Snapshots in Color: Hermès’ Scarf Collaboration with Art Photographer

Hermes devised a special ink-jet printing technique to accurately replicated the colors found in Hiroshi Sugimoto's photography

Basel, Switzerland—Hermès scarves are often considered works of art in their own right, but in the Paris luxurygoods house’s latest collaboration with Japanese art photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto, the scarves are truly works of art.

Hermès’ artistic director Pierre-Alexis Dumas visited Sugimito in his Tokyo studio where the photographer showed him how he creates “Couleurs de L’Ombre” (Colors of Shadow), by using a prism and photographing various color spectrums using a Polaroid camera.

“A chromatic epiphany in Polaroid that the artist suggested we could capture on our silk scarf,” says Dumas. The result are 20 subtle variations, all printed on larger than 55-inch silk squares in editions of seven each. To accurately replicate the subtle nuances in Sugimoto’s Polaroids, Hermès developed new inkjet technology to create the scarves.

But at prices of $10,000 each, these limited edition scarves may not be suitable for wearing.

“It’s serious art for me,” Sugimoto said. “And if it’s serious art, for me, it’s also very reasonably priced.”

Sugimoto’s Colors of Shadow by Hermès Editeur is being displayed during Art Basel in the city’s Museum der Kulturen through June 21.

The work is truly limited since Sugimoto used up all his remaining film from now defunct Polaroid to photograph the collection.

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