Sneak Peek: Luis Gispert Explores Counterfeit Culture in a New Exhibit

We talked to photographer Luis Gispert about some of the striking images of counterfeit culture presented in his new photo series, "Decepcion."

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Luis Gispert
Counterfeit culture has been a growing concern for the US Treasury and fashion organizations like the CFDA in recent years, but a new bill, "The Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prvention" act, is expected to pass this fall. In his new photo series, "Decepcion" now on view at the Mary Boone gallery in New York City, photographer Luis Gispert captures an unusual aspect of "faux" fashion industry by photographing cars, people and places tricked out with haute designer logos.
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Luis Gispert, Courtesy of Mary Boone Gallery
Gispert discovered logo fetishism while photographing a car club in Miami. A friend took him to see his pearl Escalade. "The interior is entirely upholstered with Louis Vuitton Takashi Murakami, accented with green and purple crocodile skin," says Gispert. "The owner doesn’t know who Murakami is, but he doesn’t seem that interested. What he is interested in is Louis—it is all about the Louis."
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Luis Gispert
Finding similarly logo-obsessed subjects proved difficult, and it took two years for Gispert to find enough material for less than 20 images. "There were many wild goose chases, dead ends and a few dangerous encounters with meth-heads and gang-bangers," says Gispert.
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Luis Gispert, Courtesy of Mary Boone Gallery
Gispert's subjects were less interested in runway rip-offs than reinterpreting brand logos as their own creations. "The class anxiety was palpable," he says. "But there was an attempt at an expression. There was a gesture here that I couldn’t fully comprehend. This was another set of social codes, ones to which I had no direct access. I just scratched the surface."
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Luis Gispert, Courtesy of Mary Boone Gallery
"It's all very American," says Gispert, "It's informed by urban culture, hip-hop iconography and certain socio-economic issues. But I don't want [the images] to read like straight photojournalism. That's why I added the landscapes or used certain lighting. I wanted to move it closer to the history of painting and fine art photography."
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