Meet Wig-Master And Coiffure Connoisseur Charlie le Mindu
French artist Charlie le Mindu is heading to St. Louis in just a few short weeks for his first US exhibition at progressive contemporary art space projects+gallery. Fitting right in with the wide range of unconventional exhibitions the gallery specializes in, le Mindu will bring his unique brand of “haute coiffure,” which consists of wigs and hair fashioned as art pieces that feature an ode to fashion, visual art and performance. Heavily inspired by vibrant European nightlife and drag performances, le Mindu’s work has been seen on stars including Lady Gaga and Grace Jones, and will be the first of its kind shown in both St. Louis and the US. The show, “Charlie Would…” will highlight his works, engaging the audience in his humor, vision and overall aesthetic that represents his vibrant imagination.
You have revolutionized your art in a way by working with a medium that is so unexpected. Can you tell us a little bit about the significance of using hair as the means to tell your stories?
I have been inspired by hair since I was a kid , not only because of the texture but the physical and mental effect it gives to someone. A good hair or a bad hair day can change the confidence of a person so much. I think hair has huge power in our society, and not only because of the aesthetic effect.
Your work is often inspired by the subcultures of European nightlife and drag performance: Can you tell us a bit about why those cultures stand out to you, and what you find interesting about representing them in your art?
I am the most inspired by visually strong aesthetic images, politics and movements. I like the Queen of Sabbah—she is such a strong woman and her confidence inspires me—confidence is the most inspiring thing ever.
Your pieces also hint at the ancient and medieval—do you have a favorite era that you draw inspiration from?
I am inspired, of course, by the eras of the past, but I don’t look back. I look forward into the future.
What will guests expect when they view the “Charlie Would…” exhibit?
“Charlie Would…” is a show that introduces first a test of different aspects on hair. In this exhibition, I show all different techniques and the use of hair we can do. I experiment all the time with techniques, cuts, colors … but I do work more now like a sculpturist than a hairdresser. That’s what I find myself moving into … art, plasticien and performance.
What do you hope guests will walk away with after viewing the exhibit?
I hope they walk away with the feeling that all hair looks great! My performance show is about tolerance and confidence—you can have the worst hair and be the most beautiful person. It’s all about confidence.
You have had the opportunity to work with some impressive collaborators from Jean Paul Gautier to Cirque de Soleil. Who has been your favorite person or organization to work with and why?
I love the images Steven Klein shot with my work. It looked amazing and I’d love to work more with him.
Of your creation process, what do you find to be the most rewarding for you?
When a creation leads to another collaboration with someone else, or goes in great collection next to amazing pieces.
View le Mindu’s US debut exhibit “Charlie Would…” at projects+gallery from Sept. 15-Nov. 19. There will be an opening reception on Sept. 15 at the gallery from 5-8pm. “Charlie Would…” is made possible by the generous support of the Dominic Michael Salon, HairDreams and the Lindenwood University Fashion Design Program.
Additionally, Barrett Barrera Projects, Charlie le Mindu’s US representative, will host an artist talk, moderated by Todd Thomas and Charlotte Eyerman, and a book signing of le Mindu’s “Haute Coiffure” on Sept. 14 at Washington University.
Featured photo by Valero Mezzanotti, collection: Gold Sabbah. This post has been brought to you in part by the mentioned business. Thank you for supporting the companies that keep ALIVE growing.