Thomas Jeppe exhibits at the Saint Laurent flagship in Melbourne

At the very end of our first year of living with the pandemic – 2020 for those who have suppressed memory – Saint Laurent has opened its first flagship store on Collins St in Melbourne. Now, almost two years later, the French fashion house is finally taking a moment to officially celebrate the store opening. How, you ask? Saint Laurent’s creative director, Anthony Vaccarello, has personally commissioned a suite of artwork from Australian artist Thomas Jeppe to display as part of the festivities.

At the heart of the exhibition, a series of two triptychs evoking the architecture of arcades. Aiming to inject the flagship with the character of its urban surroundings, this specific series takes its name from the location of the store, which is locally noted as the “Paris End” of Collins St. The works themselves are in black and white and deliberately geometric. , with an austere symmetry meant to reflect the two unifying cities.

The effect is immediate and Jeppe’s works perfectly complement the monochrome style of the store, with a nod to its details that recall the French modernist movement of the early 20and century. Speaking about his works, Jeppe said: “The split sphere of the skylights of Paris is both elemental protection and a glass ceiling…these hemispheres return like the dueling walls of a ravine”.

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For guests meeting upstairs in the Saint Laurent VIP Lounge, you’ll see the show’s latest centerpiece, a single oil painting dubbed End of Melbourne. The painting is much more fluid than previous works, featuring a solitary figurative figure perched between two ambiguous landscapes, linking the rigid and distinctly separate geometry of those below.

Although born in Australia, Jeppe currently works in Paris as a painter and writer. He has exhibited in a myriad of leading contemporary galleries and institutions, while his curriculum vitae points to a series of projects dotted around Basel, Hamburg, Vienna and Paris that he personally curated.

Betting End will be on display from May 19 to June 9 at the Saint Laurent Collins St store in Melbourne.

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Julia P. Cluff