Debra Franses makes her Dubai debut and showcases her signature Artbag designs – News

The British artist’s month-long exhibition opened on Thursday at That Concept Store in the Mall of the Emirates

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Published: Thu 6 Oct 2022, 07:39 PM

Last update: Thu 6 Oct 2022, 20:51

British artist Debra Franses, who has lived and worked in New York, and now based in rural Amersham, about 40 kilometers from central London, is making her debut in Dubai and the Middle East.

His month-long exhibition, Artbag, opened at That Concept Store in the Mall of the Emirates on Thursday.

She described Artbag “like a window into her soul.”

It was during her studies at Central St Martins School of Art (2002-05) that the idea for these designs came to fruition, when she took a beautiful handbag from a major fashion house and l ‘fitted in a silicone mold for casting.

The first bag was made of thick white plaster, but his next bag, catch, was cast in resin and featured a goldfish inside a reservoir of water, mounted on a plinth.

Her early pieces were highly autobiographical, as through these Franses visualized how she felt in the different areas of her life, although the emphasis shifted over time.

His creations celebrate pop art in a changing digital world.

She explores ideas centered around consumption and mass production and recognizes the complex relationship people have with material objects as consumable goods.

“The only constant in life is change and freezing time is a celebration of my creations,” said an effervescent Franses, known for her quick wit and wry sense of humor.

Its bespoke bags exude comfort, prestige and style.

“Resin is for me the medium of art because it preserves things. I want to hold things that are valuable and need to be handled with care. We have to be kind to each other,” she said in her inimitable way.

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Photo provided

Creating an Artbag has been compared to mummifying in a slick, fancy resin coffin. Objects are selected to ensure that they do not break or melt during the casting process; sometimes delicate items need their own mold. The handbag silicone mold has two parts, and a first layer of objects is arranged in each half.

The liquid resin is poured in layers, with a day between each layer to harden and with other objects added to build up the layers. To remove the last traces of air, the finished handbag is then placed in a pressure chamber. This is the trickiest step in the process as bubbles can form in the resin. Once hardened, the handbag remains in the mold for several days and once removed it is sanded, polished to a high gloss and lacquered.

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Photo provided

Franses, who was born in London, studied politics and economics and initially pursued a career in advertising, despite her artistic ambitions from the age of six.

“My work is inspired by the kitsch elements of popular culture, referencing both pop art and post-modernism’s efforts to embody these ideals,” she said.

She explained her fascination with the color red. “Held in the moment of time preserved in resin on the lines of chaos in a moment of stillness. Red symbolizes chaos, as each bag tells a unique story of human trials and tribulations,” she said. declared.

She fell in love with Dubai at first sight on her first visit.

“The sun, the sand and the vertical skyscrapers make me feel that Dubai is inextricably linked to my future. Dubai embodies my designs, which are a social commentary on the ephemeral nature of human existence. For example, my creation, aptly called ‘Handle with Care’, is made of golden barbed wire containing a fragile white bird that celebrates the fragility of human existence,” she said.

Her first taste of Asia was India in 2003 where she “fell in love with the culture…first through yoga and a spiritual connection to the beautiful, innocent people.”

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Photo provided

“I love culture and studied social anthropology at university before going to Central St Martins School of Art to bring it all together in my own artistic language formed by objects. The handbag has become an immediate and intimate language to carry all my memories and experiences of the world and the people I have met in my artistic journey,” she added.

Franses’ ethnicity makes her a citizen of the world – her father, a Sephardic Jew, was a Renaissance man, who could speak several European languages ​​with consummate fluency and was trained as a matador (torero) before s venture into his father’s hat business at Maddox in London. Street. His mother was an Ashkenazi Jew from modern Belarus and was an art teacher.

Her Artbags have been exhibited in galleries around the world and she also undertakes private commissions.

In 2015 she created works for the Coca Cola Museum to celebrate 100 years of the iconic Coke bottle design and her works have been featured alongside pieces by some of her own personal artistic heroes.

ArtKōrero partners with Franses

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Photo provided

“We are beyond excited to partner with That Concept Store in creating our first pop-up retail art X space. CE Concept Store understands the power artists have to transform a retail space into an immersive and culturally relevant environment. They helped bring this collaboration to life. Over the next few months, ArtKōrero will feature international and UAE-based artists in the ArtKōrero X That pop-up, starting with Nat Bowen and now our second show featuring Debra Franses. We look forward to sharing her amazing bag sculptures with visitors to the store and Mall of the Emirates,” said Chimere Cisse, Founder of ArtKōrero.

ArtKōrero, which has offices in London and Dubai, seeks to engage galleries, private venues, luxury brands and public spaces in the art world. James Goldcrown, Kico Camacho, Anchorball and Rabab Tantawy are some of the creative sparks collaborating with ArtKōrero.

Marjorie N. McClure