By
Rebekka Ayres
Photography by
Willy Vanderperre

WILLY VANDERPERRE'S NEW SHOW


Despite his station as one of the most influential figures in contemporary photography, Willy Vanderperre has managed to preserve a strictly cult reputation. Having graduated from Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts in the mid-Nineties, his early work is elementary to a movement we often now take for granted, taking a revolutionary tack that fostered the free-flowing fluidity between fashion and fine art, as urged by peers and longterm collaborators Raf Simons, Olivier Rizzo and Peter Philips. As part of his first solo show in New York City, over fifty works picked from Vanderperre’s prolific career will comprise the exhibition “Willy Vanderperre: Prints, films, posters and more”—a shoppable showcase at Brooklyn’s Red Hook Labs.

Of course, editing down a body of work as formative as this does not come easy; works both new and unseen will hang alongside the artist’s infamous iconography. The result is a multimedia retrospective that hangs with the harmony of a themed show. “It is a reflection of how I feel today,” says Vanderperre, “what story I want to tell and share.” It’s Vanderperre’s own words which offer the most revealing reading of the works on show, curated so as to emerge “confrontational, raw, and at the same time fragile and poetic.”

The show’s playful format speaks in bounds of its accessibility. Red Hooks, by its very nature, is commendably unpretentious, as is the merchandise on offer; patches and pins sit alongside traditional archival prints, while temporary tattoos, t-shirts and stickers—each produced in limited numbers—put art in the hands of its most ardent admirers and Red Hook’s young following. It’s a testament to the conviction of Vanderperre’s vision as an artist whose voice has always resonated refreshingly democratic without compromising creative flair. Here, everyone can own a Willy Vanderperre—and who wouldn’t want to?

“Willy Vanderperre: Prints, films, posters and more” runs through September 25 at Red Hook Labs, 133-135 Imlay Street, Brooklyn.

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By
Rebekka Ayres
Photography by
Willy Vanderperre
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