Meet Match with Art

The famous back of the art world

Meet Match with Art - illustration 1

In front of a painting by Claire Tabouret at the Perrotin gallery (©matchwithart)

A scroll through Matchwithart's feed on Instagram is sure to captivate lovers of visual art. Chronicling her outfits, which she coordinates with artworks for her 13,000 followers, each one of her 300+ posts is an ode to her joint passion for art and fashion. Her aim? To educate and make art accessible to all those who may not have had any introduction to it otherwise. We were able to ask some questions to Matchwithart's founder about her creative process, her passion for visual arts and her artistic inspirations.

1. Hello Matchwithart! For almost 3 years now, you've been combining your passions for art and fashion on your Instagram account. How did you come up with the concept of matching art with your outfits?

The idea for Matchwithart came about during a gallery visit three years ago; I was wearing a dress in the same tones as the canvas and I noticed the way the visitors and the gallery owner found it charming. I had already worked before on ways to make the art world more accessible to audiences who wouldn't otherwise have any introduction to it… I even devoted my final thesis to the topic, but I had never put it into practice. Having a dual background in art and luxury marketing, fashion is part of my interests. I've always had a particular affection for this environment and the means of expression that clothes can provide. So I had a way of bringing together my two backgrounds, art and fashion, whilst creating this original concept.

2. How do you come up with the concept for each of your photographs?

I choose artworks according to what's going to be shown in new exhibitions, whether I see this in the press or on social media. Then I sort out what is feasible in terms of the artworks and my time frame. I'll go to the location to find the work I'm thinking of photographing, and make sure that nothing interferes with the field of photography and the colors in real life. I then look for the most suitable clothes for the artwork, through the colors or the motif. 

Each image requires several steps: firstly, the choice of the exhibition, in galleries, museums, auction houses, fairs or foundations. Then the choice of the work in the exhibition. Next I search for the garment, either in a shop or online, and then there is the whole process of taking the photograph. Finally there is writing the caption: the short text I write takes a lot of time. I often read about twenty articles, print and online interviews and listen to video interviews in order to gather the relevant information. Sometimes I say what I feel, what it reminds me of, but it's quite rare. I don't want to take the risk of imposing my way of thinking, nor of influencing the way others think. Everyone can feel what they want in front of art, and I don't want to hinder this. 

I like to work with contemporary art, as this is where the general public often feel the most lost in terms of the art world. People generally think that Monet's water lilies are beautiful, whereas on the other hand, contemporary art is very much hit or miss. I understand that people don't want to intellectualize everything, especially art, and that they also want to sit in front of a work and just appreciate it's abject beauty. Those who love figurative art can still seek this out in the current art world.

Meet Match with Art - illustration 1
Meet Match with Art - illustration 1

In front of a painting by Damien Hirst at the Cartier foundation (©matchwithart) / in front of an artwork by Jan Kaláb at the Danysz gallery (©matchwithart)

3. What content has been the biggest challenge for you? Do you have a funny anecdote to share with us?

The most complicated content to produce were the photographs I took during lockdown. I had to photograph artworks where my face would be not at all or only slightly visible, and then recreate the paintings with limited means, as everything was closed. It required ingenuity, but it was the only way to keep my account alive for a few months. 

In the end, each photo was a challenge. I sometimes wait for hours for a small window of opportunity to take a photograph. When the picture is static, meaning a simple pose, it's relatively easy; but as soon as I want some movement of a dress or skirt, I have to suppress my introverted side. 

And yes I have some funny anecdotes! I remember once at FIAC, I wanted to take a picture with a painting of a blonde woman, with sunglasses, bright red lipstick and a yellow dress. I wandered around the fair in this outfit in the Grand Palais at 10 o'clock in the morning, in "I'm taking responsibility for the previous day's drunkenness" mode, only to learn that the work had been sold and that the buyer had left with it... I found myself feeling a bit silly in the middle of the fair and without a photo!

Another time in a museum, I had planned an outfit with a bouquet of flowers to match one of the works in the exhibition. After shooting for an hour, I mustered up the courage to ask the curator where the artwork in question was, and was informed that due to the extension of the exhibition, the ONLY work to have been recovered by its owner was the one I had chosen... 

Not to mention the joy of running into a group of children, busy drawing the painting on the floor that I wanted to check out, and me standing next to them in my evening dress and fur coat. 

4. Is there an artwork in particular you would like to photograph with?

I have a particular affection for figurative art and I am generally less sensitive to abstract art. However, the work I would like to have is One: Number 31, 1950 by Jackson Pollock, the artist who first made me love abstract art, which is in the MOMA. I would also like to make a match with artwork by David Hockney, Keith Haring, Frida Kahlo, Edward Hopper… In terms of contemporary art, I would say that an installation by Alicja Kwade would be a real challenge. I also came across works by Katharina Grosse at the FIAC, and doing a match in front of one of these monumental installations would be amazing too. 

5. You take great care with the captions of each of your instagram posts, making them  both precise and educational. How can contemporary art be made more accessible in your opinion?

I think we need to stop trying to explain or intellectualize it more than necessary. Explanations of exhibitions and labels use too many words that are inaccessible to even the most erudite among us and we quickly lose interest. I think that an explanatory sentence from the artist, a few questions about his or her approach would suffice without the need to go into analyses that do not speak to the public. I also think that people are more interested in anecdotes, details about the techniques of the works, the production process, the genesis of a project than in the philosophical explanation that often accompanies contemporary art exhibitions. We need to break down this barrier between the public and art, to show that art is above all a person who creates for others. Even if the process starts with the artist's personal need to express himself, in the end you get a work that is destined to be shown and bought, to be taken from the initial owner and live its own life. This incredible journey is more possible than ever with contemporary art. A person can offer their thoughts on a work, to another person, who will himself develop another opinion based on their personal experience and relationship to art. The work will find several meanings according to its owner. 

Meet Match with Art - illustration 1
Meet Match with Art - illustration 1

In front of a painting by Jean-Baptiste Bernadet at the Grand Palais Éphémère (©matchwithart) / in front of an installation by Micha Laury at the Carmignac foundation (©matchwithart)

6. Where does your passion for art come from? Are you an art collector yourself? If so, which works can be found in your home?

My passion for art was born from being dragged into museums as a child! It started this way, with parents who were very art-oriented and whose travels involved visiting as many museums as possible. While I would now happily do exhibition marathons, back then it was far less fun. But I think it got me into the business early on without realizing it. Our house is full of art and I started to want art relatively early, too. I turned to art as soon as I finished my master's degree at 23, and I have been working in the art world ever since. I have a particular taste for art, it's really a strong relationship, nothing transports me in this way. When I enter a fair, or a museum or an exhibition, I feel like I'm finding serenity again. 

I collect, but above all I amass! This includes souvenirs from trips and works bought in unknown galleries in Montana. I have a Daniel Arsham relic on my TV stand, Vik Muniz works on the wall, African masks from my travels and marble chess sets from craftsmen in Greece. I am also very attached to the works of artists championed by my mentor Pierre-François Garcier, whose paintings of Jean Coulot and Luis Arnal adorn my walls.

7. What is your favourite cultural place (museum, gallery, foundation...) in the world and why?

At the moment I would say the Carmignac Foundation. When I enter I feel like I have entered another universe, a world apart where calm accompanies me on an artistic journey. The island of Porquerolles obviously contributes to this atmosphere, the whole surrounding pine forest and the sculpture park plunge you into a realm that cannot be found in a big city like Paris. Last year it was the Maeght foundation that fascinated me. I think I'm attached to what surrounds a cultural place, to this feeling of being outside of time and the world. The ultimate dream would be to go to the James Turell Museum in Colomé. 

I would say that to fully enjoy a cultural place, I also enjoy the journey to get there; to be in the right state of mind, have an empty head and calm thoughts. Exhibitions in Paris are rarely restful! 

8. Finally, as a fashion enthusiast, which artist do you think has an unrivaled sense of style?

I wouldn't say unrivaled, but artists like Daniel Arsham or JR appeal to me in their consistent  style. They are so recognizable that you could say for Halloween dress up as JR or Arsham, and I think that's absolutely brilliant. 

I also love Frida Kahlo's style, which was very much in keeping with her culture and origins, but which she pushed to the point of eccentricity with strong colors and imposing jewelery, all whilst massively suffering physically. However, she always took the trouble to dress in layers, which did not make her condition any easier, but it was her way of being. It was also a way of camouflaging her battered body under all those layers. All her layers allowed her to balance her wobbly gait and to divert the gaze of those who would dare to mock. We were finally looking at how she looked and not how she was doing. My Instagram is a testament to this, I have a strong penchant for color so I can't help but love and appreciate this stance from this female artist in terms of fashion.

And if not, I am particularly fond of David Hockney. He himself used to say "Make a style your own. Like a thieving magpie, steal what you like, so that your style is never rigid... that's the trick. Always a tie, or a bow tie, braces, a classy but inimitable English look, round glasses. A style as colorful and elaborate as his world. A boldness in pastel colors, bright, like acid candy. This is the kind of style that makes me smile!"


Their favorite artworks

Metachrome (Homage to the Square: Glow, after Joseph Albers), Vik Muniz

Metachrome (Homage to the Square: Glow, after Joseph Albers)

Vik Muniz

Photography - 40.3 x 40 inch

$40,000

Contemplation II, Dinh Hanh

Contemplation II

Dinh Hanh

Painting - 24 x 24 x 2 inch

$4,000