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Andy Warhol’s many personas revealed at Espace Louis Vuitton Seoul show

Dedicated to contemporary art, Fondation Louis Vuitton presents exhibition of Warhol‘s self-portraits from its collection

An installation view of “Andy Warhol: Looking for Andy” (Courtesy of Fondation Louis Vuitton)
An installation view of “Andy Warhol: Looking for Andy” (Courtesy of Fondation Louis Vuitton)
The Espace Louis Vuitton Seoul has opened its third collection exhibition “Andy Warhol: Looking for Andy” showcasing self-portraits by the American pop artist selected from the Fondation Louis Vuitton’s collection.

The works range from Warhol’s early self-portrait photos to his late pieces that reveal various facets of the artist. The highlight of the exhibition is Warhol’s iconic self-portrait that he created before his sudden death in 1987. With his ghostly pale face, Warhol scrutinizes the viewer as if to demonstrate his presence.

While the late self-portrait work is bold and daring, his earlier portrait work which was created in 1967 with acrylic paint and silkscreen ink, shows Warhol posing with his fingers touching his mouth as if wishing to show a persona that fits people’s expectation of the popular artist of the time. 

In the 12 polaroid works, “Self-Portraits (1977-1986),” Warhol portrayed himself as both a man and a woman, directly addressing the question of identity. “If you want to know about Andy Warhol, just look at the surface of my paintings and films and me, and there I am. There’s nothing behind it,” Warhol once said, according to the Espace Louis Vuitton Seoul. 

"Self-Portraits (1977-1986)” by Andy Warhol (Courtesy of Fondation Louis Vuitton)
Born Andrew Warhola in 1928 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Andy Warhol began his career as a commercial illustrator after studying drawing at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh in 1949. From the 1960s, he began producing portraits of film stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Liz Taylor and Jackie Kennedy, using photographic silkscreen printing, an industrial and traditional printing technique that creates endless copies of the same images.

Warhol opened his production workshop – the Factory – in 1964, attracting artists, poets, actors, muses, musicians and collectors, which quickly became a landmark for the underground art scene and celebrities. He died in 1987 in New York at the age of 58.

Inaugurated in 2019, the Espace Louis Vuitton Seoul is located on the fourth floor of the Maison Louis Vuitton Seoul in Gangnam-gu, southern Seoul. The guiding’s glass-structure façade was designed by Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry, inspired by Korean traditional dance “dongnae hakchum (dongnae crane dance)” and reflecting the sail-like architecture of the Fondation Louis Vuitton building in Paris.

The facade of the Espace Louis Vuitton Seoul (Courtesy of Fondation Louis Vuitton)
The facade of the Espace Louis Vuitton Seoul (Courtesy of Fondation Louis Vuitton)
Following the Alberto Giacometti and the Gerhard Richter shows, “Andy Warhol: Looking for Andy” is the third show featuring pieces from the French luxury brand’s collection. The Espaces Louis Vuitton, dedicated to exhibiting the foundation‘s collection of contemporary art and artists, are located in Munich, Venice, Beijing, Tokyo, Osaka and Seoul.

The exhibition “Andy Warhol: Looking for Andy” runs through Feb. 6, 2023 on a reservation basis.

The Espace Louis Vuitton Seoul is open from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week.

By Park Yuna (