Natalia Vodianova, New York City, Vogue Italia, May, 2005

Steven Meisel: Role Play

15.12.2014 | Fashion | BY:

It’s not often that a fashion photographer wields enough influence to create an issue of Vogue featuring only black models; neither is it very common for just one person to photograph each and every cover of Vogue Italia for the past 20 years. But then, Steven Meisel’s extraordinary passion and talent set him up for an illustrious career from his early days as a fashion illustrator.

International auction house Phillips is launching a travelling selling exhibition of Meisel’s work. Role-play has already visited Paris, and will be arriving at 30 Berkeley Square in London from 16 December to 11 January next year, before heading to New York.

The show features 25 images that capture Meisel’s most notable contributions to fashion photography, including an image from the 1990s, when Meisel was instrumental in welcoming the grunge aesthetic into mainstream fashion. He has since concluded that the image is one of his favourite pictures, as, in his words, it ‘captured a real cultural moment of a music scene and a fashion scene fusing together to create a new look.’

Meisel has undoubtedly become one of the most significant fashion photographers working today and this exhibition is a brilliant opportunity to view his work as it is intended to be seen.

Steven Meisel: Role Play opens tomorrow, 16 December till 11 January 2015. Located at Phillips 30 Berkeley Square London. 

phillips.com

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AllenJones

Allen Jones RA

20.11.2014 | Art , Fashion | BY:

Allen Jones knows how to sell sex. Since he first exhibited his fibreglass women in the late 1960s – the prototype fembot, down on all fours, arse practically over head, strapped into bondage gear – he’s owned it. They were – are – the literal representation of sex-on-legs. And who’d have thought that the place to get a little artistic perversion in London these days would be at the Royal Academy?

It’s clear that Jones’ coterie of fetishised furniture sculptures represents a very specific sort of fantasy. It’s everyman erotica; pert tits, big lips, hard-bodied, submissive, available. Serving you cocktails, ready to take your hat. They’re expensive whores on all fours. Yet, even as a feminist, you have to relish in how aggressively politically uncorrect it all is. Jones makes incredibly, obviously, seductive art. And you might feel a bit grubby about it afterwards, but then we’ve all been there, right?

Jones’ paintings provide a little counter balance to the implied misogyny of his sculptures. In these colourfully kitsch scenes he paints about power-play with cross-dressing inferences, of the dominate female, the submissive male, of the animalistic rituals of mating and the delicate interplay of coupling represented in the form of dance. It’s the paintings and later sculptures that suggest a much more complex side to Jones than the ones his critics would have you believe. To reduce Jones to a fetish artist, means you ignore a lot of the richness and ambiguity in his work. And it’s this that makes you want to go back and take a second look at the sculptures – maybe it’s not all about oppression and submission, maybe there’s something deeper at play? Maybe it’s not a male-female thing after all. Maybe she’s in control. Hell, maybe she’s even enjoying herself. Imagine that.

Allen Jones RA is at the Royal Academy, London until 25th January 2015

royalacademy.org.uk

IMAGE CREDIT: Allen Jones RA, Body Armour, 2013 Photograph, 127 x 127 cm London, Private Collection / Image courtesy of the artist © Allen Jones

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Vivianne Sassen Analemma: Fashion Photography

06.11.2014 | Art , Fashion | BY:

Flourishes of dynamic movement, of fabric that bursts out of the frame like a blossoming bud, and a peak of flesh teasing from underneath… Vivianne Sassen’s fashion portraits offer a lavish antidote to over-exposed minimalism. Hey there colour, welcome back.

Currently on show at The Photographer’s Gallery as part of their fashion season, Sassen’s Analemma series makes the body a vehicle for movement, albeit captured in a static photograph. With her crackling eye for shape and form, Sassen creates little fashion aliens out of her subjects. These beautiful freaks, with their saturated skin-tones wrapped in voluminous swathes of fabric, can be found striking a pose against a surrealist landscape or moulding their bodies into sculptural installations. Their composition owes much more to art history than to contrived fashion formulae.

Mirroring the performance element of her shoots, the 350 or so images on view are presented in a sweeping swirl of movement; projections slide across the walls and floors in a constant loop of motion. And the colour literally blooms from her photographs. Sometimes it’s sharp and graphic, cutting a bold, clashing contrast of dramatic shapes and hues. Other times it’s present as a beautifully tonal and subtle spectrum. It’s Sassen’s non-conformity, her ability to eek-out every single droplet of pigment and her contextual references to fine art, that mean her work can not be confined to, or defined by, the fashion industry.

It’s funny that colour seems to have taken on an avant-garde status in fashion, but here’s to the industry’s current renegade and her eye-popping palette of human sculptures.

Vivianne Sassen Analemma: Fashion Photography 1992 –2012 is at The Photographer’s Gallery until 18 January 2015.

thephotographersgallery.org.uk

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