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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Frida Escobedo to design Serpentine Pavilion 2018

The Serpentine Pavilion 2018 will be designed by the Mexican artist, Frida Escobedo – the youngest architect in the project’s 18-year history to accept the invitation. Born in 1979, the architect, who set up her Mexico City-based practice in 2006, is the first solo woman to have been awarded the commission since the project’s founding, which begin in 2000 with Zaha Hadid.

Escobedo’s Pavilion will take the form of an internal courtyard, a common characteristic of domestic Mexican architecture. A lattice of dark cement roof tiles, designed to mimic a celosia – a traditional feature in Mexican architecture that allows a breeze to flow through a building – will form the walls that enclose the courtyard and diffuse the view out into the park. The structure will equally comprise two pivoted blocks set at an angle to reference the Prime Meridian Line at London’s Royal Observatory in Greenwich.

“My design for the Serpentine Pavilion 2018 is a meeting of material and historical inspirations inseparable from the city of London itself and an idea which has been central to our practice from the beginning: the expression of time in architecture through inventive use of everyday materials and simple forms”, said Frida Escobedo.

Frida Escobedo | Photography: Ana Hop

“For the Serpentine Pavilion, we have added the materials of light and shadow, reflection and refraction, turning the building into a timepiece that charts the passage of the day.”

The combination of these materials will work in tandem to provide visitors with a heightened awareness of time spent in play, whilst conveying how the very concept of time is central to Escobedo’s design.

The pavilion will be open to the public from 15 June until 7 October and “promises to be a place of both deep reflection and dynamic encounter. With this bold interior, Frida draws history into the present and redefines the meaning of public space. We hope visitors of all ages will create their own experiences in the Pavilion this summer as we continue in our aim of bringing the urgency of art and architecture to the widest audiences” notes Serpentine Galleries Artistic Director, Hans Ulrich Obrist and CEO, Yana Peel.

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Arcades, escapism and English breakfasts: Alexa Chung’s ‘Fantastic’

A new video from Alexa Chung, directed by Jesse Jenkins, evokes the magic and nostalgia of the British seaside. Starting with a laconic reading of a John Cooper-Clarke’s poem ‘I Mustn’t Go Down To The Sea Again’ the visuals introduce a lonely dancer, spinning on the beach between cliffs. As the boy, dressed in a mustard corduroy suit, explores along the promenade, he discovers the ‘fantastic’ venue, and the allure of the glitter and musical magic inside – a gathering of women dressed in pink satin dresses and striped shirts.

“I think I’m always intrigued by that stage of youth where you’re caught in between teenagedom and adulthood.” Said Alexa Chung, creative director of her eponymous brand, of the video. “There’s a synergy between what’s going on in the video: finding one’s place in the world, tentative expression, the joy of discovery and what’s going on with our brand. Progressively feeling more confident. Britpop largely inspired this collection and that sort of ultra-British experience of soggy chips and windswept beaches and old men’s pubs and disco revivals is a time and a place I wanted to revisit in this film.”

A tribute to the joy of discovery and the energising power of music, this is the kind of romantic escapism that’s perfect for starting the week.

ALEXA CHUNG “FANTASTIC” from Jesse John Jenkins on Vimeo.

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Absolution: new exhibition addresses mental health and childbirth

A new solo exhibition from artist Camille Sanson addresses the experience of becoming a mother through her own experience. Personal and emotive, her series of photographs chronicles her body before, during and after pregnancy, at the same time evoking the state of her mental health through sculptural and transformative poses.

“I would love this exhibition to inspire women with mental health issues to seek their own healing through addressing their subconscious fears and finding a deeper connection within themselves and their shadows.” Commented Camille on the new show, adding that “It is not easy to undertake these journeys but ultimately so important if we are to strive to have a happier life, especially when bringing new souls into this world, so we can avoid transferring our own issues to our children and continuing unconscious patterns within them.”

Each image offers an unedited depiction of the body, but Camille works with paint and clay to emphasise the internal turbulence and tensions that women go through. As such, the images address the process of becoming a mother in its entirety, bringing the nuances of experience sharply into focus and offering a powerful call for communion and openness. In an age where women are increasingly breaking narratives about how they should feel and look during various events in their life, Camille Sanson’s contribution is timely, relevant and necessary.

The Veil, Camille Sanson

Gaia, Camille Sanson

The Mask, Camille Sanson

From the Waters, Camille Sanson

 ‘Absolution’ by Camille Sanson is at Herrick Gallery, 93 Piccadilly, Mayfair, London W1J 7NQ until February 3rd 2018. 

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Dying like Eva Hesse: Twin meets filmmaker Marcie Begleiter

It’s easy to see artist Eva Hesse’s life as a huge Hollywood epic, filled with love, passion, tragedy and early death. She was not only surrounded by some of the most influential artists of her time, she was one of them. But Marcie Begleiter’s documentary about the artist takes another route, focusing on remarkable artworks and a personality that resonates through time.

It was in graduate school that filmmaker Marcie Begleiter first discovered the artist Eva Hesse. She was looking for something else than the ironic, sometimes distanced work that was lauded in art magazines in the late 1980’s. “I wanted a deeper connection,” Begleiter reflects. “When I saw Hesse’s work in reproduction I was very moved.  It was smart and logical, but it also pushed against that with droopy materials. It had a great shifting to it. Eva didn’t simply find something that worked and stayed there, she shifted and changed.”

It’s hard, almost impossible, to describe Eva Hesse’s work in words. During her active years the expression and method was in constant development, and her journey from painter to sculptor shifted with an almost forceful passion. She would within her short life become one of the most important and influential artists of her time. Showing her work together with contemporaries like Carl Andre, Dan Graham, Mel Bochner and Sol LeWitt – almost always as the only woman in the group.


Her early work is mainly abstract paintings that during a residency in Germany started taking a more physical form – somewhere in between a sculpture and a painting. The later sculptures, made in her final years before losing the battle with brain cancer at the early age of 34, are big evocative constructions made with latex, fiberglass, rope and a mixture of mechanical trinkets. But still with a soft, almost sexual appearance.

 

Eva Hesse in 1968. Photo by Herman Landshoff. Eva Hesse. A film by Marcie Begleiter. A Zeitgeist Films release.

Eva Hesse lived a life that kept shifting and changing as much as her art. A life that would have been impossible to do justice without the participation of the artist herself:  the documentary is built around Hesse’s journals and letters, kept in the collection of Allen Memorial Art Museum in Oberlin, Ohio. With this extensive collection of writings (1 200 pages), Marcie Begleiter created a film where the artist’s voice rings clear. Through Eva’s own words (read in the film by actress Selma Blair) we are told an extraordinary story of a rather unusual life.

Eva’s life has the stuff of a true drama: Born to a German Jewish family in 1936 she was at age 3 put on the  Kindertransport and sent to Holland together with her older sister Helen (only 5 years old at the time). Their parents managed to get out of Nazi Germany and collected their daughters at the Catholic children’s home where they were staying before they all fled to New York. The rest of their relatives were killed in concentration camps, a tragedy that deeply affected Hesse’s mother.

But the hardships didn’t end after the emigration. When Hesse was 10, her mother, in the wakes of a mental breakdown, committed suicide by jumping from the roof of a building. Later in life Hesse’s marriage with artist Tom Doyle would end in a bitter separation, and her beloved father would die suddenly and unexpectedly, leaving Hesse anxious and with a deep sense of abandonment. Still, Marcie Begleiter’s documentary isn’t tragic: It’s full of passion, art, humour and most of all of life. Until the very last breath.

– Ten different filmmakers would have made ten different films. I’m interested in artistic process and materials. There are aspects of Eva’s  life that could be made sensationalistic. You have to allude to some of these things, because they are a part of the story, but what’s interesting is this person who faced enormous challenges in her life. Personal challenges and challenges in terms of the world around her, and still she found the persistence and the intelligence to create extraordinary drawings, paintings and sculptures. Even during the last year of her life, when she was greatly ill, she never stopped working. Not even from her hospital bed. And she had a great attitude about it: life doesn’t last, art doesn’t last. We still live our lives in the face of that fact.

The narrative is largely based on Evas letters and notes, could you tell me a little bit more about how you encountered and approached them?

– I had read Lucy Lippard’s book, and she quoted Hesse’s journals. A friend of mine,  an arts librarian, told me that the original texts were in a tiny library in Ohio at Oberlin College. I can’t even tell you what compelled me to do it, but I wrote a grant proposal and I got funding to spend a couple of weeks reading through the material. The people at the library would bring me boxes and boxes and I sat there with white cotton gloves on and went through Eva’s personal papers. In the journals there were drawings,  postcards from friends, announcements for shows. Her friends, once they knew that there was a library that kept her papers, sent in what they had. It’s all sorts of ephemera. It blew my mind. Here was this authentic, smart, insecure but absolutely self confident – kind of flipping back and forth between the pages – woman. I felt such a deep connection with the person that I encountered.

And after that you became interested in her as a subject for a documentary?

– Coming out of that first reading of the diaries I wrote a theatrical piece. A producer and friend of mine, Karen Shapiro, saw it and  wanted to move it to a bigger venue. I felt that we had to get someone from the estate onboard if we wanted to do something bigger. My desire in meeting the people who knew Hesse was to begin a conversation about doing that project. But once I met Lucy [Lippard], Helen [Hesse–Charash] and Tom [Doyle], I felt it needed to be a film. I called Karen and told her that I met some interesting people in New York and that I had another idea. And she said “Oh you want to make a documentary, don’t you? ” and I answered “Yes, how do you know?” she said “I saw it in my meditation this morning. If you want to do that, I’ll produce it.” So I called Helen, to make sure that no one had done it before. She was extremely encouraging and very supportive in terms of giving us access to all materials they had.

Which part of Hesse’s  life do you find most defining for her as an artist?

– I find it fascinating that she went back to Germany. This is 1964, less than 20 years after the end of the war. I went there in the 1980s and I had a hard time with it. But she went back to work in ’64, after everything that had happened to her family. She took the advantage to see Europe as an adult, to live without having extra jobs and just work. It was in Germany, partly under the pressure of being there, that she put aside traditional painting and started making three dimensional objects. That marked a real change for her. She started coming off the canvas. In the film it’s really the inciting incident of her life, that’s the change. She came back and she shot off like a rocket.

Did working with the film effect how you see and relate to Eva’s work today?

– I have come to the point where you can show me a drawing and I can pretty much nail the date of creation, within a year or two. There is a familiarity with the work that has deepened. What surprised me, is that after these years of working with her writing and her art, it has stayed fresh. I still find things that she wrote to be interesting, eye opening, inspiring and so thoughtful. It doesn’t  get old.

Eva Hesse in 1966. Photo by Gretchen Lambert. Eva Hesse. A film by Marcie Begleiter. A Zeitgeist Films release.

I found the quote “Excellence has no sex” very inspiring. Do you think it’s relevant to mention feminism when you talk about Eva an artist?

– You can’t talk about feminism as if she was part of a movement, because she didn’t participate politically in that conversation. But she was defined by who she was, and not by what other people thought of her. In her lifetime she refused to be categorized as a female artist and she wasn’t in shows with only women. She wanted to be, aimed to be, and was, a part of the general conversation. That’s certainly a feminist stance even though she wouldn’t have used that language. Looking back, female artists of the 70s and 80s certainly saw Hesse as a touchstone, as someone who was being recognised as a peer with male contemporary artists. She was just doing what she needed to do and saying “I’m one of the best”.

From seeing the film it seems to me that whenever Hesse faced hardship, she grew. That it adds to her creativity.

– Everyone has tragedies in their life, maybe she had more than others, but it’s what she did with the tragedy that makes it interesting. That compels us to want to know more and gives us, the people looking, a connection to her bravery. Her tenaciousness and humour. I was talking to Rosie [Goldman] who’s in the film, she told me that she’d never seen anyone face death the way Eva did. There was no regret there. No regret. She was living every moment to the end. I really wanted to put that in the film. In our culture death is sort of a taboo issue, in America death is seen as a failure. A failure of modern science, a failure of medicine, a personal failure. We live a good life. We need to have a good death. And that’s something Eva did; she died a good death.

As part of a series of fundraising events in 2018, Orlando will be screening Eva Hesse at London’s Horse Hospital on Tuesday 6 February. Eva Hesse is also  available on itunes and Amazon. Marcie Begleiter is currently working on the screen adaptation of the book “Stones from the River” by Ursula Hegi.

 

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SUPER SHARP

Deciding what to wear before a night out at the club can be a complex exercise. You want to look good, you want to feel good, but you also want to be able to move. Somewhere in your subconscious you want to signal your interests and alliances without looking like you’re trying too hard, and you want all of this to fill you with the confidence to go out there and just cut loose with your friends. And maybe all of that is further complicated by the hope that a specific someone, or any someone, will notice how you wear your outfit just so, and realise you are the woman / man / vision their lonely hearty has been missing. Everything you feel you feel more deeply on the dancefloor.

Little wonder then that music associated with a certain scene or a certain time always seems to come with its own unofficial uniform. From iconic subcultures like Punk and the New Romantics through to modern iterations like Riot Grrl and Emo, the birth of a visual aesthetic alongside a new sound seems a natural development. The problem is that when copying the look of a genre becomes easier than immersing yourself in it, it marks that genre out for ridicule. With the proliferation of affordable fast fashion pretty much anyone can get their hands on an approximation of any look they want. It’s no coincidence that the birth of the internet overlapped with the peak use of the word ‘poser’ as an insult. Everyone finds the ‘starter pack’ meme hilarious because it shows us how absurd so many modern tribes are; the outer trappings of a lifestyle don’t mean you actually live it.

Thankfully as with any arena where style and culture meet, there are scenes where all of this interplay between sound and style is more nuanced, and where the trends are part of the self-expression and sense of community that the best genres and club nights engender. Style on the dancefloor can richly reflect the style of the music, its inspirations and its roots. A new exhibit at Fashion Space Gallery, opening in February, will focus on the kind of stylistic dialogue that the very best scenes give rise to. The upcoming Super Sharp is an archival exploration of the style associated with the underground Jungle and UK Garage scenes in the 90’s. If you thought that the first paragraph of this piece was only relevant to women, then this exhibit is one way to cure yourself of that delusion. Curated by Tory Turk and drawing heavily on the private Moschino collection of Saul Milton, who jointly conceived the exhibition, Super Sharp features archive editorials from The Face, i-D, Dazed and underground rave ‘zine Eternity, as well as first hand accounts from the likes of PJ & Smiley (Shut up & Dance), Navigator, Jumpin’ Jack Frost, Goldie and Chase & Status. Photographs and original garments from personal collections combine with these accounts and archives to sketch a collective memory of a particular moment in UK club culture. Crucially Super Sharp will focus on the differences between the Jungle and UK Garage scenes, something that can be lost in the wave of nostalgia that a generation who never lived it have been swept up in

The style of nights like ‘Heat’, ‘Thunder & Joy’ and ‘Innovation’, giving a home to two-steppers from Hastings to Camden, was defined by its appropriation of Italian luxury brands like Moschino, Versace and D&G. Looking sharp was such an important aspect of the scene that iconic clubs like Twice as Nice enforced strict dress codes; if you wanted to get down to Artful Dodger or Wookie you needed to be looking on point. Jungle was given rise to by the UK pirate radio scene in the 90s, and Garage emerged from the 80s New York club scene which was at the time combining R&B vocal stylings with syncopated percussion and heavy basslines. Ultimately both scenes, their style and their sound, were given rise to by pre-existing black subcultures in the UK and USA – a debt the team behind Super Sharp are quick to acknowledge. The rave scene of Jungle which encouraged vibrant dressing met with the flashiness of an aspirational generation of clubbers, distilling their style as they moved through the UK Garage scene to one which signalled affluence via the right kind of Italian name and explicitly loud pattern.  It would be a mistake to think all this finery was simply about peacocking though; this style of dressing was about respect and dignity, broadcasting the care and expense put in to dressing a seriously as you wanted to be taken. With the influx of women in to these male-heavy spaces came a new take on sexiness too – demanding and commanding respect and attention on the dancefloor.

As UK Garage in particular moved in to the mainstream with acts like Craig David breaking through to the top of the charts, this specificity and originality of the club culture started to be washed out. Thankfully for us, the pictures, clothes and documents included in Super Sharp show the scene’s best-dressed and pressed in their element. Girls complement their matching tops with precise lip-liner, men sweat on the floor in crisp shirts, top buttons securely fastened, and everyone is wearing sunglasses inside and someow making it look cool. Bubbles are the drink of choice and no one looks like they aren’t taking things very seriously (including, most importantly, having a good time). Dance music of any kind is always made to be danced to, and the opportunity to do that in a space where everyone is on the same level is where subcultures and styles are born. In an era where so many of the UK’s oldest and most iconic venues are being forced to close, and London’s club scene seems to be balancing on a permanent knife edge, a celebration of the pure magic this exhibit elicits feels more timely than ever. A moment pre-internet where people care more about being there than broadcasting that fact, it seems hard to imagine something so pure thriving for so long in the present climate.

Super Sharp is the first instalment of RETURN II JUNGLE: ‘a series of exhibitions and events documenting the styles and sounds of British rave culture in the nineties’ is at Fashion Space Gallery, Thursday 1st February – Saturday 21 April, 2018. 

 

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Future Feminine

A new exhibition at the Fahey/Klein Gallery in Los Angeles brings the evolution of the female gaze to the forefront of the narrative. Aligning an international rostra of women artists, the exhibition celebrates a new era of photography in which the body is examined rather than objectified; observed rather than owned.

Exhibitors include Amanda Charchian, Remy Holwick, creative duo Honey Long & Prue Stent, and Magdalena Wosinska, who together offer an exciting harbinger of the future feminine narrative in photography.

Images span the mystic and mythic to snapshots of the mundane, with Charchian drawing inspiration from psychologist J.A. Lee’s interpretation of Greek philosophy, Prue Stent and Honey Long focussing on powerful juxtapositions of material and colour and Wosinska offering raw, intimate portraits.

The future looks bright, the future is female.

Future Feminine is at Fahey / Klein Gallery from January 18 – February 24, 2018. 

Featured image credit: Amanda Charchian

 

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Bethany Williams: Menswear In Search of Social Change

When one thinks of Bethany Williams’ brand, it is not necessarily within the confines of fashion. Encompassing sociological issues, political arenas and cultural quarters, to talk about Bethany merely within the limitations of fashion would be doing the brand an injustice.

Having released her brand less than two years ago, Bethany Williams has been constructing menswear that is embedded within charities and communities, hoping to cause a real effect in the social space we engage with. Working with the charities San Patrignano and London College of Fashion, UAL’s Making for Change programme this season – two pioneering rehabilitative programmes which work closely with vulnerable women and supports their path to rehabilitation through equipping them with craftsmanship and manufacturing skills and qualifications – and the model agency TIH Models, a new modelling agency supporting youth in London affected by homelessness, Bethany’s points of reference and areas of focus lay a typically socially attuned and sustainably-led focus on her third collection to date.

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The menswear designer showcased at the DiscoveryLAB this London Fashion Week Men’s January 2018 through both a film created in collaboration with Crack Stevens entitled ‘Women of Change’ and the collection alongside, ‘Attenzione’.

The film is a poetic narrative that celebrates the strength of the communities of San Patrignano and Making for Change, and explores how fashion can incur social and environmental change. 

Throughout the film, the theme of ‘second chances’ was explored, drawing parallels between the second chance given to the discarded materials from which Bethany created the fabrics at San Patrignano, and the second chance given to the women involved in both of these innovative programmes.  

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Through these social responsibilities that carry through the ethos of the brand, Bethany showcased a range that was less collection and more collective: shaped by the communities and charities involved, culminating in a selection of looks that tied together as a diverse multimedia display.

The presentation held an atmosphere of steadfast serenity, the models standing straight and majestic under a strong and direct spotlight in their ensembles, allowing for the audience to inspect the techniques and the fabric. The music emanating from the film was disarmingly enveloping: you were welcomed into the space, relaxing your senses in order to explore the film presenting life in San Patrignano and the resulting work they have created with the Making For Change community, Chris Carney Collections (a recycling facility where Bethany’s raw materials are sourced) and cottage industry hand knitters on the Isle of Man.

Bethany’s clothes are more than clothes – they are supportive measures, they are projects in itself. The garment design is led by sociological injunction and followed up with design rationale: recycled fabrics and the focal charities leading the shape, texture and function.

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Speaking of her design process, Bethany notes: It always starts with the charity or community that I am working with, then it goes to the waste materials that I want to use, then it goes to the fabric and then from the fabric I work out the form: it is initially inspired by the charity I choose to work with from the start.

Bethany chooses to show one collection a year, due to the prolonged process involved in each collection, the level of external organisation and support expected, and the bespoke nature of the garments. Presenting around the London Fashion Week Men’s dates allows her to capitalise on audience, and frees up the year to focus on projects with various partners and institutions.

Sustainability is steadily growing as one of the key issues the fashion industry is choosing to address. Being a consultant and lecturer alongside her brand, Bethany has seen the approach others are taking: “I think sustainability has become such a big concern at the minute. I consult for bigger brands as well as doing my own projects, and companies are thinking about it, and thinking about the future. I work with Kering and they have their sustainability department and its massive. All kering brands also need to have a sustainability manager at your brand. They are looking at processes for luxury across the entire supply chain: people are really looking at it and thinking about the future.”

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There are things that can make the heart beat faster – we all have our own hit list – but for London Fashion Week Men’s what will be a focus moving forward is the celebration of brands that are looking at the picture that far exceeds the fashion frame: brands where integrity and social responsibility is one of their first salutations.

And what would Bethany like her brand to stand for? Through her delightfully positive, softly spoken lilt “creating a solution through innovation”.

A toast to that for the brand that’s in it.

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Celebrating the beautiful self: Twin meets 19 year old trans model Maxim Magnus

In many ways 2017 has played out like the opening of Love Actually, in that, while unprecedented levels of political and horrors at home and abroad (Donald Trump being elected as President of the United States being just one of them) it was also a year which saw the widening of society to accept, and champion the many diverse individuals that make up society. It was a year of hope, love and a refreshed sense of community, as well as destruction and devastation. This cultural revolution was seismic and long overdue; the fact that it happened, though, at least ensures that while the struggles to ensure fair and diverse representation, pay, the future looks just a little bit brighter – even if Trump is still in power.

One of the many exciting new voices to have emerged this year is the 19 year old trans model Maxim Magnus. Her journey began at 14, when she started transitioning, and five years later she has already partnered with Gurls Talk to speak on their panel in Berlin and has featured in campaigns for the likes of My Theresa x Valentino and MAC Cosmetics, as well as opening the first show at fashion week this year.

As such, Maxim has become a leading voice in the LGBT community, inspiring others with her personal story as well as her activism through her Instagram page. Twin caught up with Maxim to talk about her journey so far, the role fashion can play in activism and what’s in store for 2018.

What were your experiences of growing up as a trans woman? 

Growing up I was always a very happy child, even though I knew something about me was ‘different’; I never made anything of it. When I was 13/14, I realised I was in the wrong body and something had to change. Finding out you’re stuck in the wrong body is awful, but it’s even worst when you realise it in the period where everyone around you is starting to develop and starting to do things you can’t do, like having sleepovers, or talking about boys, etc. All very superficial things, but very important things to a person of that age. I had been bullied before coming out as trans, so when coming out, I was always really defensive when talking to people about it. I think growing up trans made me grow up a lot quicker than the people around me, because I had to deal with issues teenagers shouldn’t ‘normally’ have to deal with. I constantly had to think about how I was presenting myself, doctor’s appointments, depression. Even though I had a lot of friends growing up, I experienced loneliness a lot.

2017 Jul - Maxim Magnus Trans Is Not a Trend

Were you instinctively drawn to fashion as an industry, and how did you get into modelling? 

I have always gravitated towards the fashion industry, probably since the moment I could talk. From a young age I would look at all of the fashion magazines or go through my mom’s closet and I would get so excited to get dressed every morning. When I was a teenager, I used fashion to show people my true identity and gender. I was always really fascinated by models, but never thought I would be able to be one. It was one of my teachers at Conde Nast who approached me and told me to start modelling.

How do you see fashion and activism aligning? 

When you look at the history of fashion, it is very clear that fashion and politics are close. What happens in the world affects the fashions of a certain period. Right now, human rights are more talked about than ever before and the fashion industry is supposedly full of the most open and creative minds, therefore it would only make sense that these individuals are the ones speaking up. The industry is also highly influential, and it has an enormous platform to reach people, to me, it only makes sense to use that platform for the greater good, as well as to show the beautiful creations made by these artists.

Who are your favourite image makers?

My taste in photographers really varies. I love the old-school classics from Helmut Newton, but then I also love the amazing fantasy world of Tim walker, and the raw over-exposed mind of Juergen Teller. I am absolutely obsessed with photography, I could talk about my favourite photographers for ages.

2017 June - Maxim Magnus - Lucas Suchorab 3

What changes have you observed over the last 5 years both within the transgender community and society as a whole, and what are you most proud of?

In the last 5 years, the community has gotten so much exposure. When I started transitioning around that time, there was not as much information about the community as there is now. I think rights-wise a lot has changed as well and I’m super happy that parts of the world are finally embracing the community, even though there is still a lot of work to do. I’m super proud of all the individuals who have powered through and become their beautiful selfs, because it is hard; even in today’s society.

You recently worked with Gurls Talk – what was that like, and how did you find the reception amongst that community?

Working with Adwoa and her team was one of the best experiences, and probably my highlight for 2017. They welcomed me with such kindness and they were so open-minded, it was amazing to work with a group of people who have the same mindset as me. Dr. Lauren and Alexa, who were also part of the panel are also two amazing people and I loved working with both of them. After the talk, some girls came up to me and they were crying, that really touched me – I never want people to cry when they listen to my story but it’s nice to know that a) people can relate to my story and b) that what I’m doing is actually helping some people.

2017 June - Maxim - Luc Coiffait 4

What are your views on how the industry moves the conversation forward and enacts positive change over the next 5 years?

I think the industry has to want to change, and they shouldn’t do it just because people are telling them to or because it will bring them good press coverage. Just the same way that I don’t want to be hired as a model solely because I am trans. I think the industry owes it to the world to use its platform to talk about these issues, and to embrace every type of human being – this doesn’t just go for the trans community. I can only hope that the industry will move towards a more diverse range of humans, as fashion should be inclusive.

What’s in store for 2018?

I have a lot planned for the new year. Firstly I hope to graduate from university. After that, I hope to be able to fully focus on modelling and activism. Right now, I use my Instagram platform to get my message out there, but I would like to do a lot more in I can only hope that the industry will embrace me, but so far I have gotten so many amazing opportunities which I am so grateful for.

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Paintings, Harley Weir

Celebrate the festive period at this Friday, 15th December with a Harley Weir book signing at Claire de Rouen.

Harley Weir’s new book, Paintings offers a different focus for one of fashion’s most iconic contemporary photographers, shifting the subject matter from humans to paint and texture. The images contain the same energy and precision as her portraits, playing with rhythms and juxtapositions within a more confined space.

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Stop by the hallowed book shop this week to pick up your own copy – and browse the rest of their beautiful stock (including, of course, Twin).

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LOEWE presents: ‘Chance Encounters III’

Opening during Miami Art Week, the LOEWE Foundation‘s ‘Chance Encounters III’ (the third in its series) brings together work by captivating artists– Sara Flynn, Richard Smith and Lionel Wendt – who together offer a rich fabric of work from across continents and time.

Richard Smith, Shuttle, 1975 (View 2) (c) Photograph by Antonio Parente for Flowers Gallery, London and New York

Continuing the brand’s commitment to craftsmanship and creative culture, the launch of the new exhibition symbolised an evolution of the connection between the house and artists; using the themes of shadow and the relationships between forms as the main aesthetic tenants, the works span fabrics, ceramics and photography.

Lionel 30

“Art and craft are always at the centre of my creative process and these exhibitions are an exciting way of exploring artists that are important to me.” Said Jonathan Anderson at the opening of the exhibition. “I love the unexpected things that happen when people from completely different worlds are brought together, the antagonism can create something completely new.”

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Open until February 2018, this exhibition offers a compelling display within the beautiful surroundings of  the LOEWE Miami Design District store. If you’re in Miami, visit.

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Person of the year: Rose McGowan and the silence breakers of 2017

Rose McGowan was awarded Time Magazine’s Person of the Year award 2017, an acknowledgement of the incredibly brave and powerful work that she, and the many other women who spoke up against sexual abuse in the wake of the Weinstein scandal, have enacted this year.

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“I’m not saying things that are earth-shattering. I’m just the only one saying them” McGowan commented in an interview with The Fall earlier this year – speaking then she couldn’t possibly have known the cultural shifts and change that her actions have since engendered. Because of women like McGowan, and those who followed from her lead, 2018 looks set to welcome a new era for gender equality where previously engrained cultures amongst elites from all industries have been broken, we hope, for good.

Images and quotes courtesy of The Fall magazine, which is out now. 

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The Palace Hotel

“I always felt that members of my family were eccentric characters that could have starred in their own movie” says Bobana Parojcic. The Serbian make-up artist paired up with photographer Sarah Louise Stedeford, along with stylist Lee Trigg and Tom Wright, to celebrate her family’s rich history within the settings of their home in Oxford, The Palace Hotel.

Nostalgic and vivid, the photographs pay homage to the transitions and journeys at the heart of the family story. “The women in my family were always powerful, strong role models that held the family and glued everything together” adds Bobana as she recounts her family left behind communist Yugoslavia to make a new life in England in the early 1970s.

Having settled at The Palace Hotel, the space has come to represent not only where Bobana’s family built their home, but also a haven of conversations, memories, events and romance.

See the series below.

 

© Sarah Louise Stedeford

© Sarah Louise Stedeford

© Sarah Louise Stedeford

© Sarah Louise Stedeford

© Sarah Louise Stedeford

© Sarah Louise Stedeford

© Sarah Louise Stedeford

© Sarah Louise Stedeford

© Sarah Louise Stedeford

© Sarah Louise Stedeford

 

 

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Documenting the rise of Blackpool’s grime scene

A new Noisey documentary goes deep into the underground grime scene to spotlight on its stars – Blackpool’s kids. And while these stars are barely in their teens, their lyrics are ferocious and sharp; their delivery quick, charismatic and harsh.

Watch the full documentary in the link above.

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Naked and free: Twin meets Monica Kim Garza

Monica Kim Garza’s paintings have the feel of lazy untouchable bliss. In her colourful world indulgent, semi nude or stark-naked women go about their business without a care – chronicling the everyday life of the artist herself. The scenes include drinking tea at home, playing basketball and having sex. Her voluptuous ladies are not self-portraits though, nor are they from any specific place or culture; they are more like an embodiment of Monica’s Mexican-Korean-Vagabond-aura. Throughout the years she’s moved around a lot. Her years of traveling to faraway places like Korea, Thailand and Peru have left traces in her work. It wasn’t much more than a year ago that she decided to move back home to the small town just south of Atlanta, Georgia to be close to her a family and to finally focus solely on her hibernating desire to paint.

Twin caught up with Monica to talk chicken wings, sensuality and balancing abstraction.

At the time I was living in New York and I was working a regular job. I felt kind of, I don’t know, kind of suffocated. It was too much concrete.

I started to make some artwork and I thought to myself “oh this is my dream. I should try to pursue it.” But New York is so expensive, and I couldn’t paint and work at the same time – so I just decided to move in order to afford to be more creative. I moved in with my parents and I worked part time at a chicken wing restaurant. It was really sad.

I can totally imagine a painting with one of your girls eating chicken wings.

I was eating a lot of chicken wings.

'i smoke when i drank', 2017 | © Monica Kim Garza

‘i smoke when i drank’, 2017 | © Monica Kim Garza

Your work is very sexy regardless of the situation depicted, a girl on an exercise bike is just as hot as one of a couple having sex. Do you consider your work sensual?

In think there is sensuality in the sense that the characters in my paintings are free. There is a kind of confidence when you feel free and I think that it’s sexy. You have this sensuality when you’re not burdened by anything and maybe that’s the feeling I’m putting there.

What do you think is so captivating with naked women lounging about in everyday situations?

Maybe the fact that there is not that much fashion, it is so free. I think even men can relate to it, it’s just like a human connection. Maybe people can relate or feel because they can relate to who I am as a person. In a way many of us have experienced the same situations, or can see something similar to it in the paintings.

'basketbol', 2017 | © © Monica Kim Garza

‘basketbol’, 2017 | © Monica Kim Garza

What do you like about the female form?

The reason I like the female form is because of the shape. I’ve always really been interested in geometric shapes, and for me the female form is perfect. You can move it in so many ways. If you really looked at a woman you could create a box within some portion of the body, or a circle for the breast, or even a rectangle under them. Whereas the man’s body is a little bit harder. More straight lined. You don’t get all these great geometric shapes.

Is that why you keep coming back to the same motif?

To be honest I just come back to it because it is so easy, it’s something obvious to me. My main focus as an artist is much more on colour, contrast, medium and composition. The motif is just so clear to me that I’m free to explore other artistic aspects of painting, I’m trying to find this balance of being abstract and not abstract. I’m always trying to see how far I can push it.

You mentioned that you keep five to ten paintings on rotation, constantly jumping from one painting to the next. How does this way of working inform your paintings?

Normally when I finished one painting the next one that I go to will have some kind of inspiration from the one before, some kind of element or colour. The reason that it takes so long for me to paint anything is because I change the colours too many times. I just can’t decide.

'2 handlers, 1 curator', 2017 | © Monica Kim Garza

‘2 handlers, 1 curator’, 2017 | © Monica Kim Garza

Your women are happy, confident, curvy and of colour, that speaks to a lot of people. But if I’m right you’re not consciously trying to give a more nuanced view of women?

I definitely get a lot of questions about body shape and skin colour, but for me it’s never been done consciously. My main focus is to create these beautiful paintings with geometric shapes and colours I like. But I’m happy to hear any positive feedback on anything.

Have you become more conscious after hearing these comments?

Actually a little bit. I do think about what people say sometimes, and it encourages me to go forward with my love for colour, abstraction and shapes. It’s almost allowing me to do more, because I’m telling myself not to be scared and to do anything in my work. But I don’t necessarily want to be a spokes person. I just really, more than anything, want to be a great painter. Almost desperately.

 

Monica Kim Garza will show her latest work December 6th at Untitled Art fair in Miami.

 

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Twin meets winner of the Film London Jarman Award, Oreet Ashery, and nominees Adham Faramway and Marianna Simnett

Now in its tenth year, the winner of The Jarman Award was announced at Whitechapel Gallery on the 20th November. This year saw Oreet Ashery take home the prize, receiving £10,000 to develop her projects which consider gender and society with the support from Channel 4.

The award recognises artists working with moving image, celebrating and supporting experimental, imaginative and innovative UK-based work. The Jarman Award is named after legendary experimental director and cinematographer Derek Jarman.

Twin spoke to winner Oreet Ashery along with Adham Faramway and Marianna Simnett – both shortlisted for the award.

Adham Faramway’s work draws on the language of advertising and combines it with the transgressive aesthetics of ‘body horror’, Oreet Ashery is an interdisciplinary artist who confronts ideological, social and gender constructions, while Marianna Simnett surgically lowered her own voice with botox during her short film The Needle and the Larynx, which screened on Sunday. Together they represent some of the most exciting filmmakers on the scene today.

Twin meets Oreet Ashery

 

Why did you choose the web series format for your film Revisiting Genesis?

My work always reaches beyond the structure of the contemporary art institution, but this is my first major work created specifically for the internet so that it can be freely accessible to as wide an audience as possible. I was inspired by the independent filmmaking of web series’ such as F to 7, and wanted to develop my own approach to the genre as a visual artist. Revisiting Genesis aims to conceptually expand the entertaining and narrative driven elements of the format. One of the central questions explored in the work is around what happens to your online digital content (websites, social media profiles, photographs etc) after you die, and as such the internet provides an appropriate platform for the work.

How does Revisiting Genesis force viewers to consider their own mortality and their online legacies?

Hopefully it makes them think and contemplate whether they want to put anything in place in preparation for death (expected and unexpected) and if so what and how.

How does the film expand on some of the key ideas you have been exploring in your practice?

The film expands on the notion of a potential community, in the real sense that most of the people in the work know each other from the art and  performance  world. The fictional narrative speaks about a community of friends, outside normative family structures, that come together to help Genesis. I think a lot about how we can structure our busy lives  so we can have space to help a friend if needed.  The other issue that comes up in the film is the loss of social structures, such as the community college Charles Keene in Leicester, it was the first place I felt a sense of belonging as a young immigrant to the UK in the late 80s. the College has been demolished in 2010 and has been amalgamated to a multi campus university, as is the faith of most community colleges. After the films I received great emails from people who were outsiders and use to go there and achieved so much in their lives since.  The emails mentioned what an important role this college played in their development. The other aspect, and there are many, is the  idea of one’s identity or the narration of one’s life, in this film I’ve expanded this notion to the afterlife.

What do you hope viewers will take away from Revisiting Genesis?

I have no expectations as such. What I always hope people well take away from my work is something that lingers, that is not easy and that makes them think.

Twin meets Adham Faramawy

Where does the title of your film, Janus Collapse, come from?

The time that I was working on the video that’s shortlisted for the Jarman award was both personally and politically pretty unstable. I was recovering from a minor a road accident and

TV and social media were (and still are!) saturated with adverts and disaster politics. I was kind of trapped at home, looking at this stuff, reading sci-fi and feeling introspective. I had to think through some things while researching for the show at Bluecoat in Liverpool. Where the piece would first

be seen. I wanted to think through this instability, to think as an image-maker about how images are used to introduce and reinforce certain ideas. I wanted to examine the ways that images are disseminated and to consider what effect that has on me personally and whether it affected how I was thinking about my body.

The Janus is the two faced Roman god of doorways and transition. I decided to use his image as something to hang this examination of instability on, while casting the idea of a collapse as something generative, the possibility of the collapse of an image.

How does the film subvert tropes that are used in advertising?

In a way I consider almost all my output as a kind of contamination of aesthetic categories. I feel uncomfortable with hierarchies and I just don’t like being told who I am or what to do, so my interest in advertising is in a sense symptomatic of that sense of always wanting to investigate

and push back. The way that I’ve been investigating commercial images is to try to inhabit them, mimic them, intensify and distort certain aspects until they no longer possess a commercial potential.

When did you start incorporating the ‘body horror’ genre into your work?

Writer Jamie Sutcliffe pointed it out to me in an interview! He said, “We see a pair of hands moisturizing with a digitally enhanced, absurd and all-consuming slime. It’s a quick slip from Evian commercial to a kind of Cronenbergian symbiosis.”At that point I started looking for body horror in adverts and realized that images of melting teenagers were being used to sell pizza and escaped tongues were being used to sell beer.

It was Octavia Butler’s Xenogenesis Trilogy that introduced me to the idea of body horror as one facet of a potentially holistic, tender, nurturing, non-binary sexual experience.

What do you hope viewers will take away from the film?

I hope that viewers take away a feeling complicated and queasy enough to highlight the operative mechanisms of the image they’ve just ingested.

Twin meets Marianna Simnett

The Needle and the Larynx was screened on Sunday – what was the inspiration behind that film?

A sudden, terrible urge to lower my voice, a fascination with toxins and hypodermic needles, and a desire to warp my experience into a fable.

Why is it important for you to put yourself into your work, and to test the limits of your own body?

I can take risks with my own body I wouldn’t take with others. It’s my go-to tool for telling stories, and helps me to live out my ideas and not just think about them. At best, my work might prompt someone to cup their genitals or necks, as if to check they are materially, unmistakably present. That liminal space between being a thing or a someone, and then morphing or falling apart – I’m hooked on those moments.

You have often explored the gendered implications of voice and masochism, what draws you to these themes?

I’m interested in appropriating and spoiling archetypes, especially when it comes to the final binary constraints of heteronormativity. Pitch, tone, timbre and accent have implications on social bodies and their right to exist in one place and not another. Voices (often disembodied) in my work battle patriarchy and madness. Masochism is a submission to fantasy.

 

Twin exclusive: L Devine brings it home for ‘Growing Pains’

“The first time I spoke to Liv I knew that we had something special to create.” Says director Emil Nava, the brains behind videos of stellar hits such as Selena Gomez’s  ‘Kill Them With Kindness , Aluna George’s ‘I’m In Control’, and Calvin Harris’ video for ‘This Is What You Came For’.

The partnership between director Emil and the 19 year old Newcastle-born singer has seen itself manifest in a new, long form video release to accompany L Devine’s latest EP, ‘Growing Pains’. 

A truly exciting name to watch, Devine got her first break after she uploaded a Beyoncé mash up onto YouTube, attracting the attention of American producer Mickey Valen. After having saved up three months rent, she traded northern life for London – and the gamble has paid off.

Marrying a knack for astutely evoking relatable scenarios with catchy, memorable melodies, L Devine makes the kind of modern pop that is easy to get excited about. For the launch of her new track, the singer partnered with Emil Nava to create an evocative video that brings together a melange of important women from the singer’s life. “Each of the women in the video has lived life with no restraints, and certainly never let their gender get in the way of working hard, doing what they love and being who they are.” Says the singer of the new film. Rooted in real life experience, the video brings Devine’s close friends and family into the story, harnessing the candour of shared memories and experience of love, sexual curiosity, and transition into adulthood against the sometimes stark, sometimes electric backdrop of the city.

Following on from the success of ‘School Girls’ earlier in the year, this new video, shot on 16mm film, perfectly captures the twilight moments between adolescence and adult life. Check out the full version below.

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North: Identity, Photography, Fashion

SHOWStudio’s Lou Stoppard and academic Adam Murray have joined together to co-curate a new exhibition, North: Identity, Photography, Fashion, which opens this week at Somerset House, having transferred from the Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool.

The exhibition brings together designers, fashion photographers and artists, with contributors that include Raf Simons, Jamie Hawkesworth, Glen Luchford and Turner-prize winning artist Mark Leckey. At the crux of the exhibition is a desire to explore the mythology around the North and its culture, decodifying the traditional narrative around the region and instead investigating how it has really influenced contemporary style.

Raf Simons menswear Autumn Winter 2003 Paris Menswear Fashion Week Copyright Catwalking.com 'One Time Only' Publication Editorial Use Only unless otherwise formally agreed

In a post-Brexit era, the exhibition is both timely and surprisingly overdue. As Adam Murray notes in his essay ‘The Constructed North‘, since Agyness Deyn’s rise to stardom in 2008, ideas of the North have long inspired and informed the zeitgeist. However the personal, more visceral experience of the area and its influence has yet to have been investigated – until now.

North: Identity, Photography, Fashion is at Somerset House until 4th February 2018. 

Photograph by Alice Hawkins Photograph by Jason Evans

Photograph by Stephen McCoy

All images courtesy of Open Eye Gallery.

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The Great Women Artists: Women on Instagram

‘But in actuality, as we all know, things as they are and as they have been, in the arts as in a hundred other areas, are stultifying, oppressive, and discouraging to all those, women among them, who did not have the good fortune to be born white, preferably middle class and, above all, male,” Linda Nochlin wrote in her seminal essay Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists? published in 1971. The essay highlights the ways in which institutional barriers have suppressed the voices of female artists throughout western history, acting as a foundational text for feminist art theory. It only takes a scroll through Katy Hessel’s Instagram account @thegreatwomenartists for one to be reminded of all the voices that were silenced; all the brave, provocative and breathtakingly intelligent female artists – from 18th century portrait painter Maria Verelst to sculptor Andrea Zittle to contemporary photographer Nydia Blas.

'Disgusting, Self Portrait', 2016 | © Antonia Showering

‘Disgusting, Self Portrait’, 2016 | © Antonia Showering

It is Instagram that has become the common denominator in the curation of Hessel’s first exhibition The Great Women Artists: Women on Instagram – an exhibition which will feature fifteen UK-based female artists who have used Instagram as a mechanism to showcase their work. Speaking to a following of over 600,000 Instagram users globally, these artists have a very powerful voice indeed.  The show questions what it means to be a female artist in an era dominated by notifications, and asks whether this has facilitated a greater emancipation from the instruments of oppression for the women of this generation?

The theme of the exhibition is interesting as it seeks to display the works by these artists in a way that has been rarely seen: face to face. We are encouraged to take our eyes off the cracked screen of one’s iPhone and flock to Mother, London this Thursday to engage with the work in a more tangible manner. One featured artist is Dolly Brown, or @londonlivingdoll, a visual and performing arts photographer based in London. When asked what viewers will find most surprising about her work when they see it in real life she remarked: ‘I think that after people become accustomed to seeing your images on a very small scale on their phone, it must be a pleasant surprise to see them printed large(r). The first time that I showed work “in real life” I printed as large as I possibly could, I think simply because I was so excited about the prospect of the images having a life outside of the phone. The hang that we are going for in this show is a grid so it replicates the way that the images are presented in Instagram, but I think this is also an indication of how the “gallery” on Instagram has encouraged me to shoot in series and to think about how all the pictures will look together when they are eventually posted.”

© Alice Aedy

© Alice Aedy

There is a broad range of participating artists, including Juno Calypso (@junocalypso), whose self portraits have won her prestigious awards including the Series Award at the 2016 British Journal of Photography International Award; Kate Dunn (@bellissi.mama), whose earthly toned oil paintings revive the traditional medium; and Unskilled Worker (@Unskilledworker), who has been commissioned by fashion’s great including photographer Nick Knight and brands such as Gucci. The artists conquer a wide array of themes including feminism, womanhood, politics, diversity, mental health, colour and form.

‘Whatever else Instagram is, it has given me the opportunity to work with artists and performers that I never would have been able work with, had it not been for the app, ‘Brown praises the medium for its ability to connect female artists globally – to share common issues, grievances and ideas. Whatever you do this Thursday, it might be worth getting off Instagram and coming down to see the exciting collision of female creativity in real life.

The exhibition is at Mother London, E2, from November 13-17th, by appointment only. 

Featured image by photographer Maisie Cousins

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Watch This Space: An Exploration of the Object that has Become an Extension of our Modern Bodies

Watch This Space is a book that examines our relationships with our screens, ‘the defining object of the twenty-first century’. A limited edition collaboration between writer, editor and curator Francesca Gavin, and Pentagram partners Luke Powell and Jody Hudson-Powell, the book questions the function of our screens, and how they shape our everyday experience. Watch This Space provides an in-depth analysis of the object that has become an extension of our modern bodies, looking at the impact of screens on society, culture and the self.

The book includes the work of almost 50 contributors, including Yuri Pattinson, winner of the 2016 Frieze Art Award, conceptual documentary photographer Richard Mosse, and artist and director Margot Bowman. It has been produced by Pentagram, an independently owned multidisciplinary design studio with offices across Europe and the United States.

The design of the book actually reflects the subject matter, with the material used on the cover replicating the physical feel of a screen. Inside, pages are printed using Vivid Colour, a new five colour process that adds violet to CMYK, combined with stochastic imaging, which creates a near photographic definition image.

The book launches on November 8th at Tenderbooks in Leicester Square.

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