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Anne Morris in ‘Form and Volume’

04.06.2017 | Art | BY:

What happens when you take simple objects and turn them into art? Annie Morris’ practice grew out of drawing. Her love of line develop into sculpture, painting and free-hand sewn works that exude joy. She uses everyday objects such as biro pens and clothes pegs to make pieces that brim with a personal visual language full of narrative pleasure.

The staking sculptures she has on show in Form and Volume at CF Hill in Stockholm sit firmly between the abstract and figurative. They are often human scale, or larger than life, but seem to echo the vertical stance of the human body. She reduces her forms to shapes that are circular but inanimate. She plays with gravity, creating balls of pigment and colour that seem to defy the laws of nature.

The formal nature of her stacks veer towards the language of painting. She studied with Giuseppe Penone at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris and Phyllida Barlow at the Slade in London – and reflects their sense of solemnity and play, free space and steadiness.

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She uses coloured pigment, chalk and watercolour on the surface of her balls, which are intentionally hand made and uneven. Their imperfections give them a feeling joy, lightness and humour. The balls should fall apart, but Morris’ has enabled them to reach upward seemingly through hope and intention as much as anything else.

Each of Morris’ colourful combinations are unique. There is a sense of repetition and exploration in combinations that brings to mind Joseph Albers. She obsessively deconstructs and reconfigures fragments on order to create something harmonious. The stacking series slowly emerged in the wake of her experience of giving birth to a stillborn child, the resulting trauma and the relationship with her desire to have children (she now has two). These are works about hope and harmony in the face of hardship.

Morris has now begun to explore making stack works in metal – experimenting in both bronze and steel. Most recently she has been working with technicians who fabricated work for the iconic British modernist sculptor, Barbara Hepworth. A feminist aesthetic heritage runs throughout Morris’ work, yet her work is not limited by references to gender – her use of line echoes both Jean Cocteau and Louise Bourgeois. This is an artist whose ever-expanding approach is both personal and refreshingly accessible and universal.

Annie Morris is on show in Form and Volume at CF Hill, Stockholm until June 30

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Coco Capitán: ‘Middle Point Between My House and China’

28.04.2017 | Blog , Culture | BY:

Gucci collaborator and renowned photographer, Coco Capitán: is an artist who needs little introduction. The Spanish creator’s idiosyncratic eye and quirky slogans have commanded a legion of fans, with 75.6k Instagram followers and counting.

Having graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2016, the photographer has already racked up an impressive string of accolades: she has been a guest speaker for Cambridge University Photographic Society (2016), a member of the Jury for Hyères Fashion & Photography Festival (2016), and was awarded the Pho- tographers Gallery FF+WE Prize (2015).

And then there’s the fact that she’s working with one of fashion’s hottest luxury brands… Capitán’s collaboration for Gucci in February this year saw slogans such as ‘What are we going to do with all this future?’ and ‘Common sense is not so common’ etched across the brand’s sell-out logo tees. But for her latest project, a new book ‘Middle Point Between My House and China’, disenchantment takes a back seat in favour of the imagination.

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The book’s tittle is drawn from memories of the photographer’s childhood, in which she thought that if she dug deep into the ground she could tunnel to China. Fast-forward a couple of decades, and Capitan found herself in the country itself – though via the more conventional route of air travel.

The book is therefore both an homage to her journey and the people she encountered on her travels, and to the experience of childhood. ‘China’ and ‘House’ can be understood in both the literal and figurative sense. As is noted in the press release, “‘China’ represented the desire to run away, the attainment of her goals; while ‘House’ was her present reality.” Coco adds, “I wanted to take images that would denote how I perceived China, my personal experience in the country and how I saw the people who were there”.

To mark this hotly anticipated release, Claire de Rouen will be hosting a signing at their London store. Head over on 9th May to snap up a copy of this must-have book.

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‘Middle Point Between My House and China’ by Coco Capitán is published by Maximilian William, and released in May 2017. 

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The Labour of Ideas: Twin meets Cara Mills

26.04.2017 | Art , Blog , Culture | BY:

Twin first came in contact with Cara Mills at her Central Saint Martin’s degree show where she presented The Labour of Ideas — a giant shredder which methodically rated then shredded hundreds of her art ideas which fell like snowflakes, gradually amassing to a five foot mound of destroyed work plans. Mills took this art work and developed a second piece, Painting Machine a highly visceral work which spluttered and almost aggressively threw paint creating a new art work experience every day. Fresh off the back of her recent exhibition at Fuimano Projects, Machine: Part A, Part B, Part C & so on… Twin  sat down with Mills on the sunny rooftop terrace of RCA where she is currently studying to talk about what makes an idea art and how it feels to be a female artist in today’s landscape. 

I loved The Labour of Ideas so much. It draws on all these projects you had in your mind and you’re making all of them, in a way — was that the point?

Yes! I get bored really quickly with my ideas, and I thought there was something interesting about the process artists go through to make ideas and why they chose one and why not another and where do those ideas go when you don’t use them? Where do your thoughts go when they’re forgotten? They’re still there, but not being realised or spoken. I wanted to see their full potential. It was all about this concept that I wanted to make something physical but using all these ideas and I was tongue tied on how to approach that and do it. What was ironic about the piece was there was no hierarchy between the ideas – there was in the ratings sense that they were all rated out of ten – but at the end they all created this pile, and they all had the same shredded weight in this pile. 

You had a lot of ideas, the pile was impressive!

It was five feet! I think I started writing down my ideas from March until the degree show, like ten hour days of writing down ideas. The sound of the shredder was really visceral. You became very aware that things were being shredded and destroyed, but that you were also creating. 

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So in a way all those ideas led to this final idea, The Labour of Ideas machine?

No, it was more a series of tests… I was really inspired by auto-destructive art, that something could be destructive but also creative. Looking at it now, that’s what I was doing. Also the systematic approach – one of the ideas in the shredder was ‘Make a piece about shredding your ideas’ so it was very much in the project. When I’d finished the piece I was empty of ideas… I didn’t really know where to start again. So, that was the end of the idea culmination — but I still write all my ideas down.

It’s really interesting to think about what makes us realise and not realise our ideas…

I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night with an idea for a painting, then don’t do it. What interests me is why? I’m interested in ten years time to look back on my ideas, and maybe then I’ll have one of those ideas I really want to make at that time!

I also liked how with The Labour of Ideas that you could see the ideas, and see the performative piece and machine and take from it what you wanted.

At the CSM show, the same people kept coming back. People were saying that they felt like over time they came back a few times and told me they felt like they were killing my work, like a piece of your work is dying by me coming back, because they’d be reading the idea then watching it shredded. It’s like if you caught it at that moment then you saw it, but then it was shredded, deleted. It’s like you’ve made an idea in your head, is that done? Or do you need to realise it? I was interested in the actual physicality of an idea, like it was one pile made up of hundreds of ideas, metres and metres of paper. 

Do you have a mission statement or motive behind your need to create art?

I think it’s about communicating ideas really. I think you get an itch to get it out of you. If it’s stuck, it’s not enough to say it or draw it, you need to make it and leave it there and let it manifest. The journey between thinking and making is really hard.

Your most recent exhibition showed The Labour of Ideas and Painting Machine. What is it about making these really visceral present machines?

It’s about detachment of myself as an artist, and as a creator. I like making something and setting up a situation and letting it happen. The machines will be churning away. I’m very interested in the gallery time frame, the gallery day being the limit but also the potential of the work. The solo show I recently did was three and a half weeks long, so during opening hours that was when the machines were going. The pile would never get any higher than it would be allowed to than the days in the gallery. They’re part of the work. The machines performing and I leave them and the audience see that process. 

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There’s an artist called Michael Stailstorfer who installed an art piece ‘Forst’ at Sammlung Boros in Berlin. It was a steel machine frame which turned a tree trunk and leaves on the ground, as the machine circled gradually the leaves and branches turned to dust creating piles on the floor — first leaves, then dust. I went to see it a few times, and each visit it was a different experience in the two year life cycle of the art works presentation. 

That’s so interesting — something I’m thinking about a lot at the moment is ‘what is destruction’? So I’m using a lot of sandpaper on sandpaper and do we expect something to be grounded to flour — when does destruction become creation? When is that? Who decides that? I think what was interesting about the show was that with the Painting Machine it was chucking paint at the wall and kind of being destructive but also creating moments, and with The Labour of Ideas you could come in on the first day and it was a tiny pile of shredded material, and you could come in on the last day and it was this impending five foot mound!

Both could be seen as live sculpture in a way, and also be interpreted on so many levels…

I don’t want to make highly cerebral work only accessible to artists and intellectuals, I want to make something visual that people can interpret in different ways. I’ve looked a lot at performance work and I’m really interested in that — how much the audience plays a role, and what expectations artists put on their audience to complete a work. With ‘Painting Machine’ it was a very different experience depending on whether was moving, or when it was off. I like with kinetic work when something is moving it’s very different when it stops, sort of like how people are very different when they’re speaking to when they’re not. When it was moving it was aggressive and painting and when it was off it was very sculptural and poetic. 

I was wondering if we could talk a bit about your experience as a woman in the art world?

It’s funny that you say that… on Facebook this morning I saw a post which said “Enough of Jackson Pollock”. It looked at Lee Krasner who was Pollock’s wife, who was making incredible paintings, and it was so insane because as soon as Jackson Pollock died she went into his studio and her paintings got so much bigger… I find that every artist I’m reading about are all men. I find it really frustrating. I think female artists are making incredible work, and I think historically men were more written about but today I think it’s really important for female artists to be louder otherwise it’s just going to continue to be a man’s world. 

 How do you navigate that?

I think you just don’t tolerate it. You just see yourself as an artist whether male or female. I think female artists need to not be afraid about working in such a male industry. Just be aware of it, and don’t take any shit. 

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Seana Gavin X Super/Collider

07.03.2017 | Art , Blog | BY:

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.

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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.

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Discover Condo 2017

24.01.2017 | Art | BY:

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.

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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.

Condo runs 14 Jan – 11 Feb 2017. Find out more here.

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Tameka Jenean Norris, Wash N Dry, 2015, courtesy the artist and Ronchini Gallery

Tameka Jenean Norris: Cut From the Same Cloth

25.11.2016 | Art , Blog | BY:

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, fabric, canvas, acrylic paint, thread, 55 x 50 in, courtesy the artist and Ronchini Gallery

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, fabric, canvas, acrylic paint, thread, oil pastel, 50 x 50in, courtesy the artist and Ronchini Gallery

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, 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. 

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Golgo’s first London exhibition · FLESH · BLOOD · SUBSTANCE ·

18.10.2016 | Art | BY:

· 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

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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.

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Esther Mahlangu marries tradition and technology at Frieze Art Fair

08.10.2016 | Art | BY:

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.

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Credit: BMW

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.

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Credit: Strainu

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.

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Credit: BMW

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.

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Credit: BMW

“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.

You can also see her 1991 design in the upcoming exhibition ‘South Africa: The Art Of A Nation’ at The British Museum which runs from 27 October 2016 – 26 February 2017

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Harriet Horton

Harriet Horton’s Camouflage

29.09.2016 | Art | BY:

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.

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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.

Harriethorton.com

Main image: Harriet Horton, Lovers, 2016

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Björk in London this September

22.08.2016 | Culture , Music | BY:

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.

Bjork.com

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Guerrilla Girls

Guerrilla Girls Finally Get Their Own Show

11.08.2016 | Art | BY:

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.

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‘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.”

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‘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.

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‘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.

Whitechapelgallery.org

Main image: by Andrew Hindraker

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‘Raw Intent’ by Antony Micallef

18.05.2016 | Art | BY:

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.

Pearllam.com

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Joost

Joost Vandebrug: Tales Of Innocence And Of Experience

16.02.2016 | Art , Culture , Film | BY:

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.

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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’.

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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.

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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.

Joost

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.

Joost

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.

Joost

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

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Werner Büttner

Werner Büttner’s Looting Eye

23.01.2016 | Art | BY:

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 January6-8pm at Marlborough Contemporary London. Published by Black Dog Publishing.

Main image: Werner Büttner, Abandoned, 2008, Courtesy the artist and Marlborough Contemporary, London

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Annie-Leibovitz

WOMEN: New Portraits by Annie Leibovitz

08.01.2016 | Art | BY:

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.

ubs.com

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unnamed-2

Hauser Wirth and Schimmel is bringing the revolution to LA

19.12.2015 | Art | BY:

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.

hauserwirthschimmel.com

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Emma 10

Looking for a feeling with Emma Tillman

16.12.2015 | Art | BY:

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.

Emma 3

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.

Emma 8

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.

Emma T 1

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.

Emma 11

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.

Who are the exciting photographers to watch?
I like the work of Amanda Charchian and Aneta Bartos.

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.

Find all of Emma’s work at lovetheghost.tumblr.com

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Nathaniel Goldberg, 1999. Christian Dior Haute Couture par John Galliano, automne-hiver 1999

Dior: New Looks

14.12.2015 | Blog | BY:

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.

Model in Christian Dior Accessories Smoking

Woman modeling black velvet visor with rhinestone pin and satin scarf, both by Dior, 1952. Image by © Condé Nast Archive/Corbis

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 par Raf Simons, automne-hiver 2012

Peter Lindbergh, 2012; Christian Dior Haute Couture by Raf Simons, AW12

Dior: New Looks by Jérôme Gautier (Thames & Hudson) is out now.

dior.com

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rsz_pirelli_calendar_2016_-_november_-_patti_smith

The Pirelli discussion continues

10.12.2015 | Art , Thoughts | BY:

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.

rsz_1972_febbraio

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.

rsz_1987_dicembre

December, 1987, Terence Donovan

pirellicalendar.pirelli.com

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Pippa Choy ‘Pineapple’ 2015

Grand Magasin Deux: Your Early Christmas Present

08.12.2015 | Blog | BY:

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.

frenchriviera1988.com

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