Artist Claims Fashion Brand Zadig and Voltaire Appropriated His Work for Its Latest Campaign

A recent ad from the company featuring a fountain on fire bears a striking resemblance to a 2019 film by Julian Charrière.

A still from Julian Charrière's 2019 film, And Beneath It All Flows Liquid Fire. Courtesy of the artist and Sean Kelly.

The French-Swiss artist Julian Charrière has accused the fashion brand Zadig and Voltaire of appropriating his work without permission for a new campaign.

Earlier this month, the company posted a nighttime video of a fountain on fire to promote its recent Women’s Fall-Winter ‘23 show​ during Paris Fashion Week. The video bears a striking resemblance to Charrière’s 2019 film And Beneath It All Flows Liquid Fire, which similarly depicts a three-tiered fountain filled with flames. 

Leading up to its runway show last Friday, January 27, Zadig and Voltaire re-shared the video—which, unlike Charrière’s film, appears to be computer generated—multiple times on Instagram and elsewhere.

Following the show, the artist took to Instagram to address the situation.

“Many of you have asked me about my involvement in the current promotional campaign of @zadigvoltaire for their upcoming fashion show planned tonight,” Charrière wrote in a post. “I have never been contacted by this brand and must clearly state that I have not given any permission.”

Charrière added that, “as of now there is no resolution on this matter and it seems that the company started deleting every comment mentioning my name under any of their posts and reels.” It is unclear whether Charrière plans to take his plight to the courts, and the artist did not respond to Artnet News’s requests for comment.

And Beneath It All Flows Liquid Fire was filmed at the Antonio Bossi Fountain in Lugano, Switzerland. The looping, slow-motion video piece has been shown on numerous occasions, including Charrière’s 2020 exhibition “Towards No Earthly Pole” at Sean Kelly Gallery in New York, for which Artnet interviewed the artist.

“In this film, [the] fountain depicts an absurd state that implies the coexistence of opposite elements, water and fire,” reads a description of the film on Charrière’s website. “The artist turns the traditional iconography of the fountain on its head in symbolic terms too: the connection with water and the concept of a spring of life now dominated by flames. 

Representatives for Zadig & Voltaire did not immediately respond to Artnet News’s request for comment. 

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