zim & zou fills hermès’ cabinet of curiosities with leather creatures
all images courtesy of zim & zou
the artist duo comprising france-based zim & zou have referenced the inherent magic in museums of natural history for their storefront installation at hermès maison in shanghai. all kinds of biological curiosities from large birds and butterflies to fish and insects have been intricately crafted from hundreds of paper and leather pieces, soured using offcuts from hermès workshops in paris.
layer-upon-layer of meticulously cut feathers, fins and tiny feet form an eclectic array of vibrantly-colored sculptural critters like peacocks, owls, caterpillars and crabs. infilling the store window, the creatures create a wunderkammer of interesting and artistic characters, where passers-by can suddenly experience a walk through the corridors of a mysterious museum, straight from the street. thematically, the displays are influenced by nature — the two main windows relate to air and water, while the two smaller ones about earth. an orange leather fox — previously seen in zim & zou’s installation at hermès barcelona store — is included in one of the narrower display cases. in its entirety, the whole project required nearly three months of detailed work and the support of a local team of artisans, who worked together in the creation of this encyclopedic collection of hand-crafted creatures.
view of the storefront’s ‘air’ themed display case
inside the ‘air’ display is a selection of colorful birds
the meticulously-crafted leather bird
a tiny leather hummingbird
an owl perched on a paper base
two views of the window installation around the theme of ‘water’
spotted sea horse
a leather-finned fish is placed atop a display case
leather tentacles provide this tiny crafted octopus with support
detail of the crafted fish specimen
a hermit crab in a leather shell
a blue crab