Juno Calypso opens ‘The Salon’ in London

15.02.2018 | Art , Culture | BY:

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

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

Animation by Geriko | Juno Calypso exhibition in London

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Coach Fall 2018: a dreamer bag and dreamier collection

14.02.2018 | Fashion | BY:

Stuart Vevers presented his Fall 2018 collection for Coach, bringing a splicing of American gothic and the New York underground scene together in one dreamy show.

With an abundance of textures, talismans, mixed silhouettes and heavy accessories, the show offered a rich and atmospheric vision for modern life. Fall 2018 also saw the introduction of Coach’s Dreamer Bag, inspired by romanticism and how it manifests in New York. Check out more from the collection below.

London Fashion Week Designers to Watch AW18

13.02.2018 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

As London Fashion Week approaches, there are plenty of new names to watch out for. Meet four designers setting a new agenda for the British womenswear scene this season.

Matty Bovan

A Fashion East graduate and Charles Jeffrey contemporary, Matty Bovan is staging his first standalone womenswear show at London Fashion Week this season. His designs evoke an underground utopia, leveraging clashing textures, prints and colours to create a raw and powerful new kind of tribe. A nominee for British Emerging Womenswear Talent at the Fashion Awards 2017, all eyes will be on where Bovan is going next.

Sadie Williams

Having already been listed as one of  Forbes Magazine’s “30 Under 30” for The Arts in Europe as well as a host of other accolades and NEWGEN sponsorship, Sadie Williams has the industry talking. Her unique designs combine folk sensibility with futuristic patterns and materials, rendering a new kind of woman that is empowered, playful and adventurous.

© Sadie Williams

Paula Knorr

This London designer is making waves with her sexy, disco-inspired aesthetic that boldly reclaims femininity and offers a fiery new interpretation. Working across a myriad of high energy fabrics and in bold, powerful shades Paula Knorr‘s designs make you want to stand up and make some noise. Read our interview with the designer here.

© Paula Knorr

Marta Jakubowski

Another recipient of the NEWGEN award this year, Marta Jakubowski offers a refined and confident vision through her bright and precisely tailored pieces. Easily re-imagining familiar staples in new ways, Jakubowski’s geometric tailoring brings fresh energy to womenswear and sets an exciting precedent for a new aesthetic in seasons to come.

© Marta Jakubowski

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Frida Escobedo to design Serpentine Pavilion 2018

10.02.2018 | Art , Culture | BY:

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

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

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

Frida Escobedo | Photography: Ana Hop

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

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

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

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Getty Museum Presents Cut! Paper Play in Contemporary Photography

10.02.2018 | Art | BY:

From Friday 27th February, until the 27th May, the J. Paul Getty Museum at LA’s Getty Centre will play host to works by six contemporary artists, who have each expanded the role of paper in photography.

For some, a photograph is simply an image on a piece of paper, but for other photographers, paper is not merely the end result of developing a photograph – it is a material that can be animated in a number of ways. Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum, describes how “a number of works blur the line between photography and other mediums”; manipulating the printed photograph by cutting, shaping and combining images takes photography in radically new directions.

Models, 2016 |Promised Gift of Sharyn and Bruce Charnas © Matt Lipps / Getty


Many pieces have been borrowed from Los Angeles-based collectors, institutions, or galleries, and others have been taken from the Getty Museum’s permanent collection. The exhibition provides a context and historical perspective on the experimentation of many contemporary photographers today.

Works spanning the years 1926 to 1967, by Manual Alvarez Bravo, Alexander Rodchenko, and Ei-Q, all feature cut-paper abstractions and figures modeled from paper that have been photographed. These pieces have provided a basis for more daring contemporary experimentation; artists Daniel Gordon, Matt Lipps, and Thomas Demand create paper models and images taken from current events, the internet, or books and magazines. Others, such as Soo Kim, cut and layer photographs, introducing three-dimensional elements into what is traditionally a two-dimensional art form.

Clementines, 2011 | © Daniel Gordon / Courtesy Daniel Gordon and M+B Gallery, Los Angeles

The exhibition has been curated by Virginia Heckert, head of the Getty Museum’s Department of Photographs, and the works can be viewed from the end of February.

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

06.02.2018 | Culture , Fashion | BY:

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

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

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

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

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Absolution: new exhibition addresses mental health and childbirth

30.01.2018 | Art , Culture | BY:

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

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

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

The Veil, Camille Sanson

Gaia, Camille Sanson

The Mask, Camille Sanson

From the Waters, Camille Sanson

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

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Dying like Eva Hesse: Twin meets filmmaker Marcie Begleiter

28.01.2018 | Art , Culture | BY:

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

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

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


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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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SUPER SHARP

25.01.2018 | Culture , Fashion , Music | BY:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Images that shaped a vision, with Emma Tillman

23.01.2018 | Art , Blog | BY:

Emma Tillman’s photographs chronicle the unseen moments in life, those, to steal from Virginia Woolf, islands of meaning which shore up against the ferocious momentum of time. It’s fitting that her book Disco Ball Soulwas named such: thoughtful, investigative and lingering, her portraits of friendships, romance and the natural world offer an energising and playful mosaic of her experience of the world. Here, she tells Twin about the images which have most impacted and shaped her life and work.

Alberto García-Alix

Alberto García-Alix is a Spanish photographer from León whose work was part of a movement that shaped modern documentary photography, but to me he is so much more. And that is where I will begin with this list. I would say in a word, he is shameless. And it is this shamelessness that draws circles around the core of ugliness and strangeness, illuminating it until it is light, despite all its rugged detail.

Emma Suarez | © Alberto García-Alix

Taryn Simon

Taryn Simon is an American artist from New York City. Although I had come in contact with her widely regarded and well collected photography a handful of times in my adult life, I had not been touched by its power until one lonely afternoon at the Tate Modern in London. I wandered into a room full of her work from “An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar” and finally understood.

That rainy day I explored the gap she so eloquently elaborated on. Between the brilliant precision of her semiotic examination of secrets and the divine poetry with which she captures them. Simon raises very potent questions, with elegance and beauty.

Lucas film archives, props and set pieces. Skywalker Ranch, Marin County, California | © Taryn Simon

Manuel Álvarez Bravo

Manuel Álvarez Bravo was a Mexican photographer from Mexico City and is considered one of the preeminent art photographers in Mexican history. His interest in elevating the quotidian at a time when photography, especially in his home country was staged and highly formal, attracted me from an early age.

In addition to his pioneering reach in exploring the everyday, Bravo sees texture as something deep and mysterious, almost sacred. These observations have haunted me from the time I was a little girl, looking through one of his books in the vast living room of a family friend.

Graciela Iturbine

Graciela Iturbine is a Mexican photographer from Mexico City, and protogée of another photographer mentioned here among my favourites, Manuel Álvarez Bravo. She turned to photography after the death of her six year old daughter and when I look at her images, they all seem to have the lingering sadness and mystery of death, even when the works are capturing subjects which are vividly alive. Otherworldly would be a better word, but overused, don’t you think?

Graciela Iturbine, Cemetery Juchita 1988

Ruth Orkin

Ruth Orkin was an American photographer from Los Angeles who was largely self-taught. She had a ground-breaking career as a freelance photojournalist during a time when the field was, of course largely dominated by men. But it was my contact with her famous photograph, “An American Girl in Italy” (1951) which includes her in this list. When I was twelve or thirteen, I was given a postcard which featured the photograph on the front.

I became obsessed with the story it told. There was an incredible amount of complex information contained inside. Historically, the photograph is somewhat controversial, and seems to be a Rorschach test for personal ideas about feminism. I for one, knew exactly what it meant; independence, freedom and self-determination. For that reason, I can’t say the photographer directly influenced my work as much as my way of life.

An American Girl in Italy, 1951 | © Ruth Orkin

Helmut Newton 

One night, many years ago now, I was at the Chateau Marmont waiting for someone who never came. The bartender, feeling bad for me, very graciously stayed past last call and regaled me with ghost stories from the hotel. One of them was the story of Helmut Newton’s death; a car crash in which he drove headlong into the formidable white wall guarding the hotel’s entrance. Until then, I had always heard his name but never quite put the pieces together, you might say. But his tragic demise piqued my interest and when I discovered his world, I was enchanted. Everything he photographed had a perverse sexiness. It was dark, physical, and expressed a glamorous power that I saw mirrored in my own interests.

I think about him now every time I pass that white wall, and say a little prayer for all who flirt with the dark side.

La Hollandaise, Monte Carlo, 1994 | © Helmut Newton

Henri Cartier-Bresson

Henri Cartier-Bresson was a French photographer from Paris. The king of composition! The king of the candid! And man, what a life well lived.  In 1952 he published his book, “The Decisive Moment” about his philosophical approach to photography (with cover illustrations by Henri Matisse, I might add). In it, he contends “To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organisation of forms which give that event its proper expression.” And I couldn’t agree more.

Srinagar, Kashmir, Muslim women on the slopes of Hari Parbal Hill, praying toward the sun rising behind the Himalayas, 1948 | © Henri Cartier- Bresson

Sally Mann

Sally Mann is an American photographer from Lexington, Virginia who stirred incredible controversy in the 1990s for photographs of her children, mostly in the nude on the Virginia farm where Mann still lives with her family. I think the images are incredibly beautiful, touching, and unflinching. I love a little controversy if the source is worthy, and to me, these photographs have most definitely been an inspiring and worthy source for years.

Untitled (Virginia with Trumpet Vine), 1990

Featured image by Emma Tillman.

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Louis Vuitton Mens AW18: Kim Jones’ triumphant farewell

19.01.2018 | Fashion | BY:

A spectacular final show from Kim Jones had the crowds in a frenzy, which was taken to heady new heights when the designer said his final goodbye with Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss on either arm.

Fittingly the collection offered an overview of landscapes across the world, as well as looking inwardly at the heritage of the Louis Vuitton brand. Here aesthetic influences ranged from American rodeo to the Siberia, and looks were rendered with a dash of Titanium, introduced as a new precious metal. The iconic logo was made abundant use of, with fierce delivery through patent trenches and savvily printed on jumpers.

Speaking about the show, the designer commented that “It’s about clothes that can change, about fabrics that can travel on the body – and transform.” This was realised through an undulating rainbow of colours that ran from neutrals to neon and brought endless energy to the collection, while sharp details – fluro pockets, metallized monogram leggings – demonstrated the mighty power of Kim Jones at his best.

© Louis Vuitton

© Louis Vuitton

© Louis Vuitton

© Louis Vuitton

© Louis Vuitton

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Siobhan Coen, Unknown Knowns

17.01.2018 | Art | BY:

From the 18th January until the 25th February 2018, the Zabludowicz Collection will host Siobhan Coen’s Unknown Knowns, an installation featuring the voice of former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, alongside LED pulsating light that saturates a large print of brightly coloured pixels, creating a hallucinogenic work that is both seductive and destabilising.

Siobhan Coen focuses her work on the function of the human mind. Her research into scientific theories of consciousness and perception is brought into dialogue with social realities, and her examination of neurological, technological and political information-filtering makes her work particularly relevant. We spoke to Siobhan about Unknown Knowns, the inclusion of political figures in her work, and her artistic methods.

Can you tell us about your piece Unknown Knowns?

It’s an evidence-based fiction. I have re-edited the voice of Republican Donald Rumsfeld from his audiobooks, extracting abstract statements until they suggest a narrative. Rumsfeld emerged as an aesthetic philosopher-type character intent on changing the way we see. The audio is combined with pulses of programmed RGB lights that animate a panoramic pixelated print, creating an illusion of movement.

How has the work of artist Brion Gysin informed your practice?

I had always felt a bit short-changed by how little of the information we receive through our senses actually makes it into our consciousness. I read a study by Professor David Nutt, which found that taking hallucinogenic drugs reduced this unconscious brain filtering. Subsequently, I was drawn to Gysin’s Dreamachine – a device for inducing hallucinations from flickering light effects – as a way of accessing all that missing data, and also to explore the possible psychedelic effects of reduced information filtering in society. I have also been influenced by his cut-up technique, a method of rearranging text in order to find truth.

How does your work examine visual perception and unconscious control?

I rework the component parts of digital communication – RGB light, pixels that make up images, and the words of those with the loudest voices – to examine how their qualities rather than subject matter, might affect us beyond our conscious awareness. Questions of how human perception can be manipulated and altered are pretty timeless, and I hope my project is open enough to relate to different cultural and technological moments. In fact, I’m drawn to how these things can be cyclical. For example, Steve Jobs believed that the feeling of connectedness from taking LSD in the 1960s allowed the internet to be imagined. And the internet now seems to be producing a slightly hallucinogenic effect by reducing information filtering. There’s a looping of cause and effect.

What methods do you use to create tension between form and content?

I try to edit the voice so that it sounds believable, in order to highlight how form rather than content can determine what we perceive to be true. But also, the process of maintaining speech rhythms prevents me from imposing my thinking. I find that both the narrative and visual elements become largely dictated by the form rather than the content of the writing. Rumsfeld’s books were full of proclamations and advice, they had a quality of persuasion or seduction that suggested projection to an outer world in order to change it.

How do you put the audio and visuals together to create the final piece?

I create the audio and visual elements in parallel so that they feedback into each other. I find it a way of exploring my interests through a system of embodied cognition, rather than doing so purely intellectually.

How do you choose which political figures you want to incorporate into your work?

I first used the voice of Tony Blair from his audiobook A Journey (2011) – he just struck me as someone who had seen things that weren’t there, so he was a good figure to talk about my interests. In my research I became interested in the political rhetoric of that era, the turn of the millennium, as potentially the beginning of the post-truth phenomena that surrounds us today. Rumsfeld’s abstract language stood out as something very particular however, in the way he deployed it to defocus attention.

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

I hope the piece offers a refocusing of attention, and a shifted view of material that might feel at first familiar. I think of the project as being about truths hiding in plain sight. And at the very least, visitors get to take away a printed transcript if they wish.

Zabludowicz Collection Invites: Siobhan Coen, 18 January – 25 February 2018, Zabludowicz Collection, London, www.zabludowiczcollection.com

 

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Future Feminine

14.01.2018 | Art , Blog , Culture | BY:

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

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

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

The future looks bright, the future is female.

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

Featured image credit: Amanda Charchian

 

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Bethany Williams: Menswear In Search of Social Change

11.01.2018 | Culture , Fashion | BY:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Athens, a city with no name

10.01.2018 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

Kennedy magazine founder Chris Kontos shares his celebration of the Athens’ cultural life. 

Athens is a city still unknown to many despite its recent resurgence as an artistic destination. Jumping on the gentrification train a bit later than other European cities, it still retains on old charm through its 1920’s apartments, vintage clothes boutiques and theatres that contradict the city’s almost anarchic architecture – a pastiche of different styles layered for years on top of each other.

We (Chris Kontos, stylist Daphne Iliaki and model Elina Vasilkovskaya) took to the streets of Athens, and visited a few of the city’s apartments, to revel in the mystery of a city that still captivates its residents and visitors alike.

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Bethany Williams AW18

07.01.2018 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

A pioneer of sustainable fashion, Bethany Williams puts a social conscience at the heart of her work; the last collection ‘Breadline’, worked alongside the Vauxhall food bank and Tesco to highlight the poverty crisis hidden in plain sight in the UK. Here the collection was developed around food waste, and Tesco recycled cardboard. The results were not only socially aware and environmentally friendly, but also innovative, avant-garde and sculptural – a hybrid of responsible and covetable which is glaring absent for the most part in the British fashion industry.

Her latest collection ‘Women of Change’ put women’s rehabilitation at the heart of her collection. The designer worked with female prisoners and the San Patrignano drug dependancy program, subverting the gender narrative to bring men into fore of the solution through her designs. Each piece was created from 100% organic or recycled, even down to the buttons which are handmade in the Lake District by Jean Wildish, who plants her own trees for the production of wooden buttons, and handmade in the UK and Italy.

The collection was shown at London Fashion Week Mens through a film, directed by Crack Stevens, along with a live presentation with models from TIH – a new modelling agency that supports young Londoners affected by homelessness.

One of the most exciting designers on the London menswear scene, Bethany Williams is offering a vision for the future which fashion desperately needs. We can’t wait to see what comes next.

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Amazing Grace, Wales Bonner’s greatest hits

05.01.2018 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

As London Fashion Week Mens kicks off, Twin offers a survey of the innovate designs from Grace Wales Bonner, the menswear designer who has the city smitten. And quite right, too. With her natural flair for 70s tailoring and exquisite eye for detail, the London designer riffs across the aesthetic spectrum of menswear –from studded cropped velvet jackets to pristine white, ethereal-feeling two pieces – always ensuring tightly executed and intelligent collections.

Whether she’s inspired by the streets of London and Dakar or the works of James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison and Marlon Riggs, Wales Bonner creates romance that’s steeped in historical and cultural context – her shows are often accompanied with a rich set of literary references, and she produced a 10,000 word dissertation as part of her final collection for Central Saint Martins, in spite of it not being mandatory.

A winner of the LVMH young designer prize, as well as receiving the award for emerging menswear designer at the British Fashion Awards in 2015, Grace is guaranteed to stir the hearts and minds of the industry this season – as a new year begins, take a chance to catch up on the best of Wales Bonner’s work to date so you’re all switched on for her show on Sunday.

Blue Duets, SS18

Wales Bonner, Fashion Show, Menswear Collection Spring Summer In London

Wales Bonner, Fashion Show, Menswear Collection Spring Summer In London

Wales Bonner, Fashion Show, Menswear Collection Spring Summer In London

Wales Bonner, Fashion Show, Menswear Collection Spring Summer In London

Wales Bonner, Fashion Show, Menswear Collection Spring Summer In London

Wales Bonner, Fashion Show, Menswear Collection Spring Summer In London

Spirituals II, AW17

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Ezekiel, SS17

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Spirituals, AW16

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Malik, SS16

Wales Bonner | photograph by Edward Quamby

Wales Bonner | photograph by Edward Quamby

Wales Bonner | photograph by Edward Quamby

Wales Bonner | photograph by Edward Quamby

Ebonomics, AW15

Wales Bonner | Photograph by Rachel Chandler

Wales Bonner | Photograph by Rachel Chandler

Wales Bonner | Photograph by Rachel Chandler

Wales Bonner | Photograph by Rachel Chandler

 

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Saint Laurent SS18, dancing through the night

05.01.2018 | Fashion | BY:

Filmed by Inez & Vinoodh, the new Saint Laurent SS18 video shows a heady collection of models dancing endlessly through the night to the fierce soundtrack of New Order’s ‘Blue Monday’.

Having created a seriously theatrical show under the glistening lights of the Eiffel Tower in October last year, this new video is the teaser we need to get excited for Saint Laurent SS18 all over again.

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KENZO Move Revolution

04.01.2018 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

Start 2018 as you mean to go on: KENZO has just released a new ‘Move’ collection designed to fuel your energy and activity for the year ahead. Combining the bold, punchy colours and the house’s signature Tiger logo on the shoe with a global cast of dancers in the new campaign, the Move series is guaranteed to put a spring in your step this month.

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The dance-themed campaign brings together dancers from across the board – from ballet and hip hop to dance and electro. Choreographed by the creative duo ‘I Could Never Be A Dancer’, the campaign sees the cast pulling a series of fierce and frenetic shapes. It’s a new year: time to move!

Available online and in selected stores from January 2nd. 

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The best of 2017: highlights from Twin Issue XVII

29.12.2017 | Blog , Twin Book | BY:

For fall, Issue 17 took a closer look at the expectations and realities of self-reflection. We met the young, African artist Kudzanai-Violet Hwami on the eve of her inaugural solo show, and discussed shedding the weight of self-doubt in order to soar. Elsewhere, sisters Nancy and Lotte Andersen discussed their shared childhood and creative pursuits, while actress Joanne Froggatt questioned the limitations facing woman who dare to age on screen. Patrick Demarchelier took us behind the scenes at the Musée du Louvre exclusively for Louis Vuitton, before we embarked on a Californian road trip with Chanel. Meanwhile, as Browns East — the latest bricks and mortar retail innovation to hit London — opened, we discussed the vital fostering of raw talent with Browns CEO Holli Rogers and Farfetch’s Chief Consultant of Augmented Retail Susanne Tide-Frater. Speaking of raw talent, musician Cosima revealed her most uncomfortable self under the lens of Francesca Allen, while model and artist Larissa Hofmann turned the camera on herself for a self portrait redux. Here’s looking at you, kid.

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17intimacy
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