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Perrier goes wild with artist’s animal designs

Nov 15,2017
Above, Juan Travieso holds the bottle of Perrier he designed specially for the “#PerrierXWild” edition. Below, other limited goods are available at the 10 Corso Como, Apgujeong, southern Seoul, until Nov. 24. [PERRIER]
Famous for its collaboration with artists, Perrier has launched yet another collection of specially-designed bottles - this time, with the rising painter Juan Travieso. On Oct. 26, Perrier held an opening for the limited “#PerrierXWild” edition at 10 Corso Como in Apgujeong, southern Seoul, where Travieso made an appearance.

Since the 1960s, the French sparkling water brand has selected artists to design limited editions of its signature green bottles, including big names such as Andy Warhol, Dita Von Teese and Agens b. The wild theme of this year’s designs come from Travieso’s paintings of a lion, a wolf and a tiger.

The bottles have been painted with a special UV paint, so that the animals’ eyes glow in the dark. The store is also making available five other products using the artist’s striking paintings. A brown notebook with an owl drawn on the cover, a lion backpack, a wolf sweater, a cardboard trophy of a leopard and a green bike with the markings of a tiger are up for sale along with the bottles until Nov. 24.

“I’ve been painting and drawing animals ever since I was a little kid,” said Travieso in an interview with the Korea JoongAng Daily on the day of the opening. “I always make work about what I’m passionate about. And usually, I read the news and read things that have got to do with the environment - that’s what I’m passionate about. It just comes naturally to me.”

Each of Travieso’s paintings has its distinct animal theme and a dominant color for the background. But rather than dedicating the whole canvas to a single animal, the artist divides the background and bits of the animal’s face with geometrical shapes, like squares and triangles, which are colored in various hues of the thematic color. For the lion bottle, the artist used green squares with shades of yellow, while for the wolf design, he mainly stuck to shades of grey.

“The geometric shapes represent different things in different paintings,” said Travieso. “In the Perrier paintings, they represent the human touch. Why? Because in nature, there are no 90-degree angles, naturally. They represent our footprint, our touch, our presence in nature. And how we’re erasing it - it’s like we’re like erasing the animals with these shapes. However, within the painting, they do coexist pretty beautifully, making it really interesting.

“Another reason why is because if I were to paint the animals by themselves, there isn’t enough innovation, or a fresh look to them and lose interest. The whole point in my paintings is that people become aware that there is a loss of biodiversity, a loss of species and numbers. So I make people think, ‘Wow what is that,’ engage the painting, and then suddenly you have a conversation. which is very important.”

Just as the shapes symbolize the human touch in nature, the painting is a work of both art and technology, in which the artist uses meticulous computer calculations to divide the space with shapes of appropriate sizes and angles. Yet, Travieso’s love of nature doesn’t believe in the separation of the artificial and the natural.

“We are nature. You and I are nature, this table is nature - everybody is nature,” said Travieso. “That’s the thing, the labelling is the problem. We always separate each other. I’m totally for coexistence, that’s the key. We need biodiversity. For example, in plants, most medicines come from plants, and when we destroy the rainforest, we’re destroying our possibility in curing future diseases. Everything’s connected. And when you disrupt that balance, then that’s it. It’s game over.”

BY YOON SO-YEON [yoon.soyeon@joongang.co.kr]