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Gurls Talk x Coach Festival

21.06.2017 | Blog , Culture | BY:

Conversation-changing platform Gurls Talk and Coach have partnered up for powerful new festival, coming to London at the beginning of July. Throughout the day, the event will celebrate women in all their many and majestic facets, with the likes of Hari Nef, New Statesman columnist and fierce activist Laurie Penny and US Vogue contributor and relationship expert Karley Sciortino all joining to fuel debate and discussion around gender.

The event kicks off with a speech from Gurls Talk founder Adowa Aboah, who started the platform as a means of encouraging girls to speak more openly around issues of mental health and identity. Her ongoing commitment to activism has seen Gurls Talk grow into a formidable and vital organisation, offering a much needed space for young women to receive support and mentoring.

There will also be choreography classes from Wayne McGregor and a library by Claire de Rouen – and best of all, it’s free.

Gurls Talk x Coach Festival will take place 1st July, 12 – 6 pm at 180 The Strand, London 

 

 

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The Female Japanese Photographers to Watch

18.06.2017 | Art | BY:

Until early July, IBASHO Gallery in Antwerp will host the works of twelve young female photographers from Japan. IBASHO means ‘a place where you can be yourself’ in Japanese, and the gallery consistently displays stunning Japanese photography in its many forms.

The title of this show is ‘Female Force from Japan’, and it includes photographs from an array of young female artists, with images ranging from the raw and unpolished, to the minimalist and still.

Kumi Oguro, 'Drift' 2015

Kumi Oguro, ‘Drift’ 2015

The exhibition will display selected images from artist Yukari Chikura’s series ‘Fluorite Fantasia’, a very personal body of work that deals with the death of her father. Photographer Mikoko Hara presents a selection of her square-formatted photographs, all taken without using a viewfinder, and London-based photographer Akiko Takizawa exhibits images that use the 150-year-old Collotype printing process, which originated in France. Other artists included in the exhibition are Haromi Kakimoto, whose crisp images falter between our everyday lives and our dream worlds, and Mika Nitadori, whose artistic focus is on human interaction.

Mika Horie, 'Spring Dragon' 2016

Mika Horie, ‘Spring Dragon’ 2016

The varied and compelling nature of the works are tied together by both the artists’ gender and national identity. And with works by Western photographers who have been inspired by Japan also on display, this exhibition at IBASHO ensures a complete survey of the exciting work coming out of the country, and its wider ramifications for contemporary culture on the international stage. 

Reiko Imoto, 'Parallelism' 2000

Reiko Imoto, ‘Parallelism’ 2000

‘Female Force from Japan’ will show at IBASHO Gallery in Antwerp until 2nd July

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An exclusive look at Sies Marjan’s new Fall 1 editorial

14.06.2017 | Fashion | BY:

In fashion it’s increasingly rare for creative individuals to collaborate without a clear (usually financial) purpose. But to celebrate their Fall 1 collection, Sies Marjan‘s creative director Sander Lak paired up with photographer Roe Etheridge stylist Marie Chaix to create a new series which embraces art for art’s sake.

The idea was simply to celebrate the texture and silhouette of the designs, focussing on the heady combination of materials – Chukka loafers in nubuck leather, satin sweatshirts, metallic and tinsel details – and the way in which they interact.

Sander Lak commented: “I always like the idea of not having an agenda or goal and just come together with talented people and create stuff. Sometimes all the projects and shoots and lookbooks and presentations that are scheduled for various goals are a creative killer. We work on them just to get them done in time… This project was very much about rejecting that idea. Not having a clear final purpose really freed us up creatively and ended up being so helpful with putting the show together a few months after this shoot.”

Twin was given an exclusive teaser of the new editorial, check out some of the images below.

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Paula Knorr: Painting Power

09.06.2017 | Fashion | BY:

Paula Knorr paints power. Through molten textures and engulfing energy, striking clashes and forthright form. The brush she paints with is of a modern sensibility, dappled by her emotive translations through evocative fabric and stylistic fluidity.
The womenswear designer, currently supported by the British Fashion Council’s support scheme NEWGEN, initiated her interest in design with a naturalised association of fashion as an art form: as her artistic explorations developed, so did her desire to place the female at the foreground of her inspiration, with the presentation of femininity and strength colouring her collections each season.
From her emphasis on movement and sway in the shapes she cuts, there is something quite mesmerising about a Paula Knorr piece in motion. For Paula, clothes create a synergy between the wearer and themselves – seen in how her garments appear to mould around the body’s lines and horizons. Through her methodology – draping first on the figure before sketching out her ideas – the woman is the leading instigator in her inspirations. Her February 2017 showcase at London Fashion Week, Collages of Herself, took shape from excerpts of conversations Paula conducted with inspiring women, the figure and the female psyche informing the results. Her premier collection, ‘Her Wet Skin’, injected the power of contrasts between fabric choice to react and cause an emotional response to the collection. Discussing the challenges and responsibilities of design and the role of reality, the emerging designer is creating more than collections, she is aiming to capture expressions.
Paula Knorr AW17

Paula Knorr AW17

 

As a young woman of the 21st Century, what influenced your decision to study fashion?

I knew that I wanted to create clothes from a really young age on. I was always sketching and sewing outfits for my little sister. Growing up in a very artistic household – my parents are both artists and illustrators – I naturally saw fashion as an art form and for a long time not the commercial side of it.

How did your design process and inspirations change from when you began your studies?

When I started to study it was hard for me to source inspiration in personal subjects. Especially during your studies you have to talk about concept and inspiration on a daily basis in front of various people – I was too self-conscious to really work through my inner heartstrings. It was during my MA in London at the RCA that I realised there is no time to hide behind fashionable subjects – that it’s more worth your time when you work on something that truly defines you.

Paula Knorr AW17

Paula Knorr AW17

What is your design process now?

My main intention in my design is to put the woman in the foreground, not the cloth. It´s all about her body, her movement and her personal beauty. This interaction and balance between the body and the garments is essential . Details, prints, etc. come second: that´s why I never start by drawing my ideas. I have to drape and preferably create them directly on a real body to explore how they interact.

How does the female voice shape your seasonal collections?

To support and illustrate female identity is the core of my designs. In fashion you sometimes get the feeling that the superficial vision of a girl and her clothes on the runway is getting more attention than the real woman that wears the garment later on. Every season, I try to define a method to reverse that and remind of the actual purpose of fashion.

What does being a designer mean to you? Are you a translator of femininity and power?

As a womenswear designer it is absolutely necessary to challenge yourself and what femininity means to you. Your sole field of work is to dress women, so you have the responsibility to be progressive, powerful and a fighter for their wishes. In your small area of reach you have the chance to contribute and absolutely change something for women.

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You describe your most recent collection as a complex collage of attributes – what are they and what lends to their complexities?

I wanted to showcase the diversity and complexity of the female psyche and appearance. Like in a collage all those emotions and characteristics don´t belong or fit together, they come from all sorts of places. Fashion tends to showcase this one dimensional, fictive girl as a muse. This makes the collection easy to understand, but also not relevant as an inspiration to reality.

How do you unite abstract emotion with material expression?

I wanted to transfer the interaction of sometimes conflicting emotions directly into garments by choosing fabrics which are not easy to understand and trigger your haptic impression. For example the AW17 silk and foil mix chiffon, which can look like glossy transparent latex in pictures, but moves like super thin chiffon, which creates a beautiful antithetic effect.

Your mission statement discusses creating an identity that allows a balance of strength and vulnerability – how do they feed into each other?

In reality a personality is never one dimensional. You can feel strong and vulnerable at the same time and tons of things more. To influence my design with reality, with a realistic female identity, is important in my process. What does femininity mean to you? My own picture of femininity is not the most unconventional one per se, but I have no problem with this. I think the main goal of feminism nowadays is to create room and acceptance for all concepts of feminine identity equally.

In an age of social anxiety, pressure and responsibility, where does your brand sit amidst the uncertainties surrounding women of our generation?

I want to connect to women of our generation which feel lost between gender neutral and over-sexual. I want to show that to be a feminine woman is equally important and needs the same attention than to be anything else. I was never the coolest kid and I always loved to feel really feminine. My main goal is to create a wardrobe for those women, which are not afraid to be strong and powerful but equally feminine.

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Explore new designers at In-Neoss pop up shop

09.06.2017 | Fashion | BY:

Sustainable fashion brand NEOSS will house the inNeoss pop-up shop in Hackney Road this June, bringing together designs and publications from a number of emerging brands. Participants include sustainable clothing line ELLISS, Edie Campbell’s label Itchy Scratchy Patchy, the bold and fearless Clio Peppiatt, denim brand I AND ME, and season-less, unisex clothes from Bonnie Fechter, as well as many others.

I AND ME

I AND ME

The pop-up is a non-profit project for NEOSS, and all money made will go back into the store, which will then be taken around the country, cropping up in carefully selected cities throughout the UK. The initiative is intended to bring attention and profit to these young designers within a conventional store setting.

Keep your eyes peeled for special in-store events every Thursday of the month, this is a fashionable pop-up you don’t want to miss. 

inNEOSS will be open from the 3rd to the 30th June between 10am and 7pm June at  205 Hackney Road.

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Cats & Plants

06.06.2017 | Art , Blog , Culture | BY:

As simple as the title suggests, this new book from independent publishing house Zioxla is all of the internet clichés repackaged into something new, fun and fresh.

Featuring the work of Chicago-based artist Stephen Eichhorn, the book is a playful ode to one of the most familiar images in contemporary culture. There’s always something interesting about bringing Internet trends offline, and Eichhorn’s work offers a meta-read of what cats have come to stand for, taking what’s familiar and transforming it into something surprising.

While plants have been a constant recurrence in Eichhorn’s work, when he began working on this latest series of collages he decided to pursue images and references from niche publications only. This led to discovering and using images from publications such as Japanese cactus guide books and abstracted parts of Orchids.

Having started the project back in 2009, the 200-page tome is the culmination of years of work, with the honed, stylised graphic quality that has defined other work reflected here too. Cats eyes jump out of shells, blend with cacti and peek from behind coniferous leaves. Its’s funny, light-hearted and smart; we predict ‘Cats & Plants‘ will be your new obsession this summer.

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Anne Morris in ‘Form and Volume’

04.06.2017 | Art | BY:

What happens when you take simple objects and turn them into art? Annie Morris’ practice grew out of drawing. Her love of line develop into sculpture, painting and free-hand sewn works that exude joy. She uses everyday objects such as biro pens and clothes pegs to make pieces that brim with a personal visual language full of narrative pleasure.

The staking sculptures she has on show in Form and Volume at CF Hill in Stockholm sit firmly between the abstract and figurative. They are often human scale, or larger than life, but seem to echo the vertical stance of the human body. She reduces her forms to shapes that are circular but inanimate. She plays with gravity, creating balls of pigment and colour that seem to defy the laws of nature.

The formal nature of her stacks veer towards the language of painting. She studied with Giuseppe Penone at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris and Phyllida Barlow at the Slade in London – and reflects their sense of solemnity and play, free space and steadiness.

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She uses coloured pigment, chalk and watercolour on the surface of her balls, which are intentionally hand made and uneven. Their imperfections give them a feeling joy, lightness and humour. The balls should fall apart, but Morris’ has enabled them to reach upward seemingly through hope and intention as much as anything else.

Each of Morris’ colourful combinations are unique. There is a sense of repetition and exploration in combinations that brings to mind Joseph Albers. She obsessively deconstructs and reconfigures fragments on order to create something harmonious. The stacking series slowly emerged in the wake of her experience of giving birth to a stillborn child, the resulting trauma and the relationship with her desire to have children (she now has two). These are works about hope and harmony in the face of hardship.

Morris has now begun to explore making stack works in metal – experimenting in both bronze and steel. Most recently she has been working with technicians who fabricated work for the iconic British modernist sculptor, Barbara Hepworth. A feminist aesthetic heritage runs throughout Morris’ work, yet her work is not limited by references to gender – her use of line echoes both Jean Cocteau and Louise Bourgeois. This is an artist whose ever-expanding approach is both personal and refreshingly accessible and universal.

Annie Morris is on show in Form and Volume at CF Hill, Stockholm until June 30

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Fashion Flora at SHOWstudio

01.06.2017 | Art , Culture , Fashion | BY:

In their latest exhibition, SHOWstudio offers a botanical paradise in which fashion illustrators and flowers combine for a refreshing presentation.

The exhibition brings together an array of works by renowned names including Alexander McQueen, Dries Van Noten and John Galliano. Curated by Flora Starkey, the best seasonal British flowers combine with these works, and films from SHOWstudio’s 17-year archive, to create a summery, fresh space in which audiences can explore the long-standing relationship between fashion and flowers.

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“Flowers have always been a huge influence and inspiration in the art of fashion design as well as a recurring theme throughout my own work.” Commented Nick Knight. “It is with great pleasure that I can announce the latest exhibition at the SHOWstudio Fashion Illustration gallery, ‘Fashion Flora’. The exhibition presents an explorative look at the use of flowers as a motif in fashion throughout the decades, as seen by 40 of the world’s preeminent contemporary fashion illustrators. Curated by Flora Starkey, who is one of the most exciting floral designers working today, the exhibition will also feature Flora’s beautiful flower arrangements.”

Fashion Flora is open at SHOWstudio now. 

 

Ella Kruglyanskaya, Drawing of Lounging Woman in Straw Hat, 2015, Oil on linen, 53.3 x 58.4 cm, Courtesy the artist and Thomas Dane Gallery, London

Celebrating tradition and championing the future: ’31 Women’ is back

29.05.2017 | Art | BY:

In 1943, art collector Peggy Guggenheim hosted the ground-breaking ’31 Women’ exhibition at her New York Gallery, lending a platform to female artists who hailed from the contemporary worlds of surrealism and abstract expressionism. From the 2nd June, Breese Little Gallery will present a sequel to this pioneering exhibition, tracing this group of female artists from the 1940s up to the present day, and including works by successive generations of female surrealists and abstract expressionists.

We spoke to Director Josephine Breese, to find out about the relevance of this exhibition today, and the themes that are highlighted by these dual genres. 

What drew you to Peggy Guggenheim’s 1943 exhibition and why did you decide to bring it into the present day?

Our exhibition channels the celebratory spirit of the original concept, at an appropriate moment to revisit the relevance of Guggenheim’s all female show. While the format of 31 women artists was unusual for its time in 1943, the exhibition was presented without extra fanfare, in step with the courage of many of Guggenheim’s avant-garde decisions. This provided a prominent platform for Guggenheim’s circle, incorporating artists such as Dorothea Tanning, Louise Nevelson, Frida Kahlo, Leonora Carrington and Meret Oppenheim.

RACHEL WHITEREAD. STEP 2007 | Photo credit: Mike Bruce

RACHEL WHITEREAD. STEP 2007 | Photo credit: Mike Bruce

How does 31 Women at Breese Little differ from the exhibition at Peggy Guggenheim’s Gallery in 1943?

We adopted a starting point of the dual strands of abstraction and surrealism, in the ascendance of 1940s New York, alongside the additional framework of the British connection that is shared by the participating artists. These themes are developed through subsequent generations, represented by contributions from the 1940s to the present day, from early British modernists to iconic female artists of the 60s and 70s.

What techniques do the artists use to convey these themes?

An advantage of having 31 participating artists is the breadth of different materials used! A brief overview includes ripped canvas, bark, steel, latex, resin, jesmonite, and a handwritten letter by Tracey Emin.

Why did you feel that it was important to put on an exhibition using only female artists?

The benefit of an exclusively female context is that it can be considered from multiple perspectives, and we are particularly drawn to its capacity as an open forum for discussion between the work on show as well as its timing. The exhibition concept met with enthusiasm from artists and galleries involved from its early planning stages, indicating the confidence and place for shows of its kind at this moment.

Eileen Agar, Fighter Pilot, 1940

Eileen Agar, Fighter Pilot, 1940

Are there any works in the collection that particularly stand out to you?

31 Women is composed of a wonderful and wide spectrum of contributions, which chart a loose introduction to the timespan and production from the 1930s – 2017. Claude in Gillian’s Shadow (2017) is Gillian Wearing’s testament to this legacy. The small silver gelatin print was made shortly before her exhibition with Claude Cahun at The National Portrait gallery, and revisits a 1938 self-portrait by Cahun. Likewise, Katie Schwab recognises the history of modernist making processes that are often traditionally ascribed to female practitioners. Schwab’s compact ceramic composite from the recent Leftovers series, anticipates the research she is currently undertaking on the Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Residency at Porthmeor Studios in St Ives.

’31 Women’ will be on display at Breese Little Gallery from June 2nd until 31st July 2017.

Featured image credit: Ella Kruglyanskaya, Drawing of Lounging Woman in Straw Hat, 2015, Oil on linen, 53.3 x 58.4 cm, Courtesy the artist and Thomas Dane Gallery, London

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Opening up to the unknown: Twin meets artist Sarah Braman

22.05.2017 | Art , Blog | BY:

Sarah Braman focusses on large-scale sculptures which interact with their surrounding environments. Born in New York, Braman has cultivated a distinct aesthetic which sees a melange of vibrant colours rendered in various materials – from perspex to scrap metal pieces. The resulting works offer captivating interplays between the private and the public, wherein exhibits invite an engagement with their surrounding space, as well as engendering emotional response. As her first solo show in London comes to a close this week, Twin spoke with Braman about creative spaces and finding the perfect object.

Your work is often large scale, and often involves familiar objects that you render unfamiliar through new juxtapositions – how do you decide what to work with?

I tend to work with what is around me, things I find at home or in the yard or on the road. I am a regular at the town dump and Salvation Army in my town. Sometimes I get a slow burn desire for a specific object and then I open my scanning to a larger periphery to try to find that thing. 

Do you feel an instinctive pull towards certain types of materials?   

Yes I have always had a love for transparency.  I guess light feels like such a gift and always changing and transparent glass or fabric allows that to do its magic. I also love everything about wood. I love its density, it’s colour. I love that when I paint on wood there is already a subject in it’s grain.  It is also true that in carving wood every piece is so different from every other. Even out of the same tree the different chunks have such a variety of qualities. And I like furniture and junk form day to day life. I like automotive parts because when they are taken in parts they work as much as pieces of architecture as the do pieces of cars or trucks.

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What has most surprised you when working? Do you often pair materials and see them in a wholly new light?

When I use a material or object and it transforms to something I don’t expect that is the best feeling. It doesn’t happen all the time but its part of why I keep making art, trying to get to those moments.

What stories and themes do you most enjoying telling or exploring in your work?

That is a really hard question. I feel like I work best when I am detaching from thoughts about what the work is or should be.  But to this same point my friend Pascal said to me recently this is an important time to take ownership of our choices.  This also seems true.  The truth is that I really don’t know what I am making, but that said; I do have desires and feeling of what I hope the work can be.  I really want the sculptures to operate as objects that exist on their own, not as metaphors or symbols or stand-ins for anything else.  I hope that the sculptures can lead the viewer into an experience that is truly abstract, that is, one that cant be described by words.  I hope that the viewer could some how be ungrounded in this experience and that while they may have feelings or thoughts looking at the piece that they are at the same time unable to tie all this together in a way that they can understand.  I guess this is all to say that I hope the work can open people up to the unknown, and more specifically, the unknown that exists in every moment of our lives.

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Who have you been most inspired by, for this exhibition and more generally throughout your career?

My mother built our house when I was about five years old.  I think the experience of watching her take down an old tabbacco barn and slowly build a house out of it has been one of the most inspirational experience in my life and in my art.  For sure being a mother and the inherent imperfection of the day to day of raising children paired with the absolute perfection of the love shared has been a guide for me in the studio.  This also is true for my relationship with Phil.  With him I think the deepest value is having someone that I feel completely safe with.  I think when I can have a place of comfort and faith to go to, it allows me to follow the work to the edge of what I understand, and get to a place that is maybe all wrong and fucked up.  After that I would say my involvement with CANADA and the artist that form that extended family.  Of course there are many artists from art history and contemporary art that influence and inspire me, but the proximity I have to the artists makes the effect and inspiration that much more intense. I could list a whole lot of artists and works of art if you think that would be helpful and interesting let me know and I will write back with that.

I’m interested in how you reconcile the more rigid space of a gallery with large-scale works. Do you feel that it inhibits the viewer’s ability to interact with them, or is it the reverse?

I hope that it draws people into an experience that is complex. Some people have said that they are intimidated at first by the presence of some of the larger works, but that as they start to walk around the pieces they get comforted by the humanity in the details and start to let down their guard and engage.

What is it about volume and scale that you enjoy? Do you begin each work with a smaller visualisation?

I almost never do small studies or small maquetts. When making large work I usually start directly with the materials/objects or use large sheets of cardboard or plywood if I am trying to work out the planes.  I think I am drawn to large scale because of the direct body experience when you are standing next to the sculpture. I like having the opportunity to surrender to the sculpture and I think the large scale helps move me towards that.

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You also established your own gallery. Given that you work so much with space and sculpture, did you seek to invest a kind of higher sense of art in the gallery itself, where each exhibitor played into   a relationship with the existing space, or do want artists to exhibit independently within the space?

The gallery was really my husband Phil Grauer’s idea. He invited a rag tag group of artists to join him in his vision. I was lucky enough to be in the vicinity at that time so I got swept up into it. It has been one of the great gifts of my life to be able to participate in his vision over the last almost 20 years.  Getting back to the question you are asking, we really try to let the artists steer the handling of the space in whatever way that they need/desire. I think if there is a larger creative desire underlying the gallery it has to do with creating a space for a web of artists to be in conversation with each other and who provide support and context for each other.

What are your future projects?

I just finished a large sculpture for a show at The Brant Foundation curated by my colleague, fantastic painter and friend Sadie Laska. It’s a small shack type structure that was made for a group of friends to play music in.  It’s also filled with books I have collected from the town dump.

I am just starting to work on a few outdoor sculptures.  One is for an exhibition organised by artist Matthew Day Jackson and is taking place in Jackson Hole Wyoming in time for the solar eclipse happening at the end of Aug.  Matthew has generously offered to fabricate the piece out there.  It is basically a glazed shipping container that is stuck in the ground at a slight angle.  It will also be a vehicle for music performance and makeshift reading room.  The other outdoor piece is for an exhibition of public sculpture at UMASS Amherst which is especially exciting for me because my son is in his final year of college there studying computer science.  And lastly I am working on a solo show for the fall for a wonderful dealer Linn Lehn in Dusseldorf Germany.

Sarah Braman is at Marlborough Contemporary, 27 Apr 2017 – 27 May 2017

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Marques’Almeida pops up for summer

18.05.2017 | Fashion | BY:

The M’A pop up shop is back! Just in time for summer the Portuguese duo will be bringing the best of their SS17 collections, as well as archival pieces, to the Old Truman Brewery.

Alongside the chance to snag staple summer pieces, attendees can also switch up their hair style courtesy of Keash Braids. There’s also the opportunity to dress up in M’A classics and be a part of the ‘#howdoyouwearyourMA’ series.

The Marques’Almeida pop-up shop is open Thursday 18th May from 3-8pm, and Friday and Saturday too, from 11-7pm.

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Politics, fashion, feminism and everything in-between: Twin meets Jade Jackman

17.05.2017 | Art , Blog , Culture | BY:

Female filmmaker Jade Jackman and I speak over Skype, from her apartment in Madrid – a city which she has just moved to as a result of what she refers to as “the monumental cost of living in London” and of course, Brexit. She’s recently returned from Afghanistan where she was teaching film to Afghan women reporters so they could tell their own stories and also released a short creative documentary on Yarl’s Wood – a women’s detention centre in the UK – earlier this year. Not only this but Jackman is also spearheading a project named ‘Eye Want Change’, teaching young people how to make documentaries about issues that matter to them using just their smartphones. Needless to say she is one smart, endlessly creative and inspiring woman who Twin have been eager to speak with for some time now. Jade and I Skype-d for over an hour, from East London to Madrid about protests, politics, fashion, feminism and everything in-between.

As a woman, why do you feel like it’s important to support other women in the creative industries?

It’s incredibly important — someone doing well doesn’t mean you are going to do badly. I think there needs to be more of a conscious effort for women to support other women. It is starting to happen slowly… I think it’s about getting different voices out there. One thing that’s been amazing about the digital age / internet is that women have been able to get their voices out there talking about what is important to them. It’s about making sure our voices and the way we’re presenting ourselves is seen as legitimate. I think it’s a really exciting time because we’ve got more ways to put our opinion across than ever… I guess we’ve got to wait and see with this kind of movement whether millennials (or whatever people like to call us) will pierce the glass ceiling.

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Hopefully!

I think so, I think it’s unstoppable!

How have you found being a female filmmaker? How has it impacted your journey?

I’d say for me personally it has informed what I want to talk about more than having had a negative impact career wise. I think it’s taught me or shown me the things I’m interested in. In some ways as well being a woman isn’t always negative — like I wouldn’t have been able to make the film about Yarl’s Wood in the way that I made it if I was a man, and I wouldn’t have got so close to women in Afghanistan if I had been a man. There are lots of positives I think to being a woman, it’s just making sure your ideas don’t get sidelined or focus with a soft or feminine angle all the time. But then sometimes that’s what I’m interested in; I am interested in working with women and with some of the topics I do cover it is to give a different perspective, like a gender perspective because I think it’s necessary.

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I remember when I first heard about Yarl’s Wood and what happened there I was horrified and felt powerless. How did this film come about?

I studied law at LSE at university and wanted to be a lawyer originally. It was around the time of the legal aid cuts and I wanted to use my law experience to help in some way. So during that I was planning a dossier of sexual abuse cases that were happening in Yarl’s Wood – women reporting cases of sexual assault from the guards. At the time I was quite young, I was nineteen, I hadn’t really thought about being a filmmaker then I wasn’t quite sure how to put that into film. Then I started to think about it more and more. In one of the interviews a woman calls them the invisible women and I guess I had an urge to put some visibility on them and make these women really visible as women — that’s how it started. As you can imagine trying to make a film somewhere you can’t film where video recording is illegal is almost impossible. I got a grant from Sheffield Documentary Festival in 2015 and that then I cut down on all these four hour phone conversations I’d had with women detained there and that’s how I started thinking about it. I was aware that I wanted it to look quite different visually to most documentaries. I think its because for the past two years I’ve been seeing a lot in lots of newspapers where I’ve felt really bombarded with the imagery of what refugees drowning look like and all these images of people in Calais and refugee camps are really important and valuable in some way but for me it didn’t feel real: it was like showing people in their lowest state ever and I felt like those images were almost so bad that we couldn’t associate with them. In my background I’m really influenced by music videos and fashion films and art films and I think today we are so used to seeing high quality video content and I think people are fed up of getting information from conventional news sources… it’s important to speak to people in a visually different way. If you think of Trump and Brexit the old ways of telling people information are not working, they’re failing to engage people…

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I think that gives more scope for finding something in the work to connect to, which makes resonate more and have more value. Let’s talk a bit about Great Women Artists the Instagram account that champions female artists on the social media platform, how did you get involved with them?

I’m always looking to work with women who are doing something they are passionate about. I think it makes for interesting projects and collaborations. I got in contact with them and they were saying they were doing a collaboration for International Women’s Day and I was like okay cool let’s do a video for that and explain why what you are doing is connected. Talking about this mass produced culture and imagery of women that isn’t by or for women. We couldn’t actually say we didn’t see images of women — we do, women are used to sell pretty much everything but in the same way that there’s lots of clothes and lots of brands being sold to us all the time, but those things aren’t the same, they want to collaborate with female artists because they are creating something unique by hand, more genuine imagery of something that is made by a female. That’s what got my interest. I think that I liked that they chose Frida Kahlo and Louise Bougeois who were open about being crazy and not being these ‘respectable’ women. I really admired that because there’s a certain image of a woman we have to aspire to or look to be like…That’s why I was keen to get involved with them. I really like they are planning to work with other young female artists to come. It’s out of a conventional gallery setting it’s really clever.

Definitely, and if you consider that Instagram is a platform where a lot more art is shared and consumed now, you’re more likely to see work on Instagram even if it is in galleries. You go to a lot of protests, what’s your opinion on protesting?

I am interested in politics as I’m a documentary filmmaker and I want my work to talk about things that I care about — that’s the most important thing to me. For example the next thing I want to make a documentary about is gender based violence and sexual assault. Even if I am taking a more creative approach to them I really want to talk about these issues. So, I guess protests if it is something that you’re interested in are something visual and political protests are a natural thing to end up covering because they’re energetic and visual and they also need to be documented — especially now in the digital age. A lot of what goes on online is shared through social media — a lot of the imagery we see is coming through social media of being at the protest. The kind of people you are protesting against probably aren’t going to be at the protest so someone needs to be documenting it… I guess that’s something I enjoy. Also it’s a great way for people to get together from all sorts of different places and feel connected to each other and to causes they care about.

I think too it’s important to feel heard, to have a belief that you have rights and that bleeds into the rest of your life and how you approach that what’s happening in the world.

I think what I find most important is the protests they do outside Yarl’s Wood. What’s great about a protest is the power people make. You can’t really hide from it because here are people there.

You studied Law, how did you then move from Law into documentary and filmmaking….

I studied anthropology with it and I think I always wanted to be a documentary maker but I didn’t know how because I didn’t want to make TV documentaries… so, I wasn’t sure if what I wanted to make existed I knew I didn’t want to do just fashion but I like to make things that look like fashion films so I was kind of confused when I was younger what I was interested in. For example I interned for a couple of fashion magazines whilst I was at university and I was always really interested in Pam Hogg not because I wanted to talk about the fashion or the craftsmanship but I wanted to talk about the politics — I think I’ve always understood images more than I understand anything else. I always am seeing something.

Watch Jade Jackman’s Yarl’s Wood documentary, ‘Calling Home’ here.

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NARS x Charlotte Gainsbourg: ‘Portrait of the Artist’

16.05.2017 | Beauty | BY:

As celebrity collaborations go, this makeup collection from NARS designed by Charlotte Gainsbourg is a doozie. Capitalising on our collective fascination with the French, François Nars has chosen the ultimate Gallic poster girl in Gainsbourg, whose artful effortlessness is a thing of real beauty. Paradoxically the French actress is known more for her understated approach to makeup, so the stronger shades might come as a surprise; however, each piece is a reflection on a certain aspect of Gainsbourg’s life, including the streets she grew up on, her famous mother Jane Birkin’s beauty habits and of course her own unconventional approach to what she finds beautiful. She has said that: ‘I learned early on what suits me’, preferring little touches that enhance, rather than alter her unique look, and this is the way in which the sheer and wearable collection has been designed: to look lived-in, low key and very authentic. Featuring glow-enhancing cheek tints and off-kilter kohls, the collection is a little piece of French Girl Beauty we can all get behind.

NARS x Charlotte Gainsbourg: ‘Portrait of the Artist’ is available to buy now. 

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Watch Louis Vuitton Cruise 18 Show Live at Miho Museum, Kyoto

14.05.2017 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

Having previously taken Louis Vuitton to the desert in Palm Springs and the ocean in Rio, this year from Louis Vuitton’s Cruise 2018 show,Nicholas Ghesquiere will take audiences to the verdant surroundings of the Miho Museum in Kyoto.

Watch the Louis Vuitton Cruise 2018 show live through the player below.

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Carol Bove, Venice Biennale

The female artists at Venice Biennale 2017 you need to know

12.05.2017 | Art , Blog | BY:

Bored of yet another long list of old white male artists? Fear not. There are many women on show at the Venice Biennale this year making thoughtful, complex and deeply considered work. These are ten of most exciting names at Venice Biennale 2017.

Tracey Moffatt

Australia’s acclaimed filmmaker and photographer Tracey Moffatt will be showing a new body of work entitled My Horizon. Expect a discussion of global issues around what is legal and illegal, fictive and real, lost and remembered.

Hell (Passage Series) Tracey Moffatt Venice Biennale 2017

Hell (Passage Series) Tracey Moffatt Venice Biennale 2017

Kirstine Roepstorff

Scandinavia always has to share a pavilion at Venice, but a stand out should be the wild and weird collage based works of Kirstine Roepstorff. It’s hard not to enjoy the way the Danish artist transform our image and information saturated existence into inventive collage and montage work.

Carol Bove 

Carol Bove, alongside duo Teresa Hubbard/Alexander Birchler, has created a pavilion which examines why Alberto Giacometti, despite being asked numerous times, refused to show in the Swiss pavilion Venice. The American artist’s sculptures and assemblages should make a great starting point for this instructional critique.

Carol Bove at Venice Biennale 2017

Carol Bove at Venice Biennale 2017

Geta Brătescu 

This brilliant, entirely individual older artist is exhibiting her work for Romania (Londoners should go to Camden Arts Centre to see some incredible work by her from the 1970s). She can do anything from performance to abstract painting, embroidery to sculpture Proof that artist work truly gets better with age.

Phyllida Barlow

Finally another woman is getting a chance to take over the British pavilion! No one could fill it better than Barlow, with her painted, chaotic, building sized installations and sculptures. Barlow, who taught artists like Rachel Whiteread at the Slade, really hit it big after she ‘retired’. About time too.

Installation view, folly, Phyllida Barlow, British Pavilion, Venice, 2017. Photo: Ruth Clark © British Council. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

Installation view, folly, Phyllida Barlow, British Pavilion, Venice, 2017. Photo: Ruth Clark © British Council. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

Candice Breitz 

Breitz’s film installations just keep getting bigger and better. Following a killer show at KOW in Berlin starring Alec Baldwin, and a huge project at KW Berlin with Tilda Swinton last year, Breitz is taking on the South Africa pavilion with what is sure to be brilliant work on representation and identity.

Candice Breitz, Love Story, 2016. Featuring Alec Baldwin and Julianne Moore

Candice Breitz, Love Story, 2016. Featuring Alec Baldwin and Julianne Moore

Martine Syms

LA artist Syms just keeps making good work. On the eve her of first solo show and feature length film at MoMA in NYC, she is also one of the finalists for the Future Generation Prize for work that takes on the structures of media and representation of Blackness.

artine Syms (United States) Lessons I-LXXV, 2014-2017 Series of 0’ 30’’ videos. Courtesy of the artist and Bridget Donahue Gallery

artine Syms (United States) Lessons I-LXXV, 2014-2017 Series of 0’ 30’’ videos. Courtesy of the artist and Bridget Donahue Gallery

Lisa Reihana 

New Zealand representative Lisa Reihana’s paintings feel as if the could have been made in the 18th century as much as today. The main focus of her work is a wallpaper installation based on Captain Cook’s voyages using digital audio visual animation to explore the European fetishisation of the Pacific.

Lisa Reihana, in Pursuit of Venus [infected] 2015, HD video (detail), Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the Patrons of Auckland Art Gallery.

Lisa Reihana, in Pursuit of Venus [infected] 2015, HD video (detail), Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the Patrons of Auckland Art Gallery.

Barbara Walker 

Barbara Walker is one of 40 artists in this brilliant exhibition of emerging artist, curator and mentors being launched by Nicolas Serota, the Diaspora pavilion. Based in Birmingham, her drawings and paintings look at class, power and cultural difference.

Barbara Walker

Barbara Walker, ‘Private Face ‘, exhibited at Midland Arts Centre, Birmingham, May – July 2002.

Dawn Kasper

Dawn Kasper is one of the women the central (female) curators the biennale has included in the main exhibition. A performance artist based in NYC, she studied under Chris Burden and Catherine Opie in LA, and make installation based projects about fear and panic – timely for our current emotional fall out then…

Dawn Kasper On Desire or the Method, 2016

Dawn Kasper, ‘On Desire or the Method’, 2016

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Jo Ann Callis

Setting a new agenda: Women In Fashion

06.05.2017 | Art , Blog , Culture , Fashion | BY:

With ample experience in the industry,  Lily More and Daisy Walker decided that it was time to address the issues around gender equality in the fashion industry. The aim is to empower women through community, creating a strong network for women and men to learn from, inspire and create a stronger industry together. Twin caught up with co-founder of Women in Fashion Daisy Walker to discuss issues around the male gaze, street casting and launching a dynamic new platform.

How did you two get to know each other, and what drove you to start ‘Women in Fashion’?

We met through a mutual friend when we were 19, far before either of us had any idea we’d end up in this industry.

Lily is a researcher for David Sims, and I am a photographer. Coming from very different sides of the industry we quickly found through conversations that we were already having that a lot of our experiences were similar, but that there were multi layered experiences that were specific to each part of the industry as well. We wanted to create a space that would allow these layers to be explored and shared with the aim of changing the negative aspects of an industry we love.

Yurie Nagashima, Untitled, 2001

What is the aim of the platform?

To provoke change through conversation and to make the industry accountable for it’s ways of working.

wWhat do you enjoy about street casting?

Street casting came out of necessity for me. I was looking at other fashion images and saw nothing of myself in them. These girls literally didn’t look like me or the people I knew. By using models from agencies I felt like I was contributing to a warped view on age, size and diversity that the whole industry was feeding into, which lead me instead to start street casting.

When you’re casting from agencies you’re casting a professional to turn up and act and behave a certain way. When casting someone you literally found on the street, or is a friend of a friend, there is no formal set up for how the day should go. There’s a level of closeness and trust you have to build very quickly with that person, and it’s that interaction, that honesty and that connection that I love.

Much like Women in Fashion, I’ve made lasting friendships through my casting and and it’s that drive for inclusivity and level of intimacy that drives me to continually cast outside of the agency system.

More than ever, with Instagram etc, image is central to how fashion is portrayed. How do you see photography shaping the conversation within the industry?

For me photography is a window into the concepts and ideas behind artists, and I think fashion photography is the only tangible and visible way that the industry can change perceptions and give a voice to niche experiences. It’s great to see that brands are reverting back somewhat to hiring photographers with a clear voice and message and the more those experiences are given a visual representation within the industry, the more space there is for that conversation to continue and evolve.

Do you think a women’s relationship with the camera has changed permanently now? How do you think men can navigate the stigma of the ‘male gaze’ while embracing a feminist narrative?

I don’t believe that anything is ever permanent, nor do I think we’ve necessarily reached any kind of goal in terms of the female gaze. The female experience is incredibly diverse, and ever evolving and the social landscape morphs, as well as our means of communication within it. What I do hope is that this wave of the female gaze continues to grow and move forward.

I think there’s huge scope for men to reappropriate the male gaze and offer new and fresh perspectives and continually strive to create work that is feminist. As fourth-wave feminism has opened up to the mainstream, perspectives are more readily available for feminist men to absorb and learn from. It’s the reason that Women in Fashion is not open to only women. We are open to all iterations of gender, specifically because we think that it is open conversation that allows better understanding, which leads to us all becoming better feminists and better allies.

A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, 2014, Director Ana Lily Amirpour

Thinking more generally about the industry, what are the biggest challenges that you perceive for ensuring greater diversity in the industry? How can we overcome them?

Often i find that diversity is hindered by sales. Clients and magazines are certainly becoming more aware of the need for diverse casting but at times are wary because they often experience a drop in sales. It’s an extremely painful truth, but one that lies in a history of brainwashing women to believe that white, tall and thin is the definition of beauty. The only way to overcome that is to push to saturate the industry with images that prove that is not the case.

Years of oppression can not be overturned overnight, but it’s important to remember that the images we put out today are the ones the next generation will be growing up with. And if they can learn the importance and beauty in diversity now; then they’ll be the next generation to buy into it.

Who are the women you most admire and who inspire you in fashion, and in culture more generally?

I’m a huge admirer of Vivienne Westwood. She was my first ever client and set the tone for me, personally. She came from humble beginnings and fought her way to success in an industry very much owned by men at the time. The industry is still run by men, and she still endures. She is ever evolving, always looking forward and always focused on exploring the role of gender.

Outside of the fashion world I am very inspired by Patti Smith and Arlene Grottfried. Their portrayal of relationships, in their own very distrinct ways, is lusty and ardent and far removed from the perfection often synonymous with that theme.

Louise Dahl-Wolfe 3

What other female collectives do you admire, and who do you think is exciting in the industry?

Gal- Dem! We were interviewed alongside Liv recently and loved everything about her and what she’s doing!

In terms of individuals were excited about in the industry; Fern Bain Smith, Emma Hope Allwood, Sara McAlpine. These are all people who are working in the industry on their own terms and have a lust for questioning norms, for change and for promoting women. Really the greatest hope for a safer and more responsible industry is inclusivity and passion, and these girls are brimming over with it. They are all also Women in Fashion members!

Twin asked Women in Fashion to curate their favourite images as part of their Twin Instagram takeover. Check them out on our feed and below. 

Rebecca Horn 2, 1974

Rebecca Horn, 1974

Ana Mendieta, Untitled (Silueta Series, Mexico), 1976

Ana Mendieta, Untitled (Silueta Series, Mexico), 1976

Barbara Crane 7

Barbara Crane

Dana Lixenberg 2

Dana Lixenberg

Dayanita Singh 1

Dayanita Singh

Deborah Willis. Hank Pending, 2008

Deborah Willis. Hank Pending, 2008

Francesca Woodman 13

Francesca Woodman

Janet Delaney 3

Janet Delaney

Martine Franck 2

Mi Vida Loca, 1993, Director Allison Anders

GayCouples 045

Zanele Muholi 3

Zanele Muholi

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Featured image: work by Pawel Althamer

“We can see his bones underneath his flayed skin.”

03.05.2017 | Art , Blog | BY:

The ISelf Collection: Self Portrait as the Billy Goat is part of the Whitechapel Gallery’s program that displays rarely seen collections from around the world. The collection features twenty-five pieces from international artists, incorporating works by Cindy Sherman, Louise Bourgeouis and Tracey Emin, among many others. This is the first segment of the four-part show, which will explore the notion of self in terms of our identity as an individual, in relation to others, to society, and as part of the wider world. Through surrealist selfies and self-portraiture, the pieces in this chapter reveal how artists stage their own bodies or self-reflections, to examine how we build our sense of personal identity.

Among the works is Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Nets, part of an ongoing series of white paintings that explore the inner workings of her mind, as well as Prem Sahib’s Undetectable sculpture of an AIDS test, and Pawel Althamer’s self-portrait The Thinker, in which he is represented as a Billy Goat, and from which the collection took its name. Each piece is a self-portrait, exploring physical, psychological and imaginary dealings with our selves. We spoke to curator Emily Butler to find out more about the collection.

Why did you want to have this collection at the Whitechapel Gallery? 

This is the first public display of the ISelf Collection and it is part of our program of introducing intriguing and important collections to the public. The collection was established in 2009 by Maria and Malek Sukkar and it uses painting, sculpture and photography to explore the human condition. It looks at themes of birth, death, sexuality, love and pain and includes works by major international artists. We are also interested in revealing the collection’s wide geographic range, which includes works by artists from the Middle East and Latin America, and its strong focus on women and figuration.

Why was the collection named after the piece ‘Self-portrait as the Billy Goat’?

The first display of the ISelf Collection is named after one of the works in the show, a melancholic 2011 portrait of the artist Pawel Althamer in the guise of Auguste Rodin’s Thinker, with the additional twist that he is also representing himself as a flayed Billy Goat. The show itself focuses on self-portraiture, and the different ways that artists choose to represent themselves in various media. Here the artist chooses to show himself not as a perfect idealized thinking man, embodied by Rodin’s sculpture, but as an emotional individual, who feels sad as a scapegoat figure inspiring ridicule, or who feels weak, as we can see his bones underneath his flayed skin.

Linder © Whitechapel Gallery

Linder © Whitechapel Gallery

What themes unite the works in the collection?

As mentioned, the collection is interested in the human condition, or the self, hence its name ISelf, which plays on the existential dilemma that is inherent to human nature; the relation between the idea we have of ourselves as individuals ‘I’, and our relation to others ‘myself’. This is why we have curated the show in four chapters, looking at the how artists explore the complex subject of human identity in its different forms.

How are the artists’ bodies, or self-reflections, used to bring out these themes?

The artists in this first display are looking at our sense of ‘self’, as all the works are self-portraits. Essentially this show examines what the ‘self’ in ‘self-portrait’ means. The fourteen artists in the display have chosen different approaches: physical, psychological and imaginary, to represent themselves. Pawel Althamer has chosen a figurative approach, testing the limits of his body in order to explore a range of feelings about his identity and persona. Yayoi Kusama offers a very different way of representing her thoughts and feelings by creating an intricate painting of connecting circles or what she calls ‘Infinity Nets’, essentially an abstract representation of the landscape of her mind.

Identity is integral to the collection. In what different ways do the participants explore identity in their work?

One of the earliest works in the show is a series of photo strips by André Breton and his friends from the Surrealist group. These were taken in 1929 in one of the first Parisian photo booths, and are a great example of experimental instantaneous self-portraiture. Rather than choosing a straightforward pose, they look sideways or away from the camera, playing with different poses – smoking, thinking or laughing. Taken at a time when the group were formulating their second manifesto, these images show their common interests in chance and the unconscious, but also their different personalities, as they choose to depict themselves as multi-faceted individuals.

Tracy Emin © Whitechapel Gallery

Tracy Emin © Whitechapel Gallery

Are there any works in the collection that particularly stand out to you?

We chose You search but do not see (1981-2010) by Linder for the cover of the catalogue as it is such a striking image. It intrigues us as the artist has depicted herself with an alluring pearl necklace in a New Romantics outfit, but it is also incredibly disturbing as she appears to be almost suffocating in a plastic bag. Here Linder is playing with how women have been ‘captured’ and idealized throughout art history and in present day mass media. Incidentally, this work was produced in a booklet accompanying the release of the artists’ punk band Ludus’ cassette, whose songs examine the subjects of hiding, searching and finding, evoked in the work’s title. However, there are many more exciting works in the display, and more to discover in the upcoming three other chapters of the show.

Cindy Sherman © Whitechapel Gallery

Cindy Sherman © Whitechapel Gallery

ISelf Collection: Self-portrait as the Billy Goat is on show at the Whitechapel Gallery from 27 April until 20 August 2017.

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Inside the Acne Archives

02.05.2017 | Fashion | BY:

Fans of Scandinavian brand Acne will have the rare chance to discover archive pieces in a pop-up shop this week. Running online only, the brand is offering access to classic pieces from collections past, with up to 75% off.

Having never really put a design foot wrong, there’s no such thing as a dud Acne piece, which makes getting in early on this imperative. Whether it’s a timeless biker jacket, pistol boots or statement sunglasses, these items are guaranteed to sell out fast. Sign up here to register, and delve inside the Acne archives while you can.

LEATHER JACKET

BOOTS (2)

SUNGLASSES

BOOTS

 

 

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Coco Capitán: ‘Middle Point Between My House and China’

28.04.2017 | Blog , Culture | BY:

Gucci collaborator and renowned photographer, Coco Capitán: is an artist who needs little introduction. The Spanish creator’s idiosyncratic eye and quirky slogans have commanded a legion of fans, with 75.6k Instagram followers and counting.

Having graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2016, the photographer has already racked up an impressive string of accolades: she has been a guest speaker for Cambridge University Photographic Society (2016), a member of the Jury for Hyères Fashion & Photography Festival (2016), and was awarded the Pho- tographers Gallery FF+WE Prize (2015).

And then there’s the fact that she’s working with one of fashion’s hottest luxury brands… Capitán’s collaboration for Gucci in February this year saw slogans such as ‘What are we going to do with all this future?’ and ‘Common sense is not so common’ etched across the brand’s sell-out logo tees. But for her latest project, a new book ‘Middle Point Between My House and China’, disenchantment takes a back seat in favour of the imagination.

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The book’s tittle is drawn from memories of the photographer’s childhood, in which she thought that if she dug deep into the ground she could tunnel to China. Fast-forward a couple of decades, and Capitan found herself in the country itself – though via the more conventional route of air travel.

The book is therefore both an homage to her journey and the people she encountered on her travels, and to the experience of childhood. ‘China’ and ‘House’ can be understood in both the literal and figurative sense. As is noted in the press release, “‘China’ represented the desire to run away, the attainment of her goals; while ‘House’ was her present reality.” Coco adds, “I wanted to take images that would denote how I perceived China, my personal experience in the country and how I saw the people who were there”.

To mark this hotly anticipated release, Claire de Rouen will be hosting a signing at their London store. Head over on 9th May to snap up a copy of this must-have book.

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‘Middle Point Between My House and China’ by Coco Capitán is published by Maximilian William, and released in May 2017. 

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The Labour of Ideas: Twin meets Cara Mills

26.04.2017 | Art , Blog , Culture | BY:

Twin first came in contact with Cara Mills at her Central Saint Martin’s degree show where she presented The Labour of Ideas — a giant shredder which methodically rated then shredded hundreds of her art ideas which fell like snowflakes, gradually amassing to a five foot mound of destroyed work plans. Mills took this art work and developed a second piece, Painting Machine a highly visceral work which spluttered and almost aggressively threw paint creating a new art work experience every day. Fresh off the back of her recent exhibition at Fuimano Projects, Machine: Part A, Part B, Part C & so on… Twin  sat down with Mills on the sunny rooftop terrace of RCA where she is currently studying to talk about what makes an idea art and how it feels to be a female artist in today’s landscape. 

I loved The Labour of Ideas so much. It draws on all these projects you had in your mind and you’re making all of them, in a way — was that the point?

Yes! I get bored really quickly with my ideas, and I thought there was something interesting about the process artists go through to make ideas and why they chose one and why not another and where do those ideas go when you don’t use them? Where do your thoughts go when they’re forgotten? They’re still there, but not being realised or spoken. I wanted to see their full potential. It was all about this concept that I wanted to make something physical but using all these ideas and I was tongue tied on how to approach that and do it. What was ironic about the piece was there was no hierarchy between the ideas – there was in the ratings sense that they were all rated out of ten – but at the end they all created this pile, and they all had the same shredded weight in this pile. 

You had a lot of ideas, the pile was impressive!

It was five feet! I think I started writing down my ideas from March until the degree show, like ten hour days of writing down ideas. The sound of the shredder was really visceral. You became very aware that things were being shredded and destroyed, but that you were also creating. 

Cara Mills_300DPI_3

So in a way all those ideas led to this final idea, The Labour of Ideas machine?

No, it was more a series of tests… I was really inspired by auto-destructive art, that something could be destructive but also creative. Looking at it now, that’s what I was doing. Also the systematic approach – one of the ideas in the shredder was ‘Make a piece about shredding your ideas’ so it was very much in the project. When I’d finished the piece I was empty of ideas… I didn’t really know where to start again. So, that was the end of the idea culmination — but I still write all my ideas down.

It’s really interesting to think about what makes us realise and not realise our ideas…

I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night with an idea for a painting, then don’t do it. What interests me is why? I’m interested in ten years time to look back on my ideas, and maybe then I’ll have one of those ideas I really want to make at that time!

I also liked how with The Labour of Ideas that you could see the ideas, and see the performative piece and machine and take from it what you wanted.

At the CSM show, the same people kept coming back. People were saying that they felt like over time they came back a few times and told me they felt like they were killing my work, like a piece of your work is dying by me coming back, because they’d be reading the idea then watching it shredded. It’s like if you caught it at that moment then you saw it, but then it was shredded, deleted. It’s like you’ve made an idea in your head, is that done? Or do you need to realise it? I was interested in the actual physicality of an idea, like it was one pile made up of hundreds of ideas, metres and metres of paper. 

Do you have a mission statement or motive behind your need to create art?

I think it’s about communicating ideas really. I think you get an itch to get it out of you. If it’s stuck, it’s not enough to say it or draw it, you need to make it and leave it there and let it manifest. The journey between thinking and making is really hard.

Your most recent exhibition showed The Labour of Ideas and Painting Machine. What is it about making these really visceral present machines?

It’s about detachment of myself as an artist, and as a creator. I like making something and setting up a situation and letting it happen. The machines will be churning away. I’m very interested in the gallery time frame, the gallery day being the limit but also the potential of the work. The solo show I recently did was three and a half weeks long, so during opening hours that was when the machines were going. The pile would never get any higher than it would be allowed to than the days in the gallery. They’re part of the work. The machines performing and I leave them and the audience see that process. 

Cara Mills_300DPI_10

There’s an artist called Michael Stailstorfer who installed an art piece ‘Forst’ at Sammlung Boros in Berlin. It was a steel machine frame which turned a tree trunk and leaves on the ground, as the machine circled gradually the leaves and branches turned to dust creating piles on the floor — first leaves, then dust. I went to see it a few times, and each visit it was a different experience in the two year life cycle of the art works presentation. 

That’s so interesting — something I’m thinking about a lot at the moment is ‘what is destruction’? So I’m using a lot of sandpaper on sandpaper and do we expect something to be grounded to flour — when does destruction become creation? When is that? Who decides that? I think what was interesting about the show was that with the Painting Machine it was chucking paint at the wall and kind of being destructive but also creating moments, and with The Labour of Ideas you could come in on the first day and it was a tiny pile of shredded material, and you could come in on the last day and it was this impending five foot mound!

Both could be seen as live sculpture in a way, and also be interpreted on so many levels…

I don’t want to make highly cerebral work only accessible to artists and intellectuals, I want to make something visual that people can interpret in different ways. I’ve looked a lot at performance work and I’m really interested in that — how much the audience plays a role, and what expectations artists put on their audience to complete a work. With ‘Painting Machine’ it was a very different experience depending on whether was moving, or when it was off. I like with kinetic work when something is moving it’s very different when it stops, sort of like how people are very different when they’re speaking to when they’re not. When it was moving it was aggressive and painting and when it was off it was very sculptural and poetic. 

I was wondering if we could talk a bit about your experience as a woman in the art world?

It’s funny that you say that… on Facebook this morning I saw a post which said “Enough of Jackson Pollock”. It looked at Lee Krasner who was Pollock’s wife, who was making incredible paintings, and it was so insane because as soon as Jackson Pollock died she went into his studio and her paintings got so much bigger… I find that every artist I’m reading about are all men. I find it really frustrating. I think female artists are making incredible work, and I think historically men were more written about but today I think it’s really important for female artists to be louder otherwise it’s just going to continue to be a man’s world. 

 How do you navigate that?

I think you just don’t tolerate it. You just see yourself as an artist whether male or female. I think female artists need to not be afraid about working in such a male industry. Just be aware of it, and don’t take any shit. 

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