One of my favourite showcases of this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach was that of NYC based artist, Sebastian Errazuriz, titled 12 Shoes for 12 Lovers. Utilizing 3D printing, Errazuriz went about fashioning a series of wildly imaginative shoes, inspired by the failed romantic relationships of his past. The passions of the heart have given way to timeless creativity, and Errazuriz has managed to hone his heartbreak to follow suit. There’s something for everyone in this offering—whether it be the fashion, the design, the tech, the writing, or the photography. If none of that, Errazuriz manages to at least captivate with something we can all relate to: love and heartbreak.
There’s a lot to adore in 12 Shoes for 12 Lovers. But, perhaps it makes sense to start with the most obvious: the shoes. Created in collaboration with shoe company, Melissa, the two have gone about producing some truly imaginative soles. From the hollowed honey comb heels to the dangerously-badass brass knuckled stiletto, every shoe has seen a lot of thought and consideration. Errazuriz has managed to push fashion’s limits, demonstrating that there’s always a new approach to uncover.
While Melissa and Errazuriz surely kicked ass, let’s not forget that this probably wouldn’t have been executed to such a degree if it were not for the use of 3D printing. It’s always superb to see art make use of trending technology, there are few relationships I find so symbiotic. The pairing testifies the tech, while also breathes new life into the art. A reminder that sometimes inspiration and ideation can be born out of simply looking to what’s modern (and how that can be exploited).
There’s much more to 12 Shoes for 12 Lovers than just the shoes; I believe it could have just as easily been titled “12 Stories for 12 Lovers.” To me, what makes this project really shine is the writing, the stories or the names that accompany every design. Each heel bears a title, based on their muses—the ex-lovers of Errazuriz’s past. There’s “The Virgin,” “Hot Bitch,” “Gold Digger,” “Ice Queen,” or “Honey,” one for each of the 12. And every name (consequently, every shoe) comes full circle when combined with their respective stories.
These tales are little slices of Errazuriz’s life, to which he recounts experiences shared with past lovers. Without these accounts, I feel the project wouldn’t have been so captivating. There’s a degree of relatability that results in an invitation to the viewer. Rather than search for meaning in every shoe, Errazuriz hands it to us, neatly wrapped in colloquial regard. It’s a refreshing offering, especially in contrast to all the other art usually on exhibit at Art Basel. It goes to show: it pays to venture a step beyond, to put in a little extra work and execution. Sure, the shoes look nice, but it’s the accompanying writing and pictures that deliver the charm and make this project so appealing.
12 Shoes for 12 Lovers claims, “to expose contradictions and absurdities that challenge everyday life and address deeply seated taboos. [The Project] is an extension of the artist’s penchant for addressing controversial topics by confronting these through the prism of [Seabstian Errazuriz’s] experience as expressed through his work.” In all honesty, I’m not entirely sure what the hell that means… But it’s probably not what I took from the project. Instead, 12 Shoes for 12 Lovers spoke quite clearly to my heart and my own experiences with love.
Bear with my pessimism (there’s a light at the end of it), but to me, the project prompts the assumption that life generally goes badly, which in turn aids in the realization of a good relationship being unusual. Errazuriz’s offering is a message to be more appreciative of when things do go your way. The failure of a relationship is not an aberration, but rather a common experience. Treat it as such and your life will bear much less sorrow.
If you’re in Miami over the holidays, 12 Shoes for 12 Lovers will be on exhibit at the Melissa Pop Up Shop till January 6th.