ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art, 09|17|2011 – 02|05|2012
David Jablonowski
* 1982 in Bochum (DE), lives and works in Amsterdam (NL)

Kelly en Perles (3D) In Coop. With Cameroonian Artist, 2011

With his sculptural arrangements and filmic works, David Jablonowski analyzes the mechanisms of communication and language in the modern visual culture. In his work Kelly en Perles, the artist presents a fashion icon, a silk scarf by the old established French haute couture house Hermès stretched on an aluminum plate and added with sound . In 1997, during Hermès’ self-proclaimed “Year of Africa” for fashion, it used this hand-made beadwork embroidery by a Cameroonian artist, a reference to the legendary Kelly Bag that Grace Kelly carried on a 1956 cover of Life magazine, and had it printed with a 3D effect on silk for the Hermès winter collection. Accompanied by slogans such as “Africa. Earth and Mother,” “Africa. Cradle of Humankind,” and “Hommage à l’Afrique,” as well as traditional “African drum music,” on the company’s website stylized notions of authenticity and ethnicity were marketed. Thus, Jablonowski’s work mirrors one of the fundamental dialectics of today: the naïve and bigoted desire of the Western world for the pure and natural and authentic (and its commercial use) versus the desire for luxurious western products in developing countries, which is evidenced by practices such as product piracy and the black market. With the title of his work, Jablonowski points out what the status of the “African artist” is: despite the global success of their products they remain anonymous, seemingly committed to traditional handicrafts. (AM)


Kelly en Perles (3D) In Coop. With Cameroonian Artist
, 2011