13 August 2022 - 4 December 2022

Curated by: Victor Wang, M WOODS Artistic Director and Chief Curator, and Rebecca Lamarche-Vadel, Director Lafayette Anticipations

M WOODS Hutong, Beijing

For his first solo exhibition in Asia, M WOODS invites artist and internationally renowned former fashion designer Martin Margiela to reimagine the museum through a series of new and commissioned installations, sculptures, performances, collages, paintings and films.

Martin Margiela at M WOODS is presented in collaboration with Lafayette Anticipations, Fondation d’entreprise Galeries Lafayette, Paris, where Martin Margiela had his first solo exhibition in 2021, and curated by Victor Wang, M WOODS Artistic Director and Chief Curator, with Rebecca Lamarche-Vadel, Lafayette Anticipations Director, the exhibition comprises of over 50 new artworks and installations with interactive performances and special site-specific displays that audiences can participate in.

Developed in close conversation with Martin Margiela and the curators, for over a year, the exhibition focuses on the continuous dialogue that Martin Margiela has been exploring around art, material and the body, time, gender, and audience participation since the 1980s, largely orchestrated through his experimental runway shows and through the exploration of textile and fabric. This connectivity between art and fashion as a vehicle to question representations of gender and power, for example, was already present in 1988, during his first debut show at Café de la Gare, Paris, which incorporated themes of Surrealism and included a large floor painting that was actively created by the models as they walked overtop the canvas with red paint on the soles of their shoes. Moreover, the exhibition expands on the various ways in which Martin Margiela’s artistic practice moves beyond the conventions of fashion, a “system”, Margiela explains, [that] became suffocating”, towards a new space of possibilities within the museum: that is uniquely situated for asking questions, posing alternative thinking, and long-term artistic interventions.

Vanitas, Silicone and natural dyed hair, 2019
Courtesy the artist and Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp
© Pierre Antoine

At M WOODS, Margiela constructs a unique space that allows the viewer to experience the exhibition as an alternative world: the traditional entrance and exit of the museum will be reversed, thus altering the successive progression of the galleries, with largescale installation works such as ‘Monument’ (2021) altering the very structure of the museum with sound and vintage furniture, its large architectural façade offers an alternative lens to understand urban development and conservation. Featuring a combination of artworks that activate the space, from live performances to paintings such as “Film Dust” (2021) that makes visible the often-invisible specs of dust found on film stills, or the work “Dust Cover” (2021) that makes reference to Man Ray’s ‘Enigme d’Isidore Ducass’ (1920). In an age of mass exposure and hyper visibility, the exhibition teases out the importance of invisibility and ambiguity in Margiela’s work and practice, placing emphases on the ways in which art becomes a space to ask questions, and where the personal and the public exchange and adopt ideas and perspectives.

A special exhibition catalogue, designed by influential graphic designer and book maker, Irma Boom, will accompany the exhibition. Further, limited edition museum shop items, designed by Martin Margiela, will also be available.
Martin Margiela was born in 1957 in Leuven, Belgium, to a Polish father and a Belgian mother. He lives and works between Paris and Belgium.

As a teenager, he attended the Sint-Lukas Kunsthumaniora art school in Hasselt, Belgium, for three years, then entered the fashion department of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp in 1977.

After graduating, he worked as a freelancer in Italy and Belgium before moving to Paris, where he became Jean- Paul Gaultier’s first assistant from 1984 to 1987. Maison Martin Margiela was founded in 1988 in the same city with a unique and avant-garde style, far from traditional references.

Martin Margiela was the first designer to introduce recycling in his creations, using army socks, broken crockery, flea market clothing, and plastic packaging, among other things. His outfits show signs of wear and tear and his fashion often goes beyond the boundaries of clothing. The locations chosen for his fashion shows are equally unconventional: an abandoned metro station, an SNCF warehouse, and a vacant lot that has become legendary.

self-portrait, 2022 
Courtesy of Martin Margiela & Zeno X Gallery
© Martin Margiela

Early on, Margiela forged links with the art world through exhibitions at the Thaddaeus Ropac gallery (Paris) and institutions such as BOZAR (Brussels), Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (Rotterdam), Haus der Kunst (Munich), LACMA (Los Angeles), and Somerset House (London).

In 1997, while continuing to work for his own label, he was a surprise appointment as creative director for women’s ready-to- wear for Hermès. He worked there for twelve seasons until 2003. In 2008, he decided to leave fashion just after the twentieth anniversary show of Maison Marti Margiela.

Since then, he has devoted himself exclusively to the visual arts. His first solo exhibition, at the invitation of the Lafayette Anticipations Fondation in Paris, took place from October 2021 to January 22.

Exhibition Credit

This exhibition is organised by Victor Wang, Artistic Director and Chief Curator, M WOODS, with Rebecca Lamarche-Vadel, Director Lafayette Anticipations.  

Curatorial assistance provided by Chen Lu, Assistant Curator, and Lin Yuyang, Assistant to Artistic Director and Chief Curator.

Exhibition Design by Ania Martchenko, with assistance by Li Xindi, Yang Yang, and Yang Zhi, M WOODS Technical Team.

M WOODS Museum is a registered not-for-profit museum in China, with two venues:


798 Art Zone D-06,
No.2 Jiuxianqiao Rd, Chaoyang, Beijing


Citang Street, Qing Yang District,
Chengdu, Sichuan

(最后入场时间: 18:00) 

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Open Tuesday to Sunday, 11:00-19:00 (Last admission: 18:00)

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