“The Artist Is Absent”––the title of a new short documentary on Martin Margiela released online on Monday, a play on Margiela’s notorious lack of public presence and an obvious nod to Marina Abramovic’s famed work “The Artist is Present.” Directed by Alison Chernik, who has made documentaries on the likes of Roy Lichtenstein, Jeff Koons, and the like, was charged with the task of creating a documentary film on a subject who’s calling card is elusiveness. Since direct probing of the subject himself was not a possiblity, Chernik interviewed several people on a list provided to her by Margiela about his career and vision––this includes veteran fashion writer Suzy Menkes, Jean Paul Gaultier who Margiela worked for briefly at the beginning of his career, and Dior creative director and Margiela contemporary Raf Simons, among others. The eleven minute long film is teasingly short. Much like the man himself it leaves you mystified, curious and wanting more.
The documentary can be seen above, as well as images from a Martin Margiela’s Street Special 1 & 2 below. In 1995 and 1999, Martin Margiela collaborated with Tokyo based magazine “Street,” curating the layout and content himself. Published in two installments and later amalgamated into a book, the issues contain rare and previously unpublished photos from the Margiela archive.
(L) Maison Martin Margiela Summer 1990 Invitiation. (R) Maison Martin Margiela Summer 1991.
(L) Maison Martin Margiela Summer 1989, photos by Tatsuya Kitayama and Ronald Stoops. (R) Maison Martin Margiela Summer 1996, photo by Anders Edstrom.
(L) Maison Martin Margiela Summer 1997, photo by Ronald Stoops. (R) Maison Martin Margiela Winter 1996-97.
(L) Maison Martin Margiela Summer 1993, photo by Tatsuya Kitayama. (R) Maison Martin Margiela Winter 1995-95, photos by Ronald Stoops and Anders Edstrom.