Crystal palace: we speak to British artist Mat Collishaw about his digital installation for Jimmy Choo
Making a statement on New Bond Street is currently no mean feat, thanks to renewed confidence among the world's luxury titans that's brought a slew of new flagships to the storied strip. So when it came to the official opening of Jimmy Choo's new London townhouse, creative director Sandra Choi looked to YBA Mat Collishaw to set the scene.
The British artist's resulting digital installation celebrates the house's limited-edition Cruise 2015 collection 'Vices', inspired by Choi's endearing preoccupation with crystal shards and giant gems. 'I wanted someone to bring the story behind the collection to life,' says Choi, 'and I knew Mat had the skill to work not only with light but also to bring a more provocative side to the imagery.'
The film has its origin in the refracted light found in primordial caves and provided a striking backdrop to the gala opening dinner, set among a sparkling crystalised metropolis. Together they gave new meaning to the term 'dinner theatre'.
We caught up with Collishaw to talk image mapping, Naica mines and what he's looking forward to at this year's Frieze Art Fair…
Wallpaper*: How did your introduction to Jimmy Choo and Sandra Choi come about?
Mat Collishaw: I was initially introduced back in the spring. Sandra wanted to find an artist who could interpret her creative vision for a capsule product collection launching at the end of the year and create the visual backdrop and storytelling of the inspiration. When we met we clicked and we both knew we could create something unique and exciting. I felt confident that they would be a good team to work with on an ambitious project.
What was your starting point for the 'Vices' project?
There were two recurring themes in the designs I saw that I thought could work well together. Firstly, the coloured jewel stones that refracted light and had their origins in primordial caves. Secondly, the super-high-tech tower blocks that also glimmered with light and refracted the life of the city. I wanted to evoke the aura of primal urges emerging in these modern technologically advanced environments.
What effects did you utilise for the film, to bring this vision to life?
The key technique was the projection-mapping process, utilising video footage of traffic, rain and high-rise buildings at night. These were mapped onto large, crystal-like shards roughly based on the Naica mines in Mexico. Other effects were then applied over top of this footage to add pulsing effects and light passes, which enhance the impact of the footage refracting through the crystal shards.
What else are you curerntly working on, exhibition wise?
The Galleria Borghese [Rome] show opened two days before the Jimmy Choo event and that will run until mid January. I'm currently working on a book to accompany it. Then I'm making a work for Glasstress, supported by the Hermitage Museum, in Venice during the Biennale. After that I have a solo show at the New Art Gallery in Walsall.
Given Frieze launches today, who are you looking forward to seeing this week?
Keith Tyson's work at The Fine Art Society. I was with him as he was finishing it over the summer and it sounds pretty mental, as is usual with Keith. Other than that, I imagine it'll be a blur of umbrellas, squashing into overloaded taxis and a few light drinks.