#MyFLV winners announced

Earlier this year, the Fondation Louis Vuitton (FLV) – an art museum and cultural centre sponsored by LVMH and its subsidies – in celebration of its fourth anniversary launched an architecture photographer contest inspired by the Parisian building’s exceptional construction and design. The museum, which was inspired by abstract structures of glass was designed by renowned Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry.
The competition, titled #MyFLV, launched on May 3rd and welcomed photographers of all calibre, both amateur and professional who were required to post original photographs of the buildings to their Instagram accounts accompanied by the respective hashtag and Fondation account tag.
After concluding on June 5th, the FLV gathers several representatives from its board along with French photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand who formed a jury to select the top 7 photographs. Their picks were announced earlier this week which included a mix of photographers from several corners of the world. Namely Pierre Châtel-Innocenti, Mathieu Collart, Roseline Diemer, Yi-Hsien Lee, Boshiang Lin,  Jean-Guy Perlès & Jérémy Thomas.

The winners will have their photos used in an upcoming digital and print poster campaign, a boost of publicity via the foundation’s social account, a Collector’s Pass for FLV valid for one year, along with a chèque of 2,000 euros.

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Strange Plants III

Dedicated to plants in contemporary art, the latest of the Strange Plants series celebrates the diverse range of flowers, succulents and foliage and examines their power within the creative space. From large-scale paintings to granular photographs, the book captures the nuances and weirdness of the natural world.

Divided into themes, the 164 page book encompasses the work of 50 artists, across a range of media. Each section examines a different aspect of how plants inspire or function in contemporary art. Featured artists include Caitlin Keogh, Chloe Wise, Robin F. Williams, Louise Bonnet, Marius Bercea and the photography duo Synchrodogs.

This most recent release in the award-winning series also features a special section dedicated to the late photographer Ren Hang. Hang’s images of his friends floating in lily-pad filled ponds were a highlight of the previous book. “Regrowth”– section of Strange Plants III – is “a modest attempt to pay tribute to his life and art.”

Published by independent publisher zioxla, Strange Plants III is an ongoing tribute to, and meditation on,  the harmony, inspiration and provocation that plant life offers artists in the modern world.

Cacti, Strange Plants III

Strange Plants III

Strange Plants III

Synchrodogs, Strange Plants III

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Helen Beard’s True Colours

Damien Hirst’s most recent exhibition True Colours at his private museum, Newport Street Gallery, shines a light on three female artists Boo Saville, Sadie Laska and Helen Beard as it examines each of their unique explorations into the possibility of colour, form and subject. Twin Factory had the opportunity to speak with Helen Beard on her inclusion in the show.  

Hirst initially commissioned Beard to make a selection of large works last summer, she explains; “It wasn’t until he asked me to make some more works recently that I realised he wanted to show them at Newport Street Gallery.” Hirst’s generous offering of his Peckham and Gloucester studio’s allowed Beard to make her largest pieces to date; 

“I have really enjoyed working at a bigger scale, it adds something to the work, gives it a power. I do really like working at a smaller scale too though. ‘’Each, Peach, Pear, Plum’ (2017)’ is one of the smallest works in the show but it is one of my favourites. I will need a bigger studio if I continue to make big works though, I am running out of space!”

Helen Beard ‘Blue Valentine’, 2016 | courtesy of Newport Street Gallery

Situated partly between representation and abstraction, Beard makes it clear she doesn’t like to chose between either when it comes to discussing her work; “I like both. I started with abstraction because it was less direct, less revealing.” Centred around themes that examine gender, sexual psychology and eroticism. Her vivid rainbow palette of primary colours have in fact been taken from explicit found imagery. The bright, bold colours of Beard’s works lure you in, like a moth to a flame, until it becomes apparent, rather abruptly, that the abstract patterns are in fact cropped and edited pornographic images. As well as the internet, Beard often uses magazines and photographs as part of her process when sourcing material for her practice; 

I draw and work out the composition in small studies and then I also work out the colours at small scale, it saves the paint becoming too thick and the colour losing its vibrancy, but I am not always true to the study if I mix a better colour with the oils I am happy to change them and I often change the drawing with the paint too.”

Beard chooses to work with sexual imagery as a way of subverting the male gaze, something she has focused on since becoming an artist and studying Graphics at Bournemouth and Poole college of design (1990-1992); 

I have always painted sex, it has always fascinated me how closed people are when it comes to talking about it. I think it is important for women to express themselves. Sex is such a fundamental in our psyche after all, and art always comes back to those big ideas like sex and death.

As we see in True Colours, Beard’s practice is multidisciplinary, as she works across a selection of mediums that include painting, collage and tapestry. She explains that this is a conscious choice; “It is so exciting to work with various materials all the time, I collect a lot of stuff in my studio, like most artists do and then wait for an idea of how to use it.” 

Installation View, ‘True Colours’, Helen Beard | courtesy of Newport Street Gallery

Her use of needlework is striking and unique, as seen in the mid-sized tapestry ‘Can we Conceive of Humanity if it did not Know the Flowers?’ (2014) with its pretty pink stitches that brilliantly contrast with the subversive subject matter. Beard explains that she began to use needlework because of her grandmothers lessons in the technique rather than for its strong associations with the feminine and domesticity; 

I don’t think it was a conscious thing to use needlepoint because of it being a female pastime, but I was very conscious that I didn’t want to make the traditional images associated with embroidery or needlepoint, the chocolate box, kittens in a basket, type stuff. So I just used the imagery I was painting.

Since it’s opening, True Colour’s has been praised for its strong aesthetic and positive representation of female painters, with impressive reviews that includes fours stars from Time Out. As an artist who openly wants to celebrate sex from her point of view and strongly advocates that there is no shame in doing so, Beard is pleased with the positive reaction shown by the general public; “its been so well received and so well covered in the press, I am actually quite surprised by how much people love it.” 

 

True Colour’s is on show at Newport Street Gallery until Sunday September 9th 

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Coco Capitán: Is it tomorrow yet?

Twin contributor, Gucci collaborator and renowned photographer and artist Coco Capitán opens a new solo exhibition at the Daelim Museum in Seoul this summer.

This is the first time the artist will be shown in Asia and the exhibition offers a broad introduction to Coco’s world. The show will encompass 150 works across painting, photography, handwriting, video and installation.

The show’s title ‘Is it Tomorrow Yet?, reflects Coco Capitán’s interest in being attuned to the present, staying in the moment and not focussing on the unknown that tomorrow brings. It’s a theme that marks an evolution from her previous work which includes the now iconic statement she put out with Gucci: ‘What are we going to do with all this future?’

Her scrawling notes and manifestos may be amongst the most Instagrammed parts of her work, but this major exhibition offers a chance for viewers to engage with the full scope of her canon. Interrogative, thoughtful, provocative and existential: just a glimpse of what’s on offer confirms what we already knew. Coco Capitán is one of the most exciting artists of her time.

All Cars are Conditioned | Coco Capitán

framed prayer for new stars | Coco Capitán

Swimmer portrait | Coco Capitán

 

Cum on car | Coco Capitán

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Labs New Artists II

A new exhibition at Red Hook Labs celebrates the work of 25 international emerging photographers. Each creative is currently un-represented though by the end of this show we have no doubt that will have changed: the talent is impressive. 

Selected by an extensive panel of renowened jurors these rising stars will also receive mentorship from one the jurors for the next. In a fiercely competive world that kind of support is invaluable when starting out.

The photographers exhibiting are truly global hailing from South Africa, Germany, Canada, Australia, the UK and America. Works range from candid portraits to more stylised imagery, with each photographer bringin a unique eye to the exhibition.

Jubilant, pensive, provocative and soulful all at once these are the lenses of the future, and we’re already excited by what they see.

This exhibition follows on from the recent New African Photography III, an event which marked the launch of dynamic new print publication Nataal. These exhibitions and more have established Red Hook Labs as a must-visit gallery in Brooklyn, offering a diverse, inclusive and forward-facing programme that never fails to spark the imagination.

Daniel Jack Lyons

Luis Alberto Rodriguez

Tyler Mitchell

Chris Smith

Antone Dolezal

Labs New Artists II is on until June 24th, 2018 at Red Hook Labs. 

Featured image credit: John Francis Peters, ‘California Winter’ courtesy of Red Hook Labs

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It’s Nice That SS18, Printed Pages

Our friends over at It’s Nice That have just launched their SS18 issue, Printed Pages, and it’s a dream summer read.

This issue’s cover star features Cuban-born illustrator Edel Rodriguez who has created some of the most iconic protest imagery against Trump over the last few years. Alongside the Rodriguez interview are graphic design duo Sagmeister & Walsh, the artists Gilbert and George, pioneer of street photography Joel Meyerowitz, the artist Eddie Peake and New Yorker cartoonist Joost Swarte – amongst others.

Importanly this latest It’s Nice That issue also features an interview with four leading women illustrators who discuss their experience of the creative industries. These are Malika Favre, the French illustrator who has created work for Maison Margiela, the New Yorker and Vanity Fair; Ram Han, whose distinct and colourful illustrations have amassed a loyal following;  Martina Paukova, the Berlin-based illustrator who contributed to the likes of the Guardian, Sunday Times Magazine and Google; and Miranda Tacchia, the artist and animator whose client list includes Disney, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network.

 

 

I don’t have time for this

This month sees a new exhibition of Hattie Stewart‘s work open at NOW gallery. The London-based artist and illustrator has garnered hype with her ‘doodle bombing’ technique, bringing a a sense of humour and play to a range of magazine covers such as Vogue, i:D and Playboy.

Alongside these re-imagined covers Stewart’s punchy illustrations are cheeky and playful, using bold colours to offer stand out prints. And she has also created work for clients including  MTV, Hunter, House of Holland, Nike, Apple Music, Marc by Marc Jacobs and MAC Cosmetics.

The cultural world is no stranger to Stewart’s maverick approach, which makes the new work on show at this exhibition especially exciting. These new pieces include a large scale, floor-based artwork where visitors can fully escape into Stewart’s world.

This new exhibition at NOW gallery is part of the gallery’s young artist scheme, designed to foster and give a platform to emerging talent with a distinctive aesthetic.

I don’t have time for this by Hattie Stewart is open at NOW Gallery until 25th June 2018.

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Fashion East x Galeria Melissa

In keeping with Galeria Melissa’s reputation for hosting maverick collaborations and guests, the space’s next takeover brings Fashion East’s merry band of designers to the Covent Garden space.

The Fashion East womenswear designers, which includes Supriya Lele, Charlotte Knowles and Asai interpreted Galeria Melissa’s  OPEN VIBES AW18 collection. The video that will preview this evening is the first to be created between Galeria Melissa and Fashion East. Shot with a home video aesthetic, the video offers a low-fi feel that blends the fantasy of fashion with the reality of its process.

This latest collaboration with Fashion East follows Juno Calypso’s unnerving takeover earlier in the year. Expect weird, wacky and wonderful things.

Imagery by Dexter Lander

Imagery by Dexter Lander

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Photo London’s name to know

‘I like the idea of turning the tables, subverting the male gaze. Sue is now looking at us.’ says Charlotte Colbert, the London-based artist behind one of the must-visit exhibits at Photo London this year.

Her work ‘Benefit Supervisor Sleeping’, 2017, offers a life-size image portrait of Sue Tilley, Lucian Freud’s iconic model. While creating an overall survey, the work alerts viewers to specific details such as Tilley’s foot or the paint spattered studio floors that Tilley was first painted in.

Photo London is at Somerset House 17th – 20th May 2018. See the full programme here.

Feature image credit: Charlotte Colbert, ‘Benefit Supervisor Sleeping’, 2017

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Jennifer Lee is awarded LOEWE Craft Prize 2018

Jennifer Lee has been awarded the LOEWE Craft Prize 2018 for her work Pale, Shadowed Speckled Traces, Fading Elipse, Bronze Specks, Tilted Shelf (2017).

The prize was announced today at a ceremony at London’s Design Museum. A panel of judges including architect Patricia Urquiola and Jonathan Anderson awarded the prize to Lee from 30 finalists.

“Jennifer Lee for me is a landmark in form” commented Jonathan Anderson, who launched the LOEWE Craft Prize last year.

Classic and tranquil, Jennifer Lee’s work embodies a sense of timelessness and transcendence. The ceramic design was created using the ancient technique of pinching and coiling yet the final result speaks to modern minimalism.

Takuro Kuwata also received honourable mention for his porcelain work Tea Bowl (2017), as did Simone Pheulpin for her textile sculpture Croissance XL (XL Growth) (2017). See work from all 30 of the LOEWE Craft Prize finalists here.

The LOEWE Craft Prize exhibition is open at the Design Museum until 13th June 2018. The museum will also host a series of craft talks and workshops. You can find out more information about the events here

 

THEATRE OF THE NATURAL WORLD: An interview with Mark Dion and Iwona Blazwick, Director at Whitechapel Gallery

The nature-culture dualism is central to the work of American artist, Mark Dion. Best known for his immersive sculptures and installations, his work examines how knowledge is gathered, interpreted, classified and presented. For his solo exhibition at London’s Whitechapel Gallery, Dion examines our complicated – and conflicted relationship – with the natural world raising questions concerning the culture of nature and the environment. Twin spoke to Mark and The Whitechapel Gallery’s director, Iwona Blazwick to talk about the major exhibition, its curation and the ethical duties of artists and curators.

Thomas Rackowe-Cork (to director IWONA BLAZWICK): What initially drew you to Mark’s work?

IWONA BLAZWICK: I first encountered the work of Mark Dion in a gallery in New York in 1990. Marching across the white cube space was a line of wheelbarrows filled with exotic pot plants and cuddly animal toys. It was called ‘The Wheelbarrows of Progress’. It struck me that here was the legacy of minimalism but infused with narrative, politics and humour.

TRC to curator IWONA BLAZWICK: Can you tell me about the curation for this exhibition? Is there a particular circulation you had in mind for the viewer to experience the exhibition?

IWONA: Mark Dion is a scenographer and explorer.  So, our curatorial approach was to take the viewer on a journey through a series of visual adventures.  The voyage starts with life – 22 zebra finches in their beautiful Library for the Birds – proceeds through an expertly camouflaged yet hostile series of structures made for observation and hunting, through a studio for the contemplation of nature, an uncanny museum display and an archaeological dig; it ends with death in a room of ghosts glowing in the dark.

TRC to artist MARK DION: What drew you to the world of natural history and science as a mode of investigation?

MARK DION: I think one of the things that drew me to the world of natural history is that it is a field where we are asking exciting questions; who are we? Where do we fit into the world? What is the world? How did we get here? Conversely, I find the art museum asks questions of value and aesthetics – areas that were not especially inspiring to me. So, on the other hand, these institutions, such as museums of natural history and ethnography museums, tend to both ask questions and give answers. They turn the viewer into a passive viewer. Whereas the art museum has a very critical view – they don’t expect that you necessarily agree with the work of art. It is almost encouraged that you do not. So, I wanted to bring those two worlds together. But my principle motivation is a kind of love for nature and experiences and it is something that was always a big part of my life growing up and I can’t imagine it ever not being a part of my life. And with growing up in the city, you search for surrogates – you may not be able to get to the mountains every weekend or to the coast. But you can get to the natural history museum or the park.

‘The Library for the Birds of London’ on show in Mark Dion: Theatre of the Natural World | © Jeff Spicer/PA Wire

TRC: The cabinet of curiosities is a theme that you repeatedly revisit in your practice – could you tell me a little bit more about why that is?

MARK DION: My interest was really in wildlife conservation and biodiversity. That brought me to the museum and then as I became closer to the museum, I became closer to its history for the collections. It was here that I discovered the tradition of the Wunderkabinet, which later peaked my interest in the 16th and 17th century collections. I found these collections really interesting because they contrasted so significantly from the imperial or colonial collections as they were not something of national prominence or filled with ideology. Rather, they are highly individual cosmologies. Though they are undoubtedly related to colonial processes, they are not the colonial museum in the same way. They are as much proto-scientific as they are spaces of magic, religion and superstition. So, that kind of mixture and hybridity, not only of the objects, but of their meaning as well, is important in thinking about how we move forward in terms of museum design – looking to the past and looking to the unexpected way things are put together.

TRC: The nature of a cabinets of curiosity seems to be concerned with collecting and classifying. Do you have a theme in mind when you collecting or making these material objects?

MARK DION: Very often, I go back to their original methodology where you would use an allegorical structure. I think that in trying to reconstruct those you have to also try to put yourself in the head of a maker from that time. So, you are intentionally putting things together that we may not put together today. So, let’s say, if you are using the elements of the seasons and you are putting them together based on the idea of fire, I try to ask myself; what does that necessarily mean? So, I find that really exciting.

TRC: So, you do not approach the curation of these cabinets thematically – could say then the curation is more intuitive?

MARK DION: Well I’m thinking about the themes that would exist in a historical setting and trying to mirror or refresh those. So, I am constantly thinking about their allegories. Very often, I look back at young Bruegel paintings, for instance, or something like that as a way of imagining what does the allegorical air look like?

Mark Dion ‘World in a Box’, 2015 | image courtesy of Whitechapel Gallery

TRC to IWONA BLAZWICK: The cabinets of curiosities are already curated in a way – how do you go about curating the cabinets themselves?

IWONA: The artist makes his own cabinets of curiosity – our role is to immerse our visitors in them, encouraging them to act as detectives searching for the myriad clues embedded in Dion’s assemblages, drawings and wallpapers.

TRC to MARK DION: From the sort of themes that you are looking at; what are some of the most fascinating objects you’ve found over the years?

MARK DION: There are always found objects that you pull out of rivers and one of the most interesting things about creating pieces for this exhibition was that I was working with people that were not trained as archaeologists or artists. It was interesting to see how some of which had a very accentuated search image. Whilst others had a really difficult time just seeing. As for me, one of the most exciting things we found were those traditional objects that you embellish with cultural artefacts. For example, you may have a whale’s tooth and surround it with silver and engrave on it. The opposite of that might be a cultural object that is traced with worm tracings or oyster shells or slipper shells and things like that. Things that articulate that opposite. In many cases, I found it interesting that many of the young people working on these projects were entirely unable to tell the difference between a rock of flint and a cultural object. To them, it seemed unfathomable that a piece flint, for example, was not human made because the natural world just does not make something that strange. So, these things that articulate the natural affecting the artificial I see as bookending the cabinet of curiosities and accentuating the natural with the artificial.

TRC: Following on from that, do you think our relationship to a found object changes when placed behind glass?

MARK DION: Oh, absolutely. It changes over a period of time. For example, an artist like Robert Rauschenberg might find a glue into a collage a newspaper cutting from his day in 1953. Suddenly, today that is a very exotic newspaper, with a different time sensibility, and different make up. So, not only do they change by this process of becoming “museum-ified” but they also change dramatically just by getting a little bit older. Even with things here in the Thames Cabinet from the dig in 1999 here in the exhibition, someone was looking at them yesterday saying “Oh! SunnyDelight – does that still exist?”

TRC: Do you think that these found object lose some agency when they are placed in this context?

MARK DION: I do not think they loose agency. In fact, I think that they gain some agency, or the viewer gains some agency because they begin to see themselves in this context. What is important for me about the Tate Thames Dig (1999) is that people find themselves in it. It is not this notion that history happens to someone else, sometime ago. Rather, it is a continuity that is inclusive. We find ourselves in that, which also implies that this history goes beyond us. One of the most difficult things we face as a society, is this ability to imagine things going on beyond us. I feel that is why many seem not to care about leaving behind a mess.

Mark Dion exhibition | courtesy Kunstraum Dornbirn

TRC: Yes, it is incredibly hard to fathom the sort of everlasting element of material objects… the idea that things can live beyond us…

MARK DION: Absolutely. We are just a point in the continuum. And so that is sort of my real agenda with these pieces to emphasise this notion of a continuum. For that to happen, the viewer has to find something that they have touched, something that they know or are familiar with.

TRC: I sort of felt a sense of nostalgia whilst walking around the exhibition – would you say that this feeling or emotion plays a somewhat central role in your work?

MARK DION: I am always trying to guard against nostalgia. But at the same time, I think that I certainly have an affinity to materials that are well-made – that are crafted in leather and wood rather than in plastic. At the same time, I try to police myself against this golden ageing. It is the curse of nostalgia to imagine the past is somehow a purer, a better or a more superior time, which it clearly was not at least it was not for many of us. It would always feel artificial, for example, to place a laptop into a study of surrealism. I mean, that is not a good example, because the piece Bureau of the Centre for the Study of Surrealism and its Legacy (2005) in this exhibition is a period piece that is meant to be a 1923 office.

TRC: Is there a hope to achieve anything by bringing these things back to the surface?

MARK DION: I want to cultivate the viewer who is more cautious and sophisticated. But at the same I want to be critical and to that you have to be affirmative. That is to say, to affirm people’s world views so you don’t feel entirely isolated – that you’re not the only one on the right road.

TRC: How do you think artists and have ethical duty or responsibility to bring certain issues to the surface?

MARK DION: I would not want to be prescriptive, but for me it is important. I mean, otherwise I wouldn’t really understand what the point of making are would be. I could understand why someone would want to make work as a self-expressive gesture, but I just do not understand why they would think an audience would only need to see that. I am interested in artists who are not afraid to have a didactic aspect to their work. Who are not afraid to say something and to have a position. That is the kind of art I like. So, I am not afraid to make that kind of art myself. At the same time, we have to face a lot of this stuff in society anyway, which is not particularly successful in terms of messaging. So, I wonder how to do that with complexity. I think for me, humour is part of the way to do that and also just trying to do things really well that builds a confidence in the viewer that is worth engaging with. 

TRC: How do you think curators have ethical duty or responsibility to bring certain issues to the surface? Here for instance, the conservation of the environment.

IWONA BLAZWICK: The curatorial mission changes according to its institutional and social context. For us at the Whitechapel Gallery we are dedicated to offering a platform for contemporary artists – and they don’t have a duty to comment on issues.  While World War II raged about him Morandi just continued to paint bottles. He is nonetheless a great artist. However, an artist like Mark Dion is exciting because he is able to respond to the environmental crisis in a way which combines ethics with aesthetics.  He has spoken of his despair at our indifference to the fate of our planet – but I see this exhibition as being full of hope, making us reflect on our relations with other species while rekindling our sense of awe at the natural world.

 

Mark Dion ‘Theatre of the Natural World’ is on at the Whitechapel Gallery in London until 13th May 2018. 

Featured image credit: Mark Dion in the rainforest of Guyana | Photo by Bob Braine, courtesy of Whitechapel Gallery

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Three Cities, an exhibition of new photographs by Niall O’Brien

The Sid Motion Gallery in London celebrates the work of Irish photographer Niall O’Brien in a new exhibition that opens this week.

O’Brien spent six months documenting the area around Silicon Valley, observing the contradictions and contrasts within the landscape and social structure.

“This was one of the most expensive places to live in the US, and it was kind of bland.” Says O’Brien. “It was full of the most cutting edge technology, yet the aesthetic had been forgotten. Cars and highways were all you could hear. There was nothing beautiful about the place – except the mountains that surrounded it, and the nature that persevered to appear in the least expected places.”

Niall O’Brien photograph from ‘Three Cities’ exhibition at Sid Motion Gallery

The photographer documented area around the seven-mile long Bascom Avenue every day, at the same time. The result is a atmospheric collection. The inequalities of wealth underscore the absurdity of the area, where these disparities exist side by side. Meanwhile the natural world offers another contrast. Niall O’Brien’s photographs ensure that perspective is given and that the hyper-intense tech world is rendered against the wider, ephemeral environment.

Niall O’Brien photograph from ‘Three Cities’ exhibition at Sid Motion Gallery

During his time in Bascom Avenue O’Brien bonded with two individuals, Blake and Dana. The exhibition portrays their daily lives, capturing their routines and rituals. The images are candid and intimate, conveying the friendship and trust between O’Brien and his subjects.

Niall O’Brien photograph from ‘Three Cities’ exhibition at Sid Motion Gallery

Together the portraits of people and the natural environment that they live vividly conjure the microcosms of this world. Don’t miss.

Niall O’Brien photograph from ‘Three Cities’ exhibition at Sid Motion Gallery

‘Three Cities’ An exhibition of new photographs by Niall O’Brien at Sid Motion Gallery in London April 26th – May 26th, 2018. 

Niall O’Brien photograph from ‘Three Cities’ exhibition at Sid Motion Gallery

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New African Photography III

Following the success of previous collaborations between Nataal and Red Hook Labs, Nataal curates an exhibition of some of most exciting image-makers documenting modern Africa in a new exhibition. New African Photography III opens at the Brooklyn space in May.

The new exhibition will showcase the work of six female artists: Fatoumata Diabaté (Mali), Rahima Gambo (Nigeria), Keyezua (Angola), Alice Mann (South Africa), Ronan McKenzie (UK) and Ruth Ossai (UK/Nigeria).

Together these works celebrate female identity and diversity, offering an empowered and positive vision. A sense of energy is conveyed through the celebration of movement and the use of powerful juxtapositions – both in terms of colour and of form.

The event also coincides with the launch of Nataal’s first print issue. The website and magazine work as a platform to champion creativity and culture in Africa. You can find out more here.

Alice Mann, Dr Van Der Ross Drummies, Delft, South Africa, 2017, from the series Drummies

Ruth Ossai X Mowalao

Fatoumata Diabaté, Kara et ses oreilles, 2012, from the series L_homme en Animal

Sailing Back to Africa as a Dutch Woman, 2017, from the series Fortia

Nataal: New African Photography III, 4th – 13th May, Red Hook Labs, 133 Imlay St, Brooklyn, New York. Opening times: 10am-6pm daily. 

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Lindsey Mendick, Perfectly Ripe 

In her new exhibition artist Lindsey Mendick brings audiences a rich and atmospheric memory of a summer holiday that she took when she was 13 years old. Immersing audiences in a world that is at first exciting and new, though later threatening and dangerous, Mendick uses ceramics, sculpture, painting and audio recordings to conjure the rich experience of her holiday.

Even at the peak of her sunny and nostalgic narrative, a sense of unease and discomfort pervades the piece. This is emphasised by the dark background within the exhibition. Below, Lindsey Mendick shares an extract from the audio recording which plays throughout the exhibition.

Lindsey Mendick, Tease Me Until I Lose Control (detail), 2018. Ceramic. Installation view of Perfectly Ripe, Zabludowicz Collection London. Courtesy the artist and Zabludowicz Collection. Photo: Tim Bowditch

I’d only ever been to France before. But this wasn’t France. We flew on a plane. And the man behind me was smoking cigarettes the whole way there. He was very fat and had two seats all for himself. The ashtray was in the armrest. You flip down one side of the metal and the dank smell of old fags rushes out. The ashy residue of successful flights. Your throat burns and your clothes stink. But no one complained.

It’s a proper hotel. It has three pools, a buffet and it has a discotheque. It has a discotheque.

Francoise has gone missing.

It was hot. So hot. I fall asleep on my Lilo on the beach. I wake up with salty lips and one hot cheek, a pool of saliva slipping across the PVC. There is shouting.

Francoise has been found and Joce and Viv are really cross. She had been flirting with a group of Local men. Vivian said she once saw Jesus behind the dustbins, so you can’t always trust what Vivian says. But Francoise had been looking at boys. And Francoise had been stealing your fags.

Your dad and sister tease you when you pull yourself up out the pool. They sing ‘Nutbush City Limits’, because no one told you at 13 that there was such a thing as too much pubic hair. This was evidently too much. Shamefully, you steal your dad’s razor that evening and shave it all off. For the rest of the holiday you itch insatiably.

Lindsey Mendick, Touch Me In The Morning, And Last Thing At Night (detail), 2018. Ceramic. Installation view of Perfectly Ripe, Zabludowicz Collection London. Courtesy the artist and Zabludowicz Collection. Photo: Tim Bowditch.

Francoise comes down to dinner with Joce and Viv. She has no glasses on and her mum is telling her what all the foods at the buffet are because she can’t see. ‘Francoise did you lose your glasses’ ‘no she didn’t, we took them away so she couldn’t look at boys’ you watch Francoise tentatively slip foods into her mouth. Fish mixed with chicken mixed with an unknown dish that nobody at the table likes. It’s buffet roulette. You feel lucky your parents let you do what you want.

I’m allowed Malibu and diet cokes. They’re so delicious and I drink them with Fran and Nick as mozzies attack my legs. I never knew alcohol could taste this exotic. They smell like Hawaiian tropic and in the mornings I am never sure if I can smell the aftermath of the night before or the residue of sun cream on my skin.

I wear my Jane Norman boob tube dress because I now have big enough boobs to fill the tube. I had always hated my body. But here men like my body so I like my body. And my body gets me into the discotheque because no one realises I am 14 in two months. But I’m mature for my age. Everyone says it.

Zabludowicz Collection Invites: Lindsey Mendick, Perfectly Ripe, Zabludowicz Collection, London, 12 April – 3 June 2018

(Feature image credit:Lindsey Mendick, An Itch That Needs To Be Scratched, 2018. Ceramic and flowers. Installation view of Perfectly Ripe, Zabludowicz Collection London. Courtesy the artist and Zabludowicz Collection. Photo: Tim Bowditch). 

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Posturing

Following the wildly successful exhibition last year, Holly Hay and Shonagh Marshall are releasing Posturing as a book this month.

The beautiful tome brings together 21 iconic image makers in contemporary fashion. These photographers explore, respond to and propose new ways of using the body as a tool in the way clothing is depicted. Viewers are invited to look beyond the clothes though, at the entire art of composition and structure of each photograph. The careful curation of images allows viewers to examine fashion photography in new ways. The book portrays the spectrum of the fashion canon, from hyper-sexualised to the hyper-abstracted body. It is a celebration of the new era of strangeness in fashion, and the photographers central to leading the way.

Read our interview with Shonagh Marshall about co-curating the exhibition with Twin contributor Holly Hay here.

Johnny Dufort for AnOther Magazine, ‘Go Fish’ Autumn:Winter 2017

Charlie Engman for AnOther Magazine, ‘A Nod And A Glance A Gesture For One Word’ Autumn:Winter 2015

Lena C Emery for The Gentlewoman, ‘Practise’ Spring:Summer 2014

Pascal Gambarte for Marfa Journal, ‘Being Michael Rothstein’ March 2017

Reto Schmid for Under the Influence Magazine, ‘Relative Transparency’ Spring:Summer 2016

‘Posturing’ is available to buy via SPBH Editions from April 23rd 2018. 

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An interpretation of the real: Twin meets Alice Waese

New York-based designer Alice Waese offers textured, evocative design across jewellery, clothes and illustration. Her work is sensual and imaginative, imbuing those who wear or otherwise engage with her work with a sense of heightened or unexpected reality. Twin caught up with Alice to talk about her work and her creative process.

You work across a range of mediums. Where did you start?

I began with drawing as a kid, chalk, paint then pencil, then pen, then watercolour.

In terms of jewellery, what are the most challenging materials you’ve worked with?

Casting fine leaves, snake skin, leather with lots of undercuts, a round pinecone.

Which materials and / or stones do you find most interesting, why?

This season I am really interested in pearls because of how they form, The crustaceans coat an intrusion, something foreign, something parasitic enters the body and in an effort to protect themselves they coat it, creating something beautiful.

You often include small figures or body parts in your jewellery designs. Why did you decide to use these?

The figures and body parts relate to a series of drawings where I was really studying the body in relation to the non material world. the severed limbs related to a series of paintings where body parts were energetically connected to other parts with a thin red line of paint. I then sculpted them in wax and stung them on chain, it came naturally, tells a story and relates to the themes I was working with in my drawings at the time.

Why was it important to have a sense of texture and materiality in your work?

I think the textural component comes from a reflection of what I find visually interesting the world, it is less an importance or a decision, and more following an intuition and staying true to it. I think texture and imperfection translated into a precious metal that is usually smoothed to perfection creates an interesting juxtaposition.

How does your design approach differ between jewellery and clothes?

Its actually a very similar approach. Never a mood board or a singular inspiration, more an internal concept, a series of paintings, a texture, or a new process I am experimenting with, often the outcome of a mistake.

 

Did you find that it was easy to translate your aesthetic throughout the range of works?

I don’t find it difficult to speak through different mediums, being honest with my process and limitations and creativity makes it easy for the same voice to pass through.

Watercolours have quite a different quality to the materials you use for clothes and jewellery. Why did you decide to work with watercolours for your illustrations?

I like the fluidity of watercolours, it allows me to make up the rules as I go along. The process is similar to how I work in jewellery and clothing.

When starting a project, how does your creative process begin?

Its not a set regime, always different, but usually a clear need to make something.

What would you say are the most powerful informants of your work?

Whatever mistake I just corrected or embraced usually informs the next piece of work. 

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SUPERSTRUCTURES: The new architecture 1960-1990

The phrase ‘high-tech’ makes most of us think about phones, computers or intelligent dishwashers. But it’s one that makes some architects gasp with indignation. This year the Sainsbury Centre celebrates its 40th anniversary with “Superstructures: The new architecture 1960–90”. An exhibition that picks apart the architectural movement behind the centre itself and examines the controversial label of ‘high-tech’ against the wider architectural canon.

‘High-tech’ architecture was championed by legendary British architects Norman Foster (the designer behind the Sainsbury Centre) and Richard Rogers (Centre Pompidou), amongst others. This group of architects found ideas of adaptable, expandable and mobile buildings exciting. They were interested in pragmatic solutions, and inspired by earlier architectural ideas and innovations like Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic domes and Jéan Proves demountable house.

Current day Sainsbury Centre 2009 | Photo:© Sainsbury Centre, Pete Huggins

The high-tech style managed to blend post-war 60s utopian ideas with 19th, and early 20th century ideas about adapted architecture – a mixture that resulted in expressive and very characteristic buildings. It was a  technologically focused – one might even say obsessed – development from modernism.

Talking via a malfunctioning, ironically un-high-tech Skype connection, Twin chatted with curators of the exhibition Jane Pavitt and Abraham Thomas. An era of optimistic architecture that looked to engineering and technology for new possibilities certainly seems resonant in 2018.

Sainsbury Centre construction 1975 – 1978 | Photo: © Foster + Partners, Alan Howard

Could you begin by telling me a little bit about the exhibition?

Jane Pavitt: The exhibition is about this crux in late modernism, the term often used in association with it is high-tech. We have taken a rather interesting positioning I suppose…  In the exhibition we show the long history of association between technology, engineering and architecture. It starts with the the Sainsbury Centre, a superstructure that is, in a sense, an enormous shed. It’s complex, beautiful, precisely engineered, but still kind of like a shed.

We used this building to explain the high-tech approach to architecture. Then we look at ground structures like the Crystal Palace, and through to the modern experiments by Prouvé and Buckminster Fuller. Finally we look at the generation of architects that we are focused on. The first part of the exhibition tell the pre-history, then we get to high-tech it self.  

Abraham Thomas: Should I go back to high-tech?

Jane: Yes, I see that she’s dying to hear about it.

Abraham: One of the things that we wrestled with as curators is using the phrase high-tech without actually using the phrase high-tech. The term is very divisive, a bit like postmodernism. Many of the practitioners of postmodernism hate that label. Jane curated the big postmodernism exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum so she has been through this.

Jane: [laughs] The toxic term.

Ben Johnson, Inmos Central Spine, 1985Acrylic on canvas | © Ben Johnson

Abraham: We had to be conscious to the fact that many of these leading architects absolutely reject the term high-tech. It is reasonable to an extent, they reject it simply being a style. What we are trying to say is that it was more than a style. It was a sort of ethos, a movement. But it is a convenient term, it refers to the idea of influence of technology. In a way it is valid. But we also sort of pick it apart, don’t we?

Jane: We wanted to make it very clear that it’s certainly not a style label, although it’s often used like that. These buildings are stylistically very different. The architects reached different types of solutions, but they all share a set of principles. The Sainsbury Centre and the Pompidou Centre are totally different solutions to the same set of ideas and concerns. They respond to their sites, position and purpose in different ways. On the other hand, we felt as curators, and historians, that if there is a term that has some currency historically – it is a frequently used label in architectural history – then this is the right time to kind of, as Abraham says, pick it apart and attempt a much more nuanced understanding.

Do you think there is another term that could work better?

Jane: Architecture of advanced engineering is a good description. That’s what they are concerned with, testing the limits of certain kind of building methods. If you think of high-tech as a process, rather than a style, that’s quite a useful way of approaching it. I would say that it’s a type of technological modernism.

But people like labels, don’t they? Like art deco. Everybody has contested the meaning of art deco, but it is still a very powerful term. Postmodernism is a term that makes people angry [laughs] but it persists. Rather than abandon the label all together, we wanted to unpack and position it. These buildings share certain things about advanced engineering and precision engineering, but they can also be simple solutions.

To take an example: we have reconstructed a section of Michael and Patty Hopkins house in the exhibition. It is not high-tech in that sense. It is appropriate technology. They liked the idea of using pre-fabricated components and cost effective materials that could be assembled simply, cheaply, effectively with a powerful aesthetic.

ZipUp HouseDetail colour presentation competition model, scale 1:20 | Photo: © Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, Eamonn O’Mahony

Abraham: There are a number of examples of high-tech buildings with ideas from other explicitly progressive technological contexts. For example, here at the Sainsbury Centre, Foster created a double skinned wall which allows a lot of the servicing and utilities to be packed away, resulting in this sleek exterior surface and an uninterrupted interior space well suited for an exhibition layout. That idea came from Foster’s observations of a passenger aircraft, were you have a sort of false elevated floor where all the services can be packed underneath.

Jane: There is this section in the exhibition where we have some of the original cladding from the Sainsbury Centre next to a part from a [Citroën] 2CV van. Those ribbed aluminium panels that slot into a car are remarkably like the panels that clad this building. The term high-tech is a bit forbidding, but these buildings have almost the childhood appeal of assembling models.

Abraham: Jane’s point immediately makes me think of this amazing object in the exhibition, a project called Tomigaya. It is a mixed use, residential and cultural space in Tokyo, and the model is made from Meccano. It’s a slightly lighthearted moment in the exhibition. The model of Tomigaya encapsulates a rare notion of simplicity, an understanding of how buildings are put together. It makes it very accessible.

Crystal Palace details of bracing between columns | Photo: © Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851

What drew you to this project at first?

Jane: The Sainsbury is one of Britain’s best postwar buildings and it is extraordinarily powerful. It attracted a huge amount of controversy, admiration and criticism at the time it opened. It’s been fascinating to re-examine that. This group of architects are among the most prominent in the world and produce buildings in all typologies: office buildings, factory buildings, buildings for culture, domestic projects, airports, stations. In London, especially in transit, we all move through these buildings. You probably could encounter a Foster, Rogers, a Grimshaw building within any square mile of central London.

Abraham: I went through Heathrow today and the Rogers’ Terminal 5 has a lot of expressive engineering.

What would you say was most challenging with this exhibition? There are so many different aspects to it.

Abraham: I think it’s always tricky when you’re a temporary guardian of someone’s legacy. These are all very successful architects now, huge international names.

Jean Prouvé House, France | Photo: © Galerie Patrick Seguin and Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

And still alive!

Abraham: Yes they are all still alive! You’ve got to be really careful with how you present that legacy. That is always the case when you’re working with any contemporary artist or architect, but I think that is particularly the case here.

One of the hardest things was to ensure that we were sensitive to their legacies, but also created a new narrative. Since the mid 80s there have been shows on these key British architects – Jane and I didn’t want to do another “Best of British Architects” exhibition.  

Jane: It’s not a biography show. Architecture exhibitions are difficult. A lot of visitors may not be familiar with reading architectural plans and some of the buildings will be unfamiliar to them. We wanted to explain how buildings worked and how they were made. We’ve just come back from installing two giant wooden carved prototypes of the steel joints from Waterloo International Station. They are about a meter or so high, but fantastic objects. Like pieces of sculpture.The process of construction is fascinating for people of all ages, we are just trying to emphasise that.

SUPERSTRUCTURES: The New Architecture 1960 – 1990 is on at The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts 24 March – 2 September 2018

Feature image credit: Century Tower, Japan | Photo: © Foster + Partners, Saturo Mishima

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“Like I’m working with them, alongside them, in tandem.”: Twin meets Terri Loewenthal

Her vivid, evocative ‘in-camera collages’ of the Californian landscape will have you captive for hours. Twin meets photographer Terri Loewenthal to talk about immersing oneself in the environment, the power of nature and startling “little old ladies in women’s restrooms.”

How did the idea of California manifest itself in your consciousness when you were growing up?

Everything I knew about California I learned from Top Gun and Beverly Hills 90210. I spent my childhood in South Florida, on the other side of the continent. As a kid, I didn’t think California was that much different than where I grew up. We had beaches, sun, pastels and fancy cars too. I played a lot of volleyball. Same thing, different coast, right? I was a jock, competing at a national level. What seemed to matter most at the time was that the volleyball players coming out of California were better than the ones coming from anywhere else. And of course, the continual juvenile version of an east vs. west debate: which is better, Disney World or Disneyland?

I ended up in California not because of a childhood vision, but because of a rebirth later in life. Right after I graduated from college in Texas, my rental house burned down. I took the nominal insurance settlement, borrowed my mom’s manual 35mm camera, and hit the road. I traveled for over a year exploring, camping alone, aligning my schedule with the sun’s, and teaching myself to take pictures. That was when I fell in love with photography and California’s backcountry.  

Terri Loewenthal, Psychscape 48 (Lookout Mountain, CA) 2017.

What about the landscape makes it compelling to photograph?

I chose to work with the eastern Sierra for this body of work. It’s not the California most people have in mind – it’s nothing like El Capitan in Yosemite, the ring of mountain peaks around Lake Tahoe, or the beaches in San Diego riddled with surfers. There’s something otherworldly about it. You see Mono Lake from above as you drive towards it, and it doesn’t even make sense. There are no rivers or streams flowing from it; being in the desert, it just evaporates. It’s away from everything, the end of the line.

When I’m thinking about where to shoot, it’s very much about using the shapes of the land as a paint brush — for example, how the curve of a dune when juxtaposed with another dune overlapping it creates a sloping line, a single gesture formed by the contours of the land. The eastern Sierra expanse is ripe with geometry, all these granite building blocks, which I use in my work. With a lack of iconic shapes like pines and sequoias, I’m able to freely use the landscape as raw material instead of subject.

Also, photographing remote landscapes means camping. I have a deep need to sleep on the land, to skip some showers. I love to lose the safety of manicured city life.

Terri Loewenthal, Psychscape 73 (Downs, Mount, CA) 2017

How much did you choose to engage with the predominantly male canon of Californian photography when conceiving this project?

When I had the idea for these images, it was purely aesthetically driven, at least in my conscious mind. I’m extending an invitation to step inside of these imaginary places, to have a subjective experience. Our perception of the natural world isn’t gendered. I don’t think of the conceptual framework of Psychscapes as relating to gender, however there are a number of gender norms I don’t buy into, and that offers a certain freedom necessary for creating this work. I love camping. I love being dirty. I love uncontrolled adventure. I might be less afraid to venture solo into un-manicured territory because I’m taller than most men – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve startled little old ladies in women’s restrooms!

Terri Loewenthal, Psychscape 18 (Banner Ridge, CA) 2017

Do you feel a tension between the wild as a free space and the idea of capturing it through photography?

I’m currently reading a book called The Ohlone Way about the indigenous people of the Bay Area. It’s a fantastic account of the abundant wilderness and wildlife here before white people “headed west.” The sky was so filled with birds that, looking up, you were more likely to see one than not. I often wonder if my life were as deeply enmeshed with the natural world, if I’d be drawn to make landscape images. My desire is to commune with my subject. Looking through the lens, I slow down and consider subtle nuances. Sometimes it’s shape, or correlation of shapes, sometimes it’s color, sometimes it’s a character trait that I didn’t notice before the camera was in my hand. Mine is a sensitive approach to photography. It’s always been an attempt to process my surroundings more deeply. What I mean to do is appreciate. If I were living off the land, I wouldn’t need to venture away from the distractions of city life in order to touch the dirt. I wouldn’t seek out the grounding feeling that immersion in nature offers. But here I am, surrounded by pavement and electronics, and I do need to visit those spaces for refuge. I am driven to make something out of the feeling of re-finding myself when I’m there.

Was there anything about the landscape that surprised you when you were working in it?

In America, when you drive through the mountains, there are often signs urging you to pull over in the most picturesque places, signs that say “Overlook” or “Scenic View.” To my surprise, these vistas don’t work. Everything is at infinite focal distance, and it feels flat. I am able to create more when I’m nestled in a dynamic environment. If I’m on a trail, say, along the side of a canyon, I’m able to utilize the huge mountain face that is reachable with one hand, and the majestic mountain ranges in the distance. Another surprise is that the horizon line, something I’ve loved photographing all of my life, proves to be a challenge with these compositions. What isn’t surprising in the least is that I’m happy to be limited to the 360 degrees surrounding me as I’m making the collage. Limitations are built into my process, and that’s a relief.

Terri Loewenthal Psychscape 26 (Rock Garden, CA) 2017

Can you talk about your compositional approach and process?

 Each image is a single exposure. All of the layering and colour shifting happens in-camera. I like to think of these images as in-camera collages. There are a number of aspects I tweak as I’m compositing: the position, saturation and palette of each layer, along with all the traditional photographic controls like focus and shutter speed. I can make an environment feel soft or hard, depending on how muted or bright it is. Placing different colour washes next to each other, then saturating them just so, is often the final piece that makes an image sing – like sprinkling flake salt on top of your meal. I just experiment until I strike something that sparks the rush. Anyone who’s ever made anything knows about the rush. It doesn’t always happen, but when it does, I no longer question what I’m doing, or why I’m doing it – it’s just absolutely meant to be.

Did you feel that your relationship with the landscape changed as you were creating the images?

Absolutely. Since I’m working to distort reality, and it’s all happening in real-time. I don’t feel like I’m looking at the mountains as-they-are anyway. They immediately morph into something new and I feel like I’m working with them, alongside them, in tandem. Not only have Psychscapes changed my relationship to the landscape I’m actively working with, they’ve changed my relationship to every wild place I’ve yet to see. I can barely take a hike now without trying to envision it in the context of a Psychscape, even if I don’t have a camera in my hand.

Shooting these images involves contortions, octopus arms, propping things up with my knees. I dive deep into the unknown. It’s a reverie where I feel like I’m falling through times and places. I experiment until I stop questioning my experiments, until I find a composition that feels like another landscape altogether – a place I want to be. When I resurface, I find myself twisted into the least comfortable position attainable, a crick in my neck and knotted-up shoulders. My yoga teacher would be horrified. There’s always a “come to” moment where I finally open both eyes and think briefly, “whoa, where am I?”

Terri Loewenthal Psychscape 41 (Lundy Canyon, CA) 2017

Aside from the natural surroundings, did you seek inspiration anywhere else when preparing for the project?

Color plays a huge role in my drive to create these images, and paintings are where I find the most unexpected palettes. I’m surrounded by fantastic painters in my immediate community. My dear friends Joe Ferriso and Alexander Kori Girard come to mind. They both have a knack for using odd colors that when used solo, might not work; but they add other colors, and then there’s a relationship between the colors that challenges what I thought of the colors in the first place. I have an incredible painting of Joe’s in my living room where he started with rejected house paint from the hardware store, and built from there. It’s my reminder that nothing exists in a vacuum, that the correlation between two things makes a third thing. I was a touring musician for the first ten or so years of my photographic career and I draw a lot from that experience too. Attention to rhythm, composing layers of color/sound washes, and seeking collaboration with my surroundings are all instincts honed by performing pop music. Inspiration, as it goes, tends to be an ongoing concoction of every single moment of your life.

Are there other landscapes that you’re interested in approaching in the same way?

I had the idea for these images years ago, but I’ve only recently figured out how to pull them off. California is a natural starting place. Not only is this the place where I fell in love with photography, it’s the place where I’ve found my people – people who care more about creativity, social justice, and community building than paying homage to the crumbling paradigms of what we “should” do with our lives. In California, I feel encouraged to explore ideas that don’t spring from what I’ve been taught or shown, to trust my inner rebel. Hopefully my discovery will open the door to all sorts of adventures. At the moment, I’m curious about working in a tropical place, mainly because an expanse is harder to come by. Jungles are tangled, the shapes less obvious due to the uniformity of color and the dense layers of plants growing on top of one another. I wonder if Psychscapes would work in that context. I wonder if I’d be able to make images that would offer a similar sense of otherworldliness. Maybe jungle Psychscapes would feel like you’re nested inside the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. And maybe that’s not so bad.

TERRI LOEWENTHAL: Psychscapes is on at CULT in San Francisco until April 21st. 

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Home Strike: resisting the feminisation of domesticity

Alexandra Kokoli and Basia Sliwinska guest curate the new exhibition Home Strike. In the new show the pair bring together the work of four women artists — CANAN, Paula Chambers, Malgorzata Markiewicz, Su Richardson — to explore domesticity through an activist lens. The artists probe and refute the idea that domesticity and femininity are intertwined.

Each artist radically reimagines the domestic space as a battleground. It is territory to be taken and looked at afresh. Paula Chambers repurposes everyday kitchen furniture into a fort or barricade, rejecting the wholesome connotations of stools and ironing boards, laying bare the repression and violence which they can also represent.

Installation view, Paula Chambers. Photo: Andy Keate, courtesy L’etrangere

Małgorzata Markiewicz work addresses the family home. She interrogates the idea of women within the domestic sphere, examining motherhood and the idea of entertaining in the home.

Su Richardson contemplates themes of domesticity and motherhood through knitted and crocheted pieces of family scenes. In pieces such as Burnt Breakfast the idea of tarnished or ruined food is contrasted with intricate, delicate technique. Richardson also presents a new series of work made especially for the Home Strike exhibition. Here, knitted breasts are both sexualised and reduced to emblems of motherhood.

Installation view, Su Richardson. Photo: Andy Keate, courtesy L’etrangere

In her video Fountain (2000), Istanbul-based artist and activist CANAN records the sounds of her lactating breasts. The film challenges audiences to radically reevaluate the way in which a women’s body is perceived. To forgo sexualised connotations that have been promoted in art and the wider cultural and political sphere, and to value their functionality and normality.

In all then, Home Strike offers a powerful and invigorating call to action: to engage with, and to challenge, existing notions of domesticity and femininity.

Home Strike is at L’étrangere in London until April 21st 2018.

 

Featured image: CANAN, Çeşme / Fountain (video still),  2000 © CANAN, courtesy the artist

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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:

LIAM HODGES & NICKY CARVELL

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.

PAULA KNORR & APPAU JNR BOAKYE-YIADOM

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.

RICHARD MALONE & MARCO PALMIERI

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.

 

SADIE WILLIAMS & CARLA BUSUTTIL

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.

SAMUEL ROSS OF A-COLD-WALL* & JULIE BORN SCHWARTZ

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.

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