MILAN — You can always expect to be surprised by Miuccia Prada’s artistic collaborations.
On Tuesday, the designer will unveil her latest tie-up for her Miu Miu show at the Palais d’Iéna in Paris. She has linked with South Korean choreographer and performance artist Geumhyung Jeong, who is known for her manipulation of mechanical objects and her edgy, sensual staging.
Through engaging puppets, mannequins, machines and sex toys in conversations with her own body, Jeong explores the perception of the female body in a gendered economy and muses on the future of artificial intelligence, and in videos teased by Miu Miu, she will interact with the brand’s clothes.
“In the video I made for the exhibition space, I brought the platforms from my recent work stage. The video shows my hands working on the platform. I usually work with metal objects using the platform as a work table, but this time I used soft materials such as Miu Miu’s clothes and fabrics,” explained the artist. “I tried to discover a relationship between objects and bodies through movements that would lead to an understanding of the clothes, the texture or layers. I played with the movements of touching the fabric with different speeds, mostly slowly.”
A card will be left on the seats at the show venue reading: “There is a codependency, but in the end, machines do not need us, we need them.”
Prada has previously worked with artists Meriem Bennani on the Miu Miu spring 2022 show and with Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg on the fall 2022 show. For Miu Miu‘s spring 2023 show, the designer collaborated with Chinese artist Shuang Li, who conceived a video and set installation.
“I have always been driven by the idea of understanding how women deal with the interaction between vanity and thought, which is also why the Miu Miu Women’s Tales short movies series started in 2011,” said the designer, referring to the collection of short films by international female directors, followed by conversations and panels related to the films and the role of women in cinema.
“In the past two years, I felt the need to further experiment with the fashion show format, especially after the 2020 online editions. Every collaboration with the artists has added an interesting layer, not only in terms of format but also in terms of contents. I feel they are triggered by the fact of shaping their own perspectives in a different context compared to the museum one,” Prada explained.
Jeong’s work has been exhibited in museums including the Tate Modern in London and the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York. She has built robotic sculptures following a self-taught learning program and in 2022 she participated at the international art exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia with her “Prototype Toy.”
Here, the artist explains her approach to the project and praises Miu Miu for being “open-minded,” and “ready to accept different things and unexpected directions” by working with artists.
WWD: How did you approach the design of the set? Could you explain what you have in mind?
Geumhyung Jeong: Recently I have been fascinated by the material of stage platforms that are usually used in the theater. The single platform looks like a table and can be assembled together with many others to form a stage. It is like Lego. It turns into many different shapes. In my latest works I have used it as a pedestal for my installations, as a platform for robot production and video filming but also as a seat for the audience of my performances. The platform often appears in my work and these days it has become a kind of integral part of my work.
And at the same time it is a common material that is used in theaters for everyone, not just me. I feel like I’m bringing the infrastructure of a certain field and filling it with something of my own. And this time it will be filled with a fashion show. It makes sense to bring these platforms to a fashion show, of course. And the platform set will be transformed beautifully by OMA’s design.
WWD: How long did you work on this project?
G.J.: The first contact with the Prada Foundation took place last November. And the actual meeting with the team started in January 2023. My new fashion show video, on the other hand, was shot in February.
WWD: What guidelines did you receive from Miuccia Prada or what kind of exchange did you have?
G.J.: She was open to any suggestions, but she also had very clear opinions. It was therefore easy to find a direction.
The team had already worked with the artists and had a clear technical framework, but it had to be filled in by the artist. Things were organized very well, so that the collaboration could take place efficiently even though it was in a tight time frame. Within this framework, I had a lot of freedom and my ideas and content were respected. I was always excited whenever I shared the work process because I was eager for their feedback.
WWD: Is the set connected to the collection? What message would you like to convey?
G.J.: In the video I made, which will be shown during the show, viewers will see the consistency of movement between the body and the clothes. I usually work on movement through the use of objects, while this time I used Miu Miu’s clothes as if they were objects to play with. I tried to discover what movements would allow for a better understanding of the clothes, their texture and layers. I was amazed to discover them during this process. The relationship with the materials, drawn on our bodies, became sometimes abstract and sometimes literal. I played with the movements by touching the clothes at different speeds, mostly slowly. Viewers will enjoy the fashion show along with the videos I made. There will be three different ones that will be shown before, during and after the fashion show.
WWD: What does the Miu Miu brand stand for in your opinion?
G.J.: An open-minded attitude. The fact that they invite artists to collaborate for their show means that they are open and ready to accept different things and unexpected directions.
WWD: Have you met Mrs. Prada? If so, how?
G.J.: I met her only online. Through the Fondazione Prada team, I learned that Ms. Prada found interest in my work at last year’s Venice Biennale. She was therefore further intrigued and this led her to inquire more and more about me. She then wanted to discuss a possible collaboration with me. Reading that Ms. Prada wanted to totally question the format of fashion shows, following COVID-19, I felt totally in tune with her. As a choreographer, I also asked myself the same question.