Artist Seana Gavin has rummaged in the super/collider’s library of vintage science books and world encyclopaedias to create surreal collages of imagined landscapes.
Inspired by a mutual love of old educational materials, each collage draws on anthropology, space exploration, mineralogy, botany and astronomy – transforming hard science into a series of otherworldly scenes that are both playful and slightly unsettling, existing outside of any recognisable time or place.
The three new prints follows on from Gavin’s ‘Cosmic Worlds’ series in 2011, which similarly depicted otherworldly scenarios.
The triptych – Planetoid Life, Time Traveller and Liberty Sunset – are available to buy on super/collider now.
Started by Vanessa Carlos of Carlos/Ishikawa, Condo Art Fair sees 15 London-based galleries host 21 international galleries, joining together to create collaborative exhibitions across the city. Although only in its second edition, the fair has already almost doubled in size, adding prominent galleries such as Sadie Coles and Maureen Paley to its line up this year, alongside emerging galleries, such as Emalin and The Sunday Painter.
Londoners have a month to discover the spaces alongside each other, more than enough time to revel in the wide range of artists exhibiting in one city. The refreshing unification and generosity between the participating galleries allows for an enjoyable community atmosphere but also embraces individuality, with every artistic alliance creating an entirely distinct and original experience. Consider your new year cultural schedule sorted.
At a time of gross political uncertainty, American artist Tameka Jenean Norris’s new exhibition at the Ronchini Gallery is timely. Opening today, the exhibition sees Norris employ an expansive range of mediums, from video installations to painting and photography, to explore vital themes of black, female identity and self-image in today’s society.
Having grown up on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Norris later moved to L.A., a transition that influences her new exhibition, in which the artist uses portraits to reconnect with distant relatives. The new collection of work illustrates the pivotal role of history in informing a sense of self, exploring the tension between discovering and owning one’s image and how identity is inherently linked to the past. Throughout, the work forms an engaging critique of contemporary social issues surrounding the appropriation of black culture and female-identity.
Tameka Jenean Norris, Marilyn No Matter What He Do, work in progress, 2016, courtesy the artist and Ronchini Gallery.
Speaking to Twin about the influences behind the exhibition and her work, Tameka told us:
The exhibition is a continuation of my first show at Ronchini Gallery ‘Almost Acquaintances’, and the works were mostly created at the MacDowell Colony in summer ’16, Peterborough, New Hampshire, and during this fall at The Grant Wood Fellowship, University of Iowa, where I am a Visiting Assistant Professor. Both the residency and the fellowship offered an opportunity for me to concentrate on a new body of work and have some space from the larger, more complicated world. During these periods of isolation, I spent some time contemplating about success in general, ‘black striving’ and missing my ‘family’ on the Gulf Coast and the surrounding areas.
Tameka Jenean Norris, Joel Want a Hamburger, work in progress, 2016, courtesy the artist and Ronchini Gallery
Although I have been making progress as an artist and academically, I feel that I have become disconnected from my family/community/tribe/village in the southern US, and this show is an attempt at reconciliation and reaching out to them. The reference photos I have worked from are mainly taken from Facebook, and some of the family members are deceased, incarcerated and others I have only ever been able to reach via social media.
The exhibition also displays abstract fabric works created by Tameka, as well as an installation of a large woven braid – both serve as metaphors for the memory. “My goal with this exhibition is to create a family tree of sorts and attempt to untangle the line of systematic oppression that has burdened my family and black American culture at large.”
Tameka Jenean Norris, Meka Jean Too Good For You, 2014, video still, courtesy the artist and Ronchini Gallery
Tameka Jenean Norris: Cut From the Same Cloth, Ronchini Gallery, London, 25 November 2016 – 21 January 2017, ronchinigallery.com.
· FLESH · BLOOD · SUBSTANCE · is the debut London exhibition from Mexican artist Golgo. Running now and until the 12th November 2016, Andreas Hijar aka Golgo shows his own personal interpretation of life and death through a series of canvases focused on the combination of anatomy and symbolism. This is a common theme seen through his work, as his interest centres around the human body, its functioning and its decay.
“· FLESH · BLOOD · SUBSTANCE · is the autopsy of my spirit, a reinterpretation of science and soul, an exploration of our concrete presence and inevitable disintegration. This group of work is the fragmentation of my personal approach towards the reasons behind the malady of ageing, changing and existing as substance. Oils, red and blues took the place of scalpels; with them I glanced into the viscera of the corporal and the essence behind the fluidity of extinguishing vitality. Here lies what I feel and perceive as the vacuum of ever changing life and intrinsic end.” – Golgo
Golgo also continues to produce as an individual creator at his Black Blood Studio, allegedly founded in Mexico City in 1666 and now located in Los Angeles. Golgo employs a wide range of techniques including oil, ink and aerosols. His pictures exploit the popular imagery associated with medieval Europe, playing with the notions of spirituality, corporeality and pain. They also expose the futility of any attempts to draw a line between art and science, as they demonstrate that these areas of knowledge complement rather than conflict each other.
The exhibition runs till 12th November 2016 at Lazarides:11 Rathbone Place, London, W1T 1HR.
It is not often that you arrive to an exhibition where the artist has not yet seen the final work, but such was the case for pioneering South African painter Esther Mahlangu, who made the very special trip from her home to Frieze London to see the fruits of her latest collaboration with BMW.
Mahlungu’s first project with the car manufacturer was in 1991 when she followed in the footsteps of male artists like Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg and Roy Lichtenstein to create an Art Car for the brand, the first female and non-Western artist to take part this car came to define an important moment for female artists.
Twenty-five years later her signature traditional Ndebele paintings of bold primary hues and stark black lines have been used to transform the interior of a new 7 Series, and Mahlangu seemed more than impressed with the final result as the BMW team revealed the finished piece inside their Frieze lounge area in London.
Speaking to Twin about the differences between her large-scale creation in 1991 and the updated subtle approach she has taken in 2016, it was the size of the work that changed her approach. “In 1991 [the project] was huge, enormous as it was exterior.” Mahlangu said. “With the interior I had to be more subtle, to do the construction and think about the process. Usually when I create something, everything is in my head.”
“The biggest difference though is that 1991 was just an art object, where as this one is a useable functional object,” explained Mahlangu, as we watched the car go up for silent auction following its unveiling. With bidding beginning at £120,000, this collector’s item is the pinnacle in functional art, praising new technology whilst celebrating the traditional techniques in Esther’s work.
An emblem of serenity, Mahlangu’s presence at the bustling fair was more than humbling. Now aged 81 and adorned in a sea of beaded accessories, bright swathes of fabric and silver necklaces, she is as iconic as her work, upholding the traditions of South Ndebele people of Mpumalanga in South Africa through both her art and her clothing.
Beginning her artistic career aged ten, Mahlangu was taught the Ndebele painting techniques by her grandmother and mother, who used the same techniques to paint the walls of houses. Her methods have not altered since she was first taught, even for projects such as this.
“I only work with chicken feathers,” she explained. “So in the [1991 project] I would bind at least five chicken feathers together to make a brush, whereas with this one I used a singular chicken feather to make the thin line, so you have to have much more control over the thin line than the thicker line.”
The traditions of painting were only carried out by women in South Africa, and have diminished since females have left to travel or take employment elsewhere. This has made Mahlangu’s work all the more important.
“As long as I am able to move I will paint because my fear is that the culture will die out and that is a reality,” she said. “I’ve been working with different brands like Belvedere and did the [Etys] shoes. When people ask why I prefer to work with all of the different brands, I say when they bring me something to do I can’t say no because when I die someday, somebody will own something of mine.”
The BMW Individual 7 Series by Esther Mahlangu is available to bid on now.
Harriet Horton is heading to Paris. But not before she lets UK-based fans of her brand of taxidermy take a look at the new collection – ‘Camouflage’ – at her London studio.
Having beens fans of Harriet’s work for some time now, firstly becoming enamoured with her ‘Sleep Subjects’ exhibition of 2015, Twin is excited to see such an exciting and irreverent artist continue to develop.
Harriet Horton, Owen, 2016
For 2016 the signature neons are still gleefully present, but there is a new, multi-textured element to the works. Materials such as marble dust and cement have been introduced, and create a staggering contrast to the exquisite delicacy of the taxidermy itself, transcending each piece onto an almost angelic plane.
“I’ve always said that when animals are deceased their natural colouring and camouflage becomes redundant,” Horton explains. “I have explored this idea further [for ‘Camouflage’] by either using animals that have no existing markings or stripping them of their original colouring and reconstructing it with light.”
It is fitting then, that a city such as Paris, which is so often known for both its light and its love, should be host to such a stunning example of the two used to breathtaking effect. Unmissable beauty.
‘Camouflage’ opens at the mi* gallery in Paris on 26th October, and runs until 16th January 2017.
Harriet will be holding a private view of the new work at her studio, Darnley Road Studios, on 29th September.
This September in London is about one thing only: Björk. Riding high off the success of her critically-acclaimed album ‘Vulnicura’ she is set to play a number of London shows, as well as hold her own exhibition – ‘Björk : Digital’ – at London’s Somerset House.
For years Björk’s music and visual genius has proved to be both pioneering and iconic in equal measure, and now, the British capital is set to feast on her creative fruits in a variety of mediums. Following the high demand, and subsequent selling out, of her Royal Albert Hall performance on 21st September, an additional show has been announced at the Hammersmith Eventim Apollo on the 24th, with tickets going on sale on Wednesday 17th August. These will be the artist’s first performances in London since the release of her latest album.
Meanwhile, the exhibition at Somerset House is due to feature a number of her digital works, such as virtual reality videos, interactive apps and archive music videos that were created in unison with some of the most spectacular talents from the worlds of visual artistry and programming. Booking is strongly advised.
‘Björk : Digital’ will be on from 1st September – 23rd October 2016. Click HERE for tickets.
Founded in New York in 1985, the anonymous art collective – the Guerrilla Girls – are finally getting their own, dedicated show. Set to commence this October at London’s Whitechapel Gallery, it is a long-awaited spotlight on over three decades of important work they have done in highlighting the staggering inequalities that take place both historically – and currently – in the art world.
Though the group has seen members come and go over the years, one thing unifies: all participants take the names of dead women – Frida Khalo, Georgia O’Keeffe – and conceal their identities with gorilla masks when appearing in public.
‘Do Women Have To Be Naked To Get Into The Met. Museum?’, 2012, Courtesy of the Whitechapel Gallery
Speaking to The Guardian earlier this week, Iwona Blazwick, director of the Whitechapel Gallery reiterated the real need for such an exhibition to take place, and further demonstrated why the Guerrilla Girls are so vital. “I was just at the Kunstmuseum in Basel where they have just rehung the entire collection from 1900 to the present and I think there are five women.” She said. “Sadly it is still an issue.”
‘It’s Even Worse In Europe’, 1986, Courtesy of the Whitechapel Gallery
Entitled ‘Is It Even Worse In Europe?’, the new show will feature famous works such as the 1986 inspiration behind the aforementioned title, as well as ‘Do women have to be naked to get into the Met museum?’ and ‘Pop Quiz’. However, the large crux of the exhibition will be based on the results of 400 questionnaires that the Whitechapel Gallery have commissioned the group to send out to European museum directors, including their own.
‘Pop Quiz’, 2016, Courtesy of the Whitechapel Gallery
In a public statement, the Guerrilla Girls said: “With this project, we wanted to pose the question, ‘Are museums today presenting a diverse history of contemporary art or the history of money and power?’ Our research into this will be presented at Whitechapel Gallery this fall.”
Let’s see, shall we?
‘Guerrilla Girls: Is it even worse in Europe?’ will be co-curated by Nayia Yiakoumaki, and runs from 1 October 2016 – 5 March 2017; entry is free.
Open now and running until the end of June, acclaimed British artist, Antony Micallef is exhibiting his debut solo Hong Kong show, ‘Raw Intent’ at the prestigious Pearl Lam Gallery in Hong Kong.
Recognised by the art world, Micallef, who draws inspiration from the old masters has been called “this generations Francis Bacon” by Sotheby’s. This is evident through his latest evocative series of work, ‘Raw Intent’ which focuses on the movement of paint, and explores its relationship between the artist, the brush and the canvas.
“Raw Intent is a body of work that uses the mechanics of paint to unearth and excavate emotion using myself as a vehicle. I want the medium to evoke something visceral and emotive without illustrating it. The figures are distorted, pushed and pulled until they start to ‘breathe’ on their own. The object of the work is to instill and convey a sense of energy and life. Emotions are projected onto and tested on these found figures, and the form is stretched to its limit, like subjects in a science lab. I’m interested in that space where the figure almost disintegrates but somehow stays intact, leaving a sense of friction and raw distortion. The medium is celebrated and used in full force in many different ways with many different tools to render life that echoes traces of our emotional field.” – Antony Micallef
The exhibition is on now, and runs until 30th June 2016 at Pearl Lam Galleries, 601 – 605 Pedder Building, 12 Pedder Street, Hong Kong.
Photographer and filmmaker Joost Vandebrug does with apparent ease what many struggle with for years: he let’s his intuition guide his art. But not just his art, also his passion, his productivity and ultimately – his success.
He is a man that wears many hats, but each of them seem to fit just fine. A Dutch art director, turned fashion photographer, who then became a documentary photographer and filmmaker, music video director and now kids’ clothing designer – he appears to weave between creative practices seamlessly.
All images from Cinci Lei by Joost Vandebrug
One of Joost’s most successful projects to date – which is still ongoing – is the Lost Boys series. For half a decade he has been following and documenting the lives of a gang of children who call the streets and tunnels of post-communist Bucharest their home. Over 6,000 photographs turned into a book, Cinci Lei, (which he gutsily got off the ground thanks to a Kickstarter campaign) and more than 120 hours of footage is becoming film-shaped as we speak.
Here, we catch up with Joost to find out how – and why – one man makes all that happen.
Firstly, when and why did you realise that you wanted to make pictures and films?
Although my mum and dad are both photographers, I never really considered it as an option while growing up. I was too busy playing in punk bands and wanting to become a rock star. I guess when that failed, I enrolled into art school, but even there I hardy ever worked through the medium of photography and film. It was only after my internship with Erwin Olaf and a year break from Amsterdam (where I lived at the time), that I came back and made a somewhat conscious decision to ‘be a photographer’.
All images from Cinci Lei by Joost Vandebrug
You’re described as both a photographer and filmmaker – how does your approach to each differ, if at all? And if you could only proceed with one of them for the remainder of your career, which would it be and why? My approach in both film and photography is virtually the same, very intuitive. But lets take my Lost Boys series as an example: I have followed this group of street children and their leader Bruce Lee for over five years, and last year I published a book. In the book I have laid out the pictures, carefully of course, protecting the protagonists, and telling the story of how I see the kids, and what it was like for me being with them for all this time. Though choices are predominately made on visual aesthetic.
Now that we are making a feature documentary about the same group, there is much less that I can – and want – to leave to be interpreted by the viewer. I am compelled for it to be an honest, real and correct document of their lives. Although it will still be a poetic film, the choices that I make are not just from a visual perspective but above all they have to drive the story forwards. The devices available to tell the story are also on a completely different level. And although because of my use of small camera’s for example, which resulted in me being an unadulterated part of the story, the film is in the hands of the protagonists. Which is very exciting, but also difficult as I want to protect the protagonists at the same time.
All images from Cinci Lei by Joost Vandebrug
Can you describe your first serious photographic and film projects, respectively? Can you recall what were you trying to convey with them? Quite early on, in 2007, I was offered a solo exhibition in FOAM Amsterdam (the photography museum). The exhibition was during fashion week, so they wanted me to make a fashion connection in the work. This work became my first step to combine fashion and documentary. And still today I love to shoot fashion on real people. This can be a documentary project, but also a portrait series with a great artist or musician.
How do you think your work has progressed over the years? On all levels I got calmer. I used to rush from project to project, making huge leaps from personal work to commercial work. I guess it was important to experiment, so it wasn’t all bad, though nowadays its all come together. My commercial work goes hand in hand with my personal work and I allow myself to dive into my projects much deeper.
All images from Cinci Lei by Joost Vandebrug
What kind of journeys does your work take you on? The Lost Boys project opened a whole new world. I am visiting and documenting the lives of young, aberrant and sometimes lost youths everywhere I go. And also, now that I have set up an NGO for the protagonists of the book and film, I am visiting many befriended charities and organisations. It is like an ongoing research and very inspiring to visit all these places where other NGO’s are dealing with similar issues as I went through with the Lost Boys.
Where would you love to shoot, that you haven’t already? If I think of a place, I usually try and go pretty quickly. But, apart from those kind of research trips, I always go back for longer times to follow up on the people that I have met. Documenting them over longer periods of time. I have no interest in shooting little stories all over the place for the sake of it.
All images from Cinci Lei by Joost Vandebrug
How did you segue into music videos? Was it something you’d always wanted to do? The great thing about making music videos is to collaborate with great musicians. So its important for me to feel a strong connection with the artist. My work has always had a connection with music, so once i started using video as a technique, it made sense to shoot music videos.
Is there a music video that you wish you’d shot? The first that springs to mind is Pink Floyd, Another Brick In The Wall.
All images from Cinci Lei by Joost Vandebrug
What are you working on right now and in the year ahead? The biggest ongoing project is of course the feature documentary about Bruce lee and the Lost boys. I have found an amazing supporting team at Grain media who are very dedicated to making this a beautiful film. Its in very safe hands with Katie Bryer (she edited the Oscar-nominated documentary Virunga) who is working on the film full time, so I am able to walk in and out the editing room and thus work on my regular photography and film work as well.
Also, my husband [Tom Eerebout] and I have just launched a kids’ wear label, Jumping Dog which is super exciting. All the pieces are inspired on adventure and interactiveness with the wearer, but best of all with the profits we are 100% funding the Cinci Lei project.
To find out more about Cinci Lei, Joost’s documentary or Jumping Dog visit joostvandebrug.com
All images from Cinci Lei by Joost Vandebrug – buy it HERE
This month sees the publication of two new books on the work of German artist Werner Büttner – the first entitled Coincidence In Splendour takes a look at his paintings, and the second My Looting Eye his collages. Why is that a big deal? Well, considering that these are the first books on Büttner’s practice to ever be published in English, it means his work is about to become accessible to an entirely new audience. See? Exciting.
For those unfamiliar with Büttner’s oeuvre, here’s a little background. Whilst predominantly known as a painter, he started a series of collages in the early naughties to confidently and pointedly address the nature of composition and subject matter in art practice. By enabling viewers to reconsider artistic conventions and norms, Werner Büttner also addresses social conformity and the ideology of rebellion (interestingly, Büttner originally trained as a lawyer).
Büttner decontextualizes everyday objects to explore the power of meaning in a visually-stimulating and dynamic way. Explaining his seemingly unpredictable, idiosyncratic style he comments: “the artist is a sieve, sifting his environment. Information nuggets of precisely the required size get stuck in the sieve. Now he can work.” My Looting Eye explores the ‘method that lies behind the madness’.
Werner Büttner’s My Looting Eye and Coincidence in Splendor launch on 28th January, 6-8pm at Marlborough Contemporary London. Published by Black Dog Publishing.
Main image: Werner Büttner, Abandoned, 2008, Courtesy the artist and Marlborough Contemporary, London
Annie Leibovitz is widely considered to be one of the world’s best portrait photographers. Her book Women, which was first published in 1999, celebrates an array of women, from Supreme Court Justices and Vegas showgirls to coalminers and farmers. In 2016, the project is set to continue in the form of a travelling exhibition, making its debut in January at the Wapping Hydraulic Power Station in London.
Over twelve months, Annie Leibovitz’s new portraits will appear in ten cities; London, Tokyo, San Francisco, Singapore, Hong Kong, Mexico City, Istanbul, Frankfurt, New York and Zurich. The new portraits will display the changes in women’s roles in contrast with those 15 years ago. Alongside Leibovitz’s new work, visitors will be able to view work from the original series and other photographs taken since.
Speaking at a press conference at Somerset House, Leibovitz describes how Women ‘is an unending project, it goes on and on.’ The original project is Annie Leibovitz’s most popular body of work and was a collaborative series with her partner Susan Sontag, who accompanied the subject matter with an essay. Sontag passed away in 2004, but her influence had a lasting effect on Leibovitz’s photography, with Sontag encouraging her to become more intimate with her photographs.
The original book features 100 portraits of women, including public figures like Hillary Rodham Clinton and Gloria Steinhem, and Leibovitz has promised 20 additional images to the project in 2016. At present, only one new photograph from the series has been released, of Leibovitz and her daughters Sarah, Susan and Samuelle. However, Leibovitz has confirmed that new portraits from the series will include Venus and Serena Williams, Amy Schumer and her sister Kim Caramele, Misty Copeland, and Caitlyn Jenner.
WOMEN: New Portraits has been commissioned by UBS and will be presented to the public for the first time on the 16th January 2016 at the Wapping Hydraulic Power Station in London. Admission is free.
From 13th March 2016, Hauser Wirth and Schimmel, a gallery in the heart of the downtown LA art district, will host ‘Revolution in the Making: Abstract Sculpture by Women, 1947 – 2016’, an exhibition featuring almost 100 artworks by 34 female artists. Spanning seven decades, the exhibition aims to reflect on women’s artistic progression in the field of sculpture.
The display will be partly overseen by Paul Schimmel, the former chief curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art. He has noted that the exhibition is modeled on gallery founder Ursula Hauser’s private collection, which included several pieces by prominent female artists.
The exhibition will explore how integral elements of contemporary art have been pioneered by female artists since the post-world war II era, who in seeking to form their own artistic narrative, expanded and redefined sculpture.
Moving chronologically, the exhibition takes off directly after the Second World War, when sculptors like the legendary French artist Louise Bourgeois and New York artist Louise Nevelson combined feminism and surrealism to create large-scale sculptures and installation art. Moving forward into the 1960s and 70s, works by Post-Minimalist artists including German Eva Hesse and the iconic Yayoi Kusama illustrate how conventional uses of materials changed at this time, with tactility incorporated into sculpture to convey the artists’ presence.
The exhibition continues with artists emerging from the Post-Modernist era and expanding further into the realm of installation art, using videos and being more expansive in their use of space. Concluding with work by a new generation of sculptors, much of which has been commissioned especially for the exhibition, visitors are able to see how artists have built upon the legacy of previous sculptors, while incorporating new uses of colour and materials into their work.
The exhibition will run until 4th September, 2016.
Intimate, considered and subtle, Emma Tillman’s photographs have had us captivated long before her husband (singer Father John Misty) stepped into the limelight. And whilst she may have earned thousands of new fans after the success of his second album I love you Honeybear, in which she is the proclaimed muse and inspiration for his complex lyrics and idiosyncratic melodies, Tillman’s accolades are all her own.
We caught up with Emma to find out more about her work, photographing love and not getting Instagram.
How did you get into photography?
When I was 12-years-old I took an after school class where the students took pictures and learned how to work in the dark room. My mother gave me a camera that had been hers when she was young and I became obsessed with the medium.
Light and shadow play a strong role in your work, what is it that you’re looking for when you take a picture?
I’m looking for a feeling.
Photography by Emma Tillman
Whether your subject is human or an object, there’s strong sense of intimacy in your photographs. What’s your process when you’re working?
I have a gift for communicating my emotions through the lens of a camera. All photographers who take compelling photographs have this gift. There is a supernatural quality to photography that is not often acknowledged, but in my opinion contains all the undeniable fascination of the medium within it.
Your photographs retain a sense of the individual behind the lens, and often you’re in front of it too. Do you find that photography creates and mythologises a character or uncovers the crux of an individual?
It is both. The moment is raw and alive, but somehow also a vitrine of an experience that is just beyond the viewers reach. It is a clear representation of an individual but yet you must put your own imagination into it to complete the story for yourself. It is mercurial, imagination runs wild. That’s the good stuff.
Photography by Emma Tillman
People regularly revel and empathise with other’s misery but in the photographs that you take of your husband there’s a clear sense of joy and celebration. Do you ever feel conscious of this?
I choose my moments. At this time in my life couldn’t take a photograph of someone I love in pain.
Your self-portraits and portraits of other women reclaim the idea of the gaze, like early Cindy Sherman photographs. There’s a sense of exposure without exploitation. Why is it important for you to capture the female body in this way?
I like to photograph other women naked because it is simple and the lines are lovely. There aren’t any distractions to contend with in the picture. As for photographing myself, I can’t help but be drawn to the endless mystery of it. I come back to it again and again. My own face, my own body. It holds a lot of secrets.
Photography by Emma Tillman
How has the rise of instagram affected your relationship with the lens, if at all?
Oh I can’t stand Instagram! To say too much about it would be to marginalise myself, but I can say that from Instagram I glean how much our culture relies in the comforts of sentimentality and try to run in the other direction, artistically speaking.
You’ve also worked in film, how was that experience? In terms of story telling, which medium have you found gives you more narrative freedom?
I don’t know if a comparison can be drawn. Film satisfies an urge for me which has always existed, to tell a story. Photography is more playful. The feeling about it changes, the style changes. It is more about subtraction than addition, which is how I think of film.
Photography by Emma Tillman
What was the last record you listened to?
It’ll be Better by Francis and the Lights.
Favourite equipment to shoot on?
I have a few cameras. A Pentax from the 1970s, A Nikon from the 1980s, a Minolta from the 1990s.
What’re your upcoming projects?
I am finishing a book of photographs, Born with a Disco Ball Soul. I’m also in pre-production on a feature length film I wrote. We’re shooting the film in Summer 2016, in New Orleans.
What’re you looking forward to for the rest of 2016?
My book, my film, and Christmas.
If there’s one thing we’ll never tire of, it’s a great coffee table tome. And the latest offering from fashion journalist and fashion photography specialist Jérôme Gautier – Dior: New Looks – is the perfect kind of thing to lose yourself in on a wintry Sunday afternoon.
Since 1947, when Christian Dior first showcased the irreversibly influential ‘new look’, the house of Dior has been at the forefront of revolutionary design prowess, and this book chronicles some of the most beautiful moments of that time-spanning journey, resulting in a satisfyingly dense catalogue of breathtaking couture and iconic imagery.
From Irving Penn to Peter Lindbergh, Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton, Willy Vanderperre, Mario Testino and Patrick Demarchelier to name but a few – the list of revered photographers with work nestled between these pages is endless.
Given the recently announced departure of the brilliant Raf Simons from the house, this book comes at the ideal time. It is a chance to marvel at all that has come before, and appreciate the sheer amount of history that the new artistic director will have to shoulder in the future.
Peter Lindbergh, 2012; Christian Dior Haute Couture by Raf Simons, AW12
Dior: New Looks by Jérôme Gautier (Thames & Hudson) is out now.
The Pirelli 2016 Calendar has been met with contrasting reviews. Most people have been singing its feminist praises; in a markedly new direction compared with previous years, the calendar has welcomed a diverse array of successful women, and offers varied and mostly clothed images of female bodies, diverting from its usual display of artful nudity. Others have noted that while the calendar celebrates female empowerment, it also limits the sexual attractiveness and femininity of the women on its pages. It suggests that women can be either successful or beautiful, but not both.
To interpret the Pirelli 2016 calendar in this binary way would overlook the point of the pictures, in Leibovitz’s words they are to show the women exactly as they are. The calendar shows us that our bodies can be used in different ways; to represent power and strength, like the striking shot of Serena Williams’ rippling back muscles. Or as a comedic device, like the photo of Amy Schumer topless and surprised, suggesting that she didn’t get the ‘clothes on’ memo this year. These are ways that men’s bodies have been presented for a long time in the media. More than showing that flaws or quirks can be beautiful and sexy, these pictures invite us to look past the sexualisation of women’s bodies and to start noticing the other things a body can do, like be strong, powerful, suited and booted.
February, 1972, Sarah Moon
The calendar has gone viral on social media, and no matter how it is interpreted, having an iconic publication like the Pirelli calendar joining and extending the conversation about female representation can only be a good thing. Just a year ago, Pirelli’s calendar was a spread of high profile supermodels in various states of undress. The calendar may be just one small step for womankind, but it is one big step for Pirelli and towards the cultural shift we are all yearning for.
Christmas shopping. Two words that strike fear into the hearts of even the most hardened of consumers. But turn that frown, upside down, as Nat Breitenstein’s Grand Magasin Deux (a continuation of 2013’s successful Grand Magasin) is back at Bethnal Green’s French Riviera for a festive take on the “experimental examination” of a shopping experience.
For just five days (from 16-20 December) customers can peruse a plethora of unexpected delights from various artists at this unique pop-up shop, in which every single thing on display is for sale as part of a “playful exploration of labour, value, art and commerce”.
From ceramic pots and painted plaster pineapples and pomegranates, to turned timber and pom-pom vases, cast glass receptacles, furniture, drawings, prints, houseplants, Victorian Stereoscopes and lingerie – there is no shortage of things promising to capture both the eye and the imagination.
With no defined limits, the creatives involved have imagined a series of collectibles with the loose theme of a “shopping show” – the only condition? That the pieces created are affordable.
Artists taking part this time around include: Daisy Addison, Fay Ballard, Nat Breitestein, Owen Bullett, Harry Burden, Stuart Carey, Pippa Choy, Dan Coopey, Will Cruickshank, Denise de Cordova, Marie D’Elbee, Thomas Dozol, Tom Ellis, Kris Emmerson, Jessie Flood-Paddock, Seana Gavin, Ludovica Gioscia, Lynn Hatzius, Holly Hayward, Joey Holder, Siân Hislop, Samuel Levack and Jennifer Lewandowski, Bryan Mills, Nicholas Pankhurst, Berry Patten, Sonya Patel Ellis, Lyle Perkins, Marianne Spurr, Nicola Tassie, Jennifer Taylor, Cicely Travers, Bea Turner, Jeremy Willett and Lucy Woodhouse.
Grand Magasin Deux takes place from 16-20 December, 2015. Open daily, 12–7pm and by appointment.
You can find French Riviera at 309 Bethnal Green Road, London, E2 6AH.
British photographer Tom Sloan is making pictures the old fashioned way – by letting the journey dictate the result.
What initially pulled us towards Tom’s work was a recent trip he took to Wales – Merthyr Tydfil to be more specific – which produced a stunning series of photographs documenting the kids in and around the town. When we asked him what prompted the project, his response was so unselfconsciously thoughtful, that we knew we had to know – and see – more.
“I had been in the Forest of Dean area making pictures and came across two lads night fishing who were from Merthyr,” he told us. “They described the place to me and talked about what it was like growing up there. It sounded tough but at the same time quite romantic. They were honest about its problems with unemployment, benefit culture ect but they also described it as having a close knit community and it being a true Welsh industrial town. One of the lads was a keen boxer but had injured himself badly in a motorbike accident, he talked about training daily in and around the town as a youngster. One of the things I remembered them saying was that because of its geographical location in the Merthyr Valleys it was always shrouded with a thick foggy mist from the surrounding mountains, all of this got me interested.”
It got us interested, too. Here, along with a brief interview, we present you with a curated edit of some of Tom’s work. We think you’ll enjoy it.
What first drew you to making pictures?
I made short films as youngster, when I was 10 – 12 years old. They were very action-based as you can imagine. I used my Dad’s video camera. It was obviously all analogue, but I’d take it seriously and spend a lot of time editing, acting in them and making my brothers get involved. I was actually quite clever then, I worked out how to use a dodgy old editing machine my uncle bought from a car boot! But that was the start of me framing the world through a lens.
Can you remember the first photograph you saw that made a strong impact on you?
There have been many photographs that have made an impact on me, it’s a tricky question… Chris Killip’s ‘Seacoal’ pictures fascinated me. I would say it wasn’t just the individual pictures, although each one is incredible with such impact, it was the body of work as a whole and the world it showed me. It woke me up to telling a story with pictures. I was introduced to him when I started studying photography at university, aged 21.
When did you first pick up a camera? What did you take pictures of?
I took up photography when I was 16. I was told I had to fill my schedule up at college by an extra four hours per week, I was doing retakes of my GCSEs! I’d spent a lot of time enjoying myself at school… perhaps too much! I came across GCSE photography and thought it sounded interesting, a good mix of the creative and the technical. In my first lesson I was shown a variety of photography books, one was a Don McCullin book. I loved his early pictures of his friends in Finsbury Park and the work he made up north in Bradford. I began trying to shoot gritty black and white in Southampton. I had the docks, some dodgy friends and rough areas to explore.
When did you realise that you wanted to make photography your career?
It was a simple decision weirdly. I remember I’d been to stay at my dad’s for the weekend when I was about 17, we were heading back to Southampton in the car, he was asking about jobs and careers etc and I just came out with it, and it felt right. I’ve been indecisive in other areas in my life, but deciding to be become a photographer felt right.
What are the realities of being a photographer these days? Is it as romantic as it sounds?
This question moves nicely from the last… Yes and no! It’s very tough, confusing, exciting and unpredictable! But interesting in so many ways. You have to stick to your true self and your gut instinct, which is difficult at times. I think the point I want to make is, for me, photography as an art form meant I’d have to go out into the world and find people and places and go on adventures. That’s what would interest me when I looked at photographers work, I loved the mystery of how they got the pictures, the process. It almost doesn’t become just about the individual picture, the work becomes about the photographer and the journey. Going back to the question though, for me the most romantic aspect of being a photographer is the freedom the days can hold.
If you had to choose one of your pictures to best act as an example of your style, what would it be and why?
Umm tricky again… I like the picture I took of these two lads in Croydon, riding on the back of a moped. It’s certainly not my best picture but it sums up what I’m interested in when it comes to photographing these types of lads. There’s a sense of living the way they want to live, slightly wild I guess. I want a hint of excitement, I think this picture holds that.
Is there anyone that has influenced your work over the years?
Loads of people have influenced me, from photographers I’ve worked for to people I’ve looked at over the years. Strangely, although I don’t look at his work so much nowadays and it’s quiet different from my own work, I was a huge Wolfgang Tillmans fan. When I first saw how he displayed his work it blew my head off! His exhibition ‘If One Thing Matters, Everything Matters’ was a real influence on me. He curated and edited his work to have such an amazing rhythm. Others include: Paul Graham, Martin Parr, Juergen Teller and Glen Luchford.
Much of your work depicts youth, and young people – is there a particular reason for that?
Without trying to sound cliche, I guess they give you something honest? I like the excitement of being young as well, you can get up to a lot. I used hang out with huge groups of kids when I was growing up and we had so much fun, it was wild. Weirdly, you don’t see that so much now. I think teenagers spend more time online than hanging out at the local rec.
What was your childhood like? Where did you grow up?
My childhood was pretty normal. I grew up with my two brothers in Southampton until I was 10, when my Parents divorced. My dad moved to a tiny cottage in the countryside, we stayed in Southampton. My mum remarried a few years later and the family grew, I gained two step brothers and a step sister. I had a pretty eventful teenage period, hung out with the type of kids I photograph, took drugs, went to parties, roamed the streets, usual stuff. Do you have a dream project that you’d like to make reality one day?
Well it would be in the UK to start, I love making work here, I understand it! I think it’s a special, hugely diverse place. It would be shot on the outskirts of the city where the countryside and the city meets – my favourite territory! It would be a space where the teenagers own the land… To be honest I’m sort of shooting this bit by bit as I go along… I think… What’s inspiring you right now?
Road trips, I’m enjoying making work outside London at the moment, I get really inspired by the countryside. What would be the highest compliment someone could ever pay your work?
That I’m considered authentic. That means I’m on the right track. tomsloan.co.uk
Everyone likes winning things. Even those who give off the most authentic air of indifference to life, love winning things. It is with that in mind, then, that we sound the drum-roll and let you know about the brilliant Banner Repeater Fundraiser, which is happening as we speak.
For just £5, you will be entered into a lottery to win some amazing prints, publications and multiples from the enviable Banner Repeater portfolio. These include, but are not limited to: Turner Prize winners, British Art Show 2015 artists, and more, such as Hannah Sawtell, Laure Prouvost, Jesse Darling, Benedict Drew, John Russell, Erica Scourti, Emma Hart, Elizabeth Price, Critical Hand Gestures, and there are also some highly collectible BANK tabloids, too.
The BANK. Issue 24. Published 15th December 1997
So what’s this all in aid of, then? Well, creativity. And the space to exhibit it. As we’ve previously mentioned – and we all know far too well – continued budget cuts to arts funding mean that the visibility of challenging work in public spaces is under threat, and places like Banner Repeater are having to do things like this, in order to survive. Let’s all help them, shall we?
All you have to do is take a simple cyber jaunt over to their website, here, and click to buy yourself a ticket. The lottery will then be pulled on 4 December at a fabulous party, with a DJ set by Paul Purgas. This will all take place at L’Entrepot, 230 Dalston Lane, London, E8 1LA (next door to Hackney Downs train station).
So what are you waiting for? Enter now, go to a party, have fun, maybe win something really fucking cool and support art. It’s a no brainer.
Navigating the minefield of the creative industry at a time when housing costs have reach crisis point, funding for the arts is being monumentally slashed, and any kind of government support is a joke – is nigh on impossible. Luckily, there’s a force for active change in our midst. It comes in the shape of 26-year-old artist, feminist and curator Sophie Giblin, who is a founder of the award-winning Kollektiv art community, and determined to satiate the need for real, practical ‘how to’ knowledge for creatives just starting out. Sophie has put together, along with designer Sarah Todd and developer Luke Phillips, a free online manual that cleverly, and plainly, details how to do various things such as run collaborative projects, use alternative funding methods like crowdfunding and open galleries in derelict spaces.
“Life as a creative can be tough. Funding is being cut, rent is high, inspiring opportunities are scarce. It all seems really miserable, but we can and must stay creative. The new youth led DIY collectives shouldn’t be deterred by the difficulties. They deserve a helping hand and that’s why we’ve made everything we’ve learnt over the past two years completely open source. We like to choose collaboration over competition.” – Sophie Giblin
Everything you could want to know – from how to handle a problematic landlord to prepping a space for an exhibition – is beautifully categorised and easy to navigate, via the website’s no fuss (but still aesthetically pleasing) scrolling design.
Readers and fellow creatives are also encouraged to engage with the project by tweeting any thoughts and additional questions with the hashtag #KollektivSchool – further ensuing there is no dead end to the invaluable information being provided.
Kollectiv has been running as a Kickstarter funded organisation for over two years now, and its overall message is this: “make ideas into realities, don’t settle for unfair treatment and learn by taking the lead. Make your own way and regret nothing. Show the #haters what you’re made of and don’t let the realities of post education stifle your creativity.” We’re down with that.