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Lin Zhipeng (AKA No.223) at Saint Laurent, Rive Droite
Lin Zhipeng (AKA No.223) at Saint Laurent, Rive DroitePhotography by Lin Zhipeng, Courtesy of Saint Laurent

Inside Lin Zhipeng’s surreal and sexual Saint Laurent exhibition

Anthony Vaccarello has curated a show at the brand’s Rive Droite stores featuring the Beijing-based photographer’s compelling depictions of Chinese youth culture

Enigmatic photographer Lin Zhipeng is the latest artist to be showcased at Saint Laurent’s Rive Droite – the fashion house’s creative cultural centres in Paris and Los Angeles. Otherwise known as No.223, Zhipeng takes his mysterious pseudonym from the name of the lovelorn policeman in Wong Kar-Wai’s Chungking Express – a sensitive, stylish film about longing and loneliness set against the high-key colour of 1990s Hong Kong. Similarly, No.223’s portraits of China’s youth counter-culture explore solitude and desire, echoing the dreamlike melancholy of Kar-Wai’s colour-saturated movie.

Initially popularised through self-published zines and social media, the Bejing-based photographer’s lens remains trained on the outré but nevertheless everyday moments in the lives of his friends and lovers. His images appear as poetic fragments of an unfolding story of young people finding alternatives to the dominant ideals of China’s often culturally conservative society. 

A new exhibition at Saint Laurent’s Rive Droite stores in Paris and Los Angeles, curated by resident creative director Anthony Vaccarello, brings together work from No.223’s archives. Spanning 2016 to 2019, the show is composed of intimate scenes shot in China, Tibet, Southeast Asia, Japan and Europe. Featuring exposed flesh, splayed fruit, phallic flowers and discarded underwear, No.223’s photographs are pervaded by surreal compositions and humour, all the while retaining the sense of spontaneity and sensuality that makes his work so deeply compelling. 

The show is part of Vaccarello’s diverse cultural programming at Saint Laurent’s Rive Droite destinations. To honour the exhibition and recall No.22’s DIY roots, a new fanzine by the artist will also be available to visitors. Visit the gallery above for a closer look at some of the work currently on display at Saint Laurent Rive Droite in Paris and Los Angeles. 

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