virgil abloh's solo exhibition interrogates advertising and the symbolic power of the media

virgil abloh's solo exhibition interrogates advertising and the symbolic power of the media

virgil abloh‘s latest art exhibition, ‘PAY PER VIEW’, does well to capture the designer’s hyper-meta approach to art and design, presenting a somewhat dystopian world inspired by mass communication and the logo boom of 20th century. currently on display at kaikai kiki gallery in tokyo, japan, the recently announced new menswear designer for louis vuitton examines the role of advertising and its contribution to the shaping of our consciousness. an array of ominous objects posing the question ‘are you a product of your consumption?’ whilst at the sametime reminding the audience of the art inherent in marketing methodology presenting an overall dichotomous narrative.

all photos by koichiro matsui



the contemporary art exhibition engages the audience in experiences embodying a multitude of messages which coexist within a single object. abloh reworked objects with famous logos such as petrol supplier sunoco, blacked out billboards by jcdecaux and the media company outfront. throughout branding is employed as an art form to provoke analysis of advertising’s symbolic expression.



the dark silhouettes emblazoned with advertising jargon, whether it be ‘advertise here’ or the description of an art work ‘oil on canvas’ form a proverbial mannequin for their text or visualization. using advertising as a discourse virgil abloh employs the visual language of black squares used by russian avant-garde artist kazimir malevich to illustrate the inherent intention that the viewer is a distilled crux of the power of advertising. the audience is left to wonder if their analysis of the narrative in front of them and their possible self-awareness is enough to prove otherwise.

virgil abloh's solo exhibition interrogates advertising and the symbolic power of the media



iconic artist and japanese artist takashi murakami offered the following statement about abloh:even as the boundaries between art, fashion, instagram, race, market, timezones, values, and originality become blurry and vague, the creator himself is brought into ever-sharper relief. virgil abloh is sitting there with a smile on his face. or rather, even when virgil the person is not there, you feel him when you encounter the projects he has handled.’

virgil abloh's solo exhibition interrogates advertising and the symbolic power of the media



‘PAY PER VIEW’ is on show until april 1st at takashi murakami‘s kaikai kiki gallery.


    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
    all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


    a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

    art news

    keep up with our daily and weekly stories
    502,528 subscribers
    - see sample
    - see sample