Artistic collaborations from London’s next generation of creatives

Fashion and Fine Art are as intertwined as any two mediums can be, and so on the surface a project that brings together five artist and five designers doesn’t seem so radical. But not every designer is Raf Simons, able to access and afford the works of Sterling Ruby for his Dior collections, or Gianni Versace, making Warhol’s iconic work part of Versace’s iconic image without fear of being sued. A titan of one industry working with a powerhouse of another often produces incredible results, but it rarely exposes anyone to anything new.

The reality is that producing a collection or a piece of work takes time and money, and most emerging designers and artists are short on both. Encountering the work of someone new and having the infrastructure to collaborate is a privilege, and it is a privilege that the BFC Fashion Arts Foundations aim to extend to more makers. Now in its second year, the FAF’s Fashion arts Commissions scheme sees the British Fashion Council and the Royal Academy Schools pair NEWGEN designers with recent graduates of the RA Schools. Each pair is given a budget and mentoring, and a year to produce work to be exhibited and sold at Christie’s.

As you might imagine some pairs clicked immediately, finding a symbiosis between their practice that made them easy and natural collaborators – Liam Hodges and Nicky Carvell got on so well that they used part of their funding to take a research trip to LA together. For others the clash of influence, interest and expectation might have made the creative process a little more torturous, but this kind of friction is sometimes needed to provoke new ideas and ways of working. Eliza Bonham Carter, Head of the Royal Academy Schools, puts it best: ‘The value of this process lies not only in these bold, surprising and intriguing works of art, but also in the process by which they are achieved, which will inform the practice of each participant long into the future’.

In an era where arts funding is on its knees, and the government continues to cull art from school curriculums, it’s heartening to see organisations like the Fashion Arts Foundation are still around. All proceeds from the sale at Christie’s will go back in to the Foundation, to continue funding future cycles of collaboration. Unsurprisingly the final works are as strong and diverse as the participants. Encountering each other’s different mediums, approaches and frames of reference has produced a show that is a testament to the aims of the project – there is something new here. Across the hall from the more stiff traditional pieces that are the bread and butter of a house like Christie’s, the viewer suddenly encounters is a looming metal parasol, ominously askew and slick with fabric; distorted metal sculptures that feel like collages in motion; a carpet swatch rolodex of endlessly pleasing textures printed over with sinister undertones; a room of balance and tension shadowed by projection, and a series of playful, Zeuss-like structures that are as elegant as they are unusual.

Hear about each pair’s pleasingly divergent inspiration below:


The ideas behind our work – industrialism, decay and rejuvenation sparked instantly on our first meeting. A shared search / destroy / rebuild attitude meant the work had to be uncompromisingly tough yet hopeful. A road trip to Los Angeles and to salvaged sites ‘Slab City’ and ‘Salvation Mountain’ were essential to instigate our shared visions. Process wise, Liam immediately wanted to set everything on fire. The nearest we came to this was welding scrap metal with sheet steel. The end results are robust sculptures made with the American ‘can do’ attitude brought to life in an East End warehouse.


We wanted to create a work that could exist in different iterations. Using materials that illustrated this, from the fabric that takes on different characteristics when hung, looking through, gathered on the floor or folded over. The parasol frame both electric and manually operated changing its size and orientation depending on the space in which its shown. The video illustrating a ball falling from the top of the frame to the bottom, looped in transit, accompanied with dubbed audio of a drum in an echo chamber of sound. Focusing on different forms of sculptural movement from both culture, fashion, video and sound.


A garment, as a term, is ambiguous; it can serve a limited but clear purpose, or on other occasions can shed its functional vestiges and slip into the realms of surrealism, play and sensuality. Our bodies share an intimate relationship with these fabrics and textiles, from the clothes we wear, to the furnishings that decorate our houses. At the same time this relationship is fragile and fleeting; fashion dictates a constant change in taste. Our hope with this collaboration was to create something tactile and ephemeral, like the clothes we inhabit for the recital of our daily routines – delicate skins we shed with seasonal regularity. From gentle poses of the hand that are sketched out on sheets of paper and lines of laser-cut aluminium, to oversized figures/mannequins robed in intricately patterned fabric, the pieces present themselves in a theatrical, surrealist spirit.



In highlighting the politics of algorithmic era information commodification, we use Google Adwords as material for exploring consumer hierarchies. Our “Google Adword Library” contains some of the most expensive words on auction: Mesothelioma. Lawyer. Blackjack. Cord Blood. Spread Betting. We re-channelled these words through the search engine, collaging image results on textiles through painting, bonding and printing. The installation includes a ‘tombola’ showroom display. The metallic structure stands as a confident, analogue representation of an abstract digital marketplace for words. The tombola also references ‘old school’ methods of enticing consumers – contrasted here with modern visual and digital methods of production.


The starting point of the project was an exploration into the different layers that appear in Samuel’s designs. Working with the film media we wanted to play with the possibilities of light and transparency, like a collage of the different layers and structures of the clothes itself. The process was an ongoing back and forth inspiration: the musical score was made after some of the editing of the film, and the last film edit was made from the music’s compositions.

For sales enquiries contact the British Fashion Council.

Walter Van Beirendonck limited edition at Dover Street Market

This weekend sees the arrival of a bright, quirky new Walter Van Beirendonck installation at Dover Street Market, mirroring his electric and imaginative SS18 collection.

Designed by Alex Wolfe, the ‘Owl’s Whisper’ display reflects the geometric shapes, loud colours and sense of play at the heart of the collection. The new installation also coincides of the launch of new Walter Van Beirendonck items in store at Dover Street Market, with 40 limited edition, handmade t-shirts that combine parts of clothes from old collections. Get them while you can.

Walter Van Beirendonck

Walter Van Beirendonck

Walter Van Beirendonck

Walter Van Beirendonck

Walter Van Beirendonck at Dover Street Market

Walter Van Beirendonck

‘The fragility of plans that appear solid’: Tamar Guimarães and Kasper Akhøj at the De La Warr Pavilion

Until the 3rd of June, the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, will be transformed by immersive designs created by Copenhagen-based artists Tamar Guimarães and Kasper Akhøj, in collaboration with the designer Frederico Fazenda. This will be the very first public exhibition from Guimarães and Akhøj in the UK, who have previously shown work at LACMA and the Venice Biennale.

The exhibition presents moving image and photographic works that have been selected in response to the modernist architecture of the De La Warr Pavilion, and the curious social history of Bexhill-on-Sea. Together and separately, Guimarães and Akhøj explore the residual histories of art, design and architecture, drawing unexpected connections between states of rapture and modernity. The works on display include Studies for A Minor History of Trembling Matter (2017) and Captain Gervasio’s Family (2014), which both respond to research undertaken in the small Brazilian town of Palmelo, where many the inhabitants are Spiritist mediums. These films appear alongside Guimarães’ Canoas (2010), set in the home that architect Oscar Neimeyer built for himself outside Rio de Janeiro, and Akhøj’s Welcome (to the Teknival), 2009-17, a response to the restoration of Eileen Gray’s modernist villa e.1027. We spoke to Guimarães and Akhøj about the exhibition and its complex and varied works.

Where did the name I blew on Mr. Greenhill’s joints with a very ‘hot’ breath come from?

The phrase appears on the memoirs of Arthur Spray, who lived in Bexhill-on-Sea throughout the 1930s and had a cobbler shop on Station Road, a few streets away from the Pavilion. There, on the upper floor, Spray practised healing, through hypnosis, touch, and blowing on body parts with ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ breath. He understood the universe as composed of thought vibrations, and God, within it, as a wireless broadcasting station. The title invokes a healing impulse that runs, as a theme, throughout the exhibition, like the curtain that unfolds through the space.

Tamar Guimarães, Canoas (film still), 2010 © Tamar Guimarães, Courtesy of the artist and Fortes D’Aloia & Gabriel, São Paulo

How do the works respond to the space they are occupying?

We discussed the space with Rosie Cooper, the Pavilion’s curator, and we all agreed that the window to the sea should stay as open as possible to allow people inside to look out and people outside to look in. But that is counter-intuitive when you are installing works that need darkness and silence, so we devised a large curtain that unfolds throughout the space, appearing and disappearing, so to say. The curtains were designed in collaboration with Frederico Fazenda and we had in mind the sea, the shore, the propagation of sound, the curves found in the work of Oscar Niemeyer and his collaborator Roberto Burle Marx.

There is an interesting connection with the original plans for the pavilion, which included a sculpture by Frank Dobson, who chose to depict Persephone, goddess of vegetation and Queen of the underworld. She was to stand on the Pavilion’s lawn, looking out to sea as if guarding her realm. The curtains function as dividers in the exhibition space but we also want to imagine that it might also stand between the earth and the spirit world, the domain of Persephone.

Take for example, Welcome (to the Teknival). This is a series of photographs of Villa E.1027, and you find many parallels with the pavilion. Known as Maison en Bord de Mer, Villa E.1027 is a modernist icon designed and built between 1926 and 1929 by Eileen Gray, in the Côte d’Azur. Taken from 2008 to 2017, the photographs that make up Welcome (to the Teknival) follow the process of renovation of Villa E.1027, now recognised as patrimony by the French state.

amar Guimarães, Canoas (film still), 2010 © Tamar Guimarães, Courtesy of the artist and Fortes D’Aloia & Gabriel, São Paulo

How do the selected works reflect the last ten years of your careers?

The exhibition is not exactly a summary of our last ten years of work – we both have worked on significant projects that are not on display at the De La Warr Pavilion. But the works were selected in relation to the pavilion, which was designed by Erich Mendelsohn and Serge Chermayeff, and would be known as the People’s Palace – a centre for health and leisure, of health through leisure, that brought the language of modern architecture to the British seaside.

To what extent is Spiritism a theme throughout the exhibition?

Spiritism is not the main theme throughout the exhibition. The exhibition themes are time, illness and recovery, yet two of the works engage with a Spiritist community in Palmelo, a very small town in the Brazilian planes. The town emerged in the 1930s around a Spiritist study group and a sanatorium. Half of the city’s inhabitants are psychic mediums who hold day jobs as teachers and civil servants, and partake in daily rituals of psychic healing. For this community, spirits intervene, teach and transform the material world.

Tamar Guimarães, Canoas (film still), 2010 © Tamar Guimarães, Courtesy of the artist and Fortes D’Aloia & Gabriel, São Paulo

Why did you decide to focus on this particular moment in modernism in your film Canoas?

Casa das Canoas was designed by Oscar Niemeyer and was his home from 1951 to 1957, when he moved to the central plains of Brazil to work on the construction of the new capital, Brasília – a monumental project commissioned by president Juscelino Kubitschek as part of his ‘fifty years of prosperity in five’. During the 1950s, Canoas was the location of many gatherings of political and cultural figures, and its sensuous modernism contributed to the image of Brazil as an emerging modern paradise.

When the film was shot in 2010, there was a similar optimism reigning in Brazil. Yet the film overlaps the times: you have a sense of the past lingering into the present, showing that prosperity is a state of mind, and always only part of the story. And thus, Brazil’s progressive modernism and its often-celebrated ‘racial democracy’ return, as ghosts, promising a future that was not to be.

Kasper Akhoj, Welcome (To The Teknival), 2008-17 © Kasper Akhøj, Courtesy of the artist and Ellen De Bruijne Projects, Amsterdam

What do you think viewers will take away from the exhibition?

That is hard to tell. They might leave thinking of the contrast between the clean lines of modern architecture and the subtle substances that emanate from them; or perhaps of the fragility of plans that appear solid but which must be built on conditions that are permanently revised; they might think of electricity, of thought conduits, of hearing voices, of fits of slumber and of communication that begins with words, but eventually give way to tremors, cries, hums and beats.

Tamar Guimarães and Kasper Akhøj at the De La Warr Pavilion, open until 3rd June 2018. 

Tags: , , ,

Foam new talent exhibition

Foam magazine opens their new talent exhibition later this month, a celebration of 20 emerging photographers from across the globe. An annual event which seeks to give a platform to the best of new names coming through, Foam’s support has helped to launch the careers of many young photographers.

This year sees an exciting spectrum of work. Photographs by Hari Srikhao from Thailand comment on the role of the monarchy in society, while Vasantha Yogananthan captures the journey of the Hindu deity Rama in India. There are photo sculptures by American Mark Dorf, and intense examinations of the body by Alix Marie.

See highlights from emerging photography talents below.

Visit Foam New Talent exhibition in Amsterdam, London, New York and Frankfurt, from March 22nd 2018. Dates will vary.

From the series Kawakubo Interpreter of Dreams, 2017 | © Erik Madigan Heck

Untitled 1, 2015, from the series Traces, 2015 | © Weronika Gesicka, 2017

Landscape 16, from the series Transposition, 2017 | © Mark-Dorf

Featured image credit: Secret Door 2016, from the series A Myth of Two Souls 2013, ongoing | © Vasantha Yogananthan




Shoot the Women First: Twin meets artist Navine G. Khan-Dossos

Navine G. Khan-Dossos’ latest exhibition at The Breeder in Athens considers the theme of targets. Entitled Shoot The Women First, it draws on a command reported to be issued in the 1980s to members of West Germany’s elite GSG-9 anti-terrorist squad. The order forms the title of a book by Eileen McDonald, one of the many influences that worked to inform Dossos’ complex and multi-layered exhibition.

The opening of the exhibition on the first floor recreates a shooting range. The paintings begin with targets that use abstract shapes, and build until their depictions of humans are wholly recognisable. This movement to clarity is uneasy: at the moment you recognise the object, you also process a human will be shot. All the paintings are taken from actual targets. The tension is there again, with the paintings operating both as art and as a direct reflection of institutionalised killing. Curated as a shooting range, the audience is complicit in this complex relationship too – both a gallery visitor and a watchful bystander.

Downstairs in the gallery symbols on paintings refer to Discretionary Command training. Trainee shooters receive a chain of commands which require them to shoot at shapes and colours in a certain order. These objects represent an abstraction of human from human, and also of State from the individual. Especially of those considered to threaten existing structures.

Pink in Athens doesn’t have the millennial fashion connotations that it does in other European cities. Instead it evokes the colours of walls outside the brothels in the Metaxourgeio area, also the location of The Breeder gallery. The downstairs series was also informed by recent historical events around the area, specifically a case against a group of female drug-users in 2012, who were forced to take HIV tests. The women were publicly persecuted by the media and accused of grievous bodily harm for transmitting the virus through sex work.  The use of the colour in her paintings then opens up new interpretations; pink is no longer beautiful, but violent. A shadow of war-mongering red. As is typical throughout the exhibition, Khan-Dossos offers a new way of seeing. The viewer is taken by surprise.

Navine G.Khan-Dossos, Grey Discretionary Command Series I-VIII, 2017 | Photos courtesy of The Breeder / © Alexandra Masmanidi

A graduate of Art at Cambridge University, Arabic at Kuwait University, Islamic Art at the Prince’s School of Traditional Art in London, and with an MA in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Art & Design, Navine G. Khan-Dossos brings a rigorous and intellectual approach to understanding the world around us. Her abstract paintings allow for an ontological study of shapes and symbols; historical references from both East and West, alongside contemporary digital contexts, examine and reflect on themes such as the depiction of European converts to radical Islam (‘Echo Chamber’, 2017), to the use of symbols and codes in the creation of crossrail at the House of St Barnabas in London (A Year Without Movement, 2017).

Her works are often site specific, and multi-dimensional. The opening of Shoot the Women First was accompanied with a performance by – enacting the shifting relationship between the collective and the other. Twin caught up with Navine to discuss the performance of identities and the idea of the other.

When did you first encounter Eileen McDonald’s text? What was the immediate impact it had on you? 

Shoot The Women First by Eileen MacDonald was given to me for Christmas by my partner a couple of years ago. It raised a few eyebrows around the Christmas tree, that’s for sure. But my partner knows me pretty well, and given my long-term interest in female terrorists, it was a perfect gift for me. I read it immediately and have read it again many times since. But I also have shared it with those Im working with on this project, in order for us all to begin the conversation from the same page.

The book is (as far as I know) the first attempt by a journalist to tackle the subject of female terrorists, and given when it was written in 1991, the interviews she conducts are with women whose memories and experiences of conflict and action are very recent and you can really feel that in the fabric of the book. 

There are problems with it, such as an over-arching narrative that supposes that the violent political cause is somehow a child replacement for female terrorists; a cause into which they can put their maternal drive. This reduces women to a biological imperative of motherhood rather than seeing them as having genuine political will of their own, unconnected to their ovaries. This line of conclusion certainly dates the book, but I think as an archive of a specific time in history and the role of women within that turbulence, it’s a very valuable document and an inspiring one to begin something new to continue this dialogue in our own times.

Navine G.Khan-Dossos, Bulk Target 1-100, 2018 | courtesy of The Breeder / ©  Alexandra Masmanidi

In the accompanying essay to the exhibition Lisa Downing surmises that ‘ A “target,” then, by necessity, moves.’  What about this dynamic interested you?

Beyond this essay for the show, Lisa Downing thinks and writes more broadly about the role of the individual woman, the difficult woman, or the woman who finds herself unable to be part of a collective we and I think this is the issue that underpins the target too. How does a woman stand apart but also identify with the group? The question of the target, for me, is tied up in this question of the individual and the multitude, being able to be alone but without being isolated or singled out for attack. And I think this is a pertinent question we must take forward with us into a future where we dont have to be vulnerable or further this otherness by individuating oneself.

Through the curation and the targets you open a discussion around complicity – where do you hope the viewer will place themselves in this dialogue?

I really dont have any expectation of where the viewer should place themself within the work. It isnt so didactic as to suggest one position. The intention is to keep things open, to reflect on the many roles that can be played out in the scenario of the shooting gallery: the target, the target designer, the shooter, the bystander, the amateur weekend gun enthusiast, the professional killer. 

Navine G.Khan-Dossos, Shoot the Women First, Grey Discretionary Command Series I-VIII, 2017 |courtesy of The Breeder / ©  Alexandra Masmanidi

Why was it important to you to have a performance element of the exhibition? How did the collaboration come about?

This is the first time I have collaborated with a choreographer (Yasmina Reggad) and a group of dancers. Over a coffee in my studio when I was making he cardboard targets, Yamsina noticed how much the drying works resembled costumes, or certainly had the possibility of being worn. With her experience and her eyes, she saw not just the abstracted figure within the target, but how it could be embodied, given movement, and activated as part of the works scope beyond painting. 

It was a very natural collaboration and Yasmina and I have been thinking and practicing together over the past weeks and months to think how we can work in parallel and share this common ground of interest. 

The dancers will perform a mixture of martial arts-based movements choreographed within patterns used by riot police in crowd control situations. They will move those attending the opening of the show, pushing them out of the gallery, and controlling them through these delicate but powerful gestures. 

Shoot the Women First performance, choreographed by Yasmina Reggad for Navine G. Khan-Dossos exhibition opening | photo courtesy of the artist / ©  Alexandra Masmanidi

Im become quite fascinated by what a female army might look like in the future. The Kurdish female fighters of the YPJ (Kurdish Protection Units) continue to be a strong presence in my thoughts everyday, but I wonder also what ways of fighting and controlling crowds might be possible through other forms of intervention, which is why the inclusion of the martial arts is an interesting mode to explore. In a show that is dominated by the act of shooting and guns, this attempt to circumnavigate the use of this kind of instrument of violence is a way of imagining different possibilities for the future.  

In the show text you reference specific examples of the 2012 arrests of suspected sex workers in Athens, as well as other major moments of terrorism throughout contemporary history. Can you talk a little about your research process, and why the story of the Greek women spoke to you in particular?

From the moment I found out about this story I was gripped by it, but also by the way it effected the Greek people I asked about it, and how they recalled that moment in time. I wasnt yet living in Athens myself in 2012, so it was very much about exploring collective memory as well as more in-depth research. This case in some ways is very simple  an action made in the weeks leading up to a general election to make it look like the city was being cleaned up. But the complexity of the intermeshing subjects of HIV, of sex work, of the sanctity of family unit in Greece, also coalesce into something of great tragedy for the women at the heart of the events.

One of the first and most important influences on this research was the film Ruins by Zoe Mavroudi. She presented the story and the politics of what happened to these women in 2012 with a great dignity and power. Zoe and I discussed the making of the film and the issues surrounding it, but also the present situations of these women, and how not to lose sight of this case, but without re-presenting the women at the centre of the arrests, furthering the exploitation of their image.

Zoe introduced me to Apostolis Kalogiannis who was able to deepen my understanding of the current situation of sex work in Athens and how it has changed (or not) since 2012. This was an important way of grounding myself in the present rather than just looking back onto a concluded past event. There are important groups supporting vulnerable sex workers in Athens and there are ways for us to support their work through art, and by keeping the subject alive and visible.

Νavine G.Khan-Dossos, Pink Discretionary Command Series V-XII, 2017 | courtesy of The Breeder / ©  Alexandra Masmanidi

We spoke about the desire to focus on this story without re-enacting the violence that the women experienced in 2012. Could you elaborate on your approach to this?

The works are not and should never be considered a re-enactment of the situation in 2012. Those events are part of a much wider series of influences that went into making the works. But one important aspect that did derive directly from the issues raised by that case was how to represent women without returning to the low-grade viral images that swept through the Internet and the Greek media when the story broke.

I do not believe we need to re-present or indeed rely on these damaging images. Instead there must be a way to use a functional, diagrammatical, symbolic language that tells a wider story about the abstraction of the human body as a necessary device to distance oneself from the subject/target.

It is possible to make work about violence that in itself is not violent. It can be a contemplative or meditative space instead of a shocking one  a space where the viewer can consider the subject matter and recall what they already know inside themselves, including their own experiences, rather than forcing my narrative upon them.

I have been working on this approach to portraying difficult subject matter for a few years now, and it always changes depending on the subject matter. But I feel strongly that in this time of mass consumption of digital images of violence, there might be other ways to talk about it that don’t rely on the images themselves and getting caught up in that loop of the poor or degraded image (as Hito Steyerl might say). 

Νavine G.Khan-Dossos, Pink Discretionary Command Series V-XII, 2017 | courtesy of The Breeder / ©  Alexandra Masmanidi

Do particular shapes and colours present themselves instinctively or do you always approach shapes and symbols to use in your work based on their pre-existing references and meanings?

All of my material comes from things that exist in the real world as functional objects or images. In this case all the paintings are based on Discretionary Command targets  a form of shooting practice target that relies on listening to commands and shooting the coloured shapes in the order given. So the shapes and colours have an inherent meaning within this context and a relationship to the human body in terms of organs (shoot to kill) and limbs (shoot to maim).

I have also included pink triangles as an additional shape to the pre-existing forms of the command targets, as a way of including the history and politics of the gay rights movement, which also has an important place in this work about the targeting of marginalised groups. 

Shoot The Women First is on at The Breeder Gallery, Athens, until March 10th. 

Tags: , ,

Meet the finalists of LOEWE Craft Prize 2018

The Loewe Craft Prize will take place in May of this year, and already there’s a buzz around the finalists. Comprising of 30 artists from 17 countries around the world, the shortlist celebrates creativity and innovation in craft. A reflection of the diverse talents working at the moment.

Creative director of LOEWE Jonathan Anderson conceived the award to champion creativity. A part of an ongoing commitment to locate LOEWE within a wider cultural context. Speaking ahead of the second year of the awards, the designer commented: ‘Craft is the essence of LOEWE. As a house, we are about craft in the purest sense of the word. That is where our modernity lies, and it will always be relevant.’

The full list of nominees, along with examples of their work, are below.

Paul Adie (United Kingdom)

Paul Adie searching for solid ground III

Gunilla Maria Åkesson (Sweden)

Gunilla Maria Aakesson

ARKO (Japan)

Arko Asako Sato

Yeonsoon Chang (Republic of Korea)

Chang Yeonsoon, MatrixIII Time, Space, Human.

Min Chen (China)

Chen Min

Hae Cho Chung (Republic of Korea)

Hae Cho Chung

Steffen Dam (Denmark)

Stefan Dam

Sam Tho Duong (Germany)

Sam Tho Duong

Sara Gackowska (Poland)

Sara Gackowska

Ann van Hoey (Belgium)

Ann Van Hoey: 2017. The Earthenware Ferrari

Joe Hogan (Ireland)

Joe Hogan

Marie Janssen (Austria)

Marie Janssen

Joonyong Kim (Republic of Korea)

Joonyong Kim

Christopher Kurtz (United States)

Christopher Kurtz

Takuro Kuwata (Japan)

Takuro Kuwata

Jennifer Lee (United Kingdom)

Jennifer Lee

Deirdre McLoughlin (Ireland)

Deirdre McLoughlin

Richard McVetis (United Kingdom)

Richard McVetis

Simone Pheulpin (France)

Simone Pheulpin

Irina Razumovskaya (Russian Federation)

Irina Rezumovskaya

Aneta Regel (United Kingdom)

Aneta Regel

Ryuhei Sako (Japan)

Ryuhei Sako

Rita Soto (Chile)

Rita Soto

Laurenz Stockner (Italy)

Laurenz Stockner

Wycliffe Stutchbury (United Kingdom)

Wycliffe Stutchbury

Mercedes Vicente (Spain)

Mercedes Vicente

Julian Watts (United States)

Julian Watts

Takeshi Yasuda (United Kingdom)

Takeshi Yasuda

Ashley YK Yeo (Singapore)

Ashley YK Yeo

Shohei Yokoyama (Japan)

Shohei Yokoyama

Tags: , ,

The politics of the Body: Twin meets Ranny Cooper

Artist Ranny Cooper examines and explores the female form as a way of addressing issues around self identity and discovery. She shifts our usual associations away from sex and provocation and asks us instead to focus on the ways in which the body is bound in objectification and intrusion, yet also in admiration and desire. Cooper uses her own body as her muse as it has been a positive way for her to address the issues she faces with her own body politics. Inspired by Jenny Saville and her portrayal of the body and all of its fluid forms, Cooper enjoys celebrating this idea of the grotesquely beautiful. In her series ‘Unbound’, the minimal, fluid lines and colours of Cooper’s mix media drawings offer a thoughtful and sensitive representation of the female form. Her use of leatherwear highlights the friction between submission and empowerment as she depicts the action, restrictions and effects of harnesses as a means of representing the duality of lust and scrutiny that women’s bodies are subjected to.

Ranny Cooper, Unbound

Originally from Brighton, Cooper has been based in East London’s Hackney for the last five years, where she spent the first three at London College of Fashion studying Fashion Illustration. The product of a rather bohemian and idyllic childhood, Cooper thinks this may be where her openness towards nudity came from and why she doesn’t feel that her sexuality defines her. I don’t know if I am defined by my sexuality, but know that I address it very boldly. I have always been very sexually open with my body. I grew up in an extremely naked household – it is a good way for me to express how I am feeling as a women. A lot of people see my work and think of it in very black and white terms, as simply sexual, open and in your face. But when you understand the meaning behind it, it is actually very personal. So, it is about sexuality but the point is there is also much more behind the surface.

Cooper acknowledges that the personal element to her work is varied depending on the series she is focusing on. While she always uses the body as her canvas and main subject, the motives behind her use of it are diverse.With my body print series I was expressing different emotions that I felt when I was life modelling. When you are exposed to a crowd of people and you are nude it encourages a range of emotions and I would find so many different thoughts running through my head. It really does boil down to each individual pose having a unique emotion that comes with it. Then when it came to my series ‘Unbound’, I was addressing the misconceptions people often have around sexuality, especially when it comes to the use of leather and harnesses. I involved the harness as a means of highlighting the importance of control for women when it comes to their bodies, which can be both a positive and negative in todays society.

Over the last few weeks, Cooper has started working on a new project, ‘Dismemberment’. In this series she fragments the body. The project merges different parts of the anatomy to explore the cross section between where the human form goes from the sight of desire to the sight of grotesque. Cooper explains how she is taking a new direction with her use of the body as a canvas and her growing obsession with how different angles can make the figure look almost distorted. This project is a little less sexual in a way as it focuses on dismembered and deconstructed figures. I have always been interested in the body looking distorted and out of worldly in a way, which transpired into this idea of how the body can go from a site of desire to a site of grotesque. With this project I still use the naked body but by dismembering it I wish to express the chaos we are often faced with when we let our thoughts run away with us, highlighting the confusion and madness that the mind often provokes.

As Cooper readdresses her practice through the altered perception she now places on the body, she discusses how she defines beauty:

I believe that it is completely in the eye of the beholder. I don’t think there is a typical ideal of beauty. For me, beauty comes from weakness and imperfection. Like art, it is totally subjective and I really don’t think it can be defined any more. Obviously you have ideals that the media represents to people of how we should look, which is a big issue. When I started doing such figurative drawings, initially I focused on slender beautiful women but gradually this made me feel more and more uncomfortable so I started using myself as my own reference – that really made me target issues I had with myself and helped me come to terms with them. I don’t think beauty is a definition I think it is a perception.

Ranny Cooper, Unbound

With this idea of beauty as perception rooted in subjectivity, Ranny explains how Hans Bellmer, Louise Bourgeois and Jean Cocteau have been lifelong inspirations for her. Likewise, the minimalist linear drawings by Austrian artist Egon Schiele and Mapplethorpe’s fetishistic yet sensual images have been important artistic sources. More recently, she credits the work of photographer Maisie Cousins, whose zoomed images of the female body taken from the series ‘grass, peonies, bum’ are some of her favourites. While Ranny is keen to explore the possibility of living somewhere like Berlin, given it’s notably liberal attitudes within youth culture, she has decided to dedicate the next two years to nurturing her practice here in London. Ranny Cooper will be showing her new series ‘Dismemberment’ at Cafe 119 throughout April. In the meantime, you can follow her practice and intense obsession with poached eggs via her Instagram @rannycooper. 

Tags: ,

There is a lot more fun to be had: Twin Meets Alexander Coggin

Absurd and a little bit off, but always funny. Alexander Coggin excels in the art of tender parody. This February he shows a broad range of photographs in his largest exhibition yet.

Whether it’s spending 48 hours with Gigi Hadid, snapping pictures of the supermodel being hand fed b12 drops by her mother, taking photos of Frieze art fair visitors’ clavicles, or documenting the colourful country club lives of his midwestern inlaws; Alexander Coggin always finds the absurdity in every situation. With warmth and curiosity he unveils the soft underbelly of any desirable lifestyle.“That image of Gigi with the drops is more telling than anything that you’re going to get from a staged photograph,” Coggin explains, “it says a lot about the relationship between her and her mom, Yolanda. It’s beautiful and funny and bizarre and tender in a way.”

The current exhibition, “Yeah, Magic” at Ninasagt Galerie in Düsseldorf is vast, over a 100 photographs framed and unframed in all shapes and sizes. There are images printed on mugs, clocks, sweatshirts – and on a delightfully ridiculous pair of flip flops.

Over the years Coggin has become known for his personal mix between street and still life photography, a colourful aesthetic and his unique sense of humour. His pictures capture the moments in-between perfection, and they almost exaggerate the flaws and quirks of each subject. But instead of being exploitative or down right mean – a not uncommon thing in the world of street photography – the pictures are loving and relatable. And a great way to ward off any incipient social media depression.

There is something very liberating with an old lady arm purposefully hovering over a large plate of shrimp or the low key eroticism of a gear shift. Most of all it is fun. I think my most successful images incorporate the full human-ness that live art and theatre give you. It takes the character, the specificity of the situation, the personas we see and don’t see about ourselves and filters all of that into a single still image. At best, my work is very much alive.”

Yeah Magic © Alexander Coggin

Every article ever written (this might not be entirely true) about Alexander Coggin mentions theatre in some way – you have to. It it his one main influence and his educational background. It is also, in an unexpected way, the reason he found and fell in love with photography. Coggin and his husband  moved to Berlin in 2011 to take part of the then booming theatre and performance scene. But the complexity of making and acting in theatre became overwhelming.

– After leaving the structure of school I realised that making theatre is such a collaborative process. You need to find a production, a director, a piece of work, a house that can mount the production. My creativity became stagnant. I got into photography as a way to release this pent up creativity in a solo way, beholden to none other. I really started to enjoy Photography when I realised that I could bring the things I love about theatre into the work. It was an antidote, a therapeutic transformation.

Do you think you’re going to go back to the theatre at some point?

– I think so. I still enjoy the binary of live arts vs. still imagery – it’s either one or the other. I think that ultimately, they’ll both come together in filmmaking. That’s the natural progression, but I don’t want to rush this because I want to do it in a way that feels authentic to my eye and my interests.

Your images are often quite raw and people show sides of themselves that you usually don’t see. How do you make the subject feel so comfortable?  

– There are a couple of ways to get these authentically voyeuristic shots. The work I’ve done with my husband’s family [Brothers and Others], for instance:  Because they are my family, I’m comfortable around them and they don’t change their behaviour when I shoot. It took years to get to that point. When I spend a couple of weeks with them I take thousands and thousands of images, that’s all edited into a finite body of work. I get lucky in terms of numbers. And time.

And when you do a project like the one with Gigi, when you only had a certain amount of time?

– If I have a commissioned piece like that I find that the most effective way is to be a fly on the wall. Which I’m not good at. A flash is very telling. If I wasn’t shooting with flash I could be more voyeuristic, but since I like to mediate images with flash – I stick out. I have to be a little bit more sneaky about it. It’s not a natural place for me to be at all. I like to be engaged, part of the conversation and making people feel at ease with me. But when I don’t have the luxury of time, I have to be a bit more sneaky, a bit more pushy. Again, not at all a natural state for me.

Yeah Magic © Alexander Coggin

Let’s talk a little more about your husbands family, how do they react to your images?

– Well, it shifted with them. I was always very nervous, kind of looking at the images and feeling like I was taking advantage of them. Especially the British Journal of Photography story that ran. They used the word privileged so many times. I was fine with it, and I know it was a necessary and an honest framing, but I felt nervous about how my husband’s family was going to perceive that frame. I called all of them, and surprisingly, no one cared. I think partly that’s because I have conversations with them when I’m shooting. We talk about how we can amplify their character, or how to take the character into something that is beyond them. Just to kind of satirise themselves, letting them explore what they represent too.

They’re part of the project?

– Definitely. If something lovely happens that is authentic, but I didn’t quite get it right in the camera, I’ll just ask them to do it again and they’ll do it. It’s great. They are part of the image making process, it gives them ownership.

Interesting. Because it can be a tricky relationship, that with your in laws.

– We have had long theoretical conversations about some great quotes by Garry Winogrand. He talks about how when you put four corners on an image you change the truth of it and create a ‘new fact’. The way they are represented is not as they are, but it is as they appear in that moment. And that moment could change from shot to shot; this isn’t the reality of who they are. I think they are comfortable with that persona play. I got lucky with them. We have the safety of our relationship, but I have had a hard time translating that element to commissioned work. Then it’s more difficult, I just don’t have the time, so, as I said, I have to be sneaky.

Have they ever vetoed anything that you’ve done?

–  I’ve given them the option to veto anything. Sometimes I don’t feel comfortable shooting stuff, but they’re like “Oh get that!”.

Yeah Magic © Alexander Coggin

Are you ever afraid of going to far, of being “mean”?

– If I shot ‘mean’, if I shot in a way that was disrespectful, inconsiderate, or in a way that the subject wasn’t okay with; I wouldn’t even be able to look at that image. I would not want that in my repertoire of imagery, it would make me feel shitty. So I feel like I have pretty good internal awareness of how the subject is feeling when I shoot. As I’m interested in candid moments and character it can be a little bit dangerous. There is one shot that I still feel conflicted about. It’s my friend Susan, and she said it was fine, but she doesn’t look great at all. Still it’s very telling, my favourite part of the picture is the alcohol and the caffein. You can see her displacement. There is something discontented about her, but it’s not a flattering picture.

I feel like art made by millenials often has humour. Do you think there is some reason for that?

– It could just be as easy as a response to the hard times we live in. As a millennial, as an American millennial, I’ve just been handed a shit plate for my entire adult life. But if you look hard enough there is a lot more fun to be had, a lot more life around you. I feel like I have a little more control if I can find humour in it. It’s just how I see the world.

You can see “Yeah, Magic” at Ninasagt Galerie in Düsseldorf from February 16th until March 18th. 


Tags: ,

Juno Calypso opens ‘The Salon’ in London

Offering a dystopian and uneasy version of a salon the day after Valentines perfectly communicates the vision at the heart of Juno Calypso’s work. The new multi-sensory installation in Melissa Galeria space in Covent Garden is full of stark red light and casts of mannequins, offering a space that feels weird and uncomfortable. The subversion and play are recurring themes in Calypso’s work, who often works with mask, costume and theatrical stagings to explore ideas of femininity and sexuality.

Open from today, the installation will run until April, offering ample time to wholly immersive yourself in Calypso’s unsettling and compelling world.

Animation by Geriko | Juno Calypso exhibition in London

Tags: ,

Frida Escobedo to design Serpentine Pavilion 2018

The Serpentine Pavilion 2018 will be designed by the Mexican artist, Frida Escobedo – the youngest architect in the project’s 18-year history to accept the invitation. Born in 1979, the architect, who set up her Mexico City-based practice in 2006, is the first solo woman to have been awarded the commission since the project’s founding, which begin in 2000 with Zaha Hadid.

Escobedo’s Pavilion will take the form of an internal courtyard, a common characteristic of domestic Mexican architecture. A lattice of dark cement roof tiles, designed to mimic a celosia – a traditional feature in Mexican architecture that allows a breeze to flow through a building – will form the walls that enclose the courtyard and diffuse the view out into the park. The structure will equally comprise two pivoted blocks set at an angle to reference the Prime Meridian Line at London’s Royal Observatory in Greenwich.

“My design for the Serpentine Pavilion 2018 is a meeting of material and historical inspirations inseparable from the city of London itself and an idea which has been central to our practice from the beginning: the expression of time in architecture through inventive use of everyday materials and simple forms”, said Frida Escobedo.

Frida Escobedo | Photography: Ana Hop

“For the Serpentine Pavilion, we have added the materials of light and shadow, reflection and refraction, turning the building into a timepiece that charts the passage of the day.”

The combination of these materials will work in tandem to provide visitors with a heightened awareness of time spent in play, whilst conveying how the very concept of time is central to Escobedo’s design.

The pavilion will be open to the public from 15 June until 7 October and “promises to be a place of both deep reflection and dynamic encounter. With this bold interior, Frida draws history into the present and redefines the meaning of public space. We hope visitors of all ages will create their own experiences in the Pavilion this summer as we continue in our aim of bringing the urgency of art and architecture to the widest audiences” notes Serpentine Galleries Artistic Director, Hans Ulrich Obrist and CEO, Yana Peel.


Getty Museum Presents Cut! Paper Play in Contemporary Photography

From Friday 27th February, until the 27th May, the J. Paul Getty Museum at LA’s Getty Centre will play host to works by six contemporary artists, who have each expanded the role of paper in photography.

For some, a photograph is simply an image on a piece of paper, but for other photographers, paper is not merely the end result of developing a photograph – it is a material that can be animated in a number of ways. Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum, describes how “a number of works blur the line between photography and other mediums”; manipulating the printed photograph by cutting, shaping and combining images takes photography in radically new directions.

Models, 2016 |Promised Gift of Sharyn and Bruce Charnas © Matt Lipps / Getty

Many pieces have been borrowed from Los Angeles-based collectors, institutions, or galleries, and others have been taken from the Getty Museum’s permanent collection. The exhibition provides a context and historical perspective on the experimentation of many contemporary photographers today.

Works spanning the years 1926 to 1967, by Manual Alvarez Bravo, Alexander Rodchenko, and Ei-Q, all feature cut-paper abstractions and figures modeled from paper that have been photographed. These pieces have provided a basis for more daring contemporary experimentation; artists Daniel Gordon, Matt Lipps, and Thomas Demand create paper models and images taken from current events, the internet, or books and magazines. Others, such as Soo Kim, cut and layer photographs, introducing three-dimensional elements into what is traditionally a two-dimensional art form.

Clementines, 2011 | © Daniel Gordon / Courtesy Daniel Gordon and M+B Gallery, Los Angeles

The exhibition has been curated by Virginia Heckert, head of the Getty Museum’s Department of Photographs, and the works can be viewed from the end of February.


Absolution: new exhibition addresses mental health and childbirth

A new solo exhibition from artist Camille Sanson addresses the experience of becoming a mother through her own experience. Personal and emotive, her series of photographs chronicles her body before, during and after pregnancy, at the same time evoking the state of her mental health through sculptural and transformative poses.

“I would love this exhibition to inspire women with mental health issues to seek their own healing through addressing their subconscious fears and finding a deeper connection within themselves and their shadows.” Commented Camille on the new show, adding that “It is not easy to undertake these journeys but ultimately so important if we are to strive to have a happier life, especially when bringing new souls into this world, so we can avoid transferring our own issues to our children and continuing unconscious patterns within them.”

Each image offers an unedited depiction of the body, but Camille works with paint and clay to emphasise the internal turbulence and tensions that women go through. As such, the images address the process of becoming a mother in its entirety, bringing the nuances of experience sharply into focus and offering a powerful call for communion and openness. In an age where women are increasingly breaking narratives about how they should feel and look during various events in their life, Camille Sanson’s contribution is timely, relevant and necessary.

The Veil, Camille Sanson

Gaia, Camille Sanson

The Mask, Camille Sanson

From the Waters, Camille Sanson

 ‘Absolution’ by Camille Sanson is at Herrick Gallery, 93 Piccadilly, Mayfair, London W1J 7NQ until February 3rd 2018. 

Tags: ,

Dying like Eva Hesse: Twin meets filmmaker Marcie Begleiter

It’s easy to see artist Eva Hesse’s life as a huge Hollywood epic, filled with love, passion, tragedy and early death. She was not only surrounded by some of the most influential artists of her time, she was one of them. But Marcie Begleiter’s documentary about the artist takes another route, focusing on remarkable artworks and a personality that resonates through time.

It was in graduate school that filmmaker Marcie Begleiter first discovered the artist Eva Hesse. She was looking for something else than the ironic, sometimes distanced work that was lauded in art magazines in the late 1980’s. “I wanted a deeper connection,” Begleiter reflects. “When I saw Hesse’s work in reproduction I was very moved.  It was smart and logical, but it also pushed against that with droopy materials. It had a great shifting to it. Eva didn’t simply find something that worked and stayed there, she shifted and changed.”

It’s hard, almost impossible, to describe Eva Hesse’s work in words. During her active years the expression and method was in constant development, and her journey from painter to sculptor shifted with an almost forceful passion. She would within her short life become one of the most important and influential artists of her time. Showing her work together with contemporaries like Carl Andre, Dan Graham, Mel Bochner and Sol LeWitt – almost always as the only woman in the group.

Her early work is mainly abstract paintings that during a residency in Germany started taking a more physical form – somewhere in between a sculpture and a painting. The later sculptures, made in her final years before losing the battle with brain cancer at the early age of 34, are big evocative constructions made with latex, fiberglass, rope and a mixture of mechanical trinkets. But still with a soft, almost sexual appearance.


Eva Hesse in 1968. Photo by Herman Landshoff. Eva Hesse. A film by Marcie Begleiter. A Zeitgeist Films release.

Eva Hesse lived a life that kept shifting and changing as much as her art. A life that would have been impossible to do justice without the participation of the artist herself:  the documentary is built around Hesse’s journals and letters, kept in the collection of Allen Memorial Art Museum in Oberlin, Ohio. With this extensive collection of writings (1 200 pages), Marcie Begleiter created a film where the artist’s voice rings clear. Through Eva’s own words (read in the film by actress Selma Blair) we are told an extraordinary story of a rather unusual life.

Eva’s life has the stuff of a true drama: Born to a German Jewish family in 1936 she was at age 3 put on the  Kindertransport and sent to Holland together with her older sister Helen (only 5 years old at the time). Their parents managed to get out of Nazi Germany and collected their daughters at the Catholic children’s home where they were staying before they all fled to New York. The rest of their relatives were killed in concentration camps, a tragedy that deeply affected Hesse’s mother.

But the hardships didn’t end after the emigration. When Hesse was 10, her mother, in the wakes of a mental breakdown, committed suicide by jumping from the roof of a building. Later in life Hesse’s marriage with artist Tom Doyle would end in a bitter separation, and her beloved father would die suddenly and unexpectedly, leaving Hesse anxious and with a deep sense of abandonment. Still, Marcie Begleiter’s documentary isn’t tragic: It’s full of passion, art, humour and most of all of life. Until the very last breath.

– Ten different filmmakers would have made ten different films. I’m interested in artistic process and materials. There are aspects of Eva’s  life that could be made sensationalistic. You have to allude to some of these things, because they are a part of the story, but what’s interesting is this person who faced enormous challenges in her life. Personal challenges and challenges in terms of the world around her, and still she found the persistence and the intelligence to create extraordinary drawings, paintings and sculptures. Even during the last year of her life, when she was greatly ill, she never stopped working. Not even from her hospital bed. And she had a great attitude about it: life doesn’t last, art doesn’t last. We still live our lives in the face of that fact.

The narrative is largely based on Evas letters and notes, could you tell me a little bit more about how you encountered and approached them?

– I had read Lucy Lippard’s book, and she quoted Hesse’s journals. A friend of mine,  an arts librarian, told me that the original texts were in a tiny library in Ohio at Oberlin College. I can’t even tell you what compelled me to do it, but I wrote a grant proposal and I got funding to spend a couple of weeks reading through the material. The people at the library would bring me boxes and boxes and I sat there with white cotton gloves on and went through Eva’s personal papers. In the journals there were drawings,  postcards from friends, announcements for shows. Her friends, once they knew that there was a library that kept her papers, sent in what they had. It’s all sorts of ephemera. It blew my mind. Here was this authentic, smart, insecure but absolutely self confident – kind of flipping back and forth between the pages – woman. I felt such a deep connection with the person that I encountered.

And after that you became interested in her as a subject for a documentary?

– Coming out of that first reading of the diaries I wrote a theatrical piece. A producer and friend of mine, Karen Shapiro, saw it and  wanted to move it to a bigger venue. I felt that we had to get someone from the estate onboard if we wanted to do something bigger. My desire in meeting the people who knew Hesse was to begin a conversation about doing that project. But once I met Lucy [Lippard], Helen [Hesse–Charash] and Tom [Doyle], I felt it needed to be a film. I called Karen and told her that I met some interesting people in New York and that I had another idea. And she said “Oh you want to make a documentary, don’t you? ” and I answered “Yes, how do you know?” she said “I saw it in my meditation this morning. If you want to do that, I’ll produce it.” So I called Helen, to make sure that no one had done it before. She was extremely encouraging and very supportive in terms of giving us access to all materials they had.

Which part of Hesse’s  life do you find most defining for her as an artist?

– I find it fascinating that she went back to Germany. This is 1964, less than 20 years after the end of the war. I went there in the 1980s and I had a hard time with it. But she went back to work in ’64, after everything that had happened to her family. She took the advantage to see Europe as an adult, to live without having extra jobs and just work. It was in Germany, partly under the pressure of being there, that she put aside traditional painting and started making three dimensional objects. That marked a real change for her. She started coming off the canvas. In the film it’s really the inciting incident of her life, that’s the change. She came back and she shot off like a rocket.

Did working with the film effect how you see and relate to Eva’s work today?

– I have come to the point where you can show me a drawing and I can pretty much nail the date of creation, within a year or two. There is a familiarity with the work that has deepened. What surprised me, is that after these years of working with her writing and her art, it has stayed fresh. I still find things that she wrote to be interesting, eye opening, inspiring and so thoughtful. It doesn’t  get old.

Eva Hesse in 1966. Photo by Gretchen Lambert. Eva Hesse. A film by Marcie Begleiter. A Zeitgeist Films release.

I found the quote “Excellence has no sex” very inspiring. Do you think it’s relevant to mention feminism when you talk about Eva an artist?

– You can’t talk about feminism as if she was part of a movement, because she didn’t participate politically in that conversation. But she was defined by who she was, and not by what other people thought of her. In her lifetime she refused to be categorized as a female artist and she wasn’t in shows with only women. She wanted to be, aimed to be, and was, a part of the general conversation. That’s certainly a feminist stance even though she wouldn’t have used that language. Looking back, female artists of the 70s and 80s certainly saw Hesse as a touchstone, as someone who was being recognised as a peer with male contemporary artists. She was just doing what she needed to do and saying “I’m one of the best”.

From seeing the film it seems to me that whenever Hesse faced hardship, she grew. That it adds to her creativity.

– Everyone has tragedies in their life, maybe she had more than others, but it’s what she did with the tragedy that makes it interesting. That compels us to want to know more and gives us, the people looking, a connection to her bravery. Her tenaciousness and humour. I was talking to Rosie [Goldman] who’s in the film, she told me that she’d never seen anyone face death the way Eva did. There was no regret there. No regret. She was living every moment to the end. I really wanted to put that in the film. In our culture death is sort of a taboo issue, in America death is seen as a failure. A failure of modern science, a failure of medicine, a personal failure. We live a good life. We need to have a good death. And that’s something Eva did; she died a good death.

As part of a series of fundraising events in 2018, Orlando will be screening Eva Hesse at London’s Horse Hospital on Tuesday 6 February. Eva Hesse is also  available on itunes and Amazon. Marcie Begleiter is currently working on the screen adaptation of the book “Stones from the River” by Ursula Hegi.


Tags: , , , ,

Images that shaped a vision, with Emma Tillman

Emma Tillman’s photographs chronicle the unseen moments in life, those, to steal from Virginia Woolf, islands of meaning which shore up against the ferocious momentum of time. It’s fitting that her book Disco Ball Soulwas named such: thoughtful, investigative and lingering, her portraits of friendships, romance and the natural world offer an energising and playful mosaic of her experience of the world. Here, she tells Twin about the images which have most impacted and shaped her life and work.

Alberto García-Alix

Alberto García-Alix is a Spanish photographer from León whose work was part of a movement that shaped modern documentary photography, but to me he is so much more. And that is where I will begin with this list. I would say in a word, he is shameless. And it is this shamelessness that draws circles around the core of ugliness and strangeness, illuminating it until it is light, despite all its rugged detail.

Emma Suarez | © Alberto García-Alix

Taryn Simon

Taryn Simon is an American artist from New York City. Although I had come in contact with her widely regarded and well collected photography a handful of times in my adult life, I had not been touched by its power until one lonely afternoon at the Tate Modern in London. I wandered into a room full of her work from “An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar” and finally understood.

That rainy day I explored the gap she so eloquently elaborated on. Between the brilliant precision of her semiotic examination of secrets and the divine poetry with which she captures them. Simon raises very potent questions, with elegance and beauty.

Lucas film archives, props and set pieces. Skywalker Ranch, Marin County, California | © Taryn Simon

Manuel Álvarez Bravo

Manuel Álvarez Bravo was a Mexican photographer from Mexico City and is considered one of the preeminent art photographers in Mexican history. His interest in elevating the quotidian at a time when photography, especially in his home country was staged and highly formal, attracted me from an early age.

In addition to his pioneering reach in exploring the everyday, Bravo sees texture as something deep and mysterious, almost sacred. These observations have haunted me from the time I was a little girl, looking through one of his books in the vast living room of a family friend.

Graciela Iturbine

Graciela Iturbine is a Mexican photographer from Mexico City, and protogée of another photographer mentioned here among my favourites, Manuel Álvarez Bravo. She turned to photography after the death of her six year old daughter and when I look at her images, they all seem to have the lingering sadness and mystery of death, even when the works are capturing subjects which are vividly alive. Otherworldly would be a better word, but overused, don’t you think?

Graciela Iturbine, Cemetery Juchita 1988

Ruth Orkin

Ruth Orkin was an American photographer from Los Angeles who was largely self-taught. She had a ground-breaking career as a freelance photojournalist during a time when the field was, of course largely dominated by men. But it was my contact with her famous photograph, “An American Girl in Italy” (1951) which includes her in this list. When I was twelve or thirteen, I was given a postcard which featured the photograph on the front.

I became obsessed with the story it told. There was an incredible amount of complex information contained inside. Historically, the photograph is somewhat controversial, and seems to be a Rorschach test for personal ideas about feminism. I for one, knew exactly what it meant; independence, freedom and self-determination. For that reason, I can’t say the photographer directly influenced my work as much as my way of life.

An American Girl in Italy, 1951 | © Ruth Orkin

Helmut Newton 

One night, many years ago now, I was at the Chateau Marmont waiting for someone who never came. The bartender, feeling bad for me, very graciously stayed past last call and regaled me with ghost stories from the hotel. One of them was the story of Helmut Newton’s death; a car crash in which he drove headlong into the formidable white wall guarding the hotel’s entrance. Until then, I had always heard his name but never quite put the pieces together, you might say. But his tragic demise piqued my interest and when I discovered his world, I was enchanted. Everything he photographed had a perverse sexiness. It was dark, physical, and expressed a glamorous power that I saw mirrored in my own interests.

I think about him now every time I pass that white wall, and say a little prayer for all who flirt with the dark side.

La Hollandaise, Monte Carlo, 1994 | © Helmut Newton

Henri Cartier-Bresson

Henri Cartier-Bresson was a French photographer from Paris. The king of composition! The king of the candid! And man, what a life well lived.  In 1952 he published his book, “The Decisive Moment” about his philosophical approach to photography (with cover illustrations by Henri Matisse, I might add). In it, he contends “To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organisation of forms which give that event its proper expression.” And I couldn’t agree more.

Srinagar, Kashmir, Muslim women on the slopes of Hari Parbal Hill, praying toward the sun rising behind the Himalayas, 1948 | © Henri Cartier- Bresson

Sally Mann

Sally Mann is an American photographer from Lexington, Virginia who stirred incredible controversy in the 1990s for photographs of her children, mostly in the nude on the Virginia farm where Mann still lives with her family. I think the images are incredibly beautiful, touching, and unflinching. I love a little controversy if the source is worthy, and to me, these photographs have most definitely been an inspiring and worthy source for years.

Untitled (Virginia with Trumpet Vine), 1990

Featured image by Emma Tillman.

Tags: , , ,

Siobhan Coen, Unknown Knowns

From the 18th January until the 25th February 2018, the Zabludowicz Collection will host Siobhan Coen’s Unknown Knowns, an installation featuring the voice of former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, alongside LED pulsating light that saturates a large print of brightly coloured pixels, creating a hallucinogenic work that is both seductive and destabilising.

Siobhan Coen focuses her work on the function of the human mind. Her research into scientific theories of consciousness and perception is brought into dialogue with social realities, and her examination of neurological, technological and political information-filtering makes her work particularly relevant. We spoke to Siobhan about Unknown Knowns, the inclusion of political figures in her work, and her artistic methods.

Can you tell us about your piece Unknown Knowns?

It’s an evidence-based fiction. I have re-edited the voice of Republican Donald Rumsfeld from his audiobooks, extracting abstract statements until they suggest a narrative. Rumsfeld emerged as an aesthetic philosopher-type character intent on changing the way we see. The audio is combined with pulses of programmed RGB lights that animate a panoramic pixelated print, creating an illusion of movement.

How has the work of artist Brion Gysin informed your practice?

I had always felt a bit short-changed by how little of the information we receive through our senses actually makes it into our consciousness. I read a study by Professor David Nutt, which found that taking hallucinogenic drugs reduced this unconscious brain filtering. Subsequently, I was drawn to Gysin’s Dreamachine – a device for inducing hallucinations from flickering light effects – as a way of accessing all that missing data, and also to explore the possible psychedelic effects of reduced information filtering in society. I have also been influenced by his cut-up technique, a method of rearranging text in order to find truth.

How does your work examine visual perception and unconscious control?

I rework the component parts of digital communication – RGB light, pixels that make up images, and the words of those with the loudest voices – to examine how their qualities rather than subject matter, might affect us beyond our conscious awareness. Questions of how human perception can be manipulated and altered are pretty timeless, and I hope my project is open enough to relate to different cultural and technological moments. In fact, I’m drawn to how these things can be cyclical. For example, Steve Jobs believed that the feeling of connectedness from taking LSD in the 1960s allowed the internet to be imagined. And the internet now seems to be producing a slightly hallucinogenic effect by reducing information filtering. There’s a looping of cause and effect.

What methods do you use to create tension between form and content?

I try to edit the voice so that it sounds believable, in order to highlight how form rather than content can determine what we perceive to be true. But also, the process of maintaining speech rhythms prevents me from imposing my thinking. I find that both the narrative and visual elements become largely dictated by the form rather than the content of the writing. Rumsfeld’s books were full of proclamations and advice, they had a quality of persuasion or seduction that suggested projection to an outer world in order to change it.

How do you put the audio and visuals together to create the final piece?

I create the audio and visual elements in parallel so that they feedback into each other. I find it a way of exploring my interests through a system of embodied cognition, rather than doing so purely intellectually.

How do you choose which political figures you want to incorporate into your work?

I first used the voice of Tony Blair from his audiobook A Journey (2011) – he just struck me as someone who had seen things that weren’t there, so he was a good figure to talk about my interests. In my research I became interested in the political rhetoric of that era, the turn of the millennium, as potentially the beginning of the post-truth phenomena that surrounds us today. Rumsfeld’s abstract language stood out as something very particular however, in the way he deployed it to defocus attention.

What do you hope viewers will take away from the installation?

I hope the piece offers a refocusing of attention, and a shifted view of material that might feel at first familiar. I think of the project as being about truths hiding in plain sight. And at the very least, visitors get to take away a printed transcript if they wish.

Zabludowicz Collection Invites: Siobhan Coen, 18 January – 25 February 2018, Zabludowicz Collection, London,


Tags: , ,

Future Feminine

A new exhibition at the Fahey/Klein Gallery in Los Angeles brings the evolution of the female gaze to the forefront of the narrative. Aligning an international rostra of women artists, the exhibition celebrates a new era of photography in which the body is examined rather than objectified; observed rather than owned.

Exhibitors include Amanda Charchian, Remy Holwick, creative duo Honey Long & Prue Stent, and Magdalena Wosinska, who together offer an exciting harbinger of the future feminine narrative in photography.

Images span the mystic and mythic to snapshots of the mundane, with Charchian drawing inspiration from psychologist J.A. Lee’s interpretation of Greek philosophy, Prue Stent and Honey Long focussing on powerful juxtapositions of material and colour and Wosinska offering raw, intimate portraits.

The future looks bright, the future is female.

Future Feminine is at Fahey / Klein Gallery from January 18 – February 24, 2018. 

Featured image credit: Amanda Charchian


Tags: , , ,

Paintings, Harley Weir

Celebrate the festive period at this Friday, 15th December with a Harley Weir book signing at Claire de Rouen.

Harley Weir’s new book, Paintings offers a different focus for one of fashion’s most iconic contemporary photographers, shifting the subject matter from humans to paint and texture. The images contain the same energy and precision as her portraits, playing with rhythms and juxtapositions within a more confined space.




Stop by the hallowed book shop this week to pick up your own copy – and browse the rest of their beautiful stock (including, of course, Twin).

Tags: , , ,

Twin’s top five from Miami Art Week 2017

The sun has well and truly set over the “art world’s” hedonistic winter break: Miami Art week. Now we have returned to our respective corners of the world, (almost) shaken off the jet lag and managed to gather our thoughts, here, below, are five highlights from last week’s events in the Magic city. 

Tanya Layton, Art Basel Miami 2017 – Nova, Booth N17

The seemingly unusual set up of Tanya Layton’s booth was particularly intriguing this year. Blurring the line between fashion boutique and art fair booth, the Berlin-based gallery featured the new menswear collection created collaboratively by artist Sanya Kantarovsky and designer George McCracken. Comprising of three limited-edition shirts, the collection is patterned with imagery from Kantarovsky’s watercolour compositions that depict uncomfortably chaotic scenes; one shows nude men attempting to sprint through a field of cacti, the other shows a network of old white men dressed in patriotic colours strangling each other in their attempt to get to the top. While the Hawaiian-like prints are complementary to the surrounding Miami Beach, it goes without saying that the collaborative “campaign” reaches beyond the irony, commenting on male ambition, self-interest and competitiveness in today’s society.

Tanya Leighton

Tanya Leighton

ROOM 2022, Es Devlin, Edition Hotel, Miami Beach

Located at the Miami Beach Edition hotel, artist and award-winning stage designer, Es Devlin, presented ROOM 2022; a large-scale immersive installation that takes visitors on a journey from reality to illusion. Devlin’s first site-specific art installation in Miami and first in a hotel setting, begins in a re-imagined hotel room and ends in a vaulted elliptical mirror maze. Spanning over 7,000 square feet, ROOM 2022 invited guests “to participate in a collective exploration and reimagine a new version of the familiar hotel ecosystem.”

Es Devlin

Es Devlin

Franchise Freedom, Studio Drift, Faena, BMW and PACE

Marking the opening of Art Basel Miami Beach and debuting their most recent innovation, Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta of Amsterdam-based Studio drift, presented their spectacular sculpture, Franchise Freedom: a flying sculpture comprising of 300 autonomously flying illuminated drones that together imitate the natural flight patterns of starlings. Inspired by this phenomenon, the artists translated these patterns into software specifically embedded into drones to create a powerful display that asks us to question the very principles of freewill, self-organisation and programmed behaviour.

Screen Shot 2017-12-13 at 16.56.15

The Rubell Collection – Still Human

If looking to escape the crowds of the fairs in South Beach, a trip across to the mainland is all the more welcomed during this time of year. The Rubell Collection, housed in a formed DEA warehouse, is nothing short of being an anchor for the now very hip Wynwood Design District. Its current exhibition, Still Human, addresses the complex nature and consequences of the digital revolution and recent technological developments as they redefine the human condition. Presenting works from twenty-five artists, including Jon Rafman, Ed Atkins and Cécile B. Evans, the exhibition seeks to address increasing concerns around topics related to artificial intelligence, surveillance, social justice and virtual existence.

Josh Kline, Thank you for your years of service (Joann_Lawyer) (2016)

Josh Kline, Thank you for your years of service (Joann_Lawyer) (2016)

COS Collaboration with Studio Swine (Alexander Groves + Azusa Murakami)

Oversaturation and the need to escape the chaos of the fairs is by no means uncommon. Thankfully, the surrounding area is (overly) populated with parallel happenings waiting to be discovered. The graceful bubble tree at The Temple House in Miami Beach was the perfect antidote to the traditionally stress-filled bustle of Art Basel. The multi-sensory installation, New Spring, commissioned by king of minimalism COS in collaboration with London-based duo Studio Swine, comprised of a central sculpture ejecting scented bubbles, only to evaporate into ashy smoke upon contact with contemplative visitors below. Inspired by the unique shape of the Japanese Cherry Blossom tree, the British artist Alexander Groves and the Japanese architect, behind Studio Swine, Azusa Murakami, sought to create an environmentally-friendly sculpture drawing awareness to the impermanence of matter.

COS x StudioSwine

COS x StudioSwine


LOEWE presents: ‘Chance Encounters III’

Opening during Miami Art Week, the LOEWE Foundation‘s ‘Chance Encounters III’ (the third in its series) brings together work by captivating artists– Sara Flynn, Richard Smith and Lionel Wendt – who together offer a rich fabric of work from across continents and time.

Richard Smith, Shuttle, 1975 (View 2) (c) Photograph by Antonio Parente for Flowers Gallery, London and New York

Continuing the brand’s commitment to craftsmanship and creative culture, the launch of the new exhibition symbolised an evolution of the connection between the house and artists; using the themes of shadow and the relationships between forms as the main aesthetic tenants, the works span fabrics, ceramics and photography.

Lionel 30

“Art and craft are always at the centre of my creative process and these exhibitions are an exciting way of exploring artists that are important to me.” Said Jonathan Anderson at the opening of the exhibition. “I love the unexpected things that happen when people from completely different worlds are brought together, the antagonism can create something completely new.”


Open until February 2018, this exhibition offers a compelling display within the beautiful surroundings of  the LOEWE Miami Design District store. If you’re in Miami, visit.


Remember me when I’m gone

Alex Franco’s exhibition, “Remember me when I’m gone” debuted on Friday 1st December at Crea Center Polivalent in Barcelona, with a second showing at Unit 10 Gallery on Tuesday the 5th of December.

The works are a response to the refugee crisis, and were taken at The Jungle in Calais across several trips over a period of eighteen months. The images explore the context of displacement, while striving to shine a light on a problem that remains unresolved.


You may have seen pictures from The Jungle in the news. The shabby, temporary constructions became a place of refuge for those who had fled their homes, arriving in Calais only to be displaced again, and shoved to the margins of our system. After The Jungle expanded to house almost 10,000 inhabitants in a period of eighteen months, the French government destroyed it and expelled the refugees, forcing them to leave, separate and relocate. The interest in this problem has dwindled, given less and less media attention, as onlookers delude themselves that the problem no longer exists as the structure has been dismantled. But despite its changing physicality, The Jungle continues to exist just as it did before its demise, only in a different, dispersed form. Through his photos, Alex Franco encourages his audience to consider where all these refugees are now, and whether they have been given the chance at a new home and life that they deserve.




All work is for sale and proceeds will be donated to Help Refugees.


Available to pre-order now,
on sale Monday 19th March

Join the mailing list


  • Identifying a comfortable and trendy dog cloth is turning out to be difficult, as more and more cute dog clothes are venturing in the global market on regular basis.