Balmain Announces the First Exhibition from ‘The Together Project’

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During anxious moments over the past two years, although we were often forced apart, our shared humanity was perhaps never more evident. Separated, we instinctively reached out to each other, hoping to calm fears, hear familiar voices, share laughter. #BalmainEnsemble, which began during the earliest days of the pandemic lockdowns, turns to art, new creations and conversation to highlight the radically transformative power of community, caring and relationships.

Building upon the force of that message, Balmain is proud to announce ‘The Together Project,’ a unique new initiative from Balmain and its longtime partner (RED). Intent on celebrating universal stories of love, intimacy and friendship, ‘The Together Project’ focuses on the relationships between different artists and the people who are most important to them – lovers, parents, family, best friends. Their stories, both universal and unique, will be explored in distinct mediums and creations from different artists.

For the debut exhibition from ‘The Together Project,’ Balmain and (RED) have turned to Evangelia Kranioti, a Greek director and visual artist based in France. Kranioti is known for her critically acclaimed works in film, photography and installations, which have won numerous awards. Recent Kranioti projects have been showcased in Les Rencontres d’Arles, the Biennale of Moving Images, Le Palais de Tokyo, the Berlinale Forum and Paris Photo.

For this first edition of ‘The Together Project,’ displayed inside the Balmain stand during this year’s Paris Photo (November 11-14), Evangelia Kranioti has created ‘Together.’ For the exhibition, Kraniotihas photographed and filmed an eclectic mix of subjects: the Japanese-British songwriter and model Rina Sawayama and her mother Noriko, the choreographer and acrobat Yoann Bourgeois and his wife Marie Bourgeois, and the adult film star and entertainer Allannah Star. The films record the subjects’ most intimate musings on the beauty of affection and intimacy—while adding more poignant and sometimes darker reflections on fears, tragedies, disease, rejection and fragility. Kranioti has chosen to set the subjects in bed as it is an intimate space where people are often most vulnerable yet connected to their self and companion. The images, shot at Paris’ Sofitel Le Scribe Hotel and onstage at the French Capital’s famed Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord, feature the iconic Sofitel MyBed and rely on Kranioti’s familiar mastery of rich colors and theatrical staging. Alongside the films, (which will be playing one after another, in a constant loop) and the large photos of the subjects, the Balmain stand also holds a selection of postcard-sized video stills for sale. Proceeds from the sale of those limited-edition images will be dedicated to (RED), helping that organization raise needed money for The Global Funds’ essential work in fighting AIDS and COVID in sub-Saharan Africa. Sofitel Hotels & Resorts, Leica (which donated needed supplies) and Paris’
Galerie Sator (which represents Evangelia Kranioti and has a concurrent show on the artist running at the same time as Paris Photo) have all joined together with Balmain to help to make this moving exposition possible.

“Everyone loves to focus on fashion’s social-media and digital evolutions,” notes Balmain Creative Director Olivier Rousteing. “But if the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that we all still need actual contact, communication and companionship—for when we are actually together, we are stronger, healthier, happier. Evangelia Kranioti’s beautiful work reflects those truths, and her ‘Together’ exhibit is a perfect way for us to begin our new ‘Together Project.’ I’ve long been a fan of Kranioti’s work, and I think these photos and videos are moving and beautiful. I’m so very proud to have Balmain associated with this initiative and these creations.”