Exhibition 02.27.2023 - 08.20.2023

Forms and Patterns of Azzedine Alaïa by Thomas Demand

thomas demand, partridge, 2021

The Azzedine Alaïa Foundation exhibits in the gallery adjoining the Azzedine Alaïa Studio a series of photographs taken by the photographer Thomas Demand from a work done in 2018 and 2019 on the preparatory patterns of Azzedine Alaïa. At the same time, the Jeu de Paume dedicate to the photographer a retrospective titled «Thomas Demand, the stutter of history».

The exhibition of photographs of Azzedine Alaïa's patterns is a wonderful opportunity to reveal to the public, for the first time, a place that has been kept secret since the designer's death on 18 November 2017: Azzedine Alaïa's Studio. Between the photographs by Thomas Demand, visitors will be able to discover, through a window, Mr Alaïa's Studio and imagine the couturier at work.

Thomas Demand installation with view of Azzedine Alaïa's studio ph. Sylvie Delpech

The series of photographs presented next to the designer's studio reveals the fragility and poetry of the paper prints of Azzedine Alaïa's clothes, entangled with Thomas Demand’s interest for paper and models.

The photograph’s detail reproduces the marks of the work: fingerprints, notations, folds, and perforations. This accidental array of cardboard, paper, and tracing paper silhouettes, in the colours of the rainbow, plays hide-and-seek with Thomas Demand's lens. The flat templates used for the creation of three-dimensional clothing become almost abstract images of shapes, colours and free compositions.

"You don't know if they are going to find themselves picked up eventually, or become part of another artwork, and that's what l liked about the studio situation here, where it still keeps some ambivalence.” Thomas Demand

The analogy between Thomas Demand's conceptual photographic work and the couture paper cut-outs of sewing pieces may surprise at first glance. Both artists share a sense of sculptural plasticity and a transformative appropriation of the existing models. ln a more romantic sense, they both add beauty to the world by constructing new shapes and universes.

Curled up and folded, perforated, and serrated, they bear traces of time, and their shapes speak of garments, bodies, and silhouettes. They are resting, it seems, as still life testifying to a very dynamic and active life, some movement still latently visible in the folds.

They are both reliquaries of intense labour, and part of a work-in-progress, ready to be picked up again at any minute. They are crinkled, torn, and have instructions and materials written on them: “lining starts here”, “long grosgrain ribbon here”, measurements of incisions, visual markers of the hand at work.

  • thomas demand, oriole, 2021

  • thomas demand, chaffinch, 2020

  • thomas demand, warbler, 2021

Until 28 May 2023, the Jeu de Paume is hosting the exhibition Thomas Demand: The Stutter of History. This first major retrospective in France presents 60 works ( photographs, films and wallpapers) covering the major aspects of Demand's work.

Tariff partnership :

On presentation of a ticket purchased at the Foundation, reduced rate of €9 on admission to the Jeu de Paume.

On presentation of the ticket purchased at the Jeu de Paume, reduced rate of €7 on admission to the Foundation.

Jeu de Paume, 1 place de la Concorde, 75001 Paris

The book published in October 2020, with the photographs that Thomas Demand took of the patterns used by Azzedine Alaïa, to prepare the cut of his designs, is available on our shop: