At Celine, artist Banks Violette creates an unexpected play on the festive window

As part of the Celine Art Project, Hedi Slimane has drafted American artist Banks Violette to create a series of ‘collapsing’ chandeliers in Celine stores worldwide this month

Celine Banks Violette Window
Celine Art Project: Banks Violette
(Image credit: Courtesy of Celine)

In the summer of 2007 – part of the heady, early-aughts era the designer has referenced in his recent Celine collections – Hedi Slimane curated an exhibition at Arndt & Partner Gallery in Berlin. Evocatively titled ‘Sweet Bird of Youth’, it gathered a group of young artists who were part of a changing New York scene, one of both decadence and rebellion. The movement was perhaps personified by the late Dash Snow, whose polaroids captured his friends and their exploits; other artists featured included Terence Koh, Ryan McGinley and Nate Lowman. 

Another was Banks Violette, a painter and sculptor born in upstate New York, whose works – sometimes deemed paint of the ‘New Gothic Art’ movement – riff on American motifs, from galloping horses to the stars and stripes of the American flag, often stripped to their essence and recreated in black and white. In 2022, Slimane reconnected with Violette, asking the artist to adorn pieces in his A/W 2022 menswear collection for Celine (an American flag by Violette, for example, was embroidered onto the back of a leather jacket).

Banks Violette for Celine Art Project

Celine Art Project

Celine Art Project: Banks Violette

(Image credit: Courtesy of Celine)

Now, in an unexpected riff on the festive window display, Slimane has once again looked to Violette – who is represented by Maureen Paley Gallery in London and Gladstone Gallery in New York – to create a major new body of work (14 pieces in total) to be displayed in Celine stores worldwide. Violette calls the pieces ‘chandelier structures’, comprising three industrial lighting displays that appear in varying states of collapse.

‘The works build, in a stop-motion fashion, from the stable to the broken, the glamorous to the dissolute; standing turns into a stumble, and a stumble ends itself nodded out in the corner,’ Violette describes. ‘[Martin] Kippenberger’s “Street Lamp for Drunks” re-read through an opiate-limned, Narcan-dependent contemporary imaginary [lens].’

Celine Banks Violette jacket

An American flag by Banks Violette adorns a jacket in Hedi Slimane’s A/W 2022 menswear collection

(Image credit: Courtesy of Celine)

On his ongoing collaboration with Slimane, Violette says he admires ’that even when the approach is deconstructed, there isn’t any critical remove or detachment. There’s a genuine sincerity to his investment in the things he admires. As a result, he can transform something that is permanently framed as ironic into its opposite.’

Banks Violette for Celine Art Project will appear in Celine stores over the course of this month and will be on display until January.

Fashion Features Editor

Jack Moss is the Fashion Features Editor at Wallpaper*, joining the team in 2022. Having previously been the digital features editor at AnOther and digital editor at 10 and 10 Men magazines, he has also contributed to titles including i-D, Dazed, 10 Magazine, Mr Porter’s The Journal and more, while also featuring in Dazed: 32 Years Confused: The Covers, published by Rizzoli. He is particularly interested in the moments when fashion intersects with other creative disciplines – notably art and design – as well as championing a new generation of international talent and reporting from international fashion weeks. Across his career, he has interviewed the fashion industry’s leading figures, including Rick Owens, Pieter Mulier, Jonathan Anderson, Grace Wales Bonner, Christian Lacroix, Kate Moss and Manolo Blahnik.