The most recent work of the prolific LA-based video artist Diana Thater transports viewers from within the four walls of Hauser & Wirth’s Piccadilly gallery and into the Zone of Alienation that surrounds Chernobyl’s nuclear disaster site.
Via fragmented footage following wild Przewalski’s Horses, Thater invites viewers into a flickering realm to pose questions about the relationship between man and nature; encasing them within a colourful visual tableau that momentarily distorts perceptions of reality. The video projections that swamp the large blank space are designed to render you online casino bonus childlike, beckoning the realisation that humans exist in this landscape only by implication – through the eroded architecture dotted across the one-hundred mile wide radioactive territory that is navigated during the film. This is not a world that man has abandoned by choice; it is an environment where animals – endangered animals at that – have succeeded humans and thrived. It”s important to remind oneself that this is not an imagined alternate state, but a visceral consequence of our recent history. And yet whilst this is considered Thater’s darkest work to date, it exudes an unyielding optimism that somehow nature will overcome man’s misdemeanours and out-survive us all. And that is a soothing thought.
Diana Thater, Chernobyl is at Hauser & Wirth London, Piccadilly until 5th March.
The aching, fatalistic sounds of musician George Lewis Jr. under the sobriquet Twin Shadow have been steadily engulfing L.A. But with an eagerly anticipated live appearance at London’s Lexington theatre tonight, Lewis’ mesmerizing odes to spirits present and passed are set to make a long-awaited first impression on transatlantic followers.
It’s not only Lewis’ liquescent voice that is the lure; spearheaded by standout track Slow, the album, Forget, is addictive. Crisp, mournful and mid-tempo ballads blur into ticking top online casinos guitar-heavy tracks, creating a debut work that feels almost scientific in its ratio of Eighties New Wave and Brit Pop. It”s a warming blend.
The title track’s crashing beat and distortion spirals with intensity, while the blissed-out scales that rise and fall throughout When We’re Dancing reach biting point with euphoric urgency in At My Heels. Above all, Twin Shadow’s freshness adds a necessary dose of springtime to your playlist. Call it a Twin thing.
Twin Shadow plays tonight at The Lexington, 96-98 Pentonville Road, London.
Download Forget by Twin Shadow at 4ad.com.
Sportswear stalwart Fred Perry’s collaboration with London designer Richard Nicoll goes on-sale today. Nicoll has designed Fred Perry’s SS11 Laurel Wreath collection, drawing on the company’s heritage for inspiration, then cleverly subverting it. While his own summer collection shows signs of a modern sportsluxe influence, the Laurel Wreath collection unites Ken Russell’s images of Fifties teddy girls with subtle, modern androgyny.
“I like the idea that something as conservative and traditional as a cameo brooch could become subversive in the right hands,” says Nicoll. “I mixed sport jersey with lurex piqué and brocade cottons to create a clash of sport and traditional Fifties couture elements in dynamic but recognisably Fifties colours such as eau de nil and peach.” Rizzo eat your heart out.
From Henri Cartier-Bresson to Helen Levitt, street photography has always offered viewers new opportunities for people watching. But since the blogging explosion of the Noughties one photographer more so than any other has become synonymous with street style.
The Sartorialist has been name checked in magazines across the globe, and his distinctive style has sparked a thousand copy cats. While you will almost certainly recognise his photographs, which are bathed in daylight and consistent in featuring only the most discerning dressers, you might not recognise the man himself, Scott Schuman.
In a new and fascinating short documentary by Intel, Schuman talks about his work and method. Here he explains the visual elements in his life and his love of taking to the street with just a camera, waiting to be seduced by his next subject.
“It’s so instinctual the way I shoot. The way I do it is just the way I do it. I don’t see 100 images a day that I want to take. I see two or three. So for me, it’s very easy to be patient and wait for those images because that’s just the way I assumed it was going to be.”
Forty-seven years ago blonde ingénue Marianne Faithfull released her debut single, As Tears Go By. Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, it was the beginning in the making of a rock and roll icon. From Girl on a Motorcycle to the depths of drug abuse, Faithfull has lived life in the fast lane.
Twenty-three albums on and her latest record, released in March, is a rumination upon lost love. Recorded in New Orleans, on Horses and High Heels local musicians and well-known friends – Lou Reed, Dr John and Wayne Kramer from MC5 – lend a hand. “Conventional happiness isn’t my way, you know,” says Faithfull. “But this is a very happy record. I’m not depressed any more. And I think it’s all been well worth it. I did have a bit of a bad time in the Seventies but I think things have been wonderful. So I suppose this album is a bit of a breakthrough.”
Listen to the first track of the album Horses and High Heels at mariannedownload
Aesop is the cultiest of cult beauty brands. Resolutely highbrow, their products are emblazoned with quotes from the likes of Genet, Jung and Gertrude Stein. Interesting architects are co-opted to design all their stores – Rodney Eggleston of March Projects was enlisted for the recent Rue St Honore boutique in Paris. And all three of the London stores – Westbourne, Shoreditch and Mount St are worth visiting to peruse their bijou range of products.
If you’re feeling particularly indulgent Aesop’s Saint Honore skin care kit is especially investment worthy. At £167 it doesn’t come cheap, but inside are a trove of delights for cleansing, toning and moisturising – all including their wonderful Parsley Seed formulation which is high in environmentally protective antioxidants. Aesop tend to use a fusion of hi-tech and natural ingredients in their products making them very au courant: hi-tech naturals and organics are currently the hottest things in skincare.
If you’re on a budget start with something like their Fabulous Face Cleanser with Aloe Leaf, Bergamot rind and Green tea, its mild gently foaming and suitable for most skin types. Or try their Violet Leaf Hair Balm a floral smelling ointment to groom smooth and soften difficult hair. The Aesop website – aesop.com.au is also great for tips on where to eat, places to visit, books to read and art too see. Is this the most cultured beauty brand in the world?
Cult painter Rita Ackermann and seminal director Harmony Korine share a love of irreverent, mischievous beauty. As such the first exhibition of their collaborative work Shadow Fux is just that: provocative, weird and stunning.
Korine’s recent film Trash Humpers – an eerie yet comedic nightmare vision – provides the point of departure. Starting with large-scale stills from the film, in which the characters wear wrinkled jelly-like masks that make them look like geriatrics, they used a call-and-response method to build up layers of collage and paint. Accompanying these ‘cut-and-paste’ works, projections of two of Korine’s films set the scene.
The result, which appears to be a succession of arbitrary scribblings reminiscent of childish colouring-in sessions, in fact speaks of the nature of collaboration and co-existence. Characters are plastered one over the other like some kind of mutant lab experiment: the cracks and joins are still visible.
Ultimately their work is a mixed media mess, a jumble, in which fragmented narratives coalesce to form jarring yet beguiling scenes. But it’s this dissonance that is most successful and resonates most deeply. Catch it quick at New York’s Swiss Institute before it is gone.
Shadow Fux is at the Swiss Institute, New York until 23rd January 2011
YSL had one of the more interesting beauty looks for SS11. Burgundy lips and centre parted, rolled up hair accompanied the catwalk clothes. It was bold, chic and Seventies inspired and not typically summery with that darkish lipstick. But very dramatic and a great look to take you from the depths of winter to spring sunshine.
Soul Jazz Records founder Stuart Baker and tastemaker Giles Peterson have put together a stunning visual history of the Brazilian bossa nova scene. Bossa Nova and the Rise of Brazilian Music in the 1960s features cover artwork, artist’s biographies and essays on a musical movement that’s a fascinating insight into the changing social climate of Sixties Brazil.
As Rio developed into an urban society, with ‘apartment living’ and consumer goods, bossa nova projected an image that was modern, sophisticated and cool. At the time Brazil’s newly elected president promised the country, “fifty years of progress in five.”
It was the modernist architecture of Oscar Niemeyer, which dominated this fresh vision of the capital, that inspired much of the bossa nova movement’s cover art. The record sleeve designs, like the country, were radical, innovative and exciting. While Bossa Nova quickly became a musical phenomenon with Astrud Gilberto and Stan Getz’s The Girl from Ipanema an international hit, by 1964 the period of Brazilian optimism was spent, and the country fell under the rule of a violent military dictatorship that would affect the lives of ordinary Brazilians – and the music – for the next 20 years. More than another graphic sourcebook of sublime modernist design for your coffee table, Bossa Nova and the Rise of Brazilian Music in the 1960s, is a snapshot of the vivacious bygone era behind the beat.
Bossa Nova and the Rise of Brazilian Music in the 1960 is available now from, Soul Jazz Records, and the accompanying album will be on sale from the 24th January.
Art students have long been relied upon to inject an irreverent attitude into the music industry and Chicks on Speed are no exception. Since 1997 the transnational collective have mashed-up performance art and music while continually smashing through clichés of femininity.
Their song We Don’t Play Guitars typified their DIY post-punk aesthetic and while they found a home within the Electroclash movement of the early Noughties, they remained joyously un-boxable. The group, aka Melissa Logan, Kiki Moorse and Alex Murray-Leslie, opened for Kraftwerk, released albums, designed clothes, appeared naked on stage and achieved cult status.
For their latest show, HAPPENING, they present sculptural objects that double as stage show props. From wearable guitar shoes with sensory strings to cigar box synthesizers, they twist the conventional band into a work of art. Each object plays upon male fetishes and in particular their DayGlo plastic stiletto is an ironic take on the cliché of male rock gods hammering out guitar chords.
With the spirit of Dadaism and the energy of anarchism Chicks on Speed continue to live in a world where what the lady wants, the lady gets on and does.
Chicks on Speed: HAPPENING is at Kate MacGarry gallery until 30 January 2011 katemacgarry.com