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Keeping an arty eye on India

art-and-culture Updated: Jun 09, 2011 01:51 IST
Damini Purkayastha
Damini Purkayastha
Hindustan Times
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Nothing could keep Yves Carcelle from attending the biggest showing of Indian art in Paris. Not even a broken leg.

The 63-year-old head of international fashion house Louis Vuitton arrived on a wheelchair at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, for Paris-Delhi-Bombay, an exhibition of contemporary Indian art.

While art is a personal passion, Carcelle says he is hopeful that the label can soon expand its base in India. “We would love to open in other cities, besides Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.

We’re looking for the right environment in places such as Chennai and Puducherry.” Born and brought up in France, Carcelle is a self-confessed Indophile. His association with India began in the ’90s, when he started travelling all across the country.

“I’m a big lover of India, it is one country that can never leave you indifferent. I once even rented a house in Goa… it was a good way to get all the country’s small noises. My trips to India soon became the sort where one starts having friends. It is a country where you cannot resist friendships. In fact, I have been more comfortable with people in India.”

An art lover, Carcelle says he was always taken by Indian art. In fact, in 2006, Espace Culturel — the brand’s art gallery in Paris — hosted an exhibition of works by French and Indian artists, which included Subodh Gupta and Raghubir Singh among others. “I love Indian art, especially contemporary art. My personal discovery of it started with that exhibition. Travel is an exchange of cultures and it is our philosophy to try and give back to a country we engage with,” he says.

As patrons of Indian contemporary art, in 2010 the label collaborated with artist Sudarshan Shetty to create a giant art installation in Milan. More recently, they supported the first-ever exhibition of installations by Anish Kapoor in India. Indian art may be booming, but fashion, he feels, still has a long way to go. “Indian fashion is a still a little bit ethnic and that’s why it’s probably a limited for the world wide market,” he says.

Who is Yves Carcelle?
Born in France in 1948, Carcelle is a French businessman, currently the CEO of international fashion label Louis Vuitton.Graduated from Ecole Polytechnique and completed his Masters in Business Administration at INSEAD, he was the president of French luxury linen brand Descamps from 1985-1989 and joined Louis Vuitton in 1989.