I thought my lipstick collection was way out of control (832 at last count!) but that pales into insignificance after seeing French artist Fabrice Hyber’s 1M3 de beauté (One Cubic Meter of Beauty) sculpture at the Matières Premières exhibition in Paris’ Palais de Tokyo gallery. The piece may look like a simple block of solid red set on top of a grey cement pedestal but, in fact, it consists of over 330 pounds (that’s 23.5 stone or 150 kg) of Yves Saint Laurent’s iconic Rouge Pur Couture No. 1 lipstick. My math skills are a bit rusty but I figure it would have taken approximately 30,365 lipsticks to make up the cube. And at $32 a tube, that equals $971,680!
Why lipstick? Hyber told WWD that, “It’s a material that is very supple, lipstick, especially in a large quantity. The material permanently moves. It is a work that is never finished, which is always evolving. It’s a living oeuvre.” [Next time you want to buy a lipstick just remind yourself that it's all about the artistic oeuvre and bring out the credit card with a clear conscience!]
And why YSL? Multiple reasons: 1) Hyber appreciates the way the house’s designs blend elements of the masculine and the feminine; 2) the label’s most famous lipstick is packed with high intensity, vibrant red pigment (“It needed to be a red that is very vivid, very present” and; 3) it infuses the sculpture with Rouge Pur’s iconic scent. However, I can’t help but wonder what happens to all the YSL after the exhibition ends?
The piece opens Hyber’s show, Matières Premières (Raw Materials), which runs through to January 7th, 2013. If you happen to be in the neighbourhood, take a lip brush!
What do you think of the sculpture? Are you a fan of makeup as art?