Christophe Chemin and his obsessions
Long before we ever talked about the possibility of a collaboration, Christophe and I started a beautiful and unexpected friendship based on sharing not only thoughts but visions. We would discuss contrasting images, like the beauty in masks and costumes, poetry and denim, Béla Tarr and loneliness, childhood and rats—a clash of information that I had never shared before. We trusted each other despite not knowing each other at all.
Once, Christophe made me a necklace out of breadcrumbs. He loves collecting dry bread, which I find very poetic and peaceful. It was almost impossible to wear, and that’s the beauty of it. You end up just waiting for a bird to come and eat it off your neck. After months of conversations we realized that we were talking to each other much more than we were talking to any other person; whether they were a friend, a lover, or family. Strangely though, we never talked in person; we never used the phone or FaceTime, we would only write. We were old-fashioned.
At first, I wasn’t sure about having Christophe involved in a project for Prada, a fashion brand. I cared too much about him and his pure art and sensitivity—I wanted to protect him. Ours was not the usual collaboration, it was different. I was concerned about sharing our precious connection through the brand, the public, and—eventually—the consumer. But he has such an incredible sense of fashion. I knew he would understand how to integrate his intelligence through the clothes—it was like a narrative, storytelling beyond a visual impact. His was telling stories of men, of women, of their past, and of their future. Eventually, we met for the first time the day before the Prada Autumn/Winter 2016 men’s show in Milan.
Often, Christophe and I talk about our obsessions. Obsessions are beautiful: They tell so much about people. In this portfolio of his work, I can see so many beautiful obsessions. Pier Paolo Pasolini is the most important—Christophe’s biggest love. Christophe religiously collects every fact and detail of Pasolini, learning, and understanding—almost stalking—his life. In these drawings I can feel his devotion, the study of the most incredible details—some rarely seen before—of Pasolini’s clothes on the day he was found dead. Christophe looks at life, always searching for the “chiaroscuro” of things; there is light, there is darkness, there is the Holy and there is violence. The power of this strikes me and talks to me, like in a movie, as if I were a psychic. I can close my eyes and see the past, the moment, the heartbeat, his face, his love. It draws the face of Giuseppe Pelosi, Pasolini’s presumed killer—the Kiss from “Salò”—both in deep red; there is so much power in these subversive drawings. I always see love through Christophe’s obsession for Pasolini, who gave so much to him. He’s giving it back.