Fashion East x Galeria Melissa

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

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

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

Imagery by Dexter Lander

Imagery by Dexter Lander

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Repeal the 8th Amendment: now is the time for change in Ireland

Ireland. The country famed as the Land of Angela’s Ashes, of Beckett, of Tayto crisps and of one of the oldest documented skeletons. It is also home to one of the most outdated legislations in the Europe.

Twin contributor Isabella Davey explores the realities of the existing abortion laws in Ireland and what the referendum on May 25th could mean for the country’s future. 

Abortion in Ireland is illegal. The only exceptions are if there is a threat to the life of the mother, either medically or through suicide. In any other case there are prosecuting consequences for women who choose to have an abortion through uncontrolled and potentially unsafe methods. Often women have no choice but to put themselves at risk.

On the 25th May, a review of this archaic situation will come into play. The national response to the Referendum to repeal the 8th Amendment will hopefully reflect a modern Ireland of contemporary and democratic values. Repealing the 8th Amendment would see Article 40.3.3 removed from the Irish constitution.

This would then pave the way for legislation that would allow for free, safe and legal abortion procedures for women in the country, and return the right of bodily integrity and self-determination.

Speaking to Hannah Little from London-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign on the importance of the referendum:

“No one under the age of 52 has voted on access to abortion in Ireland so this referendum is an overdue opportunity for Irish citizens to have their say. With our #HometoVote campaign, were calling on vote-eligible Irish abroad go home to vote to remove the 8th Amendment. Irish citizens overseas may retain full voting rights for a period of 18 months before the referendum so we’re asking the Irish diaspora to visit our website www.hometovote.com for further information.”

The Eighth Amendment of the Constitution Act was introduced in 1983 after a referendum that asked Irish people to vote on the State’s abortion laws (which held abortion as illegal) and resulted in a 53.67% majority in favour of the right of the unborn child.

This saw the following amendment entering the country’s law:

The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.

In 20th Century Ireland, this wasn’t the only backward decision shaped by Catholic opinion. There is an alarmingly long list:

Divorce: only made legal in 1996. Contraception, inclusive of condoms: illegal up until 1979, where it was only made legal under doctor’s prescriptions who must be satisfied that the contraceptive is sought for family planning purposes. Condoms: only made legal to purchase in chemists in 1986. Marital rape: legal until 1990 when the Criminal Law (Rape) (Amendment) Act abolished the clause that stated a husband could not be found guilty of raping his wife. Homosexuality: decriminalised consensual homosexual acts in 1993. These above examples illustrate the extreme delay in civilian rights in Ireland.

The fact that Ireland still serves abortion as a criminal offence only furthers the exasperation: why is Ireland stuck in such a backward law?

 

Ireland lies in a state of polarisation. On the one hand are the old laws, influenced by Catholic State rulings and on the other, a new Ireland that has embraced medical and technological advancements alongside its strengths in the arts. 

The reasons for the necessity of the 8th Amendment to be repealed are globally clear:

The main argument for the necessity is in the fact that the illegality of abortion removes the right of the woman’s own body and the right of choice from the woman. Her body is under the decision of the state, of which has had its laws deeply shaped by allegiance to the Catholic Church.

The secondary argument is that abortion has swiftly moved on from being a clerical abomination to its denial being a severe health risk, mentally, physically and emotionally.

In 2012 Savita Halappanavar died after being denied an emergency termination whilst miscarrying. As a result the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013 was brought through. This stated that:

It shall be lawful to carry out a medical procedure in respect of a pregnant woman in accordance with this section in the course of which, or as a result of which, an unborn human life is ended where— (a) a medical practitioner, having examined the pregnant woman, believes in good faith that there is an immediate risk of loss of the woman’s life from a physical illness, (b) the medical procedure is, in his or her reasonable opinion (being an opinion formed in good faith which has regard to the need to preserve unborn human life as far as practicable) immediately necessary in order to save the life of the woman, and (c) the medical procedure is carried out by the medical practitioner.

This ruling extended to include the risk of suicide on the pregnant woman’s behalf, but also enforced a prison sentence of up to 14 years of ‘unlawful abortions’ that don’t adhere to the above exceptions.

Destruction of unborn human life 22. (1) It shall be an offence to intentionally destroy unborn human life. (2) A person who is guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable on indictment to a fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years, or both.

Considering that the SAVI (Sexual Abuse and Violence in Ireland) Report of 2002 ratified the distressingly high figures for women below, the survey weighed up the low indictments against female abuse, and the high percentage of Irish females exposed to it:

Women: More than four in ten (42 per cent) of women reported some form of sexual abuse or assault in their lifetime. The most serious form of abuse, penetrative abuse, was experienced by 10 per cent of women. Attempted penetration or contact abuse was experienced by 21 per cent, with a further 10 per cent experiencing non-contact abuse.

If 10% of women in Ireland, based off the study’s figures, are experiencing penetrative sexual assault, this would allow victims of rape who fall pregnant to fall through the cracks of the law, leaving them vulnerable to the state and forced to carry a crisis pregnancy as a result of rape to term of an attacker.

In the X case of 1992, which saw a 14 year old rape victim having her case taken to the Supreme Court, the High Court initially instigated an injunction against her plans to secure an abortion abroad having had suicidal desires.

The X Case brought about the removal of limitation of one’s freedom to travel to secure an abortion, however the case brought through the proposal to remove suicidal desires as legal grounds for an abortion, known as the Twelfth Amendment of the Constitution Bill 1992, which was rejected in a referendum.

In 2002 the Twenty-fifth Amendment of the Constitution (Protection of Human Life in Pregnancy) Bill, 2002 which further looked to remove threat of suicide as a ground for abortion and increase the penalties for helping a woman have an abortion, held a voting result difference of 0.84% of the population against the amendment passing. That is a controversially low figure for a constitutional amendment imploring further punishment and further removal of medical reasoning.

The question the Referendum raises is about trusting women: trusting them with their bodies and the decisions that they choose to make.

 

In 2010 an Irish woman with terminally ill cancer sued the Irish state for violation of human rights after she had to cease her cancer treatment due to an unplanned pregnancy interfering with her treatment. Her obstetrician in Ireland was left unable to perform an abortion, leaving her arms tied due to the laws in place. The patient had to fly to the UK to secure one, despite her severely ill condition.

Today it is estimated that up to 12 women travel to the UK every day to access abortion clinics.

“Our best chance at winning this referendum is if people are willing to have those ‘tricky conversations’ with family and friends about why this issue is so important and why their vote matters.” Adds Hannah Little. “Abortion is still a very divisive subject, even in countries with less restrictive laws than Ireland. This referendum serves as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to take healthcare out of the constitution and legislate for compassionate care for pregnant people in Ireland.”

The right to choose an abortion is one that is a deeply personal decision to many, and one that is not aiming to secure one answer, but give the control of that decision back into the hands of the women who currently have their decisions dictated by the State.

The results of the Referendum on May 25th will hopefully reflect the values of an Ireland ready to shed its past. Should we face a rejection of repealing the 8th Amendment, we will not be just facing a prohibition on our rights, we will be faced with the realisation that Ireland is failing to accept positive progression.

For further information visit Together for Yes and London Irish Arc

Feature image credit: Robbie Lawrence ‘The Road to Tyninghame’ for Twin magazine.

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L.A. Dreams at CFHILL

Bright colours radiate from the CFHILL art space in Stockholm were the exhibition L.A. Dreams is currently showing.

Colourful is the first word that comes to mind when describing the works of art that are on display. A women nonchalantly resting in the bluest water, a Goofy-esk headless body trapped in eternal bridge pose, large paintings of distorted roses and a sculpture of an insanely red apple – all share the space.

The exhibition, curated by Chines Californian curator Melanie Lum, shows the works of six contemporary L.A. based artists : Math Bass, Laren Davis Fischer, AAron Garber-Maikovska, Parker Ito, Becky Kolsrud and Joshua Nathanson. The pieces are different but tied together by an almost naively positive way of tackling the  the dualism of the a fragmented city tormented by pollution, drought and crime city in an almost. Smudging the lines between fantasy and reality with colour.

Images courtesy of CFHILL Art Space

“When we opened the show in April it was still that kind of grey early spring in Stockholm”, says Michael Elmenbeck creative director at CFHILL Art Space. “To fill 800 square meters with all those energetic colours was amazing. Walking into the space was like getting a light therapy shock.”

What’s so special about L.A.?

– Every now and then you get these creative movements from specific cities, take Leipzig for instance. First people discovered Neo Rauch, and then they became interested in what was happening in Leipzig and then ten other artists appeared from that specific city. That’s what’s happening in L.A. right now, except not just in art, but in other creative fields too. It’s an incredibly dynamic city when it comes to tech, music, food, fitness and, since Hedi Slimane brought Saint Laurent to L.A., even fashion. The music and hip hop scene is the most influential and progressive in the U.S. – it’s the same with art.

Images courtesy of CFHILL Art Space

Why do you think that is?

– One reason is that New York has gotten too expensive, it’s impossible for artists to find a studio. And then you have Donald Trump, he’s a New Yorker in every way, many want to get away from that too. So they move to L.A. where there are both studios and a place where different creative expressions co-exist. Most artist work with a broad variety of mediums and expressions, just look at Kanye West or Murakami. And then there’s the L.A. light that you just don’t get anywhere else.

Images courtesy of CFHILL Art Space

For L.A.Dreams you worked together with curator Melanie Lum, how did that collaboration begin?

– We were introduced by a mutual friend who works with Art Basel and we quickly realised that we had the same taste in art. And when I heard that she worked with many of my favorite contemporary artists I just asked her, then and there, if she wanted to do something for CFHILL in Stockholm. We quickly got positive responses from many of the artist, but they are all internationally renowned so it took about a year to put this expansive and well curated exhibition together.

Images courtesy of CFHILL Art Space

What would you say is most special feature in the exhibition?

– Math Bass is an artist that I’ve admired for a long time so it was incredible for me to show her work, but what made it extra special was the fact that we were able to, for the first time ever, show her work together with her partner Lauren’s. But really I think that the mix between these six L.A. artists it the most interesting thing.

L.A.Dreams is showing until May 19th and you can also see Carsten Höller’s work at CFHILL.

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Jennifer Lee is awarded LOEWE Craft Prize 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mark Dion exhibition | courtesy Kunstraum Dornbirn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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New African Photography III

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

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

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

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

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

Ruth Ossai X Mowalao

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

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

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

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Posturing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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An interpretation of the real: Twin meets Alice Waese

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How does your design approach differ between jewellery and clothes?

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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ANOK: The final face of Willy Vanderperre’s ‘/ 12 series’

The last of Willy Vanderperre’s /12 series with IDEA books spotlights on 19 year-old Anok Yai. As the first black model to have opened a Prada show since Naomi Campbell in 1997, the profile of Yai is a powerful way to end the series. The model embodies the energy and determination of a young generation working to ensure a more equal future for those that follow.

Throughout his series Vanderperre’s emotional and sensual photography has juxtaposed the personality and prowess of the models photographed. The images offer readers timeless portraits of young talent, sure to become iconic faces in the next few years. Explore the whole series here.

SUPERSTRUCTURES: The new architecture 1960-1990

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jane: [laughs] The toxic term.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What drew you to this project at first?

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

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

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

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

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

And still alive!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What about the landscape makes it compelling to photograph?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Terri Loewenthal Psychscape 26 (Rock Garden, CA) 2017

Can you talk about your compositional approach and process?

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

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

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

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

Terri Loewenthal Psychscape 41 (Lundy Canyon, CA) 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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Everything is recorded: Francesca Gavin meets Toby Ziegler

What happens when you mix sound and image? This layers of contrasts and collaboration has led to one of the most interesting projects of the year, between British artist Toby Ziegler, XL’s Richard Russell and Sampha. Toby took time to talk to Twin about the project:

How did the decision to work together happen?

I’ve known Richard for about 15 years. We’ve had a 15 year long discussion about music. We’ve also been talking about collaborating for ages but this is the first time it made sense. About two years ago he played me early recordings of some songs off the album, and immediately the title track clicked with this work I’ve been doing, using search engines, so I offered to make a video for that song. The installation grew out of that video.

How did you respond to the music?

Initially I set out to make a fairly conceptual video that only intersected with the song in places, using a similar image search to make a kind of visual Chinese whispers. I was aware of Sampha and Richard’s narratives behind the song, but I was trying to make a tangential video about the way images get juxtaposed online, poignant ones and banal ones. I wanted to reflect the dispassionate nature of the algorithm that drives an image search: sometimes cancer cells are visually equivalent to instagrams of pizza, and termite mounds segue with mushroom clouds. Image searches can function like cut-up techniques or tarot, highlighting our predisposition to find meaning or poetry in seemingly random juxtapositions, and sometimes looking for images online feels like consulting the oracle. In this case subconscious decisions and fate intervened in extraordinary ways to make the video far more autobiographical, and closer to the narrative of the song, than I had originally intended.

Everything is Recorded installation at Hackney Arts Centre

With this album Richard was considering his experience of temporary paralysis from Guillan-Barre syndrome, and Sampha related the song to the experience of sitting in hospital with his dying mother. During the month I was finishing the video my mother had an accident, spent two weeks in a coma and then died. So many people visited her during the course of those 2 weeks, it was a real vigil, but frequently the highly emotional atmosphere was punctured by the banal. Discussions of consciousness and mortality, jostled with lengthy conversations about sandwiches.The video took on all sort of resonances I hadn’t previously considered and I allowed myself a different sort of freedom in the final editing. So the video took this sequence of image searches as the starting point, compressing over 3000 found images and videos, but I then incorporated some photos and videos I’d shot myself.I’ve found images operate at different speeds, and editing the video was analogous to playing a musical instrument. I played the drums for 20 years and then quit in my late twenties, but for this video I made a sequence of images and ‘played’ them.

Then I decided to make a second video for a song featuring Infinite Coles called 8am. It triggered a very specific memory for me, from an acid trip when I was 16. I made a lot of work that stemmed from that one evening in a way, and it started me off using CGI in my paintings. I have this archive of 3D landscapes and objects that I used for paintings and sculptures about 10 or 15 years ago, and for this video I turned them into an animation, a sort of drive-through of this tunnelling geometric space.

Tell me about the installation you created to debut the films and how it functioned?

The song Everything Is Recorded was also central to my design for the installation at the abandoned cinema in Dalston. I wanted to project the video in an old disused cinema for the association with projected analogue images, and also as a space that clearly bore the scars of it’s history. For the installation I wanted to show the two videos I’d made on a cinema screen, flanked by two other screens with projections from webcams in real time. I wanted something that operated at a different frequency to the slightly epileptic ‘image search video’ and the CGI of the 8am video (originally I was going to use a live feed of motorway traffic cameras on the other two screens) When we found a space that could house both the projections upstairs, and the gig downstairs it seemed perfect, and immediately it was clear that the live feed should be to cctv of the stage and rehearsals downstairs. It was very interesting to have these different projections running simultaneously. When you walked into this delapidated, cavernous cinema you could hear the band rehearsing in the space directly beneath you, rumbling through the floor, and see a live link to two cctv cameras trained on the stage. It was an uncanny experience, and often took people a few minutes to compute how the sound and images fitted together. If you put on the headphones you could hear the soundtrack to the videos I made, which were projected on a larger central screen. There were two parallel audio spaces to go with the two visual ones.

What works did you show as part of the performance rehearsal area? What did you like about that context?

When I was 17 I went to Lagos and saw Fela Kuti play in his club, Shrine. It was this huge corrugated iron shed with black and white photographs lining the walls, really rickety podiums dotted around for his dancers, and a huge stage that didn’t really separate the audience from the band. Initially about ten musicians came on and started playing , and then periodically a few more people would wander on stage, have a drink and a chat, and then join in, until eventually there were about 50 people on stage. Fela came on after about four hours of this. That was partly the inspiration for the stage downstairs.

I put a low stage in the middle of the room so the audience could get close and it felt intimate, but it was a place the whole band could hang out. The space downstairs is usually a venue for weddings and is white with a tiled floor and a lot of purple furniture, but I wanted attention to be focussed on the performers and a few objects I introduced, so I put a black floor down and black drapes all around, like a Samuel Beckett production. The stage was approximately triangular with some higher and some lower platforms, and three of my my older sculptures functioning a bit like totems or sentinels at the points. The sculptures also appear in the 8am video as virtual models in a CGI landscape. On the walls there were huge posters of Robert Johnson and Ralf and Florian from Kraftwerk, who were the household gods for the whole project.

Everything is Recorded installation at Hackney Arts Centre

What interested you about the contrast and relationship between music and your work?

I used to play in bands when I was a teenager and in my twenties, but it reached a point where I was dividing my time between visual art and music, and not doing anything justice. I got sick of being the unreliable drummer so I completely quit playing. I loved what playing the drums does to your brain, and I think I can occasionally reach a similar state making visual things. I definitely think music informs my paintings and sculptures in a lateral way. I think images and objects function at different frequencies or speeds, and since I’ve started making video work that aspect has become more explicit.

The title track is very much a criticism of our relationship to the digital. How does this connnect to your own take on the internet, technology and our access to imagery?

I’m not sure if that’s what Richard and Sampha intended, but for me it’s exciting how quickly things are changing and sinister how trusting we are. My diabetic son has a sensor under his skin that talks to my phone, to monitor his blood sugar, and in a way the internet also functions as a prosthesis. The internet is a repository for many of our memories, and Google could be seen as our collective unconscious. When you do a similar image search for a picture that doesn’t exist online, the algorithm analyses the image and creates a set of visual parameters by which to find similar ones: colour, tone, composition, and to some extent subject, and shows you the most popular images within those parameters. The results change from day to day depending on what people are looking at. I found that one brownish, abstract image which reliably fed back images of fried dumplings suddenly started to prompt pictures of arid landscapes, because of a drought in California. The results also change because of the constant modification of the algorithm , and it’s scary to think how much influence the designers of these algorithms have.

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Raise The Barre

The new season demands poise, precision and passion in order to do it justice. Watch the new fashion film from Agnes Llyod-Platt made especially for Twin magazine. Read the full story in the latest issue, out now.

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Walter Van Beirendonck limited edition at Dover Street Market

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

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

Walter Van Beirendonck

Walter Van Beirendonck

Walter Van Beirendonck

Walter Van Beirendonck

Walter Van Beirendonck at Dover Street Market

Walter Van Beirendonck

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To what extent is Spiritism a theme throughout the exhibition?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Foam new talent exhibition

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

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

See highlights from emerging photography talents below.

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Meet the finalists of LOEWE Craft Prize 2018

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

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

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

Paul Adie (United Kingdom)

Paul Adie searching for solid ground III

Gunilla Maria Åkesson (Sweden)

Gunilla Maria Aakesson

ARKO (Japan)

Arko Asako Sato

Yeonsoon Chang (Republic of Korea)

Chang Yeonsoon, MatrixIII Time, Space, Human.

Min Chen (China)

Chen Min

Hae Cho Chung (Republic of Korea)

Hae Cho Chung

Steffen Dam (Denmark)

Stefan Dam

Sam Tho Duong (Germany)

Sam Tho Duong

Sara Gackowska (Poland)

Sara Gackowska

Ann van Hoey (Belgium)

Ann Van Hoey: 2017. The Earthenware Ferrari

Joe Hogan (Ireland)

Joe Hogan

Marie Janssen (Austria)

Marie Janssen

Joonyong Kim (Republic of Korea)

Joonyong Kim

Christopher Kurtz (United States)

Christopher Kurtz

Takuro Kuwata (Japan)

Takuro Kuwata

Jennifer Lee (United Kingdom)

Jennifer Lee

Deirdre McLoughlin (Ireland)

Deirdre McLoughlin

Richard McVetis (United Kingdom)

Richard McVetis

Simone Pheulpin (France)

Simone Pheulpin

Irina Razumovskaya (Russian Federation)

Irina Rezumovskaya

Aneta Regel (United Kingdom)

Aneta Regel

Ryuhei Sako (Japan)

Ryuhei Sako

Rita Soto (Chile)

Rita Soto

Laurenz Stockner (Italy)

Laurenz Stockner

Wycliffe Stutchbury (United Kingdom)

Wycliffe Stutchbury

Mercedes Vicente (Spain)

Mercedes Vicente

Julian Watts (United States)

Julian Watts

Takeshi Yasuda (United Kingdom)

Takeshi Yasuda

Ashley YK Yeo (Singapore)

Ashley YK Yeo

Shohei Yokoyama (Japan)

Shohei Yokoyama

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

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

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

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

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


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

Yeah Magic © Alexander Coggin


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yeah Magic © Alexander Coggin

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

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

They’re part of the project?

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

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

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

Have they ever vetoed anything that you’ve done?

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

Yeah Magic © Alexander Coggin

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Juno Calypso opens ‘The Salon’ in London

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

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

Animation by Geriko | Juno Calypso exhibition in London

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