The New Black Vanguard -Photography between Art and Fashion

Cover image: Renell Medrano, Untitled, Harlem 2017

A few weeks ago, NYC based not-for-profit foundation Aperture opened its doors to The New Black Vanguard — an exhibition of photography between art and fashion curated by Antwaun Sargent. 

The New Black Vanguard is a visual  documentary of fifteen artists who works fuse the genres of art and fashion through innovative perspective. It compiles the images of these talents that have recently been on reign in magazines,  ad campaigns & museums across the world , be it New York, London, Johannesburg or Lagos.  Each piece of work opens up conversations from different perspectives around the roles of the black body and black lives as a subject matter, collectively celebrating black creativity in fashion and art.

Not only through the hands of photographers, but stylists, designers and other creatives as well. The exhibition includes selected works from photographers including Campbell Addy, Arielle Bobb-Willis, Micaiah Carter, Tyler Mitchell, Daniel Obasi, Justin French and a few others. It will be open throughout the rest of the year and will come to a close on January 18, 2020. For more information visit Aperture. 

Jamal Nxedlana, Late Leisure, 2019
Campbell Addy, Adut Akech, 2019
Dana Scruggs, , Nyadhour, Elevated, Death Valley, California, 2019

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Twin Talks: Melanie and Stephanie Hausberger

Taking inspiration from Tyrolean mountains and New York, Austrian twin sisters Melanie and Stephanie Hausberger make striking work about womanhood, connection and nature. Twin caught up with the twin sisters to talk about the synchronicity of creativity, New York hang outs and the creative power of two.

Duplications in nature and the female form are subjects that you return to in your works. What are you both drawn to?

Recently we were going though our works we created when we were really young and its striking how figures and the female form always have been the major subject. Being identical twins we always were very much of aware of people judging our differences and compare us. In our work its about the way these figures embody the world, the way they relate to one another. And then of course there is body image, which is another big theme we are interested in since we have a history of struggling with it. 

Also, growing up we never really had access to art museums or gallery, for us getting a magazine like I-D or Vogue, was a big deal. They certainly influenced our aesthetics and style too, the people featured but also the fashion ads and campaigns. We like to add nature since its timeless and also calming. Expressionist artists work such as Kirchner or Otto Mueller also incorporated a lot of natural scenes, and those works are the first ones we were exposed to. Also we grew up in the Alps, being outside in nature was a big part of our childhood. 

But we think our work has many layers and is quite complex sometimes, as art should be, so there is always the possibility to have a different perspective and one can read many things into our work. We like to let the viewer question our work, and we like if its not too obvious.

What does your creative process look like?

We are not working from photographs or pictures, its all out from our imagination and the accumulated input and inspiration. We are really sensitive to colors, patters, atmospheres and we always explore the places we are traveling to, whether for work or pleasure, often wonder how beautiful something is although nobody else seems to notice.

Also, we are very much influenced and inspired by the history and language of painting, we look and read a lot about art, so whether consciously or unconsciously we incorporate all this in our work. 

We love how art opens up new horizons and teaches one to think in different ways. For us, Painting and drawing is our way to reflect and explore everything, and we love how working together on a painting you never quite know what it will come out in the end since you don’t have full control – it can happen that I paint over something my sister just painted so one really has to let go of control. 

On larger drawings we also work on at the same time, with smaller ones we switch around until its finished. 

When it comes to creativity, do you think collaboration is generally more powerful than individual effort?

We find that our collaboration is a huge blessing – unless we have a hard time agreeing on something. We both have a very strong sense of what we want to make, so it can happen that we argue for a while…but that is rare because we instinctively know what the other wants and vice versa, maybe thats a twin thing… In the end every work we make is a teamwork  and we work toward a common vision. So yes, if things run well, a collaborative process can be more powerful than an individual one.

As both individuals and artists your visual identity is very distinct, how did this develop? 

Well, it is probably a mix of many things. The location (in the Tyrolean Alps) we grew up, our early influences, our own curious characters, and of course New York. We both always knew what we liked or disliked aesthetically. Early one we were drawn towards paintings and drawings, even though at that point we had no idea that one can become an artist per se. We both remember always feeling the impulsion to make things, not only to look.  We are very interested in many subjects outside art which eventually inform our work. Aesthetic decisions were always much easier for us than deciding on the mundane things of daily life. Its interesting that even though we spent time apart for longer periods, attending different schools at times, we were always drawn to the same artists and art movements.

What do you see as the relationship between photography and drawing / painting? 

Photography is a quick medium and for us, since we draw very quickly they both are quite similar in their ability to capture impressions and moments. 

Photography has always played a part in our live, shooting each other all these years when growing up and studying in New York. 

We both have this urge to record things, which we used to do through solely drawing before the iPhone came out. Now drawing and photography go side by side. We photograph a lot of inspirations, have separate folders sorted by theme and so on, but when it comes to painting then we try and trust our own instinct and ability to 

You both studied in New York, did the city help to shape or impact your work?

We love NY, its pace and energy perfectly lends itself to our lifestyle. The city definitely shaped our work – we love the New York School artists such as De Kooning, Lee Krassner, Joan Mitchell and also Francesco Clemente and Alex Katz. Those mixed with Austrian and German Expressionism seems to be the base of our work. 

What are your favourite places in New York?

Our regular go to spot has always been Souen, unfortunately there is only one left. Tomoe Sushi has the best sashimi platters, and we love classic New York restaurants more than the new “trendy” ones, such as Odeon, Balthazar or Raoul’s. For drinks in the evenings, when we go its usually Paul’s Baby Grant, Primos or Alley Cat at the Beekman Hotel. Bemelsman’s Bar at the Carlyle Hotel is also really beautiful.

Which other creative duos are you inspired by?

We like what Gert and Uwe Tobias are doing and the Haas Brothers,  and we think there are a couple of Filmmaker duos such as the Dardenne Brothers, which we think make great work together.

What are you working on at the moment, and what are you looking forward to for the rest of the year?

Right now we are preparing work for an upcoming show in Brussels in December. The rest of the year we Milan, where we are excited to work on a new body of work. 

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Ingrid Deuss Gallery presents : “When I saw the mountains for the first time, I thought they were clouds ” by Joost Vandebrug

Later this month, Antwerp based Gallery Ingrid Deuss Gallery is set to present an exhibition by Dutch photographer and filmmaker Joost Vandebrug. The showcase, titled “When I saw the mountains for the first time, I thought they were clouds,” will feature fifteen of Vanebrug’s photographs made between 2011 and 2018 when he immersed himself in the street life of Romania’s capital, Bucharest. 

The images are an honest documentary of the photographer’s six years spent, where he captured the daily lives of the street children of the city. The photo series represents an extension of his acclaimed film “Bruce Lee and the Outlaw (2018)” where he followed the life of the young Nicu who becomes his muse as well as his guide to the emotional underworld of homeless children and people protected under the wings of Florin Hora, a.k.a Bruce Lee. 

All the images for the exhibition will be showcased on Japanese washi paper, which helps in showcasing a similar unpredictability and vulnerability related to the way in which the photographer experienced the project in Romania.

The exhibition will open its doors on November 24th and will run until January 25th. 

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“Nearness” – an exhibition in celebration of British Black History Month

Imagery courtesy of Ronan Mckenzie

This evening Brixton Village will celebrate UK Black History month with an exhibition curated by British acclaimed designer Bianca Saunders. The showcase, titled ‘Nearness’ is a pop up installation that explores black creativity in a vast variety of forms. It will include the works of multi-disciplined filmmaker & video artist Akinola Davies Jr, fashion designer Jazz Grant, poet and director Caleb Femi as well as photographer director and curator Ronan Mckenzie. 

“As London continues to grow and evolve in this age of gentrification, we need to keep stoking the fires of multiculturalism and inclusivity by celebrating creativity in up and coming areas. 

The concept of this exhibition is something that speaks to me on a personal level — supporting other artists of colour in London. I reached out to each of these artists personally, based on their unique creative vision: my favourite multidisciplinary talent from the community that enriches London’s culture dialogue,” explained curator Bianca Saunders. 

The exhibition will open it’s door tonight at 6pm at the Market Row in Brixton and will run until the evening of October 27th.

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Thierry Mugler: Couturissime at Kunsthal Rotterdam

Cover Image: Manfred Thierry Mugler , Photo by Max Abadian

Last spring Montreal Museum of Fine Arts launched an exhibition at its headquarters in collaboration with the Clarins Group and the Maison Mugler. The exhibit titled “Theirry Mugler: Couturissime” showcases some of the work of the great French creator Thierry Mugler through his time as a couturier, director, photographer and perfumer with a special focus on his ready-to.wear and haute couture creations. After closing its doors in Montreal, the exhibition has now found its way to the Kunsthal Museum in Rotterdam having opened only a few days ago. 

It features over 140 ensembles, many of which are being put display for the very first time since their creation between 1973 and 2001, with an additional collection of stage costumes, videos and sketches. Of course imagery also plays a major part, as the photographs of industry icons such as Avedon, Bourdin, Goude, LaCapelle, Newton, Ritts and Isserman have been curated all around the gallery to give an even wider perspective of the mythical extravagance which surrounded and still surrounds the designer.  

“I have always been fascinated by the most beautiful animal on Earth: the human being. I have used all of the tools at my disposal to sublimate this creature: fashion, shows, perfumes, photography, video… I am not a person who dwells in the past, but the MMFA, through Nathalie Bondil, was the first to propose to me to stage my creations and imagine together a free, global and reinvented artistic vision. How could I refuse?” said creator Manfred Thierry Mugler. 

Thierry Mugler: Couturissime is only display at Kunsthal Rotterdam from October 13th 2019 to March 8th 2020. 

Yesmin Le Bon wearing Thierry Mugler photographed at the London Palladium for ES Magazine
Patrice Stable, Outfit by Thierry Mugler
Helmut Newton, Outfit by Thierry Mugler
David LaChapelle, Outfit by Thierry Mugler

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Fashion Film Festival Milan presents edition NO.6

Cover Image: Still from Kenzo Memento by Thomas Traum

In a few weeks, the annual Fashion Film Festival Milano will present its sixth edition of screening since its establishment by Costanza Cavalli Etro five years ago. Set to take place from November 7th – 10th, at the Anteo Palazzo del Cinema, the festival will showcase a selection of 200 films from over 50 countries divided by curator Gloria Maria Cappelletti into categories under themes such as feminism, social diversity & inclusion, and environmental sustainability. 

From this selection of 200 films, the festival’s jury will be tasked to select winners for 16 categories including Best Fashion Film, Best Director, Best Green Fashion Film and the newly added category of Best New Italian Designer/Brand. The association has also partnered with Istituto Marangoni on The Gaze of The Future Fashion Film Contest, which will set an evening for the screening of films by emerging talents as well as a conversation, giving advice on pursuing a career in the industries as a young creative.

This year’s jury is lead by Giorgio Armani, and features fashion and art industry executives such as photographer Cass Bird; founder of Brazilian brand Osklen, Oskar Metsavaht; top model and human rights activist Waris Dirie; founder and creative director of Petronio Associates Ezra Petronio; actress, creator and producer Cristiana Captondi; Artistic Director of Pirelli HangarBicocca Vicente Todoli; Fashion Critic Angelo Flaccavento and Vogue Japan Editor-at-large Sissy Vian.  

Apart from the screening of films, additional festivities will also include conversations discussing topics such as Independent Publishing from a Female Point of View and issues surrounding female rights and female genital mutilation and a special screening of The Times of Bill Cunningham — a film directed by Mark Bozek honouring the memory of the later fashion photographer Bill Cunningham. The four day event will then conclude with the Italian premiere of Peter Lindbergh: Women’s Stories, a film directed by Jean-Michel Vecchiet documenting some of the works of the iconic fashion designer who recently passed away while some of his muses including Naomi Campbell, Astrid Lindbergh, and Helga Polzin discuss his legacy. For more information about the festival visit Fashion Film Festival Milano.

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Marni Pop Folk Market

Last April during Milan Design Week, Italian brand Marni presented a line of bags, furniture and design objects in their signature show space. 

This week the brand has finally put these objects on sale via what they dub their online Pop Folk Market. With a series of colour combinations featuring their Crochet bags (in cotton & wool) , Hammock Bags,  iconic striped bag and an introduction of their Fish Bag in a fluorescent shade, the house has created a visual story as they embark on a road trip filled with the characteristics of colour, humour and personality. Each of the pieces included in the collection is said to be a unique creation handcrafted by their long term Columbian artisans using the meticulous artisanal process of the local traditions. All the pieces from Marni Pop Folk Market are currently available at Marni.com

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The Woven Exhibitionist by MWoven & Peter Tomaszewicz

Recently, London based sustainable fashion brand MWoven  by Martina Spetlova joined forces with motion graphics director Peter Tomaszewicz on the creation of an interesting short film titled “The Woven Exhibitionist.” The film is an exploration of the possibilities of hyperreal surrealism with a direct focus on colourful outbursts of shapes and spaces. The creatives’ intentions were to create a film that would evoke pleasant feelings of suspense, all while exploring the designer’s signature weaving techniques that come with an added touch of arms sensations. 

It begins in a minimal ambiguous space, an then further continues to reveal the unexpected artistry behind the techniques using colour and shapes. 

“The project includes reflections of the unseen, inflatable articles, liquid forms and unexpected movements that would transition the viewer with the guidance of the vigorous sound to the routes of “The Tree Of Woven”, an archetype of a paradise in which these objects represent the pinnacle of innovation and ultimate desire,” read the press release. View the full video below.

Motion design director – Peter Tomaszewicz

MWoven designer – Martina Spetlova

Sound – Austin from Snapped Ankles

Production and communications director – Christiana Perdiou

Digital textile assets by FBFX Digital:

Photogrammetry – Jack Rothwell

PBR Texture Creation – Anastasiya Honchar

Zbrush Artist – Chris Everritt

3D Artist – Giovanni Manili

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PRADA Mode docks in London

Last week during Frieze London , Prada presented its third edition of Prada Mode  — a traveling private club with a focus on contemporary culture that provides members a unique art experience along with music, dining and conversation —  with the theme of Collective Intimacy in the heart of  London at the 180 The Strand as a collaboration with The Vinyl Factory and The Showroom . In a space installed by installation artist Theaster Gates,  the fashion house presented a series of exhibitions, performances and events across the span of a few days.  

This included panel discussions with names like designers Grace Wales Bonner & Dozie Kanu,  live performances by Samuel Ross, Bumi Thomas, poet Inua Ellams and a closing party with live performances by Jojo About and DJ sets by Zezi Ifore & James Messiah.

The event was the house’s second staging of Prada Mode this year following their set up at Art Basel Hong Kong in March. 

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Fragile Face Laid Flat: A coup for Matches Fashion as Venetia Scott turns the focus on her own photography work with gallery duo Sion & Moore

What’s in a face? What expressions do they hold. What do they aim to reveal, and what do they choose to conceal to the viewer.

Venetia Scott, Fashion Director of Vogue whose own photography work spans over a decade, has put the spotlight on some of the most famous faces she has shot, cropping down the image, and spotlighting a tight frame on nothing above the crown and nothing below the neck.

The result? Mesmerising faces entrance and envelop the viewer, as we are caught in their beam. The graininess of the zoom only enhances a sense of retrograde nostalgia about the shots: are we looking back into something or forward?

Scott developed the idea for the work whilst blowing up parts of her images – she noticed that, whilst detail is lost in the zoom, a new quality arises – one that draws you in. The portraits are beautifully eerie, looking as if they might have been taken from missing person files. The face of each girl captivates the viewer but stops short of telling us everything we might want to know. 

The name of the exhibition came about after Venetia saw it written on the side of a packing crate in Paris. Is it a face of fragility or resilience? Is it a two dimensional shot or is the woman looking right back, while sealed in the frame?

With all the images being of faces made famous from fashion shows and magazines, notably many from Venetia’s intrepid career, we are also presented with faces some of us have grown up with and have shaped our ideas of beauty and grace. They are familiar, from Lindsey Wixon to Lineisy Montero Feliz, and yet we hardly know them at all. 

In conjunction with the brilliant Sion & Moore, whose duo of former photography agent Kim Sion and creative consultant Lucy Kumara Moore, director of Claire De Rouen Books, have launched quite the partnership in a contemporary gallery project, the exhibition also heralds a new movement coming into play in Matchesfashion. Exploring the overflow of fashion into other creative spheres, the exhibition hopefully signals many more photography expositions in the 5 Carlos place address. Matchesfashion, as ever, has the finger on the creative pulse, and by celebrating the arts in all its fascinations, they are opening their doors wide for a new stream of showcasing and celebration. 

Fragile Face Laid Flat runs until 28th September at Matchesfashion, 5 Carlos Place, Mayfair, London

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“When you dance you make me happy ,” ft selected artworks from the Luciano Benetton Collection

Cover Image – Boakye Pass  by Lynette Yiadom

This week Italian contemporary gallery Gallerie Delle Prigioni opens it doors to a new exhibition entitle  “ When you dance you make me happy ft selected artworks from the Luciano Benetton Collection”. The exhibition , set to open tomorrow at the gallery’s location in Treviso has been curated by Nicolas Vamvouklis, and will include themes which focus along the lines of the human body. 

“ The starting point of the exhibition is the tension between inner and outer worlds, public and private realms interpreted through the idea of the body as a shell that is both a home and a prison,” reads the press release. Throughout the exhibit the themes then extend to the collective dimension and observe the performative roles the body plays in social gatherings of celebration, mourning or protest.

The collection include pieces from names like Helmut Lang, Maripol , Nick Cave, Hermann Nitsch and other gems from Italian Billionaire Luciano Benetton’s private collection. The exhibition entrance is entirely free and will run until November 10th. For more information visit Imago Mundi Art. 

Barkley L. Hendricks – Fela Amen
Image by Maripol

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Art meets Fashion: A Chat with Designer Pauline De Blonay

Images shot by Pablo di Prima

Young designers merging the borders between art and fashion are rare birds waiting to be found and are indeed not easy to find. 

Pauline De Blonay, a recent runner up of the prestigious L’Oreal Pro Young Talent Award, and a Central Saint Martins graduate, seems to be one of them. The Swiss-born designer had been dreaming of going to London’s infamous hub of creativity since the age of fourteen years old, yet her way into fashion wasn’t a regular one, like you would expect. 

“Initially I thought I would study Fine Art and started by doing a foundation year in Jewellery design, however when I realized that I wanted to work on a bigger scale and to combine fashion, fine art and jewellery, I applied for the BA in Fashion Design in order to work this way,” she says. 

Art had and has been influencing her work since she was a little kid, paintings in particular, as her art tutor would make her and her peers replicate paintings that they loved, and hers included a lot of harlequins from Picasso and some dreamy spaces and characters from Edward Hopper. With time she kept on being inspired by painters, such as Modigliani and Egon Schiele. 

This multi-faceted approach towards visual thinking is what intrigued her and pushed her towards working with different combinations of various different techniques and materials, from jewellery to painting. 

“It was important to me to combine every skill or knowledge I possess in order to realize the looks I design,” she says. “It was essential for me to be in control of every detail of the collection I wanted to create, such as the metalwork, which took me a while to figure out my own way of casting metal in my own flat, the prints for the garments and accessories, the shoes, the make up, etc,”

And indeed it is polyhedric approach of hers to design which makes her clothing so intriguing and interesting. 

Her first collection, showcased during Central Saint Martin’s final year fashion show, was an exploration of her identity and the notions of masculine and feminine. She wanted to create a duel between masculine and feminine images and merge them together. A suit and a cast of her breasts, feathers locked in metal, dresses that you can mould that look powerful and strong but which are fragile at the same time because you can change their shape. In addition to that she created many portraits of the people who surround her and included them as patterns to some of her dresses. 

“My idea was that I was extending myself onto other people’s body by giving them casted parts of my body in metal and all these drawing of people that are important for me are represented too. They are an important part of my identity,” she explains. In a sense, it was a way for her of reuniting all of her relationships, by featuring on her garments. It was like a rendez-vous of the people that she deeply cares about.

Yet, after being the runner up to the L’Oreal Pro Young Talent Award, which brought her attention and visibility, what has the future in store for her? Will London still be the center of her world?

“I spent five years of my life evolving in the creative heart of London, being at CSM,” she says. “I have made the most amazing and creative friends who inspire me every day. Being in London and especially at Central Saint Martins, supported by amazing tutors gave me the strength and possibility to create and concretise a collection which represents me at best. I needed that time in London to evolve the way I did to get all the tools necessary to make my first collection happen.”

For now, an itinerant move to another city isn’t in the works, yet, wherever she’ll be, be it in London or another international city, she has in store of extending her collection and keep on making magical garments. 

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PUBLIC Gallery: Echolocation by Charlotte Edey

Early this month on the 4th of September, British artist Charlotte Edey is set to present her debut solo exhibition Echolocation at the PUBLIC Gallery space in London. Edey’s exhibition is set to speak along themes that have influenced the artist through her experience in career, identity, spirituality and femininity as she explores how we navigate our environment with a series of drawings, embroidery, women tapestry and silk georgettes.

“Employing organic symbolism and the traditionally gendered mediums of embroidery, weaving and textile, the fabric of the worlds is shaped and informed by the idea of femininity and how it intersects with the multiple facets of identity. Anthropomorphic landscapes and atmospheres punctuated by curls and waves speak to expanding beyond the body,” she comments.

“Across the series a desire for harmony is communicated through curvilinear landscapes and symmetry of form. Edey’s attempt to resolve divisions also manifests within the physical nature of the works. Distinctions between synthetic and natural processes are blurred as drawings are translated via a digital jacquard loom to woven tapestry, displayed alongside hand-embroidery and hand-weavings.”

The exhibition is set to run throughout the month and will eventually close its doors on the 28th of September. 

Freshwater, 2018, Woven jacquard tapestry with hand embroidery
Garden, 2019, Woven jacquard tapestry with freshwater pearl, mirror detail and hand embroidery
Biform, 2019, Graphite pencil

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Creswell Crags Cave set to house psychoacoustic artwork exhibit

Cover Image: AlanJames Burns at Creswell Caves by Stephen Garnett – CAG Photography

At the beginning of next month , a series of interesting performances will take place at an art event being held in a space that was recently revealed to house the largest concentration of apotropaic marks in protection against witches and curses ever found in the UK. Beginning on September 3rd at the Creswell Crags Cave in Worksop, Nottinghamshire, Visual and Environmental Artist AlanJames Burns will bring forth the first British presentation of Burns’ “Entirely hollow aside from the dark.” The project, done in collaboration with the Creswell Crags Museum & Heritage Centre , will stage an immersive psychoacoustic sound artwork in the cave, following Burns’ success of an Irish nationwide tour completed in the summer. 

The “Entirely hollow aside from the dark” project was created by the artist to take place inside ancient natural auditoriums,  “using these caves a physical metaphor for the mind the cavern personifies the consciousness of Mother Earth as she struggles with her worsening mental health, brought on by the human distressing of her body,” reads the press release. 

“In the gloom of these caves an audible dialogue echoing Mother Earth’s thoughts and regrets unfold a symphony of choreographed sounds shifts around the cave mirroring the processes of the human mind. “ The exhibition will also be done in collaboration with writer Sue Rainsford and  Sound Editor Ian Dunph and is set to run until September 7th. For more information visit Entirely Hollow Aside From the Dark. 

AlanJames Burns at Kesh Caves, Sligo 2017. Photo by Trevor Whelan
Entirely hollow aside from the dark, Audience with lights (Smugglers Cave, Portrane, Dublin, Ireland, 2016). Photo by Brian Cregan

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Bloomberg New Contemporaries celebrates 70th with a grand exhibition

Cover Image: Community Dance Showcase (2017) by Roland Carline, one of the artists selected for the 2019 Bloomberg New Contemporaries exhibition. 

This Autumn , New Contemporaries, one of the leading UK organisations supporting  emerging talent will celebrate its 70th anniversary with the launch of their annual touring exhibition. Set to initially launch on September 14th at the Leeds Art Gallery, the exhibition will feature 45 of UK most interesting artists selected by renowned artists Rana Begum , Sonia Boyce and Ben Rivers. 

Through a rigorous process of selection from the recent batch of graduates from the UK’s finest art schools, the team has put together a roster of creatives to tackle topics such as global and personal politics, class and community and gender and sexuality. Giving each artist the freedom too showcase their perspective on such issues. 

 “It’s so important for the enrichment of the arts and the UK’s cultural legacy that a new generation of artists have a platform to present their work to wider audiences, and give them an opportunity to develop a voice,” said Rana Begum, 2019 selector.

After closing it’s run in Leeds on November 17th the exhibition will then move to the South London Gallery on December 6th where it will remain until February 23rd 2020. 

For more information visit: New Contemporaries.

Family Portrait (2018) by Eleonora Agnosti, one of the artists selected for the 2019 Bloomberg New Contemporaries exhibition. Image courtesy the artist and New Contemporaries
Somewhere Crashing (2018) by Louis Blue Newby, one of the artists selected for the 2019 Bloomberg New Contemporaries exhibition.
Drunken Gravity by Xiuching Tsay, one of the artists selected for the 2019 Bloomberg New Contemporaries exhibition.
SCULPTURE CULTURE (2019) by Alexei Alexander Izmaylov, one of the artists selected for the 2019 Bloomberg New Contemporaries exhibition.

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Dark Air: A Solo Show by Gray Wielebinski

Born in Dallas Texas, artist Gray Wielebinski uses their practice to explore the ways in which gender and sexuality intersect with other structures of power and identity, often referencing their body and journey as an individual who is currently undergoing the transition from female to male. 

Working between London and Los Angeles in print, video, performance, sound, sculpture, and installation, Gray moved to London in 2017 to complete a masters in Fine Art Media at The Slade.  Since then, Gray has exhibited internationally and is currently an artist in residence at The City & Guilds of London, alongside Taku Obata and Alistair Gordon. 

Using a variety of strategies to explore identity, specifically their ambivalent relationships to masculinity, Gray’s more recent research and practice uses sports for both aesthetics and metaphor as an entry point to examine themes such as national identity (specifically the US and Americana), desire, myth making, surveillance, hierarchies, race, and gender. In Dark Air, the artist’s first solo exhibition at SEAGER gallery curated by Martin Mayorga and Vanessa Murrell from DATEAGLE ART, we observe Gray’s ongoing exploration of sporting ceremonies as seen in the artist’s personalised football scarf stand. Located at the entrance of the gallery space, the piece highlights the ritualistic yet commercial nature of the sport, while also reiterating the entwined nature and relationship found between myth and sport. 

Dark Air, a solo show by Gray Wielebinski curated by Martin Mayorga and Vanessa Murrell at SEAGER Gallery © DATEAGLE ART

Instead of displaying a body of work, the exhibition uses the body as the work – acknowledging it as something which can be moulded and adjusted continuously. Using a diverse array of textiles to create a patchwork of materials that include recycled leather and jeans, Gray creates a site-specific sculpture, a monstrous creature that is representative of both the sphinx and Scorpion. Stuffed and stitched, the physical act of creating the hybradised beast presents the audience with a work that exists in a paradoxical realm. All at once it is violent and volatile yet gentle and vulnerable – playing with traditional binary stereotypes of male and female. With only a few days left to see Dark Air, Gray spoke with Twin about the show and their grotesque Frankenstinian beast. Gray also speaks openly about their own dysphoria and dissociation with their body as well as the importance of being conscious in order to re-inhabit and bridge the gap between their mind and body to create as harmonious a relationship as possible. 

You started to create art as a way of helping you relate to your own body – is this where the tactile element of your practice and its link to your own body manifests from? 

In a lot of ways, in regards to my gender identity as well as my art practice itself, I was existing very much in my own head and in an ideological way rather than a physical one, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but I think became a problem for me as I was coming to terms very starkly with my own dysphoria and dissociation with my own body. This show in particular deals with a rejection of “before” and “after” narratives in a broader sense around myth making and storytelling, but that are so tied to mainstream/cis narratives around transness that can really seep into my consciousness, but is ultimately a dangerous way of thinking when it comes to my own understanding of myself and my life. I don’t particularly identify with the concept of “being in the wrong body” so while my dysphoria is real and distressing in its own way, there’s also a recognition of and gratefulness for the body I have and what its capable of and finding ways to inhabit it more consciously as I discover the ways, big and small, I might have subconsciously unlearned out of self-preservation. The “before” and “after” narrative tells us we aren’t complete yet or we can’t be happy or know ourselves until an outward marker of change or identity has been breached for others, but that obfuscates the work and learning and daily experiences we encounter on the road towards knowing oneself. Everyone in their own way has these experiences with learning or unlearning themselves, recognizing and accepting their bodies and their possibilities or limitations, and making their own meanings and interpretations on their own terms. With this in mind, I moved towards a more physical or tactile practice which has been a way of trying to reinhabit my body in a more conscious and present way on a daily basis (sewing in particular is quite a meditative act). Without sounding too much like Frankenstein, there is a power and a catharsis for me in creating these new ways of embodiment that take up physical space and I can hold in my hands or that literally dwarf me in a room, and I can also use this physical practice as a means of furthering my ideological pursuits and explorations of my identity and the world around me, and in so doing I hope to get closer to bridging my mind and my body in ways that are within my control. 

Dark Air, a solo show by Gray Wielebinski curated by Martin Mayorga and Vanessa Murrell at SEAGER Gallery © DATEAGLE ART

You are influenced by science fiction and the way it allows us to create other worlds and possibilities Can you name some of your influences? 

Whether it was books or films or TV, I consumed a lot of media and stories as a kid and still continue to do so, so the list of inspirations is long and muddled together in some ways, but science fiction has always held a special place. Science fiction has long been a means, particularly for marginalized people, to hold up a mirror to see and critique that which is made to feel “natural,” which can then be a very useful tool for survival, communication, community and ultimately questioning and fighting the powers that be by understanding where they came from and how dominant narratives are upheld. 

In Kindred, Octavia Butler interrogates the impacts of slavery and white supremacy through a time travel narrative. The Matrix has widely been revisited through the lens of the trans experience and transitioning, particularly as the directors, Lana and Lily Wachowski, came out as trans in recent years. The Twilight Zone is masterful at weaving both the minor and major elements of creating uncanny atmospheres that can go from nudging you slightly off kilter to knock you out for the count. For ‘Dark Air’ specifically I was also thinking about Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris which subverts a more typical trope of space exploration as a colonization narrative, and in fact is ultimately about the astronauts’ inability to cope, physically and emotionally, with an overpowering ocean planet. It’s about our complete inability to understand or fathom the extraterrestrial (and maybe even our own subconscious). Science fiction, at its best, lets us imagine and wonder and be awestruck with possibilities, while still keeping a foot firmly on the ground and, in fact, may help us see reality even clearer. 

Dark Air, a solo show by Gray Wielebinski curated by Martin Mayorga and Vanessa Murrell at SEAGER Gallery © DATEAGLE ART

With Dark air you hope to overthrow the notion of the “hero’s journey” and our perceived set paths, goals, and obstacles – is this a comment on the overwhelming conditioning that has been determined through society and the West’s patriarchal system?

I’m fascinated by the idea of the hero’s journey as a storytelling archetype, and I think more so than completely subverting or throwing it out the window, it’s about an even deeper dive into it and not shying away from the minutiae and the mundanity that arguably differentiates a story from a life. The conditioning you’re referencing I think is important especially in relation to our contemporary moment within capitalism and this tension between expectations and conditioning to want certain things for our lives, to take certain paths or understanding success in specific ways, while at the same time being led to believe it’s our decision and that our happiness or opportunities lie squarely within ourselves or within our grasp rather than questioning what is out of our control and what might be possible to question or tweak within ourselves to find our own ideas or barometers of success. Some people are just trying to survive while at the same time we’re being told what we need to be happy or what we are doing wrong or what we need to overcome, and then the goal post keeps moving. It’s a function of capitalism to obfuscate our “true” foes or obstacles and for our path to be fog-covered, so perhaps even subconsciously I proposed of a sphinx that fits in with this atmosphere, or at least how I often feel while trying to navigate it. This all sounds a bit pessimistic but in actuality I hope for it to be empowering in any small way it can, that even in a time where things are made to feel and may very well be out of our immediate hands, there may be ways to internally recalibrate our parameters for success and happiness and fulfilment even on a day to day basis, even if it’s just how we relate to ourselves and each other.

Dark Air, a solo show by Gray Wielebinski curated by Martin Mayorga and Vanessa Murrell at SEAGER Gallery © DATEAGLE ART

 Can you explain the link between your exploration into Mythology and sports and how you connect the two? 

I’m interested in blending ancient storytelling and mythological creatures or narratives with contemporary interpretations and iconographies, and in so doing am hoping to bring into question the biases and power dynamics/hierarchies that are often involved in storytelling and myth making both in the past and the present, and how that has the potential to shape our futures.

I also was thinking of intersections of sports, mythology/religion and even being an artist-the relationships between the grand events and the mundanity of the everyday that both, in their own ways, make up these experiences and our relationships to them. Holidays, championship games, art exhibitions certainly hold their own meanings, they can build community and give us something to look forward to and remember, but these go hand in hand with the everyday and the myriad other emotions and experiences built up around these that make up our meaning as well. Personally I am also thinking about gender and transitioning and the relationship between insular and exterior identities and how to shift narratives from a “before” and “after” to a whole other way of being and experiencing and becoming oneself on a daily basis. Rather than being a sort of trick or gimmicky reveal, my use of this iconography and the set-up of the exhibition itself is coming from a place of optimism and empowerment, of wanting to give both myself and the audience the choice to create meaning for ourselves and to question how and when we might be told otherwise. 

What else will you be working on this year?

Right now, I’m working towards making new works for a group show at Lychee One in London and a three person show in Odense, Denmark both in September. I am also working on a newly commissioned video and performance piece in collaboration with HRH that I’m really looking forward to. After that I’m going to take some time to reflect on what I’ve made this year and how I want to move forward. 

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A Chat with The Artists of the Venezia Pavilion

This year, the Venezia Pavilion at the 58th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia moves beyond the confines of the exhibition space and infiltrates the city. Reflecting the multitude of stories, of splendour and beauty and of cruise ships, flooding and souvenirs, these esteemed Italian artists plunge into the wealth of inspiration to depict the ancient city in new lights. 

As Alessandro Gallo,  Artistic Director, explains: “In thinking about the creative concept of the pavilion, we have focussed on two angles: on one side, we wanted to return to the original elements that have characterised and shaped Venezia, and from the other side, we wanted to communicate the dichotomy of representing the stereotype that Venezia has in the world, and also a more authentic reflection of the city lived from the inside.”

Twin spoke to the artists involved, Mirko Borsche, Lorenzo Dante Ferro, Sidival Fila, Ferzan Özpetek, Fabio Viale and Giorgos Koumentakis, as well as artist director Alessandro Gallo, about their artistic approach to Venice. 

Alessandro Gallo , courtesy of Fondaco Italia

TWIN: How have you responded to Venice in your work?

Ferzan Ozpetek:

As soon as I was asked to visualise a personal idea of Venice, I had mixed feelings:  I was proud to be asked,   but at the same time overwhelmed by the difficulty of finding a creative way to tell the story of a city that has always been a symbol of unparalleled beauty, art and landscapes. A place deeply probed from all points of view. All of a sudden, I remembered so many walks I had taken in the Laguna, not just in the city, and above all the times I spent some days at the Lido either with my movies or as a member of jury for La Mostra del Cinema. That’s it, Water and Cinema: a dream of fluidity once again. You happen to reach the Lido on a motorboat, get off and soon you can enter the huge screening room where a collective rite is going to be held. I gathered some of those memories and emotions and revived them into imagery.  

Fabio Vale:

In this work I was trying to represent not the object, but the spiritual side of Venetian Bricole.

Lorenzo Dante Ferro: 

My work as a Master Perfumer originated in Venice in the 1500s when it was a flourishing and prosperous centre for the trade and commerce of precious spices, unguents, fragrant oils and resins brought back by navigators and explorers returning from voyages to distant lands. They provided Venice with the first new ingredients and raw materials necessary to give impetus to the development and creation of the first Italian perfumes, making Venice a natural location. Today, I continue this work as the keeper of secrets and traditions of artistic perfume creation from my perfume studio in Gradiscutta di Varmo (Udine) only a short distance from Villa Manin, the summer residence of the last Doge of Venice, Ludovico Manin.

Sidival Fila: 

I was invited as a selected artist for the Venice Pavilion from the beginning of the project, so I was able to follow its birth and its development; my involvement was both individual and collective, and for different reasons during the making of the show, many synergies were born with the other selected artists. I was also present in Venice for the opening of the Biennale and I was able to see that the message I wanted to share, through the descriptive elements of my installation and through a specific technical procedure , was communicated to the visitors, in the form of reflection and emotion.

Giorgos Koumendakis: 

This work has been created specifically for Venice, a vibrant city that combines the crossroads of many different cultures that approach it by water and could not exist in its present form for any other city!

Mirko Borsche:

The Venice Pavilion invited our studio to contribute as an ‘artist’. The biennale’s theme this year is FAKE NEWS, among other topics that form ‘interesting times we live in’. We are not artists, but we believe in graphic design as a strong tool, so we developed an identity for the Venice pavilion, which could be seen to be the identity of the whole Biennale and therefore is aligned with the concept of the Biennale, it also creates the maximum awareness for the pavilion of Venice. The centre piece of our concept is the Lion of St. Mark, the symbol of Venice. Bureau Borsche created a reduced, abstract form of the lion to highlight the six boroughs of Venice in the lines of his wings. These simple geometric shapes were also used to create the secondary graphical element – an exclusive typeface. This consists of mainly vertical bars in reference to the omnipresent poles throughout Venice. The popping Neon Yellow is a modern interpretation of the golden ornaments of the historical centre. Functionally, the colour is used as a signal colour because of its special visibility. Together the lion, the typeface, and the colour create a strong and yet ironically confusing guiding system for the city – ultimately leading to the pavilion of Venice. The graphical system is applied on many elements like signs, posters, flags, and public transport etc. At the same time there will be several take-away items such as apparel, tennis balls, plastic bags or lighters referring to the city’s strong tourist business. All these items are branded the same way and reveal their connection to the Venice pavilion once the visitor arrives at the pavilion. 

TWIN: What does Venice mean to you?

Alessandro Gallo – Artistic Director:

Having the privilege to live and know this place deeply, we feel we belong to an identity that has developed over centuries, creating something so strong, unique and personal; something that has put together and mixed different influences and culture that have shaped it.

Ozpetek, Image Courtesy of Fondaco Italia

Ferzan Ozpetek:

I called my work Venetika right because that is the ancient byzantine name given to the powerful maritime city. Venezia was and still is deeply marked by centenary – better say millenary – stratifications of Ottoman culture and traditions. Having grown up in Istanbul, Venezia to me is another “mother-city” where everything reflects, immerses in and resurfaces from water.

Fabio Vale:
Venice is a very hard city that forces you to move with its rhythms, different than ones we are used to. Thanks to this slowness you can appreciate the details.

Lorenzo Dante Ferro: 

Tradition and culture that express an elegance and style that is entirely unique. These are all elements that I treasure and take great pride in as a Venetian. 

Sidival Fila: 

Venice has always been a place of choice for art, culture and beauty. It’s a metaphor of travel and meeting, a unique and timeless city. 

Mirko Borsche:

I really like Italy in general, not very surprising for a German I guess, but for me it was always a place I wanted to live.

Venice is special, I love the city, but more around Autumn, when it gets a bit quiet again. Most of the season tourists take over, like a flood, which is disturbing for a lot of Venetians and forces them into the background. I can tell because Munich is a very touristic city too, and during the season it’s quite hard to get through the city or get anything done.

Giorgos Koumendakis: 

Venice is a city symbolic for music, visual arts and architecture. I am very happy because after many previous collaborations and presentations of my music in Venice, the time has come to compose a piece that is written especially for the Biennale and the city’s Pavilion. It is a great honour and privilege to participate in this important venture, along with great artists and under the artistic direction of Stelios Kois. 

TWIN: How have you interpreted this in your work for the Venice Pavilion?

Ferzan Ozpetek:

The city has hit my imagination as a vision of a woman immersed in water. That woman is performed by the wonderful actress Kasia Smutniak, who conveys the sense of a mysterious and magical experience. At a certain point that female figure representing the city emerges on the surface and thus Venezia materialises once the liquid becomes solid. Now we can recognise its extraordinary shapes, its dreamy buildings, its great paintings as in a revolving kaleidoscope of human figures and astonishing images.

Fabio Vale:
The installation was a collective work where all the artists collaborated together for one project.The meaning was to create a landscape where the viewer is immersed as they would be in the city of Venice

Lorenzo Dante Ferro: 

“Venéxia Odorum” is the natural essence which I composed, inspired by the Venetian lagoon with its briccole bathed by saltwater and the evocative notes of Mediterranean vegetation in the air. This geolfactive fragrance is my invisible contribution to the collective work which I have created to portray and to prolong the olfactive memory of the Serenissima into the future of all those who have had the opportunity to visit the Venice Pavilion.

Sidival Fila: 

They asked me to talk about spirituality as a constitutive dimension of the life of Venetian civilization, so I decided to present the crucifixion as the representation of a historical event, not only as a sacred or liturgical element. My “Golgotha” installation is composed of eight elements,  but only one of them presents a figurative sculpture of the Holy Cross; the other 7 elements open the doors to spirituality and transcendence, but they are not directly related to a specific religion, they only want to speak to every creed and to the heart of the people. 

Giorgos Koumendakis: 

In my work “The pedal tone of a closed current”, Byzantium, Renaissance and this modern city overlap, by the use of pedal tones from the Byzantine music together with western polyphonic elements. All those have an operatic dimension, symbolically accumulating at an orchestra pit full of water.

Mirko Borsche:

Our aim was to involve the Venetians to be part of our concept, they either got items provided by the pavilion for their own use, or make their own souvenirs, they can also download the graphic elements for free to create their own products. The idea is to make this symbol viral and make the whole city of Venice an extension of the Venice pavilion. 

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The Art of Warez by Oliver Payne – July 31st

In a time pre-internet, in the late 80’s early 90’s, existed an era when computer users would communicate through the telephone lines by leaving messages for each other on Bulletin Board Systems or BBS’s. This practice soon became known as a very early form of file sharing where Hackers and Internet Pirates would use BBS’s to illegally distribute cracked software, known as Warez and other genres of illegal materials. This graphic display of BBS was known as ANSI, and ANSI was the visual component to the BBS scene and subculture of hackers, software pirates and computer game crackers. At the end of this month,  acclaimed artist-filmmaker Oliver Payne, with the help of one-time ANSI artist Kevin Bouton-Scott, will release a film entitled The Art of Warez, taking a glimpse back to the ANSI graffiti art scene, pre-internet hackers, copyright theft, pictures of fantasy warriors, comic book monsters, naked ladies and graffiti B-Boys.

This 30-minute film, is one that carefully documents a genre of art that holds little to no trace left on the internet. Not long after its invention, the ANSI art scene took off and transformed into a type of underground art movement where artists formed crews to compete against each other. However, the arrival of the internet and the updates made to  computers wiped out the ANSI art scene and the majority of the artworks in the process, which is why the artists’ film holds such relevance as a recollection of an iconic genre which no longer exists. Keep your eyes out for the full version of the film to be released on Safe Crackers on July 31st. 

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Something that is present: Idil Tabanca on immersing within the Turkish landscape

Cover image: by Idil Tabanca Gökhan Polat

Idil Tabanca isn’t someone you would necessarily assume to be a Chairperson of a museum. Her alternate title, Creative Director, absolutely clicks with the persona of the woman that founded and ran New York’s loved fashion and culture title Bullett Magazine, but a chairperson? If the role of a chairperson is to allow fair and open discussion of matters, Idil is set to be a total coup – the expectation of others, matched with the vision of herself seems like a task she is more than equipped to handle. Bringing a fresh standpoint she is sure to provide: now that is vital to the success of any Institute. 

We are here to talk about OMM, the Odunpazari Modern Museum, that Idil is holding these integral positions within. Opening in September in the Turkish city Eskişehir, OMM will be a foundry of both global and local vision. 

“OMM will have education programmes, residencies, and pairings with global and local artists – opening up the doors to create an institution that will be a stepping stone for a lot of young artists. We want this place to be like an exchange for artists – creating spaces for people to come together and have these intercultural dialogues. There will be a hotel attached for artists to stay, and a quadrangle, with a vegetarian café which is almost unheard of in Turkey! Giving people options and breathable space to come together and create. The building itself will be a feat of architectural beauty, designed by the respected Japanese Kengo Kuma and Associates. I don’t see OMM as a museum – it’s a platform, a bridge, for young people to have their voices heard”.

With an education in film and digital media, you see this influence impact Idil’s approach to presenting the Museum on a global, innovative and connected scale. Her editorial background gives Idil a lateral and relevant viewpoint: the threat facing museums is that they face cultural extinction unless they adapt to new audiences – if anyone can speak about creative agility as a necessity you need not go further than anyone in the magazine trade.

“It is very similar work – you are still creating content but instead of a magazine page you are working with a gallery wall. You are giving someone a platform for display.”

Idil has grown up since her DIY New York days. From pulling together character love letters with celebrities, Idil is now invested in the importance of educational awareness of her beloved museum within the surrounding art schools of the heavy university town she finds herself in.

Her eyes still sparkle when she speaks of the projects and the collaborative partners ahead; a natural thinker and doer, mover and shaker.

Did Bullett set her up effectively for this role she is undertaking? 

“I think it set me up to manage people more than anything else to be honest! Juggling different people and personalities is always tough, especially when you are working in fashion and art, and managing all these moving parts. Creatively Bullett helped me shape my vision – I can’t imagine if I didn’t do Bullett how I would see things.”

Marc Quinn, Mekong Delta İce Floes, 2008, Photo by Ozan Çakmak

So why has Eskişehir been chosen as the favoured site for an interactive, cutting edge cultural institute? 

“There are 3 universities here, and they are all art universities – for all the cities in Turkey it is a very secular city and a very intellectual city. It is also geographically quite central, so easy to get to from the other surrounding cities. It was in 2004 that the first contemporary art gallery happened in Turkey, so we only have a very short history of museum culture here. Now it is somewhat challenging as we are creating something that hasn’t been there before. Sure, in Istanbul, but not in other places. We did a study and found out 80% of people hadn’t done a cultural activity in their lives – rates that were astonishing. What is exciting about this situation is for me to change that.”

Will the OMM be more about creative expression rather than strictly art?

“Absolutely – we want to carry collaboration into every aspect of what we are doing.”

Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu, İsimsiz, tuval üzeri yağlıboya karışık teknik 1956

And Fashion?

There will be a store selling a small line, and a big name designer will be creating the uniforms for the staff. Hey, you can take the chick out of New York fashion… 

And a global outlook?

“We want to have a global outlook, but want to ensure we are starting by getting local communities involved. The city has the potential for this. Our mission is to ensure that we are also educating global audiences that we are a destination: have this connection with the rest of the world.”

Tanabe Chikuunsai IV Installation photo by Kemal Seçkin

There will be work showcased by the local and the international, starting with a permanent collection made up of Marc Quinn, Julian Opie and Sarah Morriss, to Turkish artists such as Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu, Ramazan Bayrakoğlu and Canan Tolon. A site-specific commission by bamboo artist Tanabe Chikuunsai IV will be installed for opening in September.

While we can’t say we knew Idil before,  and we can only imagine this role has led her into a new direction – museums and galleries must ensure the voices of the next generation are accounted for, and Idil seems set on bringing her native country into the realm she finds most familiar: of the innovative, the creative, the outsiders, the brave.

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Spreading Spreads by Milan-based photographer Piotr Niepsuj

Milan-based photographer and creative consultant Piotr Niepsuj is best known for his raw portraits of urban scenes. Born in Lodz, Poland, Niepsuj first arrived in Italy to study architecture before working for PIG Magazine, the Italian equivalent of Dazed or ID. It was at PIG that he was first given a camera and sent on assignment to photograph people anywhere from the streets of Milan to music festivals. He now shoots campaigns for brands like Off-white and Perks and Mini who he photographed for issue XX of Twin. 

Most recently, Niepsuj presented a photo magazine called Spreads at Artifact in Spazio Maiocchi in Milan. Spreads features images of Tokyo inspired by Moriyama, which Niepsuj took on a digital camera on his recent trip to the Japanese capital city. Here, we speak with him about his practice and evolution as a photographer, his thoughts on contemporary photography, and his new work Spreads. 

Image by Piotr Niepsuj

What is your first memory working as a photographer?

My first assignment ever. It was an interview and portrait of Jeremy Scott of Moschino. I didn’t even know what I was doing. It was very courageous of the magazine PIG, and it was a very good time for me. I learned everything. I learned about magazines. I learned about photography. A lot of hard work, no money, and good parties. 

How have you evolved as a photographer since then? 

I grew up in a very vice school of photography. You would go with your camera and photograph whatever surrounded you whether it was a party or a festival or a trend on the street. It’s basically what everybody does now, but it’s what anybody from Ryan McGinley to Juergen Teller who’s kind of father of this style was doing when I started. The approach doesn’t really change. I just go with my camera and shoot what I see and what I like. 

I think the world changed more than I did. In the beginning, we photographed parties, trends, and us being young. Then, us being young turned old and boring. It’s also much more difficult to take pictures of people now because of how much more aware we are of being photographed. The naturalness is lost. This changed about the world. 

Image by Piotr Niepsuj

Have you changed cameras? What are you working with – digital or analogue? 

I change cameras from analogue to digital. I shoot a lot with my phone also, because it’s the easiest and the fastest way. I think it’s like the contemporary equivalent of point and shoot. 

When I first started, I used to love analogue. Then, I didn’t approve of it. You realize all of your pictures look the same as the pictures of people twenty or thirty years ago – but they are not as good. When you think about how they’re going to be seen in the future, you wonder why a picture from 2019 has to look like a picture from 1980?

I think the iPhone picture is the picture of 2019, and when someone sees in 2050 a picture from 2019, it’s a bit strange to see it like a fake picture from 25 years before. I became bored, too, with the graininess of it. Then, it became commercial.

When I started working for real and shooting commercially, I realized film is the way not to get crazy. I produce so many images that my hard drives are exploding. Even mentally it’s too much. With digital, you can be shooting all the time – 2000 shots per day. I arrived to the point I understand film again.

Image by Piotr Niepsuj

Why do you like photographing urban scenes?

I studied architecture, so it’s always somehow inside me, this interest in cities and urbanization. Cities are the same everywhere you go, the same elements exist. They’re temporary and permanent. Temporary things eventually stay, and permanent things get old and change. Old and very new always clash, because the old is still functional and still works. It’s a documentation. Cities are like living structures in the end, and urban scenes are like a proof of history filled with layers, evolution, communication, advertisement, stratification, development. 

I always think and hope every time I take an image that it’s not for selling a product, that it will have a value in 20 years. Even if I shoot the backstage of a fashion show for a brand, I always try not to show like a perfect image. It’s always like trying to find the mess, what’s human. 

What is your new work Spreads

P: It’s at Artifact, the store space Kaleidoscope shares with Slam Jam at Spazio Maiocchi. The work is about Tokyo and Moriyama. Last October, I went with some friends to Tokyo. I’ve always wanted to go to Tokyo, and I brought this little point-and-shoot digital camera and just went down the streets and took pictures of everything from little homes in the streets to the trash. There’re thousands of images of this trip. I also went into all the bookstores, looking at old and new books to add to my collection. I found this one about Record Magazine that Moriyama founded. It’s the magazine he made for himself with only his pictures. I was reading this and looking at thousands of his images and realized it’s the same. I want to have my record now. I’m presenting it for the first time. 150+ prints from the magazine and outtakes were also “exhibited” during the launch.

Image by Piotr Niepsuj

Spreads reminds me of your Instagram @spreadingspreads where you post images of photos in books, often two-page spreads. Are the images in conversation with each other or intended to create a dialogue?

Not necessarily, but when there are two images next to each other, you always try to find a dialogue. It’s important to me to think about. Even if you look at the Spreading Spreads Instagram, I very rarely put a spread that is only one image. With spreads, sometimes there’s no conversation. Sometimes, there is. Sometimes, it’s a joke. Sometimes, it’s aesthetically working. That’s the fun of making a magazine or a book. 

Follow Piotr Niepsuj @piotrniepsuj and @spreadingspreads.

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