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To coincide with Frieze 2015, Pal Zileri unveiled an exciting creative project of its own at its revamped New Bond Street store

Few other fairs have made such an impact on the modern-art world as Frieze. For over a decade, the prestigious annual event has brought together leading names from more than 160 of the world’s most exciting galleries. From its take-over of Regent’s Park every October, it went on to extend its repertoire with the launch of Frieze Masters and a sister event in New York in 2012. Influential, groundbreaking and inspiring, today it attracts around 60,000 art lovers and collectors.

Last year’s Frieze London provided the ideal opportunity for the brand to reveal an innovative new endeavour of its own: the Pal Zileri Avant Craft Art Project. Aiming to showcase the work of both established and up-and-coming artists through unique in-store exhibitions, it made its debut at the company’s sleek new central London store on the opening night of Frieze and brought together top names in both the fashion and art industries. 

Parse, another of the artist’s site-specific installations;

For this initial stage of the project, Pal Zileri commissioned British multimedia artist Amba Sayal-Bennett to create three site-specific works to be exhibited alongside large-scale canvases by Italian painter Matteo Callegari. Award-winning Sayal-Bennett, whose work garnered acclaim at the Saatchi Gallery as part of the talked-about New Sensations show, is renowned for her use of commonplace items in contemporary pieces. She is interested, she has said, in ‘how man-made or constructed environments can be experienced in sculptural terms’ and the way in which the use of ordinary objects in bold and engaging structures serves to challenge our perception of the everyday.

Creating a permanent exhibition at the Pal Zileri store on New Bond Street provided Sayal-Bennett with a unique challenge. It was imperative to her that the works ‘respond directly to both the architectural setting and the modes of display used in the shop’. This concept is realised to particularly striking effect in Muon Cript – an ethereal installation that is housed in the building’s semi-circular window, making it visible from both inside and outside the store. ‘One of the important aspects of art is its affective power,’ she said, reflecting on its emotive power. ‘I think it’s within the potential of every artwork to stir a response in a viewer.’

Sayal-Bennett’s two other installations for Pal Zileri, Parse and Brack and Brine, also took inspiration from the store’s framework. The former comprises a projection of acetate prints of digital collages into its interior via an overhead projector, while the latter, which consists of large-scale prints draped over display objects within the boutique, was inspired by the twin worlds of art and fashion. As she explains: ‘Art and fashion have always had a shared history. Many designers take inspiration from artists, and art and fashion are the key components of cultural movements.’

Sayal-Bennett with Mauro Ravizza Krieger, Pal Zileri’s Creative Director

The launch event of the Avant Craft Art Project was featured on the likes of Italian and Among the attendees was esteemed fashion journalist Gianluca Longo, contributing editor at Harper’s Bazaar and contributing European editor at W Magazine. He concurred that ‘art and fashion have always been close’, adding that ‘many designers are really inspired by its visual impact’. Tommaso Foggini, editor-in-chief at the limited-edition, art-focused, multi-format SansSouci Magazine, was also a guest. The relationship between art and fashion, he mused, has ‘always been united by a very strong mutual inspiration: two different worlds united by the same incessant search for new expression’.

The driving force of Pal Zileri’s Avant Craft Art Project is the very same as that of Frieze: a striving for something fresh. Contemporary art has long challenged traditional ideals and the confines of the clinical, white-cube gallery, and it is with this in mind that the company has embarked on an exciting new journey. Foggini was among the many guests at the inaugural event who recognised this: ‘The commitment that Pal Zileri is showing in collecting and supporting an increasingly wide selection of contemporary artists is clear and commendable.’

Reflecting on her own relationship with Pal Zileri, Amba Sayal-Bennett praised it for being ‘in touch and engaged’ about the contemporary-art scene: ‘This is a brand doing something different by working with emerging as well as established artists.’ And Gianluca Longo agreed: ‘Look at the willingness of Pal Zileri to support young artists – they are the ones we are going to talk about in the decades to come, and it’s a remarkable effort from the brand to help in the search for the next big thing.’

the design for Muon Cript

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