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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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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

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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.

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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. 

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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. 

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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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LOEWE Reignites Ibiza Love with New Collection

24.04.2017 | Fashion | BY:

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.

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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.

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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.

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LOEWE Paula’s Ibiza collection will be available on matchesfashion.com from April 28th. 

 

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Orlando issue 2: ‘Discourse’ launch party

23.04.2017 | Art , Blog , Culture , Literature | BY:

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.

Orlando issue 2 launch party takes place on May 3rd, buy tickets here

 

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More Than Oh-Kaye: Twin Meets San Fermin’s Lead Vocalist

21.04.2017 | Music | BY:

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.

Belong is out now.

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The Craft of Couture with Mulberry and Burberry

19.04.2017 | Blog , Culture , Fashion | BY:

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 place Wed 3 – Sat 6 May, 10.00am – 7.00pm and Craft, Heritage & Personalisation at Burberry takes place Fri 5 and Sat 6 May, 10.00am – 8.00pm, Sun 7 May, 12.00pm – 6.00pm. No booking required. 

 

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“If you want to be in the club, you’re already part of the club.”

17.04.2017 | Art , Blog , Culture , Fashion | BY:

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. 

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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? 

JuneGet 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. 

Heaven’s Mouth is out now on Olympia records

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Twin Issue XVI

14.04.2017 | Blog , Twin Book | BY:

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.

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Girls who MISBHV

12.04.2017 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

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.

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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. 

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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. 

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Silk on Skin: Twin Meets Tabitha Dukes

10.04.2017 | Culture , Fashion | BY:

‘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.

 

17. Installation view of Gallery 2, showing 'Calf Bearer' (2017)

Aleksandra Domanović: Votives

07.04.2017 | Art , Culture | BY:

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.

10. Installation view of Gallery 1

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.

12. Installation view of Gallery 1 showing 'Hare' (2016)

 

Aleksandra Domanović: Votives is on at the Henry Moore Foundation, 23 March – 11 June 2017

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