Photo: Louis Vuitton

The Louis Vuitton Artycapucines Collection is back in its 4th iteration, this time around with 6 contemporary artists creating 9 new designs in total. The classic silhouette of the structured Capucines bag has always been a blank canvas that lends itself perfectly to the reinterpretations of the art world’s brightest. The creatives who contributed to the 2022 collection are Daniel Buren, Kennedy Yanko, Park Seo-Bo, Amelie Bertrand, Peter Marino and Ugo Rondinone. Each of the artist’s work comes in a limited edition of 200 pieces, housed in its own specially-designed gift box.

Louis Vuitton Artycapucines Collection
Louis Vuitton Artycapucines Collection. Photo: Louis Vuitton

Buren’s Artycapucines is a double-sided trompe l’oeil design with his signature stripes, rendered in 4 colour variations. The “double design” has long been an artistic fascination for Buren. Here, it is translated into a semicircle handle, handcrafted from resin and polished to a satin-like finish which then becomes a full circle mirrored on both sides of the bag. Pulling off this design flourish required bespoke changes to the way the Capucines is constructed—the bag is designed as symmetrical halves, with each side in different-coloured leather.

The colour combinations (white/orange, white/green, black/white, and red/black) are a nod to the artist’s Observatory of Light, a large-scale installation he conceived for the Fondation Louis Vuitton in 2016. The “double” concept of the bag extends to the little details, from the pair of flaps—the classic Capucines has only one—to the two LV logos that match the colour of their respective sides. In an exclusive Q&A, Buren tells us more about his inspirations and artistic process.

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Daniel Buren LV Artycapucines
Daniel Buren. Photo: Louis Vuitton

What was the first artwork that left an impression of you?

When I was 17, 1 roamed the South of France studying the relationship between the Provencal landscape and its representation in pictures from the likes of Cézanne to Picasso. The experience allowed me to meet over a hundred artists, including Picasso. He invited me to Victorine studios in Nice where he was filming The Mystery of Picasso with Henri-Georges Clouzot. I was fascinated and returned several times. So it wasn’t one artwork, but rather the attitude of one man that triggered my desire to create and pursue a career as an artist.

What are the recurrent themes in your work?

Since 1967, my work has been based on the importance of the space in which it is made. This began when I rubbed shoulders with those artists in their studios in Provence. I became convinced that something fundamental was lost when their work went from the studio to the exhibition spaces in Parisian galleries. Around the same time I went to Mexico to study the Muralists, those 20th-century artists who, after the Mexican Revolution, painted huge frescoes on public buildings as educational tools. Each work was a direct reflection of its immediate environment—political, cultural, historical and geographical. This approach made me think about the spaces where I was going to create my own work, and the nature of that work. The answer was obvious: in the street. From then on, my work was dependent on its environment: where it was created, for who, why, and how. Which meant that I no longer required a studio.

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Photo: Louis Vuitton

Which elements of your work inspired your Artycapucines?

The subject of this work is not a specific space or precise environment, which are usually at the heart of all my work; rather, it’s a fixed object with which I “compose”. The Artycapucines has a really simple design: a trapezoid as a base and the arc of a circle as a handle. Everything starts from there. My initial sketch was rather abstract, but the object’s function was still clear. By making the handle an exact semicircle, and transferring it to the body of the bag itself, two shapes emerged: a trapezoid and a circle.

Photo: Louis Vuitton

How was your collaboration with Louis Vuitton’s artisans to transfer the design to the bag?

I was so impressed by the artisans’ ability to implement such high-quality solutions in such a record time. They constantly amazed me. Just three weeks after showing them my thumbnail sketch, they presented me with a prototype, which became the basis of our shared reflections on improvements.

Do you see this project as more art or fashion?

I’ve never had the pretension to say that what I do is art, even less so when it’s a utilitarian object. I hope that my Artycapucines will be understood above all as a bag approaching the realms of the beautiful, and indeed fashion. If that were the case, it would be a good start!

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Photo: Louis Vuitton