Virgil Abloh (1980–2021) made a career out of questioning assumptions and defying expectations. Raised in the Chicago area, Abloh trained as an architect but found his calling as a fashion designer. He worked across disciplines, collaborating with graphic and furniture designers, musicians and contemporary artists, as well as others in the fashion industry. In undertaking projects in new fields, he not only influenced the conversations within them but also expanded their traditional audiences, reaching millions through social media.
Virgil Abloh: "Figures of Speech" offers an unprecedented survey of the artist’s creative work over nearly two decades, pulling back the curtain on his process. Prototypes are presented alongside finished artworks, product designs and fashion to reveal his many sources of inspiration – from a centuries-old painting to commonplace signage at construction sites. Running throughout the exhibition is an emphasis on dialogue, which Abloh created through his inventive use of language and quotation marks, turning the objects he designed and the people who wear his clothing into ‘figures of speech’.