The characteristic surrealism of Oh de Laval’s artworks has developed into a welcome form of escapism during the events of the last year. The artist recently spoke to Vogue about her latest work and projects, including her commission for Gucci’s new Epilogue Collection.
Laval’s paintings largely deal with our daily relationships to others and social interactions that often revolve around love, luck and lust. As the artist states in her Vogue feature, “I’m interested in how people interact with each other.” In this vein, her works frequently display the overtly sexual and violent elements of human nature, challenging the perceptions and sensibilities of viewers. In particular, Laval delights in shocking her British audience who she believes to be less direct, more reserved and more reticent than other audiences. After her recent relocation to Manchester, Laval has expanded her online following through her entertaining works which come with humorous and provocative titles.
Oh de Laval in clothing from Gucci’s Epilogue Collection (Credit: https://www.vogue.co.uk/fashion/bc/gucci-epilogue-collection-oh-de-laval)
The team at Gucci clearly noticed Laval’s talent for representing the insatiably hedonistic elements of life. Alessandro Michele, the fashion brand’s creative director, has asked various visual artists to give their perspective on Gucci’s new G-Timeless automatic watch. Laval is included in this group of artists and was commissioned to create two paintings that artistically interpret the watch, drawing specifically from the motif of the bee, which was first introduced to Gucci timepieces as a key decorative feature in the 1970s. The commission and the new Gucci collection has sparked Laval’s creative curiosity, engaging particularly with her personal appreciation for elegance and Italianate aesthetics. The two paintings Laval has produced are dreamlike and absurdist in character, conveying the artist’s trademark surrealist style that is able to blend seamlessly with Gucci’s eclectic yet ageless collection.
Laval tells Vogue “I want to be a painter who dresses nicely… I don’t like being messy or having paint on my clothes and shoes. I like heels, two-pieces – but not trousers! – and chic, girly looks.” As such, the new Gucci collection from Alessandro Michele appeals strongly to Laval who asserts that the creative director infuses timeless shapes with a new sense of inventiveness. She states, “Alessandro makes fashion that you never thought Gucci would make…It’s a whole new idea of Gucci that never feels dated.”
Laval in clothing from Gucci’s Epilogue Collection (Credit: https://www.vogue.co.uk/fashion/bc/gucci-epilogue-collection-oh-de-laval)
The fashion brand’s new Epilogue Collection aims to create pieces that are not limited by season but are curated with timelessness in mind. The aesthetic resonates with Laval whose paintings do not fit into the mould of a particular artistic movement or time period. Instead, her works cannot be pigeonholed or bound to specific styles as they address the universally persistent themes of human interactions and emotions.
Oh de Laval’s solo exhibition with Unit London will open in March 2021.