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Jacquemus: Marseille Je t'aime is a story in four acts. Act One: at [MAC] the exhibition welcomes the guest with a sunflower meadow, displaying the symbol of Provence along with the (already) iconic Spring/Summer 2017 pieces; but in this case, flattened to become paintings. Act Two: a book, the first of a series, captures Jacquemus' universe through the eyes of Pierre-Ange Carlotti, David Luraschi or Willy Dorner. Acts Three and Four: at MUCEM. The exhibition Images introduces an intimate kaleidoscope of his attachments. But when the sun came to round the day off, the bewitching collection Les Santons de Provence was introduced to the audience, together with Jacquemus' celebration of Marseille's folklore! 

A true story of Marseille begins with some aerial tones: a musical ballad that deliciously smells the Mediterranean spell. And here they appeared like they were emerging from the sea over MUCEM's walkway: the Santons of Provence, all together straight from Jacquemus' imagination. The step is slow and sensual; within those pieces, Simon Porte Jacquemus brought his audience to a reverie, to his own delight of Marseille's tradition.

It seems that Spanish, Japanese and Provençal folklore have met up into his designs to draw an evident celebration of the Phocéen city. Graphic yet floaty, his garments reveal a sensuality rarely seen today; a femme-enfant who's slowly entering a new stage of her life. But Jacquemus still has fun with details with certain elegance: giant red-cufflink and amazing hats, the balance is perfect when the accuracy of his compositions could only raise emotions of poetry.

And then, there is this air of mystery surrounding Jacquemus' creations. At the Fort Saint-Jean Chapelle, the exhibition above mentioned precisely provides an inside – or rather the underside – of the self-taught designer’s life by projecting his intimacy, his friends and familiar environments in a kaleidoscopic story composed from his Instagram account on multiscreen. People laughs openly, savour and enjoy life's small pleasures, and it becomes obvious that Simon Jacquemus draws his energy from that spontaneity. Lastly the show closed on a burst of joie de vivre, cadenced on a waltz almost Provençal! Then on, at sunset, the Santons of Provence went away, leaving behind the sweetness of this life.
Archives, from May 12th to January 14th 2018 at [MAC] Musée d’Art Contemporain Marseille, 69 Avenue d'Haifa, Marseille.

Images, from May 14th to July 31st at MUCEM Musée des civilisations et de la Méditerranée, 7 Promenade Robert Laffont, Marseille.

Doria Arkoun
Images courtesy
Lucien Pagès

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