Six simultaneous international photo exhibitions

Curated by Anthony Vaccarello, a series of artists exhibit works in Paris, London, Seoul, Tokyo, New York and Shanghai

From June 9, Saint Laurent presents SOI 07: six photo exhibitions taking place simultaneously in Paris, London, Seoul, Tokyo, New York and Shanghai. The exhibits were curated by fashion designer and creative director of Saint Laurent Anthony Vaccarello.

Photographers, who have created exclusive artwork for the French house, include Harry Gruyaert, Olivia Arthur, Daesung Lee, Takashi Homma, Alex Webb and the Birdhead collective. Each exhibition is free to the public and will take place outdoors. Here, Document provides an overview of the project facilities.

Harry Gruyaert; Paris, Royal Palace

Gruyaert, originally from Belgium, wanted to capture the feeling between two worlds often experienced in airports. Gruyaert’s photos, which highlight the primary colors, were taken at Paris Charles de Gaulle.

“[Airports] are places that concentrate everything that usually attracts my gaze as a photographer: the play of light, transparency and reflections, the effects of superposition that create a loss of bearings and give this very strong impression of being between two worlds”, quotes Gruyaert. in the SOI 07 Press release. “And then there are the signs – arrows, numbers, letters – that mark out the frame. I have always liked the vocabulary of signage.

Olivia Arthur; London, observation point

London-based Arthur presents So not if, a photo series that explores the human relationship with our bodies and our physicality. Arthur strives to show the way we touch and connect with each other.

“An exploration of the physical world in natural and unnatural forms is essential for me to show the limits of our physicality,” says Arthur. “Our virtual worlds have become a real reality, and as technology advances, we need to remember the hard feel of a hand on a wall or the clatter of pebbles falling on top of each other.”

Daesung Lee; Seoul, Namsan Seoul Tower 1F

After the 2020 lockdown, nature “came back to life and came back to us,” says Paris-based Lee. He remembers bluer skies, greener leaves on the trees, the chirping of birds singing loudly, all of which changed the way he saw the world. But while stuck inside, Lee had to use his mind to visualize nature.

“I often had to escape into an imaginary nature in my mind to endure the uncertain future,” says Lee. “It was a strange spring. I tried to visualize this strange experience during confinement. An imaginary nature, which you can only see in your inner self, which you can only feel in your own senses. We all lived in our own universe at that time.

Takashi Homa; Tokyo, Miyashita Park

Using the camera obscura element, Homma sought to capture the influence of Tokyo’s environment on her clothing. His photos capture both the energy and style of the city.

“Our actions are actually constrained and guided by pressure from the city of Tokyo,” he says. “The city and fashion are always in a one-on-one relationship.”

Alex Webb; New York, Madison Square Park

When Webb was asked to photograph Los Angeles for SOI 07, three neighborhoods immediately came to mind: the Piñata district, the flower district and the fashion district. “[Their] the deep shadows, brightly painted walls and bustling streets are reminiscent of Mexico, where I often wandered,” says Webb.

The photographer is attracted by the intensity of life and the “brilliant” colors, which he found during trips to Latin America and the Caribbean. His work, which captures different corners of downtown Los Angeles, is dominated by rich colors and accentuated by shadows.

Bird’s Head; Shanghai, digital

Birdhead’s exhibition aims to show a “tangible connection between the photographs” and is inspired by the relationships between various species. The collective aligned the images in a way that reflects a seamless integration of natural elements with the city, clothing, and body.

In keeping with Birdhead’s signature style, each of the works for SOI 07 is laid out in a grid, based on the format of the photographic matrix. For this project, Birdhead adopted reverse negative photographic prints in his work for the first time.

Jack C. Nugent