The Ralph Pucci library offers you an inside look at Mats Gustafson's Dior watercolor portrayals; a few selected pages are captured around the NYC showroom in appreciation of the harmony between his art and our world of design. If these works inspire you, copies are available through Rizzoli online, in addition to other retailers.
Excerpts from the book's intro, written by Tim Blanks:
"Mats Gustafson is obsessed with light. There’d be long stretches of the year when there wasn’t much of it while he was growing up in the countryside outside of Stockholm, so he has an understandable appreciation of the preciousness of light. His watercolors glow with it, but the awareness that darkness is just ‘round the corner instills a melancholy that is Scandinavia’s cultural inheritance. The glow in Gustafson’s pictures is spectral, a hallucinatory mist from which human forms emerge, into which they recede, leaving a gorgeous, blurry trace."
"He trained as a theatre designer. He was already working as an illustrator when he graduated, so he never actually used the training, but it does help explain the subtle sense of drama in his pictures."
“…Gustafson has become an expert at reconciling seeming opposites: the carnal and the cerebral, the erotic and the rigorous, the elusive and the illuminating, the flamboyant and the restrained. The end is beauty; the means to that end is reduction and simplification. Gustafson defines what he does as the very opposite of a photograph."
"'I’ve been working on the same drawing since I started.' Gustafson (agrees). 'It’s always the same- an item of clothing, and inside it, there’s a body moving towards you. But each time, there are new obstacles, new problems to solve.' In that respect, he is like the designers whose work he has elevated over the years. The challenge they face is finite – dressing the human form – but within that challenge, there is a vast range of options. The quest for the perfect solution sustains long careers. That applies not only to fashion, but to every other creative human endeavor where the artist is continually asking himself, 'What am I looking for?'
You know exactly how Mats Gustafson is going to answer when the same question is posed to him: 'I haven’t found it yet.' Which is hugely reassuring for Mats addicts, because it means he’s not about to stop looking anytime soon. More work for him, more joy for us."
photography, Christy Rappold.