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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“The Wahi Series”, – Northern New York City as seen by Kasandra Enid Torres

Kasandra Enid Torres is a culture and fashion photographer based in Washington Heights, NYC who has been documenting the soulful inhabitants of her neighbourhood for the past three years. Her series titled “Wahi” — short for Washington Heights —  diaries the vivacious poetic spirits of the busy district in ways which treasure the Old New York City aesthetic with a 21st Century twist. In conversation with the photographer , Twin discusses her inspirations and experiences throughout the process of the project. 

When did you first start shooting in New York? 

I moved to the city at the beginning of 2013 after graduating from Savannah College of Art and Design in 2011. For the first two years I didn’t shoot much, I was constantly working 24/7 and if I had free time I spent it sleeping. I was also on an artist block, I wasn’t sure what to shoot. I came from an art background making abstract photography and films. To get myself unstuck, I started to shoot anything and everything.

What inspired you to start the “Wahi” series? 

Around 2015 I started to shoot regularly. At the time I didn’t have access to models so I decided to shoot outside in my neighbourhood. I am not the most extroverted person and having to go out to make pictures by approaching strangers was daunting to me. It was definitely a challenge. I slowly got more comfortable with it and found my flow. I got my hands on a Hasselblad Superwide C, which is a medium format camera with no viewfinder. It was fun experimenting with it and finding its sweet spot. It is a somewhat big and chrome camera. I liked shooting with it for this series because it attracts attention. It is also a conversation piece, people approach me asking me about it and allow me to take their portrait. 

How do you select your subjects? 

I walk up and down on St Nicholas Ave between 168th and 191st street, keeping myself open for opportunities. I am attracted by really interesting people, how they are dressed, how they walk, their  expressions etc. I also choose things that speak to the culture of the neighbourhood, such as the supermarkets, the crowded bus stops, the chairs, domino tables, and the empanada carts. 

What’s your favourite thing about Washington Heights?

My favorite thing about this neighbourhood is the people. I love being surrounded by other hispanics. Having lived away from my family for the past eight years, I like being reminded of my culture and roots. I like listening to the radio blasting salsa or reggaeton while walking to the supermarket. I like watching the intensity of people playing dominos. I love the sidewalk parties of people chilling on their lawn chairs, drinks in paper bags, puffing from hookahs and grilling up on barbecues.  I love the wafts of food smells, such as pernil, mofongo, empanadas, and asopao. It feels like home. 

What would you like people to take away from viewing this series?

I want these images to give the viewer a look inside this Old New York style neighbourhood. There really aren’t many places like this in the city. Majority of the city has been gentrified and franchised. I want them get an honest raw interpretation of this community.  I want them to be able to see how interesting and cool the neighbourhood is, to feel as if they were there. 

Can we expect to see more projects like this from you in the future?

Yes I will continue to document series like this one. I just wrapped up a series I shot near the Adirondacks in January of a Snowmobile drag race. I shot that one during an insane blizzard! I am also currently shooting a series at busy subway platforms like Times Square, documenting all types of people.

What’s next for you as a photographer? 

I am always looking for new ways to challenge myself. With each new series I try to do something I haven’t done before, be it a camera technique, lighting technique, shooting a specific way or subject matter. 

Where can one view more of your work?

Majority of my work is online. I have work published here on Twin (my Afropunk series), Document Journal, a couple of other indie magazines and my website. My Dependence series is published on issue 7 of Recens Paper, another of my favorite project. In the future, I aim to have a gallery show at a space in the neighbourhood. I want to give back to this community that has given me so much. 

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Doodling with Illustrator Carla Uriarte

Carla Uriarte’s doodles are dinky, wonky, pinky-plonky. She incorporates scrawls, bubble writing and statements, the catching’s of a conversation, passing thoughts and internal monologues into her drawings of birds, creatures, women and abstract landscapes. Her approach has a way of presenting a female sensibility amongst her make-believe Australiana landscape lilt and intriguing creatures and friendly monsters: some of her work are simply abstract forms that might hold mouths, tongues, teeth, housed in globules of colour and shade. 

They are definitely doodles, in the sense that they seem to be scratched from the surrealism of her mind, yet are brought forth into reality through the statements that neither start nor stop. It almost feels like the images and the words reflect one another: they neither have sharp edges or some no edges at all. Merely soft openings without the need for a cathartic finish.

They are surrealistic, they are eye-catching, they are calming: they are doodles destined to define nothing in particular but open a frame into a world Carla has created for herself and her viewers, invited to enter and interpret as they see fit. 

What do you do for fun, what’s your favourite colour, how did you get into drawing and illustration?

Swim, wine, dance, socialise, paint. Mustard. Natural Instinct. 

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

Sport. Focusing. 

What defines a doodle?

Quick movements without too much effort or thought. 

When you draw, what comes first: the statement or the illustration?

Still unsure. Can’t say. Either or depending on the moment. 

Who is the best doodler in history?

David Shrigley 

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?

Very IMPORTANT – for obvious reasons. I think that without the education of art it is easy for a young person to think that they cannot make a career out of ART which can cause them to feel forced into working in a field that does not interest them — leading to a life with no passion or pizazz, resentment etc. etc. 

Does Australia enter your work?

The landscape, feelings, people and experiences of wherever I happen to be always enters my work.

Does your mind drift as you draw or does drawing help your mind drift?

I think my mind drifts 24/7. I find that the mediation of drawing brings me inside of my head allowing me to explore the different layers of all that goes on within.

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The Art of Women Exhibition

This week, British organization The Art of Women launches their exhibition in support of women across the United Nation. The Art of Women is a solidarity movement for the empowerment of women which unites UN Women with fashion models in an effort to amplify their voices. The organization is a commitment to human rights and is a form of advocacy for respect towards women and  diversity by promoting change through art and raising awareness around issue surrounding feminism . The Art of Women opens the doors of their exhibition tomorrow March, 4th through 6th at the Florence Loewy in Paris. The exhibition shot by Nikki Esser, provides a perspective on a diverse representation of women, authenticity and empowerment as the photographer captures the personalities of her muses through her warmth and the connections she creates with them. For further information visit The Art of Women.

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J Hammond Projects: “Fuck Paintings, Etc.” by Betty Tompkins

This week London based exhibition space J Hammond Projects presents the opening of their latest exhibition “Fuck Paintings, Etc” by pioneering feminist artist Betty Tompkins. The exhibition which opens today features a series of pornographic images aimed predominantly at men missing heads, hands and other identifiers until the work takes a form of abstractionism. The artist tells the stories of sexuality and desire from a female perspective, in attempt to break the monopoly of the male gaze. The  series will include a selection of ‘Fuck’ , ‘Cunt’ , ‘Pussy’ and ‘Dick Paintings’ which the artist has completed throughout the last decade along with four brand new text works from Tompkin’s “Insults/Laments” series. 

The “Insults/Laments” is a combination of the artist’s work featuring quotes of crude and degrading language directed at women. “I’m always moved by what I’m quoting, by including the words in my paintings, I’m showing respect for how women have survived these awful experiences,” stated Tompkins.  

The artist began her journey of making giant genitalia ‘Fuck Paintings’ over half a century ago and was presenting a body of work which had initially been rejected by all corners of the art world for its sensitive subject matter. As a result, despite a handful of group shows during the early 1970’s these  paintings have been ignored for the past three decades stored in the Tompkins’ New York studio until a solo exhibition in 2002 and her participation in La Biennale de Lyon the following year. The exhibition is set to run throughout March until April 13th. 

Betty Tompkins Who Will… Acrylic on canvas 2019
Betty Tompkins Cunt Painting 2017, Acrylic on Canvas

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Hen The Exhibition, by Bex Day

British fashion and documentary photographer Bex Day in collaboration with producer curator Sandrine Servent and artist publisher William Esdale have recently joined forces in the conception of a campaign which seeks to raise awareness and visibility of the UK’s older transgender community.  The campaign titled ‘Hen’ is an initiative Day has been working on for the past three years, that aims to promote a better understanding of integration in and outside the transgender community through an exhibition, film, talks and workshops. 

According to Day, “Hen is an anthropological study on gender fluidity and an exploration into the lasting impact societal restrictions concerning sexual identity and gender roles upon us. It examines how gender stereotypes have affected the older transgender community and questions how we define gender and if as a society we should, as well as exploring the inherent social and cultural problems within these alienating classifications.” The exhibition is set to display a series of 30 photographic portraits in various sizes and a newly commissioned film featuring subjects over the age of 40 which with successful funding, will take place in London at the Herrick Gallery during the first week of April following Trans Day of Visibility day on March 31st.

Unfortunately , the campaign is sans funding and is in attempt of seeking financial sponsors to cover the expenses of the panel discussion, transport and installation of the artwork, equipment for the three workshops among other costs. The workshops will be hosted by the charity Stonewall Housing with whom the exhibition has partnered with to ensure that 50% of prints sales goes to the organization as one of the UK’s LGBTQ+ and trans only supported accommodations. Twenty percent will also be contributed to partners Press For Change as one of the UK’s leading campaign groups in focus of the rights and treatment of transgender people. To donate, visit Hen The Exhibition, to learn how. 

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Homage To Karl Lagerfeld: 30 Years of Photography at Galerie Gmurzynska

Swiss art gallery Galerie Gmurzynska has recently opened it’s door to an exhibition in honour of the artwork of the late Karl Lagerfeld. Many might not have  known that one of the iconic designer’s talents were photography but over the decades Galerie Gmurzynska has worked with Lagerfeld on numerous shows, publications and projects. The gallery is also said to be the very first to put his photography on display. 

“We wanted to honour this long collaboration and this man whom we regarded as one of the last true renaissance genius. We were all incredibly saddened by his passing and spontaneously wanted to show our respect for Karl by remembering our two decades of collaboration, showing a wider public his lesser known passion for photography,” said co-owners Mathias Rastorfer and Krystna Gmurzynska. The exhibition features nearly 50 pieces of Lagerfeld’s work which has been curated  Rastorfer in a way to take it’s audience on a comprehensive journey throughout his body of work.  The exhibition will conclude on May 15th. Visit the gallery’s website for more information.

Cover image: Benicio Del Toro (Hollywood Stars) 2002

Nicole Kidman (1995) by Karl Lagerfeld
Gone with the Wind (1996) by Karl Lagerfeld
Series BodyParts (1998) by Karl Lagerfeld

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susan pui san lok: A COVEN A GROVE A STAND

Earlier this month at the Firstsite gallery Colchester,  opened an uncanny exhibition titled “A COVEN A GROVE A STAND.”  The exhibition pioneered by artist susan pui san lok, is an exploration of the age-old practice of witchcraft and the history of witch persecutions across East Anglia during the 16th and 17th centuries where over 300 witches were executed by the Witch Hunter General Matthew Hopkins. 

Throughout the exhibition , the artist’s focus is on an 800 year-old oak tree called the ‘Old Knobbley’ located in Mistley, Essex and is rumoured to be where witches were thought to have hidden.  The exhibit also includes a sound installation which echoes several versions of the folk song “Cruel Mother” around the tree. The showcase is set to conclude in April and will evolve overtime as the artist will encourage her audience to participate in the exploration of the themes of voice, place, collective remembrance and resistance.  

Famous Old Knobbley oak tree in forest in Mistley, Essex – Image by Callum Redgrave
 A COVEN A GROVE A STAND, 2019. Photo Douglas Atfield, Courtesy Firstsite
 A COVEN A GROVE A STAND, 2019. Photo Douglas Atfield, Courtesy Firstsite

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Fondazione Prada: “Surrogati – Un Amore Ideale”

Later this month Fondazione Prada will present a peculiar exhibition curated by Melissa Harris entitled “Surrogati. Un Amore Ideale” (Surrogate. A Love Ideal).  Set to be opened on February 20th at their Osservatorio venue in the Galleria Emanuele,  Milan, the exhibition will feature the works of American photographers Jamie Diamond and Elena Dorfman which will explore the notions of romantic and sexual love. Each of the photographer’s works create visual and oral discussions around the theme of emotional linkages between male and female with the notion of synthetic representations of humans. 

“Together, Diamond’s and Dorfman’s work presented in ‘Surrogate’ vividly and non judgementally documents the interactions of humans with their lifelike, inanimate companions” says curator Melissa Harris.

The exhibit will showcase three subcategories of work, by Jamie Diamond:  Forever Mothers (2012-2018) and Nine Months of Reborning (2014). The prior captures the lives of an outsider art community called the Reborners who are self-taught female artists who create, collect and interact with hyper-realistic dolls which help them fulfil a certain desire for motherhood.  “Working with this community allowed me to explore a grey area between reality and artifice where relationships are constructed with inanimate objects,  human and doll, artist and artwork, uncanny and real.”

Elena Dorfman’s segment of the exhibition features her series titled Still Lovers (2001-04) which highlights the lives of men and women who have relations and often devote themselves to life-size, realistic sex dolls. This series instantly ignites conversation about the power of lover and the value of an object that has the power great enough to replace human beings. Dorfman’s intentions behind creating the series was not to exploit or shun the deviancy of these unconventional relationships but to instead reveal the fascinating world of intimacy between flesh and silicone. “ My ambition is never to judge, but to allow the inhabitants of this secret world to share their daily lives with me. In familiar surroundings  of their homes, I watch the scenes of domestic life unfold, the artist explains.”  The exhibition set to conclude on July 22,  will also carry an illustrated publication in the Quaderni series published by the Fondazione, which will consist of conversations between the curator herself, the artists along with some of the image subjects.

Forever Mothers, (2014) Jamie Diamond
Rebecca 1, Still Lovers, (2001) Elena Dorfman
CJ & Taffy 5, Still Lovers, (2002) Elena Dorfman
Forever Mothers, (2014) Jamie Diamond

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TO GO: Nights Global : The Female Experience Pop Up

Nights Global, a London based pop up cinema launched in 2015, for their first venture of the year will premiere an event which explores “The Female Experience.” Running from February 18th through 24th, the experience will be hosted in Brick Lane, Shoreditch and will include a series of seven events.

The first two days will feature workshop group discussions on topics such as Social Media Branding and Making Bold Decisions which will feature a panel of fashion stylist Nayaab Tania, Nail Artist Jess Young, Actress and Rapper Lauren Marshall.  The second workshop will discuss Time Management, Collaboration and Freelance with a cast of Net-a-Porter Stylist Audrey Mark, Filmmaker and Actress Thea Gajic, Co-Founder of Crownrose swimwear Nikky and Illustrator Olivia Twist. Over the course of these two days, this diverse panel of women are set to discuss some of the most pressing questions and issues facing females in the creative industries. 

The next following days (20th-24th) will feature a retails party where female products will be selling products. As well as film screenings which have been produced, directed and written by female creatives such as Thea Gajic, Runyararo Mapfumo, Rosie Matheson, Kaj Jefferies, Savvannah Leaf and Ella Bennett. For more information and ticket visit Nights Global.

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Twin Magazine presents “Twin X” : Jan 31 – Feb 02

This week Twin Magazine opens our doors in London to a group exhibition  entitled “Twin X” which celebrates a decade of local emerging talent and creativity.  The showcase, which opens on January 31st at The Store X in East London, pulls on the visual archive of our biannual print publication featuring the works of several creatives throughout the industries of fashion, photography and art. Collectively curated by Twin Founder Becky Smith; Twin art editor and curator Francesca Gavin; curator and gallerist Antonia Marsh; image director Holly Hay and Twin fashion editor Naomi Miller, the exhibition is an amalgamation of the personal taste and perspective of each curator. 

It is a display which collectively showcases specially-commissioned editorial images that focus on independence and individualism, which are themes that have been carried throughout the magazine since it’s conception in 2009. 

“As publications have come under increased pressure to compromise over the last decade, Twin has remained a distinct and independent platform for pure creativity. The show celebrates the artists that have helped shaped and define independent publishing as it stands today, ” says Founder Becky Smith.

With work from photographers such as Stef Mitchell, Cass Bird, Boo George, Bibi Cornejo Borthwick, Dexter Navy and Akinola Davies Jr, the show deconstructs a central narrative into four sections: Photographers, Models, People and the Unseen. Exploring the thoughts behind these characters, faces and creatives who are defining the nature of contemporary creativity. The Unseen section of the exhibition will also feature never-before-seen outtake shots from the magazine’s photographic archive, providing spectators with a rare insight into the world of image-making and its process. Twin X features free admission and concludes on February 3, 2019. 


Photograph by Yaniv Edry, Issue 19, 2018.

Photograph by Akinola Davies Jr., Issue 19, 2018.

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The Town of Tomorrow – 50 Years of Thamesmead

Recently released was a hardcover published by Here Press Publishing entitled The Town of Tomorrow – 50 Years of Thamesmead, in tribute to one of London’s iconic towns.

“Rising from London’s Erith marshes in the 1960’s, Thamesmeand was LondonCounty Council’s bold attempt to build a new town to address the city’s housing shortage after World War ll. It’s ben noted for it’s daring, experimental design, concrete modern terraces, blocks of flats and elevated walkways built around a system of lakes and canals. Today Thamsmead is home to more the 40,000 people but throughout the years, economic, political and social pressure have left their mark. In the 198’s, as opinion turned against the modernist converts architecture, the focus shifted to more conventional red brick homes. Since the 1990s, as some of the original buildings began to fall into disrepair, Thamesmead has relied increasingly on private investment for new developments in what had previously been a mainly council run town. 

In ‘The Town of Tomorrow,’ history has already been assembled and preserved. The architecture and it’s inhabitants have been captured by archive material. Combined with newly commissioned photography by Tara Darby. Original plans, models , postcards, leaflets and newspaper clippings are presented alongside interviews with local residents. Together with an introductory essay by John Grindrod, the images covey the story of an influential and often misunderstood town, from the dreams and excitement of its ambitious original vision to the complex realities of living there today.” 

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Three Welcome Returns at BRAFA

How does the art world decide what is hot? Often it is something emerging from institutions and curated shows, reflecting cultural change, politics and the contemporary moment. At other times the litmus test of a great artist is coming from the commercial world. Brussels fair BRAFA is like the Chanel of art fairs. It is classic, classy and daydream worthy. What was so fascinating at this year’s 65th fair is how across multiple booth three 20th century artists emerged as hot tickets. All three of these artists are worth rediscovering.

BRAM BOGART                                                                                                            

One of Brussels own, the Belgian expressionist painter Bram Bogart made textured, chunky paintings that look like sculptures on walls. Affiliated with the playful avant garde. COBRA group, Bram’s pieces mixed media from concrete to chalk in colourful, inventive, thick waves. He represented Belgium at the Venice Biennale in 1971 and died in 2012.
Bogart’s work is also on show now at the Tate Modern in a room devoted to paintings made with the colour white. At BRAFA you could spot him at least four booths, including stand out pieces at Rodolphe Janssen and Whitford Fine Art.

Bram Bogart, Russian-way, 1993 at Rodolphe Janssen

SERGEI POLIAKOFF


Born in Moscow in 1900, Poliakoff left home age 12 to be a musician, enrolled himself in art school age 19 and spent years playing guitar in cabarets across Europe – from Constantinopole to Vienna, Belgrade to London. After meeting Kandinsky and Sonia Delaunay in the 1940s, he began to make art seriously. Based in France, he became a very
successful painter in the 1950s and 60s but fell out of fashion in recent years. Poliakoff’s beautiful painterly interconnecting shapes are now having a welcome return. You could spot him at Zurich’s Galerie Von Vertes and Axel Veervordt among other booths at BRAFA.

Serge Poliakoff, Composition abstraite, 1966 at Galerie Von Vertes

PIERRE ALECHINSKY


Another Belgian COBRA artist, Alechinsky’s scrawled colourful abstract canvases were all over BRAFA. He work at first has a lot in common with the wildness of Dubuffet and contemporary hot Norwegian painter Ida Ekblad definitely has been eyeing up Pierre. In the 1950s, he began fascinated by Japanese calligraphy, was the Paris correspondent for the
Japanese ink magazine Bokubi and moved there with his wife. Later back in Europe, he taught at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in the 80s and hung out with surrealist pioneer Andre Breton. BRAFA was loving him with work at Die Galerie, Samuel Vanhoegaedern and a stunning early piece at Rodolphe Janssen.

Pierre Alechinsky, Untitled at Rodolphe Janssen
Pierre Alechinsky, Le Point du Jour, 1966 at Die Galerie

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V & A : “Christian Dior, Designer of Dreams”

On February 2nd, London based Victoria and Albert Museum will open the doors to the largest comprehensive exhibition to be staged in the UK on the fashion house of Dior. Titled “Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams,” this exhibition will trace the impact of one of the 20th century’s most influential couturiers while exploring the works of the six artistic directors who succeeded him. Although based on the major exhibition “Christian Dior: Couturier du Reve,” at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, the showcase is reimagined for the V & A by curator Oriole Cullen and includes a brand new section which explores the designers fascination with British culture. 

“There is no other country in the world, besides my own, whose way of life I like so much. I love English traditions, English politeness, English architecture. I even love English cooking,” a quote from Christian Dior. The designer deeply admired the British  way of life, even his first fashion show took place at London’s Savoy Hotel and he then later established the brand as Christian Dior London. 

The exhibition also gives insight to Dior’s creative collaborations with jewellers, shoemakers, and glove makers as well as a focus on some of his earliest elite clients. These include author Nancy Mitford, dancer Margot Fonteyn and a special highlight of the Christian Dior dress worn by Princess Margaret for her 21st birthday. The exhibition will presents over 500 objects and over 200 rare Haute Couture garments displayed alongside the designer’s personal possessions. The show will reveal the sources of inspiration which help define the Dior aesthetic, from the intricate designs of Yves Saint Laurent to Maria Grazia Chiuri’s feminist vision. The showcase will be held across 11 sections which include titles such as The Dior Line, Dior In Britain, Historicism, Travels, among others. Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams opens February 2nd until July 14th , to book your tickets visit V & A.

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OSL Contemporary: The Future Stands Still But We Move In Infinite Space

Norwegian gallery OSL contemporary in it’s latest venture has teamed up with a few artists for part two of their group exhibition called “The Future Stands Still but We Move in Infinite Space.” Opened earlier this month at their HQ in Oslo, the exhibition brings together a group of creatives who challenge our perception and also create an awareness of how different elements are entangled in a network of relations. Through the forms of sculpture, photography collage, film and drawing, these artists tell a story as they perceive the world as a continuous difficult dialogue with objects, memories, sensations, possibilities and prohibitions. Featured throughout the exhibition are collaborative works of Toril Johannessen and Marjolijn Dijkman with a diverse group of microorganisms seen through a light microscope. Also from photographer Kamilla Langleand who creates vintage photographs into fascinating collages and interdisciplinary artist Andrew Amorim who skilled in photography, film and video installation. These among others are the contributing creatives to the exhibition curated by Randi Grov Berger, which will conclude on February 23, for more info , visit OSL. 

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Hanna Moon & Joyce Ng: English as a Second Language

English creative hub Somerset House has recently tapped two of fashion’s headlining Asian photographers Hanna Moon and Joyce Ng for the conception of an upcoming exhibition entitled ‘English as a Second Language.’  The exhibition, set to open on January 25th, will be driven mainly by the work of these two Asian-born London-based photographers. It will offer a series of images with an interesting perspective, which shall incorporate cultural signifiers, set design and of course fashion as they present their take on Western aesthetics and fashion ideals. While at the same time bringing distinct Asian perspective to their works and challenging the concept of “otherness” to reflect upon the power fashion photography holds in shaping our general perceptions of beauty style and taste. Curated by Shonagh Marshall,  ‘English as a Second Language’ is set to be arranged across three rooms. The first of which visitors will be welcomed by the works of Hannah Moon in her series called ‘Heejin and Moffy’ where she uses the architecture of the Somerset House to capture the imagery of the models who respectively hail from South Korea and London in a dramatic re-imagination of Somerset’s neoclassical setting. The exhibition will then continue with the work of Joyce Ng , whose speciality is working with street casted models and natural environments. She will present a body of work which features a cast from the House’s community across a six week period as she invited visitors to take part in on-site shootings. The series will include inspiration from renowned Chinese novel Journey to the West, which the photographer selected participants to embody each character from the novel within the hidden public spaces of Somerset House. The exhibition  will also feature an extensive wardrobe from iconic names such as Vivienne Westwood, Phillip Treacy, Molly Goddard, Yohji Yamamoto among others.  For further details check out Somerset. 

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Serpentine Gallery x Grace Wales Bonner

London’s Serpentine Art Gallery and British-Jamaican designer Grace Wales Bonner, have teamed up for the release of an exhibition at the gallery in honour of the designer’s iconic work and research. The exhibition set to be opened on January 19th will explore the themes of mysticism, rituals and magical resonances throughout black cultural and aesthetic practices. The audience will be treated to a multi-sensory installation which will include an assemblage of shrines, a carpet installation by Rashid Jognson and a series of meditation workshops led by musician Laraaji during the opening days. The designer will draw inspiration from the improvisation, intentionality and repurposing of shrines from the Black Atlantic as material portals into multiple worlds and frames of experience. As she references images, rituals and ceremonies from across the world into a unique collective. The exhibition will culminate on February 16th and will lead into the presentation of her upcoming Autumn Winter 2019 collection titled Mumbo Jumbo. To RSVP, visit Serpentine.

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