In Conversation: Mathieu Paris

    Since joining White Cube in 2014 Mathieu Paris has organised and curated several exhibitions at the gallery, taking the discourse around political, social and economic unrest in the US as its starting point, the latter displayed works by renowned artists including Jean-Michel Basquiat, David Hammons, Robert Mapplethorpe, Cady Noland, Barbara Kruger and Richard Prince.

    What has been the most unforgettable exhibition you have curated?

    Certainly “From the Vapor of Gasoline at White Cube Mason's Yard” in 2017.

    The title of this exhibition, borrowing from the evocative slogan painted across Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Peruvian Maid (1985), conjures a society running on empty. With artists like David Hammons, Larry Clark, Cady Noland, Steven Parrino, Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger, Richard Prince and Christopher Wool – chronicle a dramatic ideological shift. It was an incredible “à propos exhibition to put together in 2017 at a moment where America was struggling politically on a domestic and international level. In addition with the idea that If the prevailing atmosphere is of disillusion, then it is not without hope: with the end of a dream comes a renewed engagement with reality.

    What’s the most recent piece of art you’ve purchased and why?

    My last acquisition is a Kenneth Noland Painting from the 80’s. Kenneth Noland ranks among the most recognized artists of the Colour Field and Post Painterly Abstraction. He has a fantastic way to understand colour and shapes.

    What object would you never part with?

    A Jean Prouvé standart chair. For me it is the perfect synthesis between architecture and design. Prouvé was thinking and developing furniture and houses the same way. I believe in creation driven by the idea of “economy of need “

    Is there any style signifier you are known for?

    Cashmere turtlenecks all winter long.

    What’s been a memorable moment that changed everything for you?

    The moment that changed everything for me might certainly be my first confrontation with the large Yves Klein blue monochrome from the Centre Georges Pompidou. I must have been 6 or 7 years old but I remember perfectly the magnetic attraction and the exact moment I connected with painting. I instantly knew that art would be an important part of my life. I was lucky enough to have parents who brought my younger brother and myself to museums and exhibitions all the time. I was always fascinated by the way artists describe questions and answer the problematics of life and the world we live in.

    How would you describe your style?

    With time, I am less and less interested in following fashion trends.

    I believe in buying less but higher quality clothes and tend to dress in classic uniforms with natural tones, colours and materials.

    So, what’s the best advice you have ever received?

    No light colours and brown shoes after 5pm!

    What place would you like to go back to?

    I would love to go back to Naoshima. It’s rare to find this perfect connection between art and Nature with no ego coming from the architecture or the art collection. Just a perfect symbiosis and Harmony between all elements involved. There are several places like this in the world like the Beyeler Foundation, the Louisiana Museum where the conversation between a collection of architecture and nature work perfectly.

    Which is the last artist that truly impressed you? And why?

    Danh Vo is the artist that fascinates and impresses me the most today. Danh Vo’s work is very autobiographical and draws in particular on his experiences as a refugee from Vietnam. His work is the vehicle for fragments of his own life but also for fragments of history with a capital H, art history in particular. Danh’s work has often focused on the idea of empire and the fact that all empires as strong, influential and powerful they are, never last. Another of Danh Vo’s talents is knowing how to put an exhibition together. He’s an excellent curator of his own works, which he often mixes with pieces by others. That’s what I immediately found fascinating about him: this way of juxtaposing, superimposing, stacking, and rendering several fragments or several stories transparent, including those of other artists. Our conversations are very passionate and he teaches me a lot about how to look at the world that surrounds us.

    Where is your favourite place to travel to?

    Italy without hesitation. From a room at the Villa Médici in Rome, a small restaurant in Napoli, incredible Venice to a wooden fisherman boat on Stromboli island. As Verdi once said: “You may have the universe if I may have Italy.”

    Something that you discovered recently?

    Venetian velvet slippers. You can wear them with anything.

    What are you up to right now?

    I just co-curated the first Takis exhibition at White Cube in our Bermondsey space since the announcement of the global representation of the artist estate. I am amazed by the richness of Takis vocabulary and by his ability to make visible the invisible energies that surround us. I am particularly fascinated by the elegance and the classical beauty of his iconic “Signals” from the 60’s. Marcel Duchamp famously dubbed him the ‘ploughman of magnetic fields’, using magnetism, light and sound as his raw materials, Takis’s audacious sculptures were a radical break from convention.


    Denim: Italian Heritage

    Italy is widely regarded as the producer of the most prestigious denim garments in the world, thanks to the premium fabrics and artisanal experience that dates to the 19th century.

    The manufacturers’ passion for authenticity is what made the art of denim production a “Made in Italy” excellence, where technology and innovation meet traditions passed down through generations. The result is garments that exude artisanal details and are durable and luxurious.

    Over the years, Luca Faloni has nurtured a collaborative relationship with Albini, a family-owned business with over a century of textile experience in the world of denim. Today, Albini - with its brand Albiate 1830 - is the leader in creating premium quality denim with an eye on sustainability and Italian tradition. Sharing a passion for authenticity, we aim at promoting Italian denim craftsmanship with superior quality garments.

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