François-Henri Pinault, the owner of Balenciaga, is gaining massive traction amid the ongoing scandal. Since the label has been accused of promoting child p*rnography, he has also come under fire for selling explicit child-themed art pieces under his auction website, Christie’s. The artists who created the sculptures mentioned above have also been brought to light.
For those unversed, Balenciaga has been in the news for releasing an ad campaign featuring children holding stuffed bears who were seemingly wearing bondage costumes. The Paris-headquartered fashion house has since deleted the campaign from its social media platforms and official website. Balenciaga has also filed a lawsuit against the creatives responsible for the campaign.
Meanwhile, François-Henri Pinault, the chairman, and CEO of Kering, has raised eyebrows for selling “disturbing” sculptures of children under Kering’s world-leading auction house Christie’s. The aforementioned mannequins were created by artists Jake and Dinos Chapman. The pieces are depictions of naked children who are often conjoined. They also showcase children with severed heads and them having erect genitalia in place of their noses and mouths.
In 1996, the brothers also sold a videotape of two adult actors having intercourse with a severed male mannequin’s head that had an erect p*nis for a nose.
Jake and Dinos Chapman have come under fire amid the Balenciaga scandal
The duo gained prominence in the 1990s and were dubbed the leading members of the Young British Artist generation. The brothers graduated from the Royal College of Art in London in 1990. They landed their claim to fame after their piece, Disasters of War, came to light in 1991. Jake and Dinos Chapman went on to assist the well-known British artist pair Gilbert and George.
The duo created art described as “darkly, humorous, hostile and subversive.” They are also well known for their pieces full of Pop Art-themes, which include s*xual obscenities.
Apart from their work being sold at Christie’s, they have also exhibited their pieces at popular venues around the world, including the White Cube Gallery and the Tate Britain in London, the Triumph Gallery in Moscow, the PS1 Contemporary Art Center, and the Gagosian Gallery in New York, among other places.
Speaking about their work, Dinos Chapman has said in the past:
“If you know that the middle classes, or middle Englans, are going to crap themselves because they’ve just seen a mannequin with a c*ck on its face, doesn’t mean it’s shocking. It meand that those people have a very poor set of responses, which you can use.”
Although the duo has often worked together, they have since parted ways creatively. In an interview with The Guardian published in May, Jake said:
“Nothing about our practice was amicable. It was never a love-in. it was always tinged with a certain seething disdain for each other so I guess at some point that reached critical mass, and we decided to go our separate ways.”
The duo’s Instagram page was turned private at the time of writing this article.
Gabriele Galimberti, the photographer who shot the controversial Balenciaga campaign, addresses the photo shoot
As the Chapman brothers' art raised concerns, Galimberti, the photographer responsible for shooting the Balenciaga Gift Shop collection, addressed the brand's ongoing cancelation. He also stressed about him not being responsible for the photo shoot that included teddy bears in studded leather harnesses, collars, and fishnet tops:
"I am not in a position to comment [on] Balenciaga's choices, but I must stress that I was not entitled in whatsoever manner to neither chose the products, nor the models, nor the combination of the same. "
He also expressed that he was only asked to produce photographs in his "signature style."