Tobias Rehberger's latest installation dazzles at MCM, Hong Kong

Tobias Rehberger's latest installation dazzles at MCM, Hong Kong
Frankfurt-based contemporary artist Tobias Rehberger has emblazoned everything from Aston Martin racing cars to a First World War British warship in his signature dizzying, converging optical lines. His latest subject is German accessories brand MCM
(Image credit: Tobias Rehberger and MCM)

German artist Tobias Rehberger enlivened Hong Kong’s art scene with the launch of his latest installation space, 'If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain', in celebration of his handbag collaboration with German accessories brand MCM. The work’s title was Rehberger’s nod to the torrential rain that lashed the Asian city as art enthusiasts shuffled between the Art Basel and Art Central hubs.

The outlandish art space kept to the 2009 Venice Biennale Golden Lion winner’s 'dazzle camouflage' signature, which he entwined with the new linear logo designed for the Korean-owned brand that also emblazons his limited edition capsule collection.

Taking over MCM’s Central store windows and the entire lower-ground floor of the brand’s flagship, Rehberger’s approach – borrowed from a First World War British military tactic whereby naval ships were wildly painted to match the waves, allowing them to hide in plain sight – saw his graphic totes and 3D clutch bags morphing into the op art backdrop.

‘I wanted the product itself – the thing that you normally have to focus on – to kind of disappear,’ he explains of the optical illusionary space. ‘The bags are placed a little like somebody has just left them there, and then you have these other objects that catch your attention,’ he adds, referring to the odd scientific model and forgotten objects like a Coke can or a piece of fruit that he's dotted about the space. As for the plethora of decorative teapots? ‘I thought teapots were a good thing because this is China and I wanted to bring all these European teapots back to the place where tea comes from.’

MCM's global CEO Paolo Fontanelli, who spends much of his year travelling between the brand’s head offices in Zurich and Seoul, reinforces the cross cultural sentiment: ‘This concept is East meets West, very much like MCM.’

Rehberger’s work, which takes over three-quarters of the store’s retail space, will remain in situ in Hong Kong until 2 May, while his fluorescent lighting tubes and jagged lines will also take over the windows of the brand’s global stores during this time. ‘At MCM we’re convinced that stores should be a place to inspire and not only to sell,’ adds Fontanelli, who will reopen the brand’s redesigned Seoul flagship next month, followed by another on London’s Conduit Street in the autumn.

All of this activity is in honour of the brand’s 40th anniversary year, which is destined to be filled with more big moves, including plans for LC:M this June.

Tobias Rehberger docks his latest dazzle installation at MCM’s flagship for Art Basel Hong Kong

In celebration of the house’s 40th anniversary, Rehberger toyed with its logo monogram to create MCM’s own ‘dazzle camouflage’, that enlivens a limited edition collection, launched at Art Basel Hong Kong

(Image credit: Tobias Rehberger and MCM)

Tobias Rehberger's latest installation dazzles at MCM, Hong Kong

The 2009 Venice Biennale Golden Lion winner's camouflage signature is inspired by First World War British military 'hide and seek' techniques that involved painting ships to match the waves

(Image credit: Tobias Rehberger and MCM)

Tobias Rehberger's latest installation dazzles at MCM, Hong Kong

Rehberger (pictured left) states, ‘When MCM approached me I wasn’t sure whether I should do it because the brand hadn’t been on my radar recently. However, I changed my mind when some of my young, fashion conscious assistants reacted extremely enthusiastically’

(Image credit: Tobias Rehberger and MCM)

Tobias Rehberger's latest installation dazzles at MCM, Hong Kong

For his part, Rehberger rendered the logo’s ‘M’ in a succession of graphic stripes and then blew them up to cover shopping totes, clutches and backpacks 

(Image credit: Tobias Rehberger and MCM)

Tobias Rehberger's latest installation dazzles at MCM, Hong Kong

In addition to this stripe motif, Rehberger also presented MCM with a blocky hyper-hued variant that they’ve used to jazz up a bespoke line of made-to-order suitcases

(Image credit: Tobias Rehberger and MCM)

Tobias Rehberger's latest installation dazzles at MCM, Hong Kong

Global CEO Paolo Fontanelli, who travels between the brand’s head offices in Zurich and Seoul explains, ‘This concept is East meets West, very much like MCM’

(Image credit: Tobias Rehberger and MCM)

Tobias Rehberger's latest installation dazzles at MCM, Hong Kong

Fontanelli adds that, ‘At MCM we’re convinced that stores should be a place to inspire and not only to sell.' The installation will remain in Hong Kong until 2 May

(Image credit: Tobias Rehberger and MCM)

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