Destination / In Residence

Figures of Speech: Virgil Abloh’s first solo art exhibition at the MCA in Chicago

Fashion designer, artistic director, entrepreneur, DJ, creative visionary and now exhibiting artist. Is there anything Virgil Abloh can’t do?

In his first solo exhibition, Figures of Speech, the designer takes us on a journey through various individual galleries, showcasing each phase of his two decade-strong creative process, from fashion, music, art and architecture. In a nutshell, how a DJ from Rockford, Illinois, became the artistic director of Louis Vuitton menswear.

Outside of the exhibition there is a blacked out flagged with Question Everything printed on it, a stand out theme in the exhibition and is something Abloh embodies in terms of staying outside of the box – never limiting or narrowing himself down to just one category or point of view.

The exhibit begins with a culture wall, which demonstrates the influence of punk rock and hip-hop culture in Abloh’s life, which he continues to mix into his work today. The first gallery, titled Early Work, features a video showing the 2012 fashion experiment Pyrex Vision (his first fashion label). Next is the Fashion gallery, where the designer shows the evolution of his meteoric brand Off-White, with racks of the brand’s clothing on display.

The Music gallery involves a large display of the 2013 Yeezus album art, that Abloh created with friend and collaborator, Kanye West. He also showcases the new transparent turntables he created with Pioneer.

The exhibition shifts to the Black Gaze – more politically driven than the last. Here, audiences find a collection of images displaying his past work and fashion campaigns with Louis Vuitton menswear. This section features a neon sign with a quote from the film Pretty Women, “You’re obviously in the wrong place” and a painting of the Cotton logo with its colours inverted.

Figures of Speech is now open, and will run through September 22.