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Le Valentin, Brussels - February 2014

Over the years, this model has become the signature of Isabelle Baines' designs. Designed and made without any finishing or unnecessary or superfluous additions, the Valentin translates the search for the essential that characterises the designer's work. Emblem of the workshop, this "basic tool" model can be transformed according to the collections, desires and inspirations.

Twenty-eight artists, from a variety of practices and backgrounds, were invited to transform and revisit the Valentine. From this model, the artist reinterprets, diverts or appropriates the jumper in their own language.

A meeting or dialogue between Isabelle Baines' studio and the artists, this exhibition offers a playful, artistic and conceptual approach to knitwear. Twenty-eight personalities reveal their own universe through the Valentin, and each work is exhibited according to the singularity of each one.

Working with knitwear means drawing with needles, just as artists draw and create with their pencils, their brushes, their hands and their materials.

The pieces - clothes, sculptures, objects - are made in the studio and form the content of a travelling exhibition.

"In my work, I try to return to the origin of the objects I make. This is what guides the choice of materials and shapes of my cufflink collections.

One of the very first things that touched me about Isabelle Baines' work was the care she took to give these objects a name. I found this very touching. So I focused my research on the model's title, "Valentin".

I happened to be in Terni this year, the home town of a Saint Valentine. In my research, I discovered that in the 3rd century there were two Saint Valentines, killed by the same emperor, Claudius II the Goth, for having both encouraged young couples to marry religiously, in order to escape the army.

One Valentine was a priest, the other a bishop, and both were buried in the same place, via Flaminia (the road from Rome to Spoleto).

So I asked Isabelle Baines to make two models of tunic for each of the valentines, one with gold embroidery on the cuffs and collar for the bishop's habit, and the other plain for the priest's habit.

It is a way of paying homage to the two Valentines, the one from Terni and the one from Rome, who are displayed side by side and remain united in words and deeds. "Samuel Gassmann