Soft Opening: Belly Room by Nevine Mahmoud

British visual artist Nevine Mahmoud recently partnered  with London art gallery Soft Opening on her first European solo exhibition entitled ‘Belly Room.’  The exhibition which opened earlier this month features a selection of five sculptures carved from marble and hand-blown glass.  Throughout the themes of the exhibition, the artist explores her ongoing interest in disembodied body parts with the series of glass forms that represent single breasts and full busts, re-opening the conversation around women’s bodies and their objectification thereof. 

With a palette of pinks, amber and nude, the translucent sculptures subtly distort and dissect the female human form, with each sculpture swelling and sagging along the walls of the gallery.  The sculpture series also includes curving marble slides and sheets mimicking a sort of abstract plastic humanity.

Throughout the exhibition, “the artist negotiates the boundary distinguishing perception and expectation. Searching for a form at once recongnizable and alienated, these uncanny sculptures reverberate with suggestive innuendo.”

The belly room is currently open at the Soft Opening in London and will run until June 30th. 

Nevine Mahmoud, bust (phantom Li), 2019 
Nevine Mahmoud, breast (tamarind), 2019
Nevine Mahmoud, carved slide (2019)

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“All I Want To Be” by Thomas De Kluyver

Cover Image: Shibuya by Harley Weir

During the past few days make up artist Thomas De Kluyver has partnered with photographers Harley Weir, Fumiko Imano, Shama Osborne, Lea Colombo among others for the release of an IDEA book entitled All I Want To Be. The book, launched at Dover Street Market last week features exclusive work created by de Kluyver and his team of creatives as they explore themes of gender identity, politics, representation and individual expression in beauty and fashion. ”I want people to have fun with make-up and experiment with their identity,” he explains. 

Throughout the book, the 150 pages are brought to life by the colourful images of these talented creatives which are introduced with a beautiful poem by Wilson Oryema on the fluidity of identity.

“It talks about how our identities are never fixed, or set, and how important it is to be able to express ourselves the way we want to. Our starting point for All I Want To Be was making sure we captured the people that feature in it somewhere they felt safe. So many of the images are shot in bedrooms, bathrooms… The kind of places we’re able to shut the door and experiment with who we are freely and without any judgement,” explains the photographer.
The book concludes with photographer Harley Weir’s chapter which features a cast of full body painted subjects. Given the themes of the book, the photographer will also be donating a share of the proceeds to gender non conformity charity Mermaids UK.

“The world of fashion and beauty has a long history of challenging gender norms but more needs to be done to represent the beauty within all of us, regardless of our gender. We hope Thomas will continue to be a powerful force in gender acceptance in an industry that shapes the way our society understands power and beauty” said Susie Green Mermaids UK CEO. Thomas De Kluyver’s All I Want To Be is currently on shelves at Dover Street Market London.

inner/ outer / self by Oliver Hadlee Pearch
Awake by Lea Colombo

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Alexander Binder lends “A Glimpse Into The Bardo”

German photographer Alexander Binder has been known as a self taught photographer gifted with the abilities of taking his viewers on psychedelic trip into a universe full of contrasts, and oddities using his craft vintage lenses, prisms and optical toys. His work has been featured in several mainstream media outlets including Vice Sleek and even Twin’s 2011 issue.

In his work, Binder explores the blurred lines between the real and surreal, fiction and fantasy, but his latest work is a venture into what is known as the subconscious. Inspired by Sigmund Freud’s famous paperback “The Interpretation of Dreams,” Binder’s series entitled “A Glimpse Into The Bardo” explores the abstract and symbolic aspects of consciousness. In an effort to make this venture as accurate as possible, the photographer had to learn to suppress his conscious control over the photographic process and in aid of this he used pinhole lenses, double exposures and various filters which made it nearly impossible for him to predict the final result. For an even further “Glimpse Into The Bardo,” we sat down with the artist himself to discuss the process. 


What was it like suppressing your conscious instincts during the creation of this series? Were you ever tempted to check if everything was going well? 

Our brain is pretty creative in inventing excuses to exert conscious control over everything we do. Not to forget that we live in a time where “thinking”, “control” and “rational behavior” are highly valued competences. We monitor our health-status 24/7 via fitness-trackers and we love listening to people who explain our world in rational terms.

So actually it was difficult and I had to use several methods to trick myself. I guess it helped a lot that I have been working with self-made lenses, prisms and pinhole cameras for more than a decade because these tools make it almost impossible to predict the final results in detail.

Another way to limit my conscious thinking was a chaotic timing for the whole editing process. Some of the images were on my hard drives for more than three years before I even had a look at them – and some of the photos were made in less than three days.

How long did it take you to create the entire series?

Several years and I am still working on new images for this constantly evolving project.During the process I realized that this specific series maybe doesn’t need a real beginning or an end. I don’t want to sound too esoteric but it just “is”.

What from Sigmund Freud’s “The interpretation of dreams sparked this concept? 

There is actually one paragraph that caught my attention:

“The dream-content is (…) presented in hieroglyphics, whose symbols must be translated, one by one (…). It would of course, be incorrect to attempt to read these symbols in accordance with their values as pictures, instead of in accordance with their meaning as symbols.”

(Source: “The interpretation of dreams” 1913 / Chapter 6 “The Dream Work”)

This is exactly the way that I wanted to look at the photographs. There is nothing to understand about these images with your rational mind. They are abstract symbols that have to be interpreted step by step. Something like a Rorschach test that helps to assess an individual’s personality – or at least trigger some questions about yourself, your hopes, fears and desires.

Being inspired by Sigmund Freud’s “The interpretation of dreams , a book which speaks to the exploration of dreams as our “unconscious wishes,”  do you think the end result from this series may hold some personal underlying connotation to you as well?

Yes, I think so. When I look at the series today I see a deep, almost romantic wish for some kind of nature mysticism.

What’s your favourite image from the series? Why?

There is one image that stuck in my head and I don’t remember when or how I took the photo. It’s one of the most abstract images of the series and it has – at least for me – a very strong, symbolic quality.

Honestly I don’t even know whether I like it or not but it resonates with me on a very subtle level. It makes me think about much more than a blurry black-and-white photograph, a bright light or the vague depiction of a wing-like object. As Symbolist poet Mallarmé said it’s not about the thing, but the effect which it produces. (See Below)

What would you like viewers to take away from this series?

The series doesn’t have a single-minded message or narrative. It doesn’t help trying to “understand” these images in the classical sense, e.g. recognizing specific objects.

Like Freud said, these are more or less hieroglyphics. And everybody has to interpret them in his own way and look for a personal meaning. So the only thing that I wish viewers would do, is that they took their time and let the photos open the doors to their subconscious.

What are you up to next? Will you continue to explore the subconscious? 

The exploration of the subconscious is one of the key motivations and goes far beyond my photographic activities. There is so much to read, learn and also experience that one lifetime is not enough.

I just returned from Northern India where I had the chance to get a deeper understanding of Tibetan culture and especially the Tibetan art in its various forms – from mesmerizing Thangka paintings to otherworldly bronze statues. So there will definitely be a photo project not about, but heavily influenced by this journey.

Keep up with Alexander and his work at Alexander Binder or on instagram 

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Twin x Trekstock x Whistles – A Trek for Cancer

In anticipation of our upcoming exclusive trek in collaboration with Whistles and Trekstock in aid for raising funds and awareness for young adults with cancer, Twin has recently partnered with filmmaker journalist Fenn Omeally for the creation of a short film. 

During film Omeally captures a few young, resilient female subjects that have encountered cancer as they revel in a jovial space, exuding positive energy while discussing their personal definitions of freedom. 

For the trek, set to take place later this year we will take on the highest peak in North Africa situated in Marrakech. Why? Because 34 young adults are diagnosed a day and when cancer stops you in your tracks in your 20s and 30s, they need Trekstock to get them moving again. And what better way to raise awareness than partnering with some of our companions to spread the word, “We are thrilled to be teaming up with our friends and collaborators at Trekstock and Twin Magazine for such a great cause, and excited to be part of this fantastic fundraising event. Nick Passmore, Creative Director, Whistles”

This will be no walk in the park, with six long days, undulating terrain, heavy packs and making camp by sunset, the team needs your support to help them smash this once in a lifetime challenge. To donate visit Twin x Whistles x Trekstock.

A special thank you to Anna, Ellen, Georgie, Ellen, Caroline & Jolene for sharing their stories.

 Music by: @nattywhynot

Produced by: @sj.speechlyFilmed,

Directed and Edited by: @fenn_omeallyd

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Playing For Keeps: Molly Matalon & Caroline Tompkins – May 23rd – June 29th

Later this month, creative studio Enlarge Your Memories, in partnership with Italian  lens-based bookstore Micacamera will open the doors to an exhibition entitled Playing for Keeps,  featuring the work of American photographers Molly Matalon and Caroline Tompkins.

This exhibition, set to open in the Micacamera space in Milan, will tell the tale of a contemporary woman’s viewpoint of romanticized America. With its infamous patriarchal history, the typical photography that addresses American ‘landscape’ has tendency to only display the postcard values of automobiles, family values and great outdoors.  However, in 2019, the idea of American lives have been expanded on by a wealth of cultural and artistic effort.

Throughout this exhibition Molly Matalon takes on a domestic point of view as she explores the narrative of the housewife. She explores the part of the typical housewife’s world not shown on camera. Portraits of home visitors, palpable sexual tension etc. With the compilation of images, she addresses the freedoms and power plays commonly associated with men in like-environment and in photography. On the other hand, Caroline Tompkins’ work embodies the female YOLO America. It displays a narrative of the fast life, climbing the highest trees, hiking the tallest mountains, getting too close to the fire.

Tompkins’ work denounces gender stereotypes and strives for a reclamation of the pseudo masculine American landscape as she schools her audience on how gratifying it is to live life with the wind blowing through one’s hair. In Playing For Keeps, the photographers explore and update the ideas of humour, sexuality, ownership and power play within today’s contemporary America. 

Image by Caroline Tompkins
Image by Molly Matalon

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Public Gallery: “The Redemption of Delilah” by Alexi Marshall

Cover Image: Your Hair Was Long When We First Met, 2019, Alexi Marshall

In less than a week, London based gallery Public Gallery, will present an exhibition featuring the work of British visual artist Alexi Marshall titled The Redemption of Delilah.

The exhibition, set to open on the 8th of May will reveal a series of work from Marshall exploring and reimagining denigrated women of history through the humanity and nuance that lies in what has been traditionally known as sin. In her work, with the use of print, fabric, drawing and embroidery, the artist invites her viewers for a deeper analysis of condemned female figures, with the story centred around the biblical story of Samson and Delilah. As Delilah’s name has been known to be synonymous with the qualities of being voluptuous and treacherous, her fate following her actions highlighted in the bible has never been revealed, which in turns, forever shows her in a degenerated light.

Throughout the exhibition Marshall highlights the characters’ powers as well as their fallibilities as she explores the internal and external forces and at play.  Each pieces of wrk highlights characters from different narratives including Mexican and Trinidadian folklore that tell stories of tragedies, fate, forgiveness and life and death. 

“At a time when powerful women are still regularly denigrated in contemporary society, Marshall shines a new light on these ‘imperfect female sinners’ offering them a voice beyond the confines of history. These characters from religion and folklore become Marshall’s own personal deities, neither benevolent or malevolent but acting as symbols for fate and the innate wild nature of humanity. ” The exhibition will run its course throughout May at the Public Gallery until the 4th of June. 

Sweetest Downfall, 2019, Alexi Marshall
Jezebels Burden, 2019, Alexi Marshall

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Foam: “I Can Make You Feel Good” by Tyler Mitchell

Cover Image: Boys of Walthamstow, 2018, Tyler Mitchell

This Spring Foam Museum has opened photographer and filmmaker Tyler Mitchell’s first solo exhibition entitled I Can Make You Feel Good.

Since his historical debut last year with American Vogue’s September issue, featuring Beyoncé as cover, the photographer has been exploring the visuals of the black utopia ever since. This exhibition showcases a compilation of images that feature black youth in safe spaces. With the use of his signature candy coloured palettes and natural light, Mitchell creates images of young black people in gardens, park and in front of idyllic studio backdrops where his subjects appear as free, expressive and vulnerable beings. He creates a  sort of utopia around his subjects that mimic scenarios that are in contrast to what one might acknowledge as reality, bringing a sort of humanity to the forefront. 

The exhibition also premieres two of Mitchell’s video works: “Idyllic Space and Chasing Pink” and “Found Red. ” These are presented as audiovisual installations that explore the senses of play and childlike freedom within the black utopia. His stimuli for the exhibition was based off a younger period of his life where the dynamic site of Tumblr was very influential to the development of his creative vision. “I would very often come across young, attractive white models running around being free and having so much fun — the kind of stuff Larry Clark or Ryan McGinley would make. I very seldom saw the same for black people in images — or at least in the p hotography I knew of them.” I Can Make You Feel Good presents Tyler’s rendition of an earlier Tumblr in a time where it provided creative nutrients inclusive of black youth. The exhibition will run throughout the Spring at the Foam in Amsterdam until the 5th of June. 

Untitled (Two Girls Embrace) 2018, Tyler Mitchell
Untitled (Hat) 2018, Tyler Mitchell

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Six artists to discover during Art Brussels

Cover Image: Autour de nous huile sur bois de Karine Rougier, 103 x 93 cm, 2018

Brussels is increasingly becoming one of the most refreshing European cities in which to discover art. Young spaces like collective Ballon Rouge and the collaborative La Maison de Rendez-Vous are opening new spaces and giving a new dose of oomph to the scene. Last week’s Art Brussels, an annual fair in its 37th edition with 148 galleries, was not too big, not too small – the goldilocks porridge of fairs. Here were six artists worth only a Eurostar away.

Merve Iseri

Turkish painter Merve Iseri was both a focus’ at Balon Rouge’s beautiful peach painted booth at the fair and the subject of a solo show at their downtown space. Her graphic large scale paintings touch on the body and landscape, balancing the figurative with a strong sense of abstraction and colour. An off-modernist breath of fresh air.

vision of holding a star in motion, Merve Iseri
Night Walk, Merve Iseri

Kayode Ojo

One of the NYC’s hottest current artists, Ojo originally emerged from a photographic background which he still balances with a glamorous and intelligent take on sculpture. His mirrored, misused furniture works covered with diamante jewellery or lame dresses were perfectly paired at Martos Gallery’s booth with a sexy large scale images of a trans model.

Boohoo Plus Verity Slinky Plunge Split Maxi Dress, Kayode Ojo
Balenciaga Bootcut, Kayode Ojo

Anicka Yi

Outside of the fair, the highlight of gallery night on Wednesday was Anicka Yi’s incredible show at Gladstone Gallery. Aiming to dissolve the boundaries between the human, animal, and vegetable, the show included sculptures that played with the living and kinetic. Its central room was filled with small animatronic moths flickering inside bulbous sculptural balls accompanied by a flickering electronic sounds.

Anicka Yi: We Have Never Been Individual
Anicka Yi: We Have Never Been Individual

Rubem Valentim

Mendes Wood DM devoted their booth at Art Brussels to Brazilian artists on their roster. It included some stunning paintings and a wood carved sculpture by the late Rubem Valentim, a self-taught artist who fused modernist ideas with the geometry, religion and aesthetic of Brazilian cultures. His Afro-Brazilian references were intentionally political, and the results exude vibrant energy.

Emblema 78, (1978), Rubem Valentim
Emblema-Relevo, (1980) , Rubem Valentim

Hoda Tawakol

It was impossible not to love Egyptian artist Hoda Tawakol’s sculptures at Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde’s booth. Made from tights, synthetic hair, rice, wadding and resin, these fetish-like small nudes are strongly rooted in the legacy of feminist 1970s art and the use of textiles as a loaded material. These gorgeous little fat figures questioned the representation of femininity.

Nude #20 (2019), Hoda Tawakol
Nude #20 (2019), Hoda Tawakol

Karine Rougier

Another off-fair highlight was Karine Rougier’s incredible detailed show at the young Fondation Thalie. Born in Malta and based in Marseille, this show brought together every element of her practise from scrapbook collages to tiny found object sculptures to her surreal miniature paintings. The work was filled with disembodied hands, doses of sex and horror and a dreamlike fantastical brilliance.

Soulever les Frissons, Détail, 38 x 45 cm, huile sur bois, Karine Rougier, 2019

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Congregation by Sophie Green

For the past two years British social documentary & portrait photographer Sophie Green has been working on a project in celebration of Southwark’s community of Aladura Spiritualist African churches and congregations. As the product of her detailed studies, Green has created a compilation of all the documented images of the community that is often referred to as the “white garment” churches and will be presenting them in the form of an exhibition and hardcover titled Congregation this Thursday at the Hannah Barry Gallery. 

The images give a front row seat to the Christian denomination practised by Yoruba Nigerians that throughout the past 40 years has become a greater part of Southwark London —  being the community which hosts one of the highest concentration of African churches in Europe. Congregation will also raise conversation about collective identity and power within subcultures, cultural practices and traditional dresses, food and customs in modern technology and fashion. For the project, the photographer collaborated with members of the congregation through portrait sessions and photographic workshops which go hand in hand with the candid images of the men, women and children throughout their religious practice. 

Congregation will be launched available online this Thursday and can be purchased via Loose Joints.

Congregation by Sophie Green 
Congregation by Sophie Green
Congregation by Sophie Green

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Love Me by Stella Asia Consonni – April 25th

This Thursday Italian photographer Stella Asia Consonni is set to open the doors to her solo exhibition entitled Love Me . The showcase, set to take place for one night at Protein Studios in Shoreditch, London, will feature a compilation of intimate images of with diverse couples as subjects.

The photographer first began shooting for the project a year ago, with the intention of creating an online photo series as a means of healing as she overcame her then-recent break-up. One of the images from the original series, featuring two men mid-kiss was uploaded by the photographer via instagram and was soon after deleted by the platform for “not following community guidelines.” Instagram later issued an apology and allowed the image to be re-uploaded but the second time around Consonni was met with homophobic comments and slurs in reaction to the image.

This was when she decided the best way to contest the homophobes and bigots was to create an entire exhibition in celebration of the many colours and forms of love. In addition to the photo series, the photographer will also debut a short film complementing the series by documenting short bits and pieces of these love stories. 

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Foam Talent Exhibition: May 15th

For the third year in a row,  Amsterdam based international talent organisation Foam returns to Red Hook Labs in New York for their annual group exhibition Foam Talent. Set to debut on May 15, the exhibition will feature the work of twenty international photographers who were selected through the organisation’s annual talent call from a pool of 1853 creatives under the age of 35. 

The showcase will feature the works of these artists under several tabs of contemporary themes and topics such as social politics, nostalgia, night fall, homesickness and grief. A few of the names featured will include French duo Durimel,  Chinese photographer He Bo, Australian Sophie Gabrielle, Italian Salvatore Vitale, British Maisie Cousins, among others. For further info on how to cop tickets visit Foam

Cover image: “Untitled” from the series Worry for the Fruit the Birds Won’t Eat, 2018 by Sophie Gabrielle

“Kaelyn and the girls” from the series Frères dune île pas très proche, 2018 © Durimel
“Ants” from the series grass, peonies, bum, 2018 © Maisie Cousins
Model Angela and her personal story”, 2016, from the series Separation Anxiety, 2018- ongoing © Dima Komarov
“Untitled” from the series How to Secure a Country, 2015-2018 © Salvatore Vitale

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Salone del Mobile: Maarten Baas,”I Think Therefore I Was”

Salone del Mobile is the one time of year in Milan where one can discover the most interesting, jolting exhibitions and installations around the city. One of the most essential installations to see was that of Dutch designer Maarten Baas. Although not considered as design, the designer staged an exhibition in collaboration with Ventura Centrale entitled “I Think Therefore I Was.” Set in one of Ventura’s exhibition spaces in Centrale, the installation featured hundreds of monitors, playing fragments of videos in which the words ‘I think’ were cut from hundreds of random Youtube videos. This compilation of information is one that creates a great cacophony of words and moving images that hits you upon entrance.  Leaving one in awe with an overflow of feeling. There is no single screen to focus on, or single audio to listen to, there are hundreds being played simultaneously and what all that information does to the brain subconsciously is quite exciting.

Images by Claudio Grassi

“Having an opinion is once claim to existence. By placing the installation in reference to a catwalk set-up, the first impression is rather intimidating. The screens are like an audience, proclaiming opinions about you, as a visitor. Yet the other way around, it shows a colourful variety of people who have thoughts and therefore therefore are individuals,” comments Baas. The artist has been know for blurring boundaries between art and design using the element of surprise. The exhibition, which has already closed it’s doors, marked the artist’s 10th year in collaboration with the Ventura Projects in Milan. 

Images by Claudio Grassi

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Three Reasons To Go To MiArt

Milan has quietly become a stealthy art hub. Its fair MiArt, which takes place the week before the city becomes obsessed with furniture and design in April, is like the Goldilocks’ porridge of art fairs. Its not too big, not too small. It has emerging names, big historical works and lesser known discoveries. The fair also is the catalyst for Milan Art Week when institutions like the Fondazione Prada, ICA Milan and Frigoriferi Milanesi open new exhibitions. These are examples of why you should book your ticket next year.

Saskia Te Nicklin At Vin Vin at MiArt

Danish artist Saskia Te Nicklin won the prize for best emergent booth at the fair this year, with her inventive Vienna-based gallery Vin Vin. Her paintings, installed against a metal wall installation, played with art historical themes such as still lives. Her refreshingly scrawled pieces touch on nature, the digital and the real. vinvin.eu

Five heads or masks executed while thinking of James Ensor, Saskia TeNicklin, 2019
4 plastic bags with drawn faces, Saskia Te Nicklin, 2019

Leigh Ledare at Office Baroque at MiArt

Brussels gallery Office Baroque brought some new large panel collage-like works from the always subversive Leigh Ledare to MiArt. These pieces felt more like disturbing scrapbook pages, which exposed Ledare’s own fascinations with sex, identity, history and social meaning. officebaroque.com

Leigh Ledare Plot I: Pre-existing Conditions, 2017
Leigh Ledare Plot III: Immune System, 2017

The Unexpected Subject. 1978 Art and Feminism in Italy

It is well worth travelling to the outskirts of Milan for this exceptional exhibition of Italian feminist art from the late 1970s. Discover artists like Ketty Le Rocco, Tomaso Binga, Lucia Marcucci, Maria Lai and Giulia Niccolai in this truly fascinating comprehensive archive show. At least pin down the catalogue until May 26, http://www.frigoriferimilanesi.it

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Salone Del Mobile: Fendi Casa x Cristina Celestino

For Milan’s annual international design week, Italian luxury house Fendi has teamed up with renown Italian architect, designer Cristina Celestino for their latest project entitled “Back Home.” Fendi first tapped Celestino back in 2016 for their first successful collaboration, the “Happy Room” at Design Miami. The duo worked well enough that it was indeed deserving of a second collab,  which presents as the FENDI Casa’s “Back Home” line. The collection, on exhibition at the house’s showroom in Milan, is a celebration of the Maison’s iconic Pequin striped motif first produced back in 1987.

Throughout the exhibit Celestino produces a reinterpretation of the motif while using the house’s iconic patterns to create a wide creative range of furniture pieces in elegant marbles, onyxes and fascinating metallic surfaces. She creates a story centred around the iconic Pequin stripes using geometric armchairs and sofas with masculine designs to counterbalance the femininity of their shapes. A rose-like version of Fendi’s classic geometric motif also appears on coffee tables and carpets along with the FF logo. Influences of fashion are evident throughout the exhibit, a few mirrors and lamps were inspired by the silhouettes of cufflinks, cabinets echo a few of the houses stylistic codes with strong vertical lines, geometric shapes and bold curves. 

On site, the installation is divided into five parts, the Terrace, Entrance, Waiting Room, Dressing Room and Living Room. Each room evokes a different feeling with a general recollection of 70’s Roman house revised with bourgeois qualities. The FENDI Casa “Back Home” has its Milan doors open to the public until the 12th of April. 

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Hayward Gallery: “Kiss My Genders” 12 June – 8 Sep

Cover Image: Martine Gutierrez, Masking Fish Mask from Indigenous Women (2018)

On June 12th this summer, central London art gallery Hayward Gallery will open it’s doors to a group exhibition titled ‘Kiss My Genders,’ showcasing the work of 30 international artists whose repertoires engage in conversation around gender identity. Curated by Vincent Honoré, the exhibition will feature a compilation of over 100 artworks by several generations of artists from across the world who share interests in articulating with themes of gender fluidity, non-binary, trans and intersex identities communicated throughout their work. The exhibition will include wide range of several types of media including installations, videos, paintings, sculptures, portraitures etc.

Juliana Huxtable Untitled Lil’ Marvel (2015)

The panel of creatives will include names who explore gender expression through the forms of performance, drag and masquerade. Such as names like Ajamu,  a London-based visual activist whose work challenges conventional understanding of sexuality, desire, pleasure and cultural production within contemporary Britain and Amrou Al-Kadhi, a British-Iraqi writer, drag performer and filmmaker, who in collaboration with British photographer Holly Falconer, created a photographic portrait Glamrou (2016) using triple exposure to communicate the experience of being in drag as a person of Muslim heritage. The exhibition will also bring forth political undertones with artist artist Hunter Reynolds who is an AIDS activist as well,  whouses art as a tool to process trauma as well as transform it. The Kiss My Gender exhibition will also be accompanied by an illustrated catalogue featuring original essays and a roundtable discussion with and from a few of the artists along with the exhibition’s curators and a performance by Berlin based artiste Planningtorock, whose song lyrics were featured as the showcase’s title. The exhibition will run throughout the summer and close its doors on September 2019. For more info visit Hayward Gallery.

Zanele Muholi, Phila I Parktown, (2016)
Catherine Opie, Mike and Sky (1993)

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Public Gallery ft. Joan Cornellà: “IM GOOD THANKS”: Apr 3rd – May 4th

London based contemporary space Public Gallery in collaboration with renowned Catalan artist Joan Cornellà presents ‘IM GOOD THANKS’ — a solo exhibition featuring the artist’s work set to open on the 3rd of April. The exhibition will feature a series of new works by Cornellà featuring his instantly recongisable mix of pitch black humour and deeply unsettling imagery as he gives his audience a glimpse of his dystopic view of contemporary life. Throughout the exhibition paintings will line the walls and surround a central sculpture which represents the artist’s trademark suited character. Each piece of work included in the upcoming exhibition acts as a mirror into the depraved nature of society; confronting topics like our obsessive attachment to social media and masturbatory selfie culture to politically controversial topics such as abortion , addiction and gender. Upon first glimpse the artist’s work may appear as playful and lighthearted but upon further thought and inspection it reveals his admirable method of twisting saccharine settings to dissect modern culture.

“I think we all laugh at misery. We must start from the idea that when we laugh, we laugh at someone or something. With empathy or not, there is always some degree of cruelty. In spite of that, I am aware that if one of my cartoons happened in real life , I would not laugh at al,” he comments. In sync with the growing feeling that the world is sinking further into depraved absurdity, Cornellà sheds some light unto human nature, presenting us in his notoriously dark and disquieting manners. The exhibition is set to run until the 4th of May.

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Illustrating Fashion with Christina Zimpel

Broad strokes, dense colour, a sense of positive circularity to her work – Christina Zimpel is an artist of a wonderfully bold disposition. Being an Australian in New York City, her work has lifted the pages of Vogue Australia to the SS19 handbags (and set design) of Michael
Kors. There is a natural magnetism to her illustrations, often heavily centred around reinterpretations of the runway or figures of fashion. Christina breaks down familiar catwalk looks into bright colour comparisons of ink and gouache (think green against pink, red beside baby blue), or almost-Surrealistic monochrome, creating confident combinations.
Large almond eyes are bestowed on her interpretations, and for all the magnetism of their form and colour, look out with a gentleness: a reflection of the artist? May Christina Zimpel’s illustrative hand continue: she creates illustrations that lift the page through colour and composition.

What do you do for fun, what’s your favourite colour?

For fun I eat and garden and go for walks. My favourite colour is currently
a mossy green. 

What were you good at in school, what were you not so good at?

I enjoyed history and art and creative writing. I did not pay enough attention to maths and biology.


Who were you favourite bands growing up? Who do you listen to these days?
I like the same bands today as I did growing up… Bowie, Roxy Music, Kraftwerk, Prince, Miles Davis, The Clash, Joy Division etc etc. all really great to work to. And my son Lil Jabba!
 

How did you get into art and illustration?
I got into art by suddenly deciding I wanted to draw – so I drew everything I could see around me every day for a couple of years and shared the results on Instagram. Illustration commissions started coming due to that. In the past it might have been harder to get my foot in the door. However, now I have an audience and some great people saw something interesting in me and gave me work which is wonderful!

Describe a day in your life .
I am quite boring especially in winter when I barely leave the house! I work at home so I am up and working at the kitchen table. I can multi task as the dishwasher and stove are close to my brushes and paints. In the summer I get to go outside and do a bit of gardening or walk around my neighbourhood if I need a break.

Your work appears to be shaped greatly by blocks of colour: does colour or form come first for you when you start a piece?
When I’m painting, colour is an important starting point. I have a definite palette and love to work within those parameters. My colour choices come from distant memories when I became really conscious of my surroundings. The sixties pop colours, the clarity of bright reds and greens and pink my mother loved. They form my landscapes. With illustrations I tend to be influenced by the subject matter be it fashion or narratives. Using very bright colours is tricky so I add banal colours to balance them, otherwise you’d get a headache.

Do you doodle?
I love to doodle! That is something I’ve always done.

You are from Perth yet currently reside in New York: do aspects of either Australia or New York enter your work?
Definitely- Australia is a land of bright clear colours and I like the uplifting feelings it gives me, it ties in with the Fauvist paintings I love so much.
New York really gives me so much love for humanity… so many people all the time all living their lives right in front of you. It really comes out in my work – observations of people’s expressions, body language, the heaviness of life.

Does your mind drift as you draw or does drawing help your mind drift?
I have always been the anxious type. Drawing is the best help I’ve found to drift away from my thoughts and tune out the chatter. It makes me live in the moment.  In the UK, the government is increasingly moving focus away from the arts, leaving a potential massive gap in young people’s education of art.

How important is art to you?
When you are exposed to the arts there is something each person will find interesting or beautiful or earth shattering amongst it. All people should get the opportunity to open up their world and find their own creativity or passions. It shouldn’t be a luxury.


You have worked with the likes of the CFDA, Maison Kitsune and Michael Kors: what role has collaboration played in your career?
I was really lucky to work with some iconic brands in 2018. I had the opportunity to draw portraits, landscapes and create brand identities. I had my first merchandise produced – totes and phone cases and T-shirt’s, as well as beautiful look books and interactive displays. It’s been really exciting and it’s giving me hope that I can grow exponentially, and be collaborative, not just work in a bubble.

What was the last thing that made you excited?
The whole thing- I did not see any of this coming!

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“Tim Walker: Wonderful Things” – The Visionary’s Largest Exhibition To Date comes to London

Cover Image: Duckie Thot, Aubrey’s shadow © Tim WalkerStudio

This Autumn London’s largest museum Victoria and Albert is set to host an exhibition on one of fashion’s most celebrated photographers Tim Walker. Titled Tim Walker: Wonderful Things , the exhibition is scheduled to open on September 21st, and will include the largest collection of Walker’s images to date. Curated & designed by leading creative director and Walker’s long-term collaborator Shona Heath , the exhibit will feature 10 new photographic projects which have been directly influenced by the V & A’s vast collection. In preparation for the exhibit, the photographer scoured the museum 145 public galleries, scaled the roof of the 12 acre South Kensington site and explored the labyrinth of Victorian passages below level. Where he encountered , antique jewellery , erotic illustrations, the museum’s largest photograph as well as many other rare artefacts to serve as inspiration for the projects. 

“To me, the V&A has always been a palace of dreams – it’s the most inspiring place in the world. The museum’s collection is so wide and eclectic, and I think that’s why it resonates with me so much. Many of the objects that I saw during my research at the museum made my heart swell and I wanted to try to create a photograph that would relate not only to the physical presence and beauty of that object, but also to my emotional reaction to it. Each new shoot is a love letter to an object from the V&A collection, and an attempt to capture my encounter with the sublime. For me, beauty is everything. I’m interested in breaking down the boundaries that society has created, to enable more varied types of beauty and the wonderful diversity of humanity to be celebrated. Preparing for this exhibition over the past three years has pushed me into new territories, which is very exciting, and I’m at a stage in my life where I feel brave enough to do that,” said the man himself. 

‘Tilda Swinton’, Renishaw Hall, Derbyshire, 2018 (c) Tim Walker Studio

The exhibition will begin with  showcasing over 300 items including short films, photographic sets, props, sketches, scrapbooks and other items from which Walker drew inspiration as well 100 photographs from his previous projects. It will the continue into 10 additional rooms filled with the photographer’s work work inspired by the V & A, his films installations and evocative sets and props alongside the images they inspired.  The exhibition will take it’s bow on March 08, 2020. For more information, visit V & A. 

‘Zo, Kiran Kandola, Firpal, Yusuf, Ravyanshi Mehta, Jeenu Mahadevan, Chawntell Kulkami, Radhika Nair’, Pershore, Worcestershire, 2018 (c) Tim Walker Studio
‘Karen Elson, Sgaire Wood & James Crewe’, London, 2018 (c) Tim Walker Studio

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Cadogan Contemporary: Chance Encounters, Ilana Manolson

London based gallery Cadogan Contemporary recently teamed up with Canadian painter and botanist Ilana Manolson for the conception of a solo exhibition titled Chance Encounters. Set to open on April 23rd, the exhibition will be Manolson’s debut showcase in the city and will feature over 20 of her acrylic paintings with themes of representation and abstraction presented in ways which challenge traditional depictions of nature in nature in art. 

 A trained botanist, Manolson offers the viewer an intimate and profound knowledge of the natural world , she began painting while working at Canada’s National Park system in Alberta, where her office became a de facto art studio. Eventually, her passion and talent led her to study printmaking and painting at one of America’s most prestigious art schools, The Rhode Island School of Design.

 “I  see being a naturalist and being a painter as being very much related in that you are looking at an environment closely, looking over time and looking for the details that explain the larger whole,” the artist explained. The showcase will make its run throughout mid April and take its bow on the 10th of May.  

Cover Image : Yarrow, 2017; Shape of a trek, 2018; Wind teaser, 2018-19; Hunter, 2019 © Ilana Manolson, courtesy of Cadogan Contemporary

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Centre National de la Danse: “Where Did Our Love Go?” – March 16th & 17th

In the early 90’s during the Great Depression of the US, there began an interesting tradition of exhaustive dance marathons.  Participants would dance for hours while mesmerised audiences made bets on winners and predicted losers. Although they included many rules with risks of disqualification, these marathons offered a  cathartic release as they acted as a sort of mirror to the crisis happening where the main aim was survival as opposed to glamour.

French institution Centre National de la Danse as a part of their Trois Fois Rien exhibition recently tapped artist and choreographer Émilie Pitoiset to conceive a performance titled, “Where Did Our Love Go?” in ode of the iconic dance marathons. The 6-hour performance set for March 16 &  17 at the institution’s headquarters in Pantin, France will explore the dance form which Pitoiset has been studying since 2009. It will include repertory of gestures and postures which are at the heart of her studies and artistic works from the time period which will feature the bodies on the borders of falling, intimately enduring the mechanisms of capitalism in ways to appear increasingly contemporary. For more information, visit CN D.

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