The new Kenzo Fall 2014 online experience is uncanny, a mystery that turns theft into ownership, heist into art, and power into amusement. Created by directors Partel Oliva and web/3D designers Kim Boutin and David Broner, the project is an abstract-noir starring models Grace Bol and Sang Woo Kim.
The story is simple and sexy: over the course of a few nights before the opening of Grace to the Nth Power, a solo show inspired by the Sudanese-American model, all but one of the artworks are stolen, and replaced with videos of Bol and Woo Kim swiping them by cover of night. Bol cracks open a hard-boiled egg on the head of her own bust and eats it exquisitely. She charades a joyride while Woo Kim meticulously documents. They make sure the original works are perfectly replaced with their shenanigans, laser-measuring and leisurely relishing. The soundtrack—a multi-texture of displacement—is by Fatima Al Qadiri.
The elusive interactive ends with an exit through the online store, where you can buy the pre-Fall collection worn by the muse-turned-thief and her accomplice. The collection—loosely inspired by overfishing off the coast of Northern California—combines techno-plaid and asymmetry with Fair Isle knitting techniques. It’s futuristic nonchalance, which translates in the content as a meditation on possession: the initial video is narrated by the supposed artist of the works, who says:
“I could have stopped them after the first break in. God knows everybody wanted to involve the police, but it didn’t make sense. They would have come into the gallery like they owned the place, and maybe they did…I came to realize it’s no longer my show, no longer a show about Grace, but Grace’s show.”
At a time when our understanding of ownership is being transformed, Kenzo’s Grace to the Nth Power is détournement of retail through theft and a reflection on appropriation and dispossession. “The robbed that smiles,” Shakespeare wrote in Othello, “steals something from the thief.”