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.
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.
‘Middle Point Between My House and China’ by Coco Capitán is published by Maximilian William, and released in May 2017.
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.
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.
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.
Just in time for summer, LOEWE’s creative director Jonathan Anderson has teamed up with Matches to revive the legendary boutique, Paula’s Ibiza.
Inspired by his encounters with the boutique as a child, Anderson has sought to marry the bohemian spirit of Ibiza’s most iconic concept store (before there was such a thing) with Loewe’s luxury, Spanish heritage. The result is a dreamy capsule collection of bright pieces, printed with florals and inspired by Ibiza’s nature.
For the collaboration Paula’s boutique founder, Armin Heinemann, donated original prints and designs from their archives, ensuring that the spirit of the original store is fully revived in this new collection. Heinemann first moved to Ibiza in the early 1970’s, and opened his boutique soon after. Until 2000, the store attracted a starry array of clients that ranged from Freddy Mercury to Valentino, amongst others.
A long-time Anderson collaborator, photographer Jamie Hawkesworth shot the campaign with signature energy. The photographer dreamily captured the combination of glamour and creativity that informed, and informs, the legend of Paula’s.
Founded by Philomena Epps in 2014, Orlando is an online platform and print magazine that fuels and ignites conversation around feminism, gender and identity. With a view to championing women creatives and intellectuals across a range of disciplines, Orlando is both radical and inclusive; it’s about uniting individuals through conversation and community.
The forthcoming issue draws together a range of work around the theme of discourse. Contributors include Katherine Jackson, who in her essay ‘The Sculpture: Language, Industry and Art in the Work of The Artist Placement Group’ considers an ephemeral 1971 work by The Artist Placement Group, long-form poetry from artist filmmaker Keira Greene and an image-led essay from Althea Greenan, curator of the Women’s Art Library.
“The name itself is inspired by the transgressive protagonist of Virginia Woolf’s 1928 novel.” says Philomena. “In the text, Woolf drew on the androgynous body as a signifier for multiplicity, and to advance a narrative of mutual understanding and inclusion. Inspired by how androgyny functions in the story, Orlando operates in a similar way by eschewing binaries in favour of the united body.”
To mark the latest issue, Orlando will be hosting a launch party next week which will see various elements of the magazine brought to life. Expect readings and performances from many of the magazine’s contributors, as well as a complimentary copy of the latest issue.
Those who write about Charlene Kaye often describe her as “a powerhouse” and “a machine” and it’s easy to see why. In between enjoying a successful solo career that has seen her release two albums and an EP, Honey last year, she’s also a lead vocalist for San Fermin. The Hawaii-born, New-York based singer joined the 8 piece band in 2014, and has since been crucial in weaving dreamy vocals over undulating synths and punchy melodies. With the release of ‘Belong’, San Fermin’s third album, we caught up with Kaye to talk about performance, growing as a band and solo recording.
How did you guys come together as a band?
I joined the band when they were already a fully operational touring enterprise, in the middle of touring their debut album. Ellis and Allen had been friends since they were teenagers and found everyone else in New York, and found me through a mutual friend.
This the band’s third album, how do you feel that you’ve grown and developed in terms of your sound?
When I first joined the band, it was challenging to get away from the thought that I was replacing three absolutely phenomenal singers – I would align my singing style to theirs, as they had originated the versions that people had first fallen in love with. As the band has progressed, I’ve felt more comfortable contributing my own interpretation and personality into Ellis’s vision for the music – mainly stage diving whenever I can, you know.
This has been described as the most personal album to date, how does it feel to vocalise someone else’s experience?
Even though it’s Ellis’s songwriting, it feels personal to me as well. There have been moments onstage where it’s occurred to me that certain songs oddly align with my life and what I’m going through at the time.
You’re also a solo musician – do you prefer recording and performing in a group or alone?
If it’s my own stuff, I’ll often record my vocals at home in my closet! But I hate performing solo. That’s probably why I love our live shows so much, it’s just a giant group freakout on stage, and at this point we’ve spent so many thousands of hours together that the energy of friendship on stage is so strong, possibly just as potent as the music itself.
What’s your favourite track on the album?
I had an intensely emotional response to the song “Palisades” when Ellis first played me the demo – it describes this Lord of the Flies-like scenario where the glow of youth is preserved forever, everyone you love staying young forever – and I just found it unbearably sad and beautiful. That and Oceanica are probably my favorite two songs on the record.
What are your plans for the rest of 2017, and what are you looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to touring this record, and in the meantime I have a lot of new music of my own in the lab I’m excited to release.
In recent years, luxury brands have proven to be increasingly keen on opening their doors to bring customers behind the scenes – think Dior & I or Chanel’s interactive exhibition at Saatchi Gallery. This year at London Craft Week, some of fashion’s most influential houses are going a step further and creating more intimate experiences. Audiences will gain unparalleled insight into how iconic pieces from luxury brands are made.
At Mulberry, their ‘Passion of Making’ event invites visitors to see craftsmen and craftswomen from the brand’s two factories in Somerset demonstrate the making of its iconic handbag styles in their flagship store on New Bond Street.
Similarly Burberry will embraces it’s tradition of craftsmanship with a series of events at their Regent’s Street store. Here customers can experience pivotal moments from the company’s 160-year history with help from Burberry archivist, and add one’s own unique handwritten design to Scottish-made cashmere scarves with the help of the renowned company’s artisan calligrapher.
These events and many others work to showcase the best of creativity in the capital, with over fifty four creative disciplines recognised and 200 events taking place throughout London Craft Week. With everyone from major names to rising stars taking part, DIY has never seemed so enticing.
Mulberry: The Passion of Making takes placeWed 3 – Sat 6 May, 10.00am – 7.00pm and Craft, Heritage & Personalisation at Burberrytakes placeFri 5 and Sat 6 May, 10.00am – 8.00pm, Sun 7 May, 12.00pm – 6.00pm. No booking required.
Forever aka June Moon is a Canadian artist living, recording and performing her ethereal, dreamy and all encompassing music in Montreal. She also has a wonderfully addictive radio show, drenched in nostalgia and named Flip Phone Forever. Emmett Rose is a director, artist and all round powerful woman who started the political art movements VOTES4NUDES and Tramps Against Trump, which aptly supplied anyone who voted in the Canadian and American elections with a tasteful nude.
The duo are one half of Girls Club, an inclusive creative community for anyone and everyone who identifies as females and have recently come together in creating a video for Forever’s latest track, “Heaven’s Mouth”. The video (akin to a blissful short) sees a girl meandering through her day, exploring her innate hungers and desires with clips that see her as she plunges her nails into a plump juicy orange, squeezes her fist around peach halves and tears into a cream cake spliced with clips of her wandering through grave yards and late night subway stations. We got together with June and Em to explore their work from a creative, fashion and feminist perspective.
Twin: Firstly can you tell Twin readers a little about who you both are, how you met and what sparked your creative relationship?
Em:June who are you?
June:I’m a poet, popstar and provocateur.
Em: That’s good trademark that. I’m a tease, a queer performance artist, painter and total babe. Now Juney, tell me why you love me.
June: We met through Michael (Mind Bath) we really established a connection in the summer of 2015, and Girl’s Club happened right away and the rest is in the making…
Em:Us meeting feels like forever ago (ForeverTM) I remember feeling shy riding a train up to Harlem with you and desperately wanting to get close to your energy. I feel like Girl’s Club spawned from that longing for connection, a closeness between women that you often feel like you just can’t reach for whatever reason. But what we’re doing now feels so much further along than that, now I don’t ever question my wanting of being close to other women.
You worked together on the video for ‘Heaven’s Mouth’, how did you work collaboratively on this? What are some of the themes in the song that were important to translate visually?
Em:How did it all start with this project in particular Juney?
June: After I released the EP “Forever” I started fantasizing about the visual aspect of the record but I was looking at a blank wall for a couple months. One morning I got a text from you saying — we’re making a music video
Em: I like that I texted you without giving you any choice in the matter ha
June: Ya I came over and you had received the vision. And I trusted you 100%
Em: I remember it coming to me like a wave, sometimes I get clear visions that just need to come out and I knew June would let me see that feeling through. I saw peaches and flowers both rotting and blooming mixed in with skin and hands, one object cutting into another creating this abstract mesh that was more about feeling than it was about recording any one image. I wanted to work with the idea of a Vanitas painting, a dark still life that speaks of time and fertility and death but in a way that also speaks of rebirth. The orange peels we see show what has come to pass before the orange was eaten, the way trauma leaves marks on our skin I wanted to show the passing of time in the skin of a woman.
June: I like that. That insight is why I trust you 100% – we’re on the same tip
Em: without really needing to explain everything by words ha I don’t even think we communicated all of this before we started shooting. But that June is what you’re always talking about with intuition.
June: Which is the most sacred quality of feminine energy.
Why is it important to you to support each other and in doing so other women?
June: Well that’s an obvious question
Em: Well it feels obvious now but it didn’t always, I think Girl’s Club has changed our instincts. Being supported by you has changed my life. It’s changed what I do with my life, not only am I an artist who deals with the duality of living femme but now my life with Girl’s Club is dedicated to fostering an environment where other women, femmes, n queers can connect in way that really heals and builds.
June:We have to learn how to do this, together. We’re taking up space in a new way, reclaiming space is a lot of fighting and a lot of resisting and for me if I can feel this with my community then we can make herstory together. Girl’s Club was about recognizing that we didn’t want to fit into the boys club, it’s just not gonna serve me or speak to me.
What challenges do you feel women face in the creative industries?
Em:What challenges don’t we face in every industry!
June:In every aspect of life to be honest
Em:I don’t think it’s about what challenges we face but what incredible insight we bring to our practices because of our experiences. I couldn’t make work with the sensitivity or drive that I do if it weren’t for my trauma living as a woman (she sings).
June:Which brings us to why we absolutely needed an all femme production team.
Em: We needed a crew with intuition and sensitivity; we couldn’t have done it without that femme expertise.
You co-founded feminist collective ‘Girls Club’, I’ve just been on the site and I love how inclusive it feels and the fluidity with which you look at femininity and what constitutes a woman. What birthed the collective?
June: Girl’s Club was the simultaneous desire for community that brought Emmett and I together as friends, and artists. We started with t-shirts, and our lives have totally and completely been changed. We like to say ‘all you need is two’ ~ because women are taught to remain isolated, to keep them out of power, but we re-claimed our power, our feminine power by coming together.
As Girl’s Club, what is your mission statement? What do you hope to achieve?
Girl’s Club:One individual and their own right to create safer spaces and communities around them. Girl’s Club is in opposition of a club of only girls who must all think the same. A girl is anyone who harnesses the power of femininity. To us, femininity is a force that can be wielded by any sex, gender or orientation. A girl is anyone who occupies unsafe territory and, against all odds, rises. Girl’s Club is driven by the need for a community, it’s not for everyone but it can be for anyone who identifies with us. Girl’s Club represents visual solidarity – more space is being claimed for us, by us. If you want to be in the club, you’re already part of the club.
Emmett, you’ve been very vocal around both the Canadian and American elections (which is super important, so thank you!) especially around Harper and Trumps opinions on women and who owns their bodies. How do you both feel art interacts with politics? Should all art have a political agenda?
Em:My life is political but not by my own choice, being born a woman is political. And being born a chatty-ass gotta-say-somethin’ woman is my blessing and my curse, I couldn’t lay dormant if I tried. I don’t have a background in government politics but my body has always been a political battle ground whether I like it or not. I’ve lost family and friend just for embracing my body, being both a naked sexual woman and a smart evocative woman, we all live in that battle.
How now post-election can we keep each other safe and empowered as women? How can the arts play into this?
June: Art is always political because it has the capacity to influence the individual and society as a whole
Em:I think we keep each other safe each time we create something, we add another object into our cultural realm that speaks to us and for us, representation is everything, each time we make a work we tilt the scales in our favor.
What message do you want to leave us about being a woman in the world at such a tumultuous time as this?
June: Get into your sexuality and own it.
Em: That may be the most powerful and terrifying thing you can do. Sexuality continues to scare people because it’s such a power force that people (men) have tried to keep under wraps for too long. The world has always been tumultuous…
June:Duality is constant.
Em: As the world seems to get more chaotic we also gain more power, it’s this constant push back that drives us forward. I think it’s easy to feel scared at times like this, but if our oppressors are pushing back against us, it means we’ve scared them. And that is a good thing.
This spring, Issue 16 is a study in shedding the weighty debris of expectation, and forging your own identity, under whatever guise that may take. From the renunciation of labels with model Lulu Bonfils, to redefining femininity with the creators behind MoreMuhler, and reclaiming pink with musician GIRLI, we celebrate womanhood without limits. Similarly, we discover how family is at the core of the work done by 90-year-old artist Betye Saar, and those sentiments are echoed by fashion designer Molly Goddard, who we shadowed for a day. Elsewhere, Chanel’s hyper real version of beauty is played with, and Louis Vuitton’s artistic vision for SS17 is realised. Photographer Dexter Navy experiments with the perception of future super Jean Campbell, and posing greats Erin O’Connor and Guinevere Van Seenus make the lens their own again. Twin also delves into the world of all-girl skate culture and friendship, while director Crystal Moselle and BFF Danielle Levitt discuss the red-hot power of teenagers with passion. It’s a riot.
Surrounded by the grime and grit of post-soviet Warsaw, Natalia Maczek and Katarzyna Kotnowska started by printing t-shirts for their own crowd, dressing the cities young clubbers and skaters in parodies of luxury designs. Since then, the brand has enjoyed unprecedented success.
Stocked at Browns, huge in Asia, and having generated major buzz at New York fashion week, MISBHV has quickly gained international acclaim. By celebrating their Eastern European influences with a sense of individuality and modern awareness, MISBHV has given the cool kids a sartorial concept they can get behind, playing by their own rules in fulfilling an agenda they never tried to conform to. Twin catches up with Natalia to talk real beauty, Warsaw style and building a new world.
You’ve just come back from your second show at NYFW. What was your experience like?
It felt really good. It’s interesting how all the different means of communication – the cast, the garments, accessories, music, space, scent, light and movement come together for a show.
What would your dream MISBHV fashion show look like?
We would like it to feel honest and real.
MISBHV, much like Vetements or Gosha Rubchinskiy, has made its name by making streetwear a luxury brand. How do you think the two work together?
Streetwear is by definition independent and rooted in real emotion. Luxury is often described by the impeccable craftsmanship. We would like to think of ourselves as a brand that can in the future marry both definitions.
You reject the ideal of polished and traditional beauty, both in your designs and your choice of models. What is beauty to MISBHV?
We believe that there is no beauty without honesty. What is beauty if you can not connect to it?
Warsaw, MISBHV’s hometown, is fast becoming a pioneering cultural center, going through a creative upheaval over the last couple of years. Do you think it will soon match the scene in Western Europe? Or is it heading in its own direction?
Because of the hardships of war and communism Poland will never quite match the art scene in the West. We should thus focus on creating our own identity. This is not to say that we support or approve of the domestic politics of the moment.
What kind of person do you have in mind when you design your collections?
We only make clothes that we like. It wouldn’t feel honest designing for anyone outside of our circle. We have a tight group of long time friends that we work with and we also have “muses” like Lera Abova or Sita Abellan.
Have you ever thought of collaborating with another brand?
Not really. We feel like our universe is still to be made. We need to create our own world first.
‘I think my views on lingerie and design have never really changed that much. I’ve always had singularly focused thoughts in my mind.’ Says Tabitha Dukes, as precise and practical when talking about the art of lingerie as she is when executing her designs. Having graduated from London College of Fashion in 2014, after studying Fashion Contour, Tabby did a bout of work experience at the world-renowned Alexander McQueen Couture studio before becoming a design and production assistant at Myla. At the prodigious age of 22 she was one of only two Lingerie Designers at Coco de Mer, the luxury lingerie store founded in 2001 by Samantha Roddick, where she continues to work today. Twin caught up with Tabitha to talk gender fluidity in lingerie design, matters of size and the magic of material.
Your designs vary with each collection. Where do your concepts stem from and what is your creative process?
I look for inspiration everywhere. I based one project on the glasshouses at Kew, for example – I was completely in awe of the beautiful cast iron, giant structures that were surrounding these really delicate, beautiful flowers and so I created a concept for a collection based around that. I mainly focus on the shapes and forms in the surrounding world. I did a collection that was all inspired by scallop shells. I looked into fractals, which are patterns in nature, like a cauliflower or a snowflake, in which similar patterns recur at progressively smaller scales. I became obsessed with scallop shells, my house was littered with them and I created a whole collection that repeated the scales with Sophie Hallette lace. I ended up cutting out fragments of the lace and dipping them in PVA glue to set them, in order to mimic the shape of a scallop shell – I tried to use resin but the texture was never quite right.
Architecture is also a really important influence for me. Lingerie is so structured and architecture is the same in its degree of and I see so many similarities in it that way. That being said, I also take a lot of note from historical womenswear, especially corsetry and the use of form in fashion through the ages. Couture and catwalk looks influence me to a certain extent, but I find that I less and less look to trends for ideas.
Where do you research?
I use libraries and museums a lot. I have a membership to the V&A so I find myself using the archives there. Exhibitions there are also of great use to me. ‘Savage Beauty’ was possibly my favourite exhibition of all time – I think Alexander McQueen was – and still is – my biggest design inspiration, simply because McQueen himself created such amazing concepts behind his collections, something which I think can be lost in today’s designing, especially in lingerie. That’s something I’m really passionate about; I always try to have a strong concept before I start working.
Do you think your own sexuality comes through in your work? Is that something you find important to your design process?
Sexuality has to come into designing lingerie, I think. And I’ve always felt I’m quite a sexual person so I do really enjoy being aware of that process, designing erotic items appeals to me. But I would say the real focus of my designs is to empower the wearer – it’s not so much about impressing someone, but about making you feel amazing. I think of it through the idea of power through dressing – what you’re wearing underneath can make you feel amazing on the outside. So in terms of my designs being affected by my sexuality, I think it’s more in terms of employing a sexual independence, a confidence, no matter what your orientations or preferences might be.
I’m interested in the level of gender fluidity that comes with designing lingerie. Obviously one assumes that lingerie is specifically designed just for women but could you translate that work, those concepts, into design for the male form, or a transgender form?
It’s a concept that has always interested me and is definitely a challenge for future lingerie design. It’s something I’ve been approached for many times, often at Coco de Mer, I will have men asking me why there aren’t more beautiful designs for men. It’s not necessarily just gay men, straight men are interested too. Again, sexiness and sexuality doesn’t distinguish itself based on orientation. Like I’ve said, wearing something beautiful can really change the way that you feel and I think we should broaden that access in lingerie design! The way I design for women, in terms of accentuating the female form, I am very interested in designing in the same way for a man.
Do you think you would change the materials and the shapes that you use if designing for the male form?
I think the fabrics wouldn’t differ dramatically at all. I firmly believe silk is one of the most beautiful and universally lovely products to design with – it’s a lot about the feeling against your skin, which is also part of the way it makes you feel. If you have soft, sleek material against your skin I always find it teases out the sense of beauty in the wearer. I would be interested in employing more ‘masculine’ laces, if you can picture what I mean, I don’t see why lace should just remain for females I can see lace being translated into menswear. An interesting point of reference is Nick Knight’s project ‘Boned’ on SHOWstudio, in which Knight photographs male models in lingerie designed specifically for the male form. I’m obsessed with the designs and with the concept. I think that’s quite amazing and I’m so interested in that Nick Knight described the garments as lingerie rather than just as underwear. I think it’s unfair men are so restricted in their undergarments, I don’t see why they shouldn’t represent themselves through their lingerie as well. I would love to one day design a range that would be focused around men as well.
How much are your designs focused on the practicality of designing for women?
Lingerie is quite different from designing Womenswear, in that the technicality of it is pretty much the most important thing overall. Obviously you want the garments to be beautiful but they do have to fit and support your body, but I’m also very keen to be creating designs that are seen as artworks, I almost see lingerie as a kind of sculpture in this way. I want to create garments that translate the body into a piece of art, so for me it’s a lot about balancing the beauty of the object with the technicality of the piece. I think a massive gap in the market is creating these pieces for a wider range of forms. It’s hard because if the lingerie is a structured item, with wiring or boning or whatever, after you go above around a 34DD the whole technical process has to change. But I think that creating pieces that seam as delicate and beautiful for all sizes would be an interesting challenge, ideally in the future I would start my own line. I would like that to fill the gaps in the market to create lingerie for all shapes, sizes and sexes.
What happens when you fuse Ancient Greek sculpture with a future-modern aesthetic? The result is ‘Votives’, a very strong solo show at the highly respected Henry Moore Institute in Leeds by Berlin-based artist Aleksandra Domanovic. The exhibition forms a fascinating take on the history of sculptural language, with seven new female sculptural figures each holding different objects referencing at time the Greek practise of votive offering and, in some cases, women’s basketball. Six are human size, while one room is devoted to a huge, royal blue, 3D printed monolith. Domanović’s exhibition brilliantly unpicks changes in modern scientific research, the new materials and aesthetic emerging from tech culture, and the relationship to politics and monument. Here are three motifs in her work to keep in mind.
Cows: Domanović’s 2016 show at Tanya Leighton gallery explored recent scientific research into molecular biology, in particular the work at the University of California Davis to produce cows with no horns. In this exhibition ideas around genome editing are combined with a reference to the ancient Greek sculpture Moscophoros, found on the Acropolis, depicting a man carrying a calf possibly to sacrifice to the female goddess Athena.
Tupac: Domanović’s film ‘Turbo Sculpture’ (2010-13), on show in Leeds, looks at the trend of producing public sculptures devoted to popular figures in the former Yugoslavia, such as Bruce Lee and Bob Marley. The documentary-like piece at one point discusses the Italian artist Paolo Chiasera’s grey life size sculpture of Tupac, the African American musician and hip hop icon was murdered in 1996.
Robo-arms: Disembodied hands often figure in Domanović’s work. She was originally inspired by The Belgrade Hand, one of the first robotic hands created in 1963 by Rajka Tomanovic in Serbia. This prosthetic hands created with a sense of touch, able to close when it made contact with an object. Aleksandra’s robot-like hands have expanded into 3D printed limbs, based on the artist’s own body.
Aleksandra Domanović: Votives is on at the Henry Moore Foundation, 23 March – 11 June 2017
Drawing on their longstanding tradition of creating travel objects, Louis Vuitton have invited designers to reimagine furniture through the lens of journey and adventure for this year’s Objets Nomades collection.
Launched in 2012, the collection coincides with the start of Milan Design Week and this year sees the addition of two more renowned designers to the rostra, India Mahdavi and Tokujin Yoshioka. Other designers include Campana Brothers, Marcel Wanders, Atelier Oï and Patricia Urquiola. Each has contributed a piece, or pieces, inspired by iconic items from Louis Vuitton’s heritage collection such as the Bed Trunk of 1874, produced for French explorer Pierre Savorgnan.
Contemporary objects in the collection range from supple rocking chairs by Marcel Wanders, to India Mahdavi’s side table, inspired by Middle Eastern nomadic hospitality to a lamp that holds light in a way reminiscent of how a Louis Vuitton bag contains a traveller’s belongings. Other highlights include Tokujin Yoshioka’s Monogram-pattern flower stool, Atelier Oï’s vintage swing chair and Marcel Wanders’ leather screen that references the House’s classic Monogram pattern.
The collection comes alongside the launch of Louis Vuitton’s ‘Spirit of Travel’ campaign for 2017, which sees Michelle Williams captured by Patrick Demarchelier. In fusing modern day design with a the brand’s rich travel heritage Louis Vuitton beautifully provides a segue between innovation and history, adventure and style.
Chanel’s Huile De Jasmin is a beauty oil originally designed by Mademoiselle Coco Chanel herself in 1927, and has been re-released on the 90th anniversary of its launch this year. An indulgent and beautifully simple oil, it was created to aid facial massage and to smooth and protect the skin, but also presumably – judging by the delicate quality of the scent – meant as a sensorial indulgence and taste of accessible everyday luxury, then as much as it is now.
Unlike its modern-day skincare contemporaries, the oil is composed of almost entirely naturally derived ingredients (no synthetic additives or fillers), including a jasmine extract cultivated exclusively for Chanel in the fields of the perfume capital of the world – Grasse in France. The blend of natural actives and fine, non-greasy oils (including camellia, limnathes alba and jojoba) have a revitalizing effect on the skin, and work to bring a subtle radiance to all skin types… A unique approach to skincare, the product is synonymous with Chanel’s vision for modern femininity: refined and indulgent, but fuss-free – strikingly as in step with the forward thinking woman of today as it was in 1927.
Stefanie Heinze creates hallucinatory artworks, featuring clumsy figures that bleed into one another to depict strange unrealities. Using fleshy brushstrokes, she transforms her preliminary sketches in ink and pastel into colourful, playful paintings, in which bodies merge with both objects and themselves. She reinterprets mistakes as part of the painting, and draws inspiration from sense-defying cartoons, as figures are depicted in various states of activity; eating, resting, and leaping across the canvas.
Stefanie lives and works in Berlin, and her first solo exhibition, entitled ‘Genuflect Softly #1’, is on display at the Pippy Houldsworth Gallery until April 22nd. The exhibition displays her colourful, large-scale paintings, which defy logic and convention through the construction of new shapes and motions, causing reason to degenerate into what she likes to call ‘newsense’. Twin speaks to Stefanie about her distinctive artistic process, deconstructing gender roles, and transformation.
You have said that painting is your favourite medium, because it can ‘flesh out contradictions’. What do you mean by that?
For me, image making is about impossibilities. Figures can sit and float at the same time. Body parts, domestic objects, make up and foodstuffs bleed into one another in hallucinatory scenes. The figures become their environment and the consumable products that we surround ourselves with ooze until they’re a tangled mass of abstraction. I’m the one that creates that imagery but I sometimes feel their anarchy taking over.
Your work is always centered around the theme of transformation. How does this influence you, and how do you represent transformation through painting?
Transformation and morphing are often depicted in cartoons and animated films and I draw a lot of inspiration from this. Betty Bop and Looney Tunes characters morph on screen with or without their knowledge. Characters do impressions of others and transform not only their voice, but also their body into that person; Donald Duck switches effortlessly between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Evolution, opposites, and rivals are at play; toys, rocks, animals, and musical instruments are just as lively as people. I am interested in this imaging of transformation, less for its entertainment quality and more as a crucial reflection on the persuasive influences on our personhood, environment, and culture. I try to keep this sensation of perpetual movement very present in my work.
How do you use your work to deconstruct gender roles?
I am always eager to deconstruct gender roles in a playful and evocative way. Gender and class can be deliberated through depictions of skateboards, high heels or cigarettes. These objects may be pictured at the point of collapse, comparable to the way in which normative constructions of gender or predeterminations around class are distorted depending on your standpoint. This instability recalls queer theory’s promise of difference, variability, and transition. The vagueness of figures, objects and their interactions underline a moment of empathy.
Can you tell us a little about your artistic process?
I like to harness clumsiness in my painting as a tool. I am interested in how objects, environments, and figures can signal a social status or identity and how the rebellious mass of oil paint can change that as well. Domesticating it in thick or thin layers, scraping paint out, I play with color connotations.
What do you hope that people take away from your work? I hope people don’t take a certain moral message from it. I prefer them to question meaning in general in a very enjoyable way. I see the works as conversation pieces that should create “newsense”.
Stefanie Heinze’s first solo exhibition ‘Genuflect Softly #1’ is on at the Pippy Houldsworth Gallery until the 22nd of April.
South African artist Lady Skollie is a creative force to be reckoned with. Born in 1987 Lady Skollie (real name Laura Windvoge) is part of a new generation of artists in South Africa who are working within and against the digital sphere, and her work emanates a captivating and sensual energy across the range of mediums that she works with. Her most recent, and first solo, exhibition ‘Lust Politics’ at the Tyburn Gallery gave the city a riveting introduction to her provocative vision, and followed on from an acclaimed stint at Frieze last year. Twin caught up with Lady Skollie to talk working in South Africa, having a sense of humour and how women are going to lift each other up.
Growing up, were you always inclined to express yourself visually? How did your aesthetic develop?
When I was about 4 the Zorro franchise was really taking off in South Africa. I crawled underneath my mum’s tables, beds, inside cupboards and covered everything’s underside with wax crayon Z’s – all in different sizes. I remember being terrified that my mother would realize. So I suppose I have always expressed myself visually. When I was younger I thought that to be an artist you needed to paint realistically, and then I understood that my mark making did not need to be mimetic to be respected or convey a message. I took inspiration from Khoisan drawings because of my own Khoisan culture – as a coloured South African, and my work just became hard, fast, fluid.
Where did the name Lady Skollie come from?
Lady Skollie, for me, has been a lesson in identity. I’ve always had these disparate elements of my personality. Not long ago I wore cute 1950s dresses and had ringlets. Although I looked like a lady, inside I felt this urge to rail against authority and challenge the norm. I would talk about sex and paint little dicks on people’s things. Lady Skollie was a performative thing; it was the space where these two things -masculinity and femininity – met.
Your work is striking and honest, drawing on personal experience. When you started did you ever worry that it wouldn’t resonate with a wider audience?
No, this was never a worry really because I also draw on a range of socio-political issues, like rape, rape culture and plight of women, which are so prevalent within our wider society. They are issues which everyone, even those outside South Africa, should engage with.
It is time for people to feel uncomfortable, and for people to ask themselves very hard questions about how they relate to women, how they treat them, how they talk to them.
Your most recent exhibition was called Lust Politics. Do you think there is always a relationship between the visceral and the political?
Yes, from Monica Lewinsky to Marilyn Monroe to politicians blocking any means for women to have a more equal life or even just reproductive rights. I think there has always been a love hate relationship between politics and lust.
The names of your work are as powerful as the pieces themselves, which comes first when you start to create?
Usually the writing comes first. The works come separately and then I edit and chop to make the writing and the work correlate more.
You’re wrestling with gender, sex and societal structures, why did you want to investigate these ideas in ink and crayon?
I like the tension between a granny-like medium like watercolour and the garish, crayon drawings of sex. Depicting something as visceral as sex with a medium as soft and delicate as watercolour and childlike crayon is thrilling.
Why do you want to use humour in your work?
In South Africa humour is often used a vehicle for social change. People don’t always want to listen if you are being serious. They would rather not listen to preaching and they don’t want to hear about rape stats, HIV stats, etc. I think in some ways I’m pretty funny, so I use humour as a way of unwrapping serious issues in a palatable way – so that people will actually start thinking about change.
One of your pieces focusses on the ups and downs of competitive sisterhood. As you see it, how can women better enable each other?
Women need to engage with each other about issues; communication is key to a united front, and we need one. At the moment, I definitely feel part of a zeitgeist and movement, especially in South Africa, where women are speaking up against feminine debasement and subjugation. Whether we make a social commentary with watercolours or whether we post an online status – that is what I’m part of.
How does Johannesburg influence your work?
J’burg pushes you to achieve things you might have only ever thought about; it’s a city that’s totally alive. My surroundings make a big impact on my work, and I think it’s important to address issues around gender and sexuality because Johannesburg, and South Africa in general, is rife with sexual assaults and abuse. Art is an accessible way to bring up the narrative and I think we need to talk about it more and more and more.
Is now an exciting time to be an artist in South Africa?
Being an artist in South Africa right now is very important and very exciting. Finally the international market is catching on, and it’s actually becoming a financially viable option. In J’burg there are a lot of new independent studios opening where people are reclaiming spaces, especially in Troyeville which was a huge centre of resistance during apartheid. Most of Troyeville is studios, huge buildings which were abandoned in the ‘70s and are now being taken over and are really cost-effective. People are now offering funded residencies. As a creative person it’s a real privilege to have a space to make, without the worries of having to generate a huge income to sustain it.
What are your processes when working? Do you have a specific routine?
It’s difficult to say, because my process entirely varies; I don’t really have a specific routine when it comes to making work. However, usually I think about the image for a long time before making a single mark. Sometimes I write about the work before I create it, which allows me to have a context for it. I listen to a lot of hip hop in the studio; hip hop can take you places and it especially helps me with confidence.
Who are the artists that inspire you?
I am totally inspired by Athi Patra Ruga’s ability to immerse you into his world without even trying. Also Robert Mapplethorpe, for his beautiful way of shocking and Mary Sibande for her sheer brilliance of identity dynamics.
What’s next for you? And what are you most excited about?
I prefer not to talk about ‘what’s next’. I am in the present; I’m hard, fast, now. I don’t play to anybody’s rules. I am a rebellious person!
William E Jones, one of Los Angeles’ foremost independent film makers, once wrote of his work: “I am making my own explosions, in another context.” He was referring to the veneration of big budget Hollywood films to include explosions; Jones has created films which focus on visual stimulation rather than coherent narratives. Jones’ wide ranging body of work, such as feature length films Finished (1997) and Is It Really So Strange? (2004), have dealt with issues of sexuality, deception and artistic and social façades. Jones’ latest project Fall Into Ruin promises a return to these themes as it makes its debut at The Modern Institute, Glasgow.
In Fall Into Ruin, Jones converges with an equally impressionable and multifaceted character, that of Alexander Iolas, the eminent Greek art dealer.The film documents the artist’s return to the property of Iolas, situated in an Athenian suburb. The art dealer became well known for his affiliation with surrealists such as Max Ernst and his championing of late Picasso works. He remains a figure of mystery within the art world; indeed, his own age was never discovered due to the continual changes he made to his date of birth on his passport. Fall Into Ruin is an investigation into the life of the Iolas through a visual catalogue of the now uninhabited remnants of his homely estate. Once described as a showroom rather than a private residence, the film contrasts the current state of the building; vandalised, defaced by graffiti and looted of its contents – including his esteemed art collection. This makes an interesting comparison to Iolas himself, whom was said to mix with both the top sectors of society for business and the very bottom sectors of society for pleasure. Set among the warm, dusty Athenian landscape, the film explores the intersection of two opposing sides of the art market and marks a new fold in Jones’ ever flourishing career.
The running time of Fall into Ruin is exactly 30 minutes. Screenings will begin every half hour between 10 am – 6 pm (Monday – Friday) and 12 pm – 5 pm (Saturday) at The Modern Institute, Glasgow
We’re happy to admit a certain fascination with Lily-Rose Depp, the face of the new makeup campaign for Chanel’s ROUGE COCO GLOSS, following on from her N°5 L’EAU perfume campaign debut for the brand last year.
Not many can claim a pedigree such as hers; the child of actors Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis, Lily-Rose is a name to know now, and not just due to her illustrious parentage and remarkable beauty (though if there is such a thing as the Genetic Lottery, this girl has the winning ticket). Having won awards for her turn as dancer Isadora Duncan in Les Danseuse last year and now enjoying the much-coveted gig with Chanel, the alluring Depp lives a thoroughly charmed life it would seem… and all at the tender age of 17.
Taking the reins at Chanel from her much-celebrated maman – who’s also been a face of the iconic brand since the 90s – it’s clear that beauty is a family affair with these two: the resemblance is more than just fleeting, making Depp an inspired choice for reaching the heritage fashion house’s younger buyers, while Paradis resonates with the more established Chanel market. Depp lends Chanel Beauty something modern, insouciant and of course, quintessentially French: watch this face.
Looking for a fiery fashion fix? We’ve fallen head over heels for Saint Laurent’s accessories. For SS17, the brand has taken disco-glam to the next level: from snakeskin slingbacks with ruched ‘leaf’ detail to versatile black leather Love Box bags, these are designs made for nights out. Get ready to behave bad and bougee. We’ll see you under the disco ball.
Excuse the pun, we couldn’t help it – such is the excitement at Acne’s latest Resort 2017 drop of Emoji themed apparel. Featuring a classic combination of teddy bears, mushrooms and peace signs (we use classic a little lightly) the collection is printed across unisex sweatshirts and teeshirts in bright colours and tye dye hues.
Call us clichéd but as the summer months approach, something a little more frivolous is what we’re craving right now. This new line checks all the boxes for a relaxed, breezy look with the added bonus of promising to instantly refresh well-worn staples.
For AW17, Nicholas Ghesquière investigated notions of borders and boundaries. Set in the majestic surroundings of the Louvre, Louis Vuitton’s Autumn-Winter collection aimed to negate frontiers and shift into an evocation of the nomadic – city blends with distant landscapes, masculine blurs with feminine, day fades into night and the heritage of the House, meets a thirst for the future.
The result was a truly global collection, which drew inspiration from American sportswear classics and Slavic accents, the über feminine and the romantic gothic. In short, the kind of world we’d love to live in. Watch the full Louis Vuitton AW17 collection here.