‘The fragility of plans that appear solid’: Tamar Guimarães and Kasper Akhøj at the De La Warr Pavilion

07.03.2018 | Art , Culture | BY:

Until the 3rd of June, the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, will be transformed by immersive designs created by Copenhagen-based artists Tamar Guimarães and Kasper Akhøj, in collaboration with the designer Frederico Fazenda. This will be the very first public exhibition from Guimarães and Akhøj in the UK, who have previously shown work at LACMA and the Venice Biennale.

The exhibition presents moving image and photographic works that have been selected in response to the modernist architecture of the De La Warr Pavilion, and the curious social history of Bexhill-on-Sea. Together and separately, Guimarães and Akhøj explore the residual histories of art, design and architecture, drawing unexpected connections between states of rapture and modernity. The works on display include Studies for A Minor History of Trembling Matter (2017) and Captain Gervasio’s Family (2014), which both respond to research undertaken in the small Brazilian town of Palmelo, where many the inhabitants are Spiritist mediums. These films appear alongside Guimarães’ Canoas (2010), set in the home that architect Oscar Neimeyer built for himself outside Rio de Janeiro, and Akhøj’s Welcome (to the Teknival), 2009-17, a response to the restoration of Eileen Gray’s modernist villa e.1027. We spoke to Guimarães and Akhøj about the exhibition and its complex and varied works.

Where did the name I blew on Mr. Greenhill’s joints with a very ‘hot’ breath come from?

The phrase appears on the memoirs of Arthur Spray, who lived in Bexhill-on-Sea throughout the 1930s and had a cobbler shop on Station Road, a few streets away from the Pavilion. There, on the upper floor, Spray practised healing, through hypnosis, touch, and blowing on body parts with ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ breath. He understood the universe as composed of thought vibrations, and God, within it, as a wireless broadcasting station. The title invokes a healing impulse that runs, as a theme, throughout the exhibition, like the curtain that unfolds through the space.

Tamar Guimarães, Canoas (film still), 2010 © Tamar Guimarães, Courtesy of the artist and Fortes D’Aloia & Gabriel, São Paulo

How do the works respond to the space they are occupying?

We discussed the space with Rosie Cooper, the Pavilion’s curator, and we all agreed that the window to the sea should stay as open as possible to allow people inside to look out and people outside to look in. But that is counter-intuitive when you are installing works that need darkness and silence, so we devised a large curtain that unfolds throughout the space, appearing and disappearing, so to say. The curtains were designed in collaboration with Frederico Fazenda and we had in mind the sea, the shore, the propagation of sound, the curves found in the work of Oscar Niemeyer and his collaborator Roberto Burle Marx.

There is an interesting connection with the original plans for the pavilion, which included a sculpture by Frank Dobson, who chose to depict Persephone, goddess of vegetation and Queen of the underworld. She was to stand on the Pavilion’s lawn, looking out to sea as if guarding her realm. The curtains function as dividers in the exhibition space but we also want to imagine that it might also stand between the earth and the spirit world, the domain of Persephone.

Take for example, Welcome (to the Teknival). This is a series of photographs of Villa E.1027, and you find many parallels with the pavilion. Known as Maison en Bord de Mer, Villa E.1027 is a modernist icon designed and built between 1926 and 1929 by Eileen Gray, in the Côte d’Azur. Taken from 2008 to 2017, the photographs that make up Welcome (to the Teknival) follow the process of renovation of Villa E.1027, now recognised as patrimony by the French state.

amar Guimarães, Canoas (film still), 2010 © Tamar Guimarães, Courtesy of the artist and Fortes D’Aloia & Gabriel, São Paulo

How do the selected works reflect the last ten years of your careers?

The exhibition is not exactly a summary of our last ten years of work – we both have worked on significant projects that are not on display at the De La Warr Pavilion. But the works were selected in relation to the pavilion, which was designed by Erich Mendelsohn and Serge Chermayeff, and would be known as the People’s Palace – a centre for health and leisure, of health through leisure, that brought the language of modern architecture to the British seaside.

To what extent is Spiritism a theme throughout the exhibition?

Spiritism is not the main theme throughout the exhibition. The exhibition themes are time, illness and recovery, yet two of the works engage with a Spiritist community in Palmelo, a very small town in the Brazilian planes. The town emerged in the 1930s around a Spiritist study group and a sanatorium. Half of the city’s inhabitants are psychic mediums who hold day jobs as teachers and civil servants, and partake in daily rituals of psychic healing. For this community, spirits intervene, teach and transform the material world.

Tamar Guimarães, Canoas (film still), 2010 © Tamar Guimarães, Courtesy of the artist and Fortes D’Aloia & Gabriel, São Paulo

Why did you decide to focus on this particular moment in modernism in your film Canoas?

Casa das Canoas was designed by Oscar Niemeyer and was his home from 1951 to 1957, when he moved to the central plains of Brazil to work on the construction of the new capital, Brasília – a monumental project commissioned by president Juscelino Kubitschek as part of his ‘fifty years of prosperity in five’. During the 1950s, Canoas was the location of many gatherings of political and cultural figures, and its sensuous modernism contributed to the image of Brazil as an emerging modern paradise.

When the film was shot in 2010, there was a similar optimism reigning in Brazil. Yet the film overlaps the times: you have a sense of the past lingering into the present, showing that prosperity is a state of mind, and always only part of the story. And thus, Brazil’s progressive modernism and its often-celebrated ‘racial democracy’ return, as ghosts, promising a future that was not to be.

Kasper Akhoj, Welcome (To The Teknival), 2008-17 © Kasper Akhøj, Courtesy of the artist and Ellen De Bruijne Projects, Amsterdam

What do you think viewers will take away from the exhibition?

That is hard to tell. They might leave thinking of the contrast between the clean lines of modern architecture and the subtle substances that emanate from them; or perhaps of the fragility of plans that appear solid but which must be built on conditions that are permanently revised; they might think of electricity, of thought conduits, of hearing voices, of fits of slumber and of communication that begins with words, but eventually give way to tremors, cries, hums and beats.

Tamar Guimarães and Kasper Akhøj at the De La Warr Pavilion, open until 3rd June 2018. 

Tags: , , ,

Shoot the Women First: Twin meets artist Navine G. Khan-Dossos

02.03.2018 | Art , Blog | BY:

Navine G. Khan-Dossos’ latest exhibition at The Breeder in Athens considers the theme of targets. Entitled Shoot The Women First, it draws on a command reported to be issued in the 1980s to members of West Germany’s elite GSG-9 anti-terrorist squad. The order forms the title of a book by Eileen McDonald, one of the many influences that worked to inform Dossos’ complex and multi-layered exhibition.

The opening of the exhibition on the first floor recreates a shooting range. The paintings begin with targets that use abstract shapes, and build until their depictions of humans are wholly recognisable. This movement to clarity is uneasy: at the moment you recognise the object, you also process a human will be shot. All the paintings are taken from actual targets. The tension is there again, with the paintings operating both as art and as a direct reflection of institutionalised killing. Curated as a shooting range, the audience is complicit in this complex relationship too – both a gallery visitor and a watchful bystander.

Downstairs in the gallery symbols on paintings refer to Discretionary Command training. Trainee shooters receive a chain of commands which require them to shoot at shapes and colours in a certain order. These objects represent an abstraction of human from human, and also of State from the individual. Especially of those considered to threaten existing structures.

Pink in Athens doesn’t have the millennial fashion connotations that it does in other European cities. Instead it evokes the colours of walls outside the brothels in the Metaxourgeio area, also the location of The Breeder gallery. The downstairs series was also informed by recent historical events around the area, specifically a case against a group of female drug-users in 2012, who were forced to take HIV tests. The women were publicly persecuted by the media and accused of grievous bodily harm for transmitting the virus through sex work.  The use of the colour in her paintings then opens up new interpretations; pink is no longer beautiful, but violent. A shadow of war-mongering red. As is typical throughout the exhibition, Khan-Dossos offers a new way of seeing. The viewer is taken by surprise.

Navine G.Khan-Dossos, Grey Discretionary Command Series I-VIII, 2017 | Photos courtesy of The Breeder / © Alexandra Masmanidi

A graduate of Art at Cambridge University, Arabic at Kuwait University, Islamic Art at the Prince’s School of Traditional Art in London, and with an MA in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Art & Design, Navine G. Khan-Dossos brings a rigorous and intellectual approach to understanding the world around us. Her abstract paintings allow for an ontological study of shapes and symbols; historical references from both East and West, alongside contemporary digital contexts, examine and reflect on themes such as the depiction of European converts to radical Islam (‘Echo Chamber’, 2017), to the use of symbols and codes in the creation of crossrail at the House of St Barnabas in London (A Year Without Movement, 2017).

Her works are often site specific, and multi-dimensional. The opening of Shoot the Women First was accompanied with a performance by – enacting the shifting relationship between the collective and the other. Twin caught up with Navine to discuss the performance of identities and the idea of the other.

When did you first encounter Eileen McDonald’s text? What was the immediate impact it had on you? 

Shoot The Women First by Eileen MacDonald was given to me for Christmas by my partner a couple of years ago. It raised a few eyebrows around the Christmas tree, that’s for sure. But my partner knows me pretty well, and given my long-term interest in female terrorists, it was a perfect gift for me. I read it immediately and have read it again many times since. But I also have shared it with those Im working with on this project, in order for us all to begin the conversation from the same page.

The book is (as far as I know) the first attempt by a journalist to tackle the subject of female terrorists, and given when it was written in 1991, the interviews she conducts are with women whose memories and experiences of conflict and action are very recent and you can really feel that in the fabric of the book. 

There are problems with it, such as an over-arching narrative that supposes that the violent political cause is somehow a child replacement for female terrorists; a cause into which they can put their maternal drive. This reduces women to a biological imperative of motherhood rather than seeing them as having genuine political will of their own, unconnected to their ovaries. This line of conclusion certainly dates the book, but I think as an archive of a specific time in history and the role of women within that turbulence, it’s a very valuable document and an inspiring one to begin something new to continue this dialogue in our own times.

Navine G.Khan-Dossos, Bulk Target 1-100, 2018 | courtesy of The Breeder / ©  Alexandra Masmanidi

In the accompanying essay to the exhibition Lisa Downing surmises that ‘ A “target,” then, by necessity, moves.’  What about this dynamic interested you?

Beyond this essay for the show, Lisa Downing thinks and writes more broadly about the role of the individual woman, the difficult woman, or the woman who finds herself unable to be part of a collective we and I think this is the issue that underpins the target too. How does a woman stand apart but also identify with the group? The question of the target, for me, is tied up in this question of the individual and the multitude, being able to be alone but without being isolated or singled out for attack. And I think this is a pertinent question we must take forward with us into a future where we dont have to be vulnerable or further this otherness by individuating oneself.

Through the curation and the targets you open a discussion around complicity – where do you hope the viewer will place themselves in this dialogue?

I really dont have any expectation of where the viewer should place themself within the work. It isnt so didactic as to suggest one position. The intention is to keep things open, to reflect on the many roles that can be played out in the scenario of the shooting gallery: the target, the target designer, the shooter, the bystander, the amateur weekend gun enthusiast, the professional killer. 

Navine G.Khan-Dossos, Shoot the Women First, Grey Discretionary Command Series I-VIII, 2017 |courtesy of The Breeder / ©  Alexandra Masmanidi

Why was it important to you to have a performance element of the exhibition? How did the collaboration come about?

This is the first time I have collaborated with a choreographer (Yasmina Reggad) and a group of dancers. Over a coffee in my studio when I was making he cardboard targets, Yamsina noticed how much the drying works resembled costumes, or certainly had the possibility of being worn. With her experience and her eyes, she saw not just the abstracted figure within the target, but how it could be embodied, given movement, and activated as part of the works scope beyond painting. 

It was a very natural collaboration and Yasmina and I have been thinking and practicing together over the past weeks and months to think how we can work in parallel and share this common ground of interest. 

The dancers will perform a mixture of martial arts-based movements choreographed within patterns used by riot police in crowd control situations. They will move those attending the opening of the show, pushing them out of the gallery, and controlling them through these delicate but powerful gestures. 

Shoot the Women First performance, choreographed by Yasmina Reggad for Navine G. Khan-Dossos exhibition opening | photo courtesy of the artist / ©  Alexandra Masmanidi

Im become quite fascinated by what a female army might look like in the future. The Kurdish female fighters of the YPJ (Kurdish Protection Units) continue to be a strong presence in my thoughts everyday, but I wonder also what ways of fighting and controlling crowds might be possible through other forms of intervention, which is why the inclusion of the martial arts is an interesting mode to explore. In a show that is dominated by the act of shooting and guns, this attempt to circumnavigate the use of this kind of instrument of violence is a way of imagining different possibilities for the future.  

In the show text you reference specific examples of the 2012 arrests of suspected sex workers in Athens, as well as other major moments of terrorism throughout contemporary history. Can you talk a little about your research process, and why the story of the Greek women spoke to you in particular?

From the moment I found out about this story I was gripped by it, but also by the way it effected the Greek people I asked about it, and how they recalled that moment in time. I wasnt yet living in Athens myself in 2012, so it was very much about exploring collective memory as well as more in-depth research. This case in some ways is very simple  an action made in the weeks leading up to a general election to make it look like the city was being cleaned up. But the complexity of the intermeshing subjects of HIV, of sex work, of the sanctity of family unit in Greece, also coalesce into something of great tragedy for the women at the heart of the events.

One of the first and most important influences on this research was the film Ruins by Zoe Mavroudi. She presented the story and the politics of what happened to these women in 2012 with a great dignity and power. Zoe and I discussed the making of the film and the issues surrounding it, but also the present situations of these women, and how not to lose sight of this case, but without re-presenting the women at the centre of the arrests, furthering the exploitation of their image.

Zoe introduced me to Apostolis Kalogiannis who was able to deepen my understanding of the current situation of sex work in Athens and how it has changed (or not) since 2012. This was an important way of grounding myself in the present rather than just looking back onto a concluded past event. There are important groups supporting vulnerable sex workers in Athens and there are ways for us to support their work through art, and by keeping the subject alive and visible.

Νavine G.Khan-Dossos, Pink Discretionary Command Series V-XII, 2017 | courtesy of The Breeder / ©  Alexandra Masmanidi

We spoke about the desire to focus on this story without re-enacting the violence that the women experienced in 2012. Could you elaborate on your approach to this?

The works are not and should never be considered a re-enactment of the situation in 2012. Those events are part of a much wider series of influences that went into making the works. But one important aspect that did derive directly from the issues raised by that case was how to represent women without returning to the low-grade viral images that swept through the Internet and the Greek media when the story broke.

I do not believe we need to re-present or indeed rely on these damaging images. Instead there must be a way to use a functional, diagrammatical, symbolic language that tells a wider story about the abstraction of the human body as a necessary device to distance oneself from the subject/target.

It is possible to make work about violence that in itself is not violent. It can be a contemplative or meditative space instead of a shocking one  a space where the viewer can consider the subject matter and recall what they already know inside themselves, including their own experiences, rather than forcing my narrative upon them.

I have been working on this approach to portraying difficult subject matter for a few years now, and it always changes depending on the subject matter. But I feel strongly that in this time of mass consumption of digital images of violence, there might be other ways to talk about it that don’t rely on the images themselves and getting caught up in that loop of the poor or degraded image (as Hito Steyerl might say). 

Νavine G.Khan-Dossos, Pink Discretionary Command Series V-XII, 2017 | courtesy of The Breeder / ©  Alexandra Masmanidi

Do particular shapes and colours present themselves instinctively or do you always approach shapes and symbols to use in your work based on their pre-existing references and meanings?

All of my material comes from things that exist in the real world as functional objects or images. In this case all the paintings are based on Discretionary Command targets  a form of shooting practice target that relies on listening to commands and shooting the coloured shapes in the order given. So the shapes and colours have an inherent meaning within this context and a relationship to the human body in terms of organs (shoot to kill) and limbs (shoot to maim).

I have also included pink triangles as an additional shape to the pre-existing forms of the command targets, as a way of including the history and politics of the gay rights movement, which also has an important place in this work about the targeting of marginalised groups. 

Shoot The Women First is on at The Breeder Gallery, Athens, until March 10th. 

Tags: , ,

The politics of the Body: Twin meets Ranny Cooper

27.02.2018 | Art | BY:

Artist Ranny Cooper examines and explores the female form as a way of addressing issues around self identity and discovery. She shifts our usual associations away from sex and provocation and asks us instead to focus on the ways in which the body is bound in objectification and intrusion, yet also in admiration and desire. Cooper uses her own body as her muse as it has been a positive way for her to address the issues she faces with her own body politics. Inspired by Jenny Saville and her portrayal of the body and all of its fluid forms, Cooper enjoys celebrating this idea of the grotesquely beautiful. In her series ‘Unbound’, the minimal, fluid lines and colours of Cooper’s mix media drawings offer a thoughtful and sensitive representation of the female form. Her use of leatherwear highlights the friction between submission and empowerment as she depicts the action, restrictions and effects of harnesses as a means of representing the duality of lust and scrutiny that women’s bodies are subjected to.

Ranny Cooper, Unbound

Originally from Brighton, Cooper has been based in East London’s Hackney for the last five years, where she spent the first three at London College of Fashion studying Fashion Illustration. The product of a rather bohemian and idyllic childhood, Cooper thinks this may be where her openness towards nudity came from and why she doesn’t feel that her sexuality defines her. I don’t know if I am defined by my sexuality, but know that I address it very boldly. I have always been very sexually open with my body. I grew up in an extremely naked household – it is a good way for me to express how I am feeling as a women. A lot of people see my work and think of it in very black and white terms, as simply sexual, open and in your face. But when you understand the meaning behind it, it is actually very personal. So, it is about sexuality but the point is there is also much more behind the surface.

Cooper acknowledges that the personal element to her work is varied depending on the series she is focusing on. While she always uses the body as her canvas and main subject, the motives behind her use of it are diverse.With my body print series I was expressing different emotions that I felt when I was life modelling. When you are exposed to a crowd of people and you are nude it encourages a range of emotions and I would find so many different thoughts running through my head. It really does boil down to each individual pose having a unique emotion that comes with it. Then when it came to my series ‘Unbound’, I was addressing the misconceptions people often have around sexuality, especially when it comes to the use of leather and harnesses. I involved the harness as a means of highlighting the importance of control for women when it comes to their bodies, which can be both a positive and negative in todays society.

Over the last few weeks, Cooper has started working on a new project, ‘Dismemberment’. In this series she fragments the body. The project merges different parts of the anatomy to explore the cross section between where the human form goes from the sight of desire to the sight of grotesque. Cooper explains how she is taking a new direction with her use of the body as a canvas and her growing obsession with how different angles can make the figure look almost distorted. This project is a little less sexual in a way as it focuses on dismembered and deconstructed figures. I have always been interested in the body looking distorted and out of worldly in a way, which transpired into this idea of how the body can go from a site of desire to a site of grotesque. With this project I still use the naked body but by dismembering it I wish to express the chaos we are often faced with when we let our thoughts run away with us, highlighting the confusion and madness that the mind often provokes.

As Cooper readdresses her practice through the altered perception she now places on the body, she discusses how she defines beauty:

I believe that it is completely in the eye of the beholder. I don’t think there is a typical ideal of beauty. For me, beauty comes from weakness and imperfection. Like art, it is totally subjective and I really don’t think it can be defined any more. Obviously you have ideals that the media represents to people of how we should look, which is a big issue. When I started doing such figurative drawings, initially I focused on slender beautiful women but gradually this made me feel more and more uncomfortable so I started using myself as my own reference – that really made me target issues I had with myself and helped me come to terms with them. I don’t think beauty is a definition I think it is a perception.

Ranny Cooper, Unbound

With this idea of beauty as perception rooted in subjectivity, Ranny explains how Hans Bellmer, Louise Bourgeois and Jean Cocteau have been lifelong inspirations for her. Likewise, the minimalist linear drawings by Austrian artist Egon Schiele and Mapplethorpe’s fetishistic yet sensual images have been important artistic sources. More recently, she credits the work of photographer Maisie Cousins, whose zoomed images of the female body taken from the series ‘grass, peonies, bum’ are some of her favourites. While Ranny is keen to explore the possibility of living somewhere like Berlin, given it’s notably liberal attitudes within youth culture, she has decided to dedicate the next two years to nurturing her practice here in London. Ranny Cooper will be showing her new series ‘Dismemberment’ at Cafe 119 throughout April. In the meantime, you can follow her practice and intense obsession with poached eggs via her Instagram @rannycooper. 

Tags: ,

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


Tags: , ,

Let Me Breathe: Twin Meets Artist Nadine Shaban

30.11.2017 | Art | BY:

A graduate from Royal College of Art in 2016, artist Nadine Shaban works across fashion, sound and performance to create idiosyncratic works. Having recently teamed up with Axel Arigato for a new exhibition in the brand’s Soho space, Twin caught up with Nadine to talk about approaching space, working in flux and externalising emotion.

Your new exhibition is entitled ‘Let Me Breathe’ – what inspired this title, and what were you responding to?

A feeling of being trapped. By situations, pressures and expectations. Wanting to run away from it all.  As well as this my work has always been very material based and by the end of my last project I felt very frustrated by the mass of plastic and fabric I had built up around me. I wasn’t enjoying the project and it was beginning to feel like a lot of unnecessary stuff that was just adding to the accumulation of things we have in our lives which we don’t need. I sometimes dreamed about burning it all once the show was done. I’m going through a love hate relationship with my practice it at the moment. This exhibition does involve a lot of material, but I’ve used it to communicate a feeling of suffocation.

Your interest is in creating work that is in flux or transition– what about movement and change interests you? How do you approach a static object to begin to move it towards something else?

My work is a reaction to my experiences and how I see things and that is something that is always changing. It is the physical actions involved in making work that is an important part of the process for me. Tearing, stitching, mixing and thats about movement. I transform a static object by taking it apart or manipulating it into a different shape. Or more recently working with performers to make the pieces move.


What are the most instinctive materials to work with? 

I find I’m very drawn to synthetic materials and materials related to construction. The synthetic aspect is very distant from where the work begins; inner feelings. This contrast allows my work to act as a mask and gives a concrete way to externalise and express what is inside. I often use materials found on building sites because of their relation to transformation and incomplete states and holding things together.

How have you found your practice evolving since you graduated?

I’m open to collaborating. I used to find it very difficult to work with people and would avoid it. My work was something I needed to have complete control over. I find now that collaborating makes projects more fun and allows for further development. And I don’t worry so much about the outcomes of my work, I’m better at trusting my instinct. I guess I’m less precious about it.

You have collaborated with a range of designers, what about your practice aligns well with clothes and the body?

My work is very textural and sculptural so it lends itself to clothing. The contrast created between the heavy and synthetic materials against the natural body creates a mask. I get consumed by my work so I like the idea that a body gets consumed by it. Combining my work with the body also helps to communicate some of the emotions it is related to.

Tommy Zhong  show

Tommy Zhong SS18 

How did the collaboration with Axel Arigato come about? What about the brand aligned with your aesthetic?

The Lobby London approached me to see if I’d be interested in collaborating with Axel Arigato. Their brand has a very minimal and fresh aesthetic, which compliments the mixed media aspect of my practice. The store is very spacious and white with some industrial textures, which makes it an ideal place to present my slightly chaotic work.

You talk about art being a hiding place – how do you approach empty space when you’re thinking about your next work? 

My interaction with materials is a bit like having a conversation; it is how I translate what is inside of me. This initial process only really happens when I’m on my own in my own space. But from it comes lots of experiments in the form of small objects. Once I’ve found what is effective I can use this as a starting point to look at how it can be developed on a larger scale.


What keeps you interested in larger scale installations? 

A desire to create a space that people can become immersed in, be overcome by and take them away from their everyday life. I want to find a way to translate the energy and world that I get lost in when I am making work to people viewing it.

Tags: , ,

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

08.11.2017 | Blog , Culture | BY:

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

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

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

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

Tags: , ,

Twin curates: the best things to see at Frieze 2017

02.10.2017 | Art , Blog | BY:

Frieze is here this week and even those with the most tentative interest in art will be blown away by the onslaught of visual experience coming to the city. Twin rounds up the ten best things to catch at Frieze 2017.


1:54 African Art Fair


This satellite fair in Somerset House, focused on galleries and artists from Africa, has grown every year and shows some of the most interesting and less known work you’ll see in the week. You are guaranteed to discover new artists – keep an eye out for Ouattara Watts, Marlene Steyn and Admire Kamudzengerere. If you cant make it in person the website has a good visual compendium of featured artists.


Ouattara Watts, After rain, 2017, Mixed media on canvas, 182 x 160 cm. Courtesy Primo Marella Gallery

Ouattara Watts, After rain, 2017, Mixed media on canvas, 182 x 160 cm. Courtesy Primo Marella Gallery


Seth Price at the ICA


This retrospective brings together 20 years of one aspect of Price’s work – his videos. They are amazing, influential and worth every minute you watch them.


 Jeremy Shaw, Arthur Jafa and Everything at Once by Lisson Gallery at 180 The Strand

180 The Strand is putting on three killer shows for the next few months. Past Twin interviewee Jeremy Shaw has a solo show on the ground floor, Arthur Jafa is showing a film on the roof in a tent and Lisson gallery has filled the former office block with massive installations. All free. All exceptionally good.


Jeremy Shaw's sci-fi pseudo-documentary Liminals to be exhibited at Store Studios this autumn, presented by The Vinyl Factory and König Galerie.

Jeremy Shaw’s sci-fi pseudo-documentary Liminals to be exhibited at Store Studios this autumn, presented by The Vinyl Factory and König Galerie.


Georgina Starr at Frieze Art Fair Projects


Starr is getting some well deserved attention with a narrative performance project at Frieze, showcasing her mysterious and marvellous take on brains, bubbles, disembodied voices and strong female characters.


Haroon Mirza at Zabludowicz Collection

Psychedelic film installations, a sensory deprivation chamber and mix and match take on collaboration. This brilliant show which is evolving over three months is also the show for a performance by dancer Wayne Macgregor on Thursday (book now).

Nathalie Du Pasquier Other Rooms at Camden Arts Centre

Nathalie Du Pasquier Other Rooms at Camden Arts Centre


Natalie du Pasquier at Camden Arts Centre


Du Pasquier was one of the members of iconic 80s design collective Memphis, who are having a serious moment. This exhibition brings together paintings and art objects she has created since in a fine art context but still have a touch of individualistic colour and architectural shapes from her earlier work.


Dream Art Fair


You can visit one of the most interesting emerging art fairs from your own bedroom – Dream. This five day online fair is a great project, with a well curated selection of galleries. Experimental while still being accessible.


Renate Bertlmann, Eva im sack (‘Eva in bag’, 2010) (detail). Digital print, 80 x 80 cm. Courtesy: the artist and Richard Saltoun, London

Renate Bertlmann, Eva im sack (‘Eva in bag’, 2010) (detail). Digital print, 80 x 80 cm. Courtesy: the artist and Richard Saltoun, London


Sex Work curated by Alison Gingeras at Frieze


Twin profiled Black Sheep Feminism curated by Alison Gingeras in Texas, showing female artists from the 60s and 70s who were ostracised for their sexual imagery. The curator brings her research to London in a new form. Expect from beautiful and brilliant takes on genitalia.


Bob Parks Open Air Gospel Choir at Gallery of Everything


If you want something extra crazy, performance artist Bob Parks is your guy. To activate his show at the Gallery of Everything this Tuesday between 3 and 5pm he’ll be bringing a gospel choice to Chiltern Sreet. Expect it to have a large dose of wildness added on.

10 Sunday Art Fair


This long running fair down Marylebone Rd from Frieze focuses on smaller and often more interesting galleries. Always worth going to see new work and have real conversations with exciting international spaces.


Honourable mentions, because then things is not enough: Douglas Gordon at Gagosian, Tobjorn Rodland at Serpentine, Dorothea Tanning at Alison Jacques, Superflex at Tate Modern. 
(Featured image credit: Georgina Starr, Moment Memory Monument, 2017. Photo Henrik Blomqvist). 

Tags: ,


12.09.2017 | Art | BY:

Francesca Gavin (Twin, Art Editor) curates a new exhibition in Paris, inspired by the cultural power of the humble champignon. 

The exhibition explores the mushroom through cultural and historical narratives, focussing on how this simple fungi has operated at the heart of ritual for thousands of years.

Hannah Collins 'The fragile feast, madonna and ceps.' 2012 - 2017. | image courtesy of galeriecpc

Hannah Collins, ‘The fragile feast, madonna and ceps.’ 2012 – 2017. | image courtesy of galeriepcp

“They were an early form of female empowerment” Peter Cybulski, of galeriepcp tells me, adding that women used mushrooms for a source of income throughout the 19th century.

Throughout contemporary art, the mushroom can also be seen as a source of inspiration, with creatives looking towards it for its ability to signify nature, as well as more abstract, and psychedelic references.
seana gavin. mushroomscape. paper collage on card. 2017.

Seana Gavin, ‘mushroomscape’, 2017 | image courtesy of galeriepcp

Bringing together a diverse and exciting range of international artists which includes Hannah Collins, Sylvie Fleury, Seana Gavin, Carsten Holler and more. This new exhibition covers painting, collage, film and photography to offer an exciting and surprising survey of the mushroom, and the strangeness it embodies.
John Millei 'maria sabina #1', 2016 | image courtesy of galeriecpc

John Millei ‘maria sabina #1’, 2016 | image courtesy of galeriepcp

Champignons! curated by Francesca Gavin is at galeriepcp in Paris until 10th November 2017. 

Tags: , , , , ,

FACIAL RECOGNITION: A two-woman show

19.07.2017 | Art , Culture | BY:

Dealing in themes of feminine representation in the media and the body at large, ‘Facial Recognition’ takes the work of two celebrated British-born artists and turns it into a striking visual dialogue. Images from glossy media form the basis of Melissa Jordan and Eve Ackroyd’s work; subjects are warped and reimagined, transported into otherworldly places, where the traditional figurative is given a new freedom of form.

Eve Ackroyd Slats


‘Slats’, Eve Ackroyd

Jordan’s work features process-led clay sculptures, Ackroyd is solely a painter; and while in execution their work is very different, the thematic undercurrents and inherent symbolism of their subjects live intuitively in quite a similar space. The artists explain: ‘Trapped in a state of conflict between the visual narratives of their new world and the expressive postures of their past, these paintings and sculptures exist in a remote place, caught in expressions of restlessness and desire’.

The show runs from July 14-22, by appointment at Convoy Projects.


Main image: ‘Interface 26’, Melissa Jordan

Tags: , , , , ,

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.


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

Tags: , ,

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.


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.


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

Tags: , , ,

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. 

Cara Mills_300DPI_3

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. 

Cara Mills_300DPI_10

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. 

Tags: , , ,

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.


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.


Tags: , ,

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.


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.

Tags: , , ,

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. 

Tags: , , , , ,

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


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.

Tags: , , , , ,

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.

interior wide

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.

1991 art car

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.


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.


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

Tags: , , , ,

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.

Harriet Horton

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.


Main image: Harriet Horton, Lovers, 2016

Tags: , , , , ,


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.


Tags: , , , , , , ,

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.

Guerrilla Girls

‘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.”

Guerrilla Girls

‘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.

Guerrilla Girls

‘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.


Main image: by Andrew Hindraker

Tags: , , , ,

Available to pre-order now,
on sale Monday 19th March

Join the mailing list


  • Identifying a comfortable and trendy dog cloth is turning out to be difficult, as more and more cute dog clothes are venturing in the global market on regular basis.