Thursday 24th October

| BY Paul Toner

Ten’s To See: ‘Dark Shadows’ at Saint Laurent Rive Droite in Paris

Robert Mapplethorpe, ‘Untitled (S&M Gear)’ from 1972

Christmas shopping can be such drab. December is usually spent darting down Oxford Street with gazillion bags, ducking between tourists who halt to gawk at the glistening lights like you’re a master of Temple Run. And don’t even get us started on online shopping. You may escape the queues of screaming kids (and sometimes even screaming mums), but your browser will remain clogged with opened tabs and you’ll still probably (definitely) forget someone. Thankfully this year, there’s one shop that stocks all the Crimbo goodies you could ever need. Saint Laurent’s Rive Droite is Mr. Anthony Vaccarello’s wonder emporium. With physical locations in both Paris and LA, as well as an online retail space, Rive Droite is advancing the typical concept store format by selling everything from YSL branded lighters, leopard-print yoga mats, marble dumbbells and even crystal-embellished dice.

Aside from selling practically everything under the sun, Saint Laurent is now morphing Rive Droite into a gallery space. Dark Shadows, their first exhibition is curated by Anthony Vaccarello and sees six pieces pulled from the White Cube collection, on display at the Paris store until December 20th. Upon the arrival into the space, your eyes will be instantly drawn to a pair of fangs dripping with blood. This piece is courtesy of California-based contemporary artist, and Raf Simon’s favourite, Sterling Ruby. After years of collaborating with Simons on his namesake label and during stints at Dior and Calvin Klein, Ruby debuted his own label, S.R.Studio.LA.CA, at Pitti Uomo this June. The work on display, Vampire 118, is the latest addition to Ruby’s series of cartoon-like nashers. Whilst previous renditions have been splashed in the American flag, blue tie-dye and Ruby’s signature splotches of paint, the piece at Rive Droite is veiled in an inky-black. Very YSL indeed.

Carry on walking around the concept store and you’ll catch glimpses of A Painstick on Handmade Paper by Richard Serra. The abstract painting sits above Concetto Spaziale Natura (1967), a twin pair of golden spheres created and signed by Lucio Fontana – making those golden eggs Veruca Salt whined to her daddy about in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory look rather worthless indeed. The exhibition’s focal point comes in a set of monochrome polaroids shot by Robert Mapplethorpe. Six in total, the collection arouses a behind-the-scenes perspective to the artist’s quest for sexual liberation. See the first polaroid Untitled (S&M Gear) (1972), which depicts a subject glad in a gimp mask; the zip of the mouth left open for a reason.

As evident in this space, Vacarello has mastered an excellent ability to curate arts. Dark Shadows pulls work from clashing mediums and varying periods in time. Yet pieced together, the collection appears harmonious, as if these works always meant to sit alongside one another. Not just a dab hand in the design field, we can now see Vacarello weaving his admiration for the contemporary art world into the DNA of the house on a grander scale. Rive Droite is a shopping experience like no other, evoking a fun retail environment where you can look at some cracking art whilst doing so. Talk about killing two birds with one (precious) stone.

‘Dark Shadows’ is open till December 20th at Saint Laurent Rive Droite in Paris.