Remember the name of Akris: you’ll often come across it on As A Muse. The designer behind the brand, Albert Kriemler, is crazy about art, and has drawn his inspiration for his collections from several artists. For his Summer 2017 collection, Akris pays tribute to the oldest of contemporary artists: Carmen Herrera. This 101 year-old painter from La Havana only achieved success at 70! She’s an inspiring example of dedication to her art, even though she didn’t sell any paintings for most of her life. The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York offered her a retrospective in 2016. Good things come to those who wait!
Carmen Herrera arrived in Paris in 1948. The war had come to an end, and the artistic scene was thriving. She joined a group of non-objective artists – a movement of abstract and geometric art in search of simplicity and purity: a way to exorcise Hitler and Nazism. She found her own style which was rather radical for the 1950s. She then went to New York, and explored the issues also raised by her contemporaries, Jackson Pollock, Ellsworth Kelly, Leon Polk Smith, and Frank Stella, who contrary to her, were all hugely successful.
Carmen Herrera’s paintings are very detailed and refined. That’s what she explains in The 100 Years Show, a documentary about her on Netflix: ‘If you go straight to the point, you cannot fail. (…) Less is more, that’s what I always do. When I think that something is completed, I remove something else, and it’s always better (…). In the chaotic world we live in, I like to come back to order.’ The bright colours and geometric shapes bring great vitality to her paintings.
I think that Albert Kriemler adapts Carmen Herrera’s paintings respectfully and elegantly. We can sense that he wished to understand her creative process and to pay tribute to her work as best as he could. The simplicity and precision of the cuts are really in keeping with Herrera’s style. It is intelligent and consistent but without overdoing it – a complete success!