crew) at Pizza-a-Gogo, NYC, 1983.

EFFLORESCENCE BENCH 2

SAMO (JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT)
Stoned on Samo, 1978

Bruce Davidson
USA, New York, Subway, 1980

In early 2020, Virgil Abloh opened the first exhibition of his design for Galerie Kreo, “Efflorescence”, a spectacular collection of 20 pieces: round tables, coffee tables, consoles, seats, vases, and mirrors made of concrete and tagged by the designer himself, defined this way: “Solid blocks of reality to sit, gather, and look at oneself. Beyond the sharp fact that it is always fruitful to deal with paradoxes, this botanical term reflects the production method of the pieces. Like these wildflowers that fit into the interstices and corners of urban space, the holes, formal accidents, and graffiti that cover and personalize— in different ways each time—the concrete surface offers a visual and emotional texture to recharge our immediate environment: a landscape where the rigidity of structures and urban planning meets the randomness of organic growth and human appropriation and mark-making.”

The pieces designed by Virgil Abloh, were an expression of the times. The concept of high and low no longer meaningful, the concepts of insider and outsider no longer worked. “To me," said Abloh, “design always has the inherent idea of being a bridge from the past, with an eye towards the future. With Efflorescence, the heritage of Brutalism, its forms and ideas, are literally perforated, extruded to serve as a pedestal for the creative expression of the street.”

Fast forward to September 2023. Virgil Abloh passed away in 2021, but his spirit and his energy are more present than ever. Galerie Kreo is paying tribute to the designer with a show entitled “Echosystems”. Echosystems, curated by Hugo Vitrani, brings in resonance works by very different artists - Gordon Matta-Clark and Marcel Duchamp, Basquiat and Erwan Bouroullec, Bruce Davidson and Futura 2000, Keith Haring and A.R. Penck, Dondi White and Jerszy Seymour.

Proof of the power of Abloh’s imagination, the gallery was packed with young people one rarely sees in art galleries. The energy was electric and they felt at home with all the pieces on the walls or on the floor. It was their life and their energy reflected back to them. The idea of the show is to mix different arts, different crafts, different ways of apprehending the world, but all the works connected by a similar thing: the energy, the desire to transcend categories, to express the full power of a creative life. Jean-Sébastien


VIRGIL ABLOH: ECHOSYSTEMS. Galerie kreo. 31, rue Dauphine. 75006 Paris. Until 11.1.2023.

September 21, 2023 — Jean Sebastien Stehli