Collector Box

#6 Daniel Buren

The sixth Collector’s Edition Box features the art of Daniel Buren as The Laughing Cow® prepares to celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2021.

2019

The sixth Collector’s Edition Box, by Daniel Buren

Daniel Buren

Daniel Buren was born in 1938 in Boulogne-Billancourt.
He lives and works in situ.
Golden Lion for Best National Participation, Venice Biennial, 1986.
Praemium Imperiale, Japan Art Association, Tokyo, 2007.

https://www.danielburen.com

 

Photo-souvenir :
Daniel Buren,
Musée d’art moderne de la Ville de Paris, 1994.
© Gyula Zarand

THE COLLECTOR’S EDITION BOXES:
SHARING CONTEMPORARY ART 

By Laurent Fiévet, director of Lab’Bel

 

The Collector’s Edition Box project was born of the desire to shake up ways of looking at contemporary art, its modes of distribution, and the art market through the edition of a very affordable artwork. The project can be said to continue the very special narrative that The Laughing Cow® has maintained with contemporary artists since its inception, while respecting the values of sharing, excellence and innovation promoted by the Bel Group, with which it is associated. Between now and the 100th anniversary of the brand in 2021, this project will be repeated on an annual basis. 

Since 2014, five artists have successfully participated in the exercise of confronting and integrating the brand and its codes, and all that it has managed to build over time with their own particular practice, and in so doing, shifting its perception. They skillfully responded to the commission from the Group and its Artistic Laboratory by questioning its status and the iconic character of its laughing effigy. The first artist commissioned, Hans-Peter Feldmann, accentuated the cow’s facetious dimension and pointed to the very essence of its identity. The second, Thomas Bayrle, used the cow as the constitutive motif of a larger graphic background in an effort to highlight its uniqueness, popularity and integration into our society, doubly pointing to its origins and international expansion. The third artist, Jonathan Monk, shifted the conceptual aspect of his deconstructed composition by transforming it into an exceptional object. The fourth artist, Wim Delvoye, took his inspiration from the brand’s promotional history, thereby becoming a part of it. The fifth artist, Karin Sander, playfully scrambled the image in a reference to the way in which its visual codes have entered into our everyday lives. 

Some of the invited artists had already developed a very close bond with the cow and had previously introduced it in their artwork (Thomas Bayrle, Wim Delvoye), either occasionally or in a more substantial corpus of works spread over time; others took advantage of this commission to extend the image of the cow through other proposals (Hans-Peter Feldmann and Jonathan Monk), thereby emphasizing a form of coherence between their approach and what they had been asked to do. There were even some artists who, need we recall, served their own collectors’ interests by diverting the history of the brand in a very personal incursion that was not without serving their own glory (Wim Delvoye) but is it not this project’s very peculiarity to generate this type of temptation? 

All the artists took very different and often dizzying directions exploring the new perspectives that these opened, and drawing on the emulation generated by their inclusion in a series so brilliantly executed by their predecessors. They all took to heart the challenge with which they were entrusted, becoming part of the history of a brand which, despite its historical roots in a form of tradition, has underlined its timeless nature and an undeniable form of contemporaneity through this type of project. I can say with some degree of confidence that the Group, its employees and directors, but also the family that has been at its head for five generations, and of which I have the honor of being a member, are extremely grateful to these artists. Furthermore, we take great pride in these successive collaborations. I allow myself, on their behalf, to extend our warmest thanks. 

The project has now found its audience. Welcomed since 2016 by the FIAC, the International Art Fair in Paris, in the prestigious setting of the Grand Palais, at the invitation of its director Jennifer Flay, it has quickly established itself as a highly anticipated event coveted by contemporary art amateurs and lovers of the brand. The box has stimulated the public’s collecting tendencies and has found its place in the homes of the most demanding of collectors, both individual and institutional. It is displayed on kitchen tables and bookshelves, just as it is stored away from light and moisture in the most secret of warehouses, while banking on the surpassing of its expiration date. For example, the first editions, no longer available, are now very sought after and speculation is high, following market-like logic. 

Initially available in some supermarkets, for the most part in France but also abroad, the Collector’s Edition Box has been distributed via the Internet since 2017, which has increased its audience. The conclusion is indisputable: the brand has clearly become a valuable ambassador of its authors, contributing to giving contemporary art a more accessible and reassuring image, and developing an awareness of conceptual practices sometimes unknown to the general public. What very quickly emerged in the company as an object of pride and a constituent element of its culture, is today presented internationally as a case study used to explain to business and marketing students the extra meaning that a brand 

needs to bring to its consumers if it intends to distinguish itself from others, an action that has contributed to the success of The Laughing Cow® since the ‘20s. This recognition is equally strong in the contemporary art world where, edition after edition, the relevance of the various proposals has been demonstrated. The project has also revealed the possible relationships that could exist between art and business. 

Today, the Bel and Lab’Bel teams are thrilled to continue this project by unveiling the sixth Collector’s Edition Box. This year’s edition has been designed by Daniel Buren, who was in fact the first artist approached for the project in 2012. The technical obstacles that prevented his initial project from coming to fruition have today been overcome. For the first time, the box will be available in four colour combinations, each of which will, I hope, satisfy your appetite in its own way.

Bon appétit and happy collecting!

“The work cannot be seen, nor understood, nor grasped on its own terms, it is only in-relation-to, and hence indefinitely redefined.”

The Collector’s Edition Box by Daniel Buren for Lab’Bel
by Sébastien Pluot, associate curator for the 2019 edition

 

The 8.7cm-wide white or coloured vertical stripes that Daniel Buren has used as a “visual tool” since 1965 are described by the artist as elements that allow for an “expansion of the field of vision” and a critical exploration of the nature of a given space, object or situation in which “mechanisms, attitudes, and systems of power are organized.” Buren “lives and works in situ”, and when he intervenes upon the boxes of The Laughing Cow® by adding a stripe of colour – green, red, yellow, or blue – to the centre of the label and extending it onto the band that runs around the box’s edge, the context for his gesture encompasses the product’s visual and material design, its production and circulation, and its distribution to consumers and to the sites in which it is consumed. 

 

Every year, over 200 million boxes of The Laughing Cow® are sold worldwide. Stacked on top of one another, they would stretch from Earth to the Moon. It was the monumental character of this industrial product that first sparked Buren’s interest, and it was ultimately this dimension upon which he chose to stake his intervention. The object’s proliferation is suggested by the mise en abyme that figures in the image of The Laughing Cow® itself: Buren borrows the stripes of colour from the earrings worn by the animal that appears on each box in an update of the logo designed by illustrator Benjamin Rabier. Yet Buren’s decisive gesture consists in the use of his visual tool to organize a vertical continuity that points to the unlimited accumulation of boxes. His graphic intervention effects an immediate shift from two dimensions to three: placed one on top of another, the printed vertical stripes on the boxes form virtually infinite columns whose chromatic variations and permutations are left to the discretion of those consuming the cheese.

 

The addition of coloured stripes further unsettles a number of important graphic elements on the packaging that are nonetheless often overlooked due to their subtlety or their limited visibility. Paying close attention to Buren’s Collector’s Edition Box, we notice for example that the bucolic landscape that usually appears in the background behind the laughing cow herself – reminiscent of the Mona Lisa – has vanished. Set on a plane of colour that matches that of the portrait itself, the cow’s outline emerges all the more strongly. Elsewhere, this red colouring, to which the image owes much of its visual singularity, gives way to other shades, and the figure of the cow takes on the colour of the stripe behind it to become alternately blue, green, or yellow, troubling the recognition of the brand’s icon. Each time, the image is at once similar and different. These incongruous colours draw the gaze to the central figure, the animal at the origin of the cheese – without which the product would not exist – and to her characteristic smile, which have together come to form the brand’s global emblem.

 *Daniel Buren, Les Écrits 1965-2012, vol. 1, Flammarion/CNAP, Paris, 2012, p.328

Subject to availability starting November 4th,
Collector’s Edition Boxes by Daniel Buren can be ordered online at
www.boutique.lavachequirit.com

Discover the list of other sales points :

 

La Maison de La Vache qui rit
25 Rue Richebourg, 39000 Lons-le-Saunier
https://www.lamaisondelavachequirit.com

Monoprix Dames (75017)
125 rue des Dames
Monoprix Saint Augustin (75008)
47 boulevard Malesherbes
Publicis Drugstore (75008) 133 avenue des Champs Elysées
Monoprix Chaville (92370)
1383 avenue Roger Salengro
Monoprix Versailles (78000)
5 rue Georges Clémenceau
Monoprix Saint-Mandé (94160)
5 avenue du Général de Gaulle
Monoprix Montreuil (93100)
19 avenue de la Résistance 
Monoprix  Lyon Croix Rousse (69004)
7 rue Cuire
Monoprix Marcq en Baroeul (59700)
1002 avenue de la République
Monoprix Nice (06000)
8 avenue de Flirey
Monoprix Marseille (13008)
258 avenue Prado