When featured in a commercial or documentative format, photography more often than not can be understood by many, however conceptual art photography and its intended purpose and message remains slightly more mysterious to some. Last week, Twin visited the Photographers’ Gallery, London, for the launch of Why Art Photography? – the latest book written by female photographer, critic and art historian, Lucy Soutter, that provides a deeper understanding and explanation to photography as an art form.
Throughout its six chapters, Soutter’s book explores themes such as ambiguity, objectivity and authenticity, whilst introducing the reader to various fresh perspectives and responses to existing debates, cogently defending the form of conceptual art as a valid use for photography. We were privileged enough to hear Lucy talk through the final chapter entitled ‘Beyond Photography’, which provides an excellent summary to the book’s key focal point. Here she examines the work of a number of contemporary conceptual artists, all of whom have merged photography with various other 2D, 3D and even abstract art forms, demonstrating that the photographic medium should never in any way be only limited to the ‘wall’.
Why Art Photography? published by Routledge, is available to purchase now.
At times, Marianne Faithfull the Sixties legend has threatened to overshadow Marianne the real and living person. But after over thirty years in the spotlight, and the former pop ingénue has battled addiction to continue to put out records.
It’s fitting then that her curated exhibition at Tate Liverpool should be titled Innocence and Experience and nothing better sums up the show then a 1976 Mapplethorpe image of Faithfull, seemingly uneasy as she transitions from her Sixties naïveté to a dark awareness of life’s depths.
Having selected works from the Tate Collection, Innocence and Experience reflects upon Faithfull’s artistic influences, as well as those over her private life. Dark and romantic, the works in this exhibition are brought together by a curator whose life will be forever intertwined with art and performance.
Innocence and Experience curated by Marianne Faithfull is at Tate Liverpool 20 April – 2 September 2012 tateliverpool.org
What do you get when two young creative women, call together their friends to contribute to a zine dissecting what it is to be creative and female? The answer is teenVAG, a zine that explores coming of age, beauty and the body from a firmly feminine viewpoint. Confounding stereotypes and creating new imagery that fits their own feelings, Twin spoke to Natasha and Allison about teenVAG…
Where did the name teenVAG come from?
The name “teenVAG” is rooted in yesteryear conversation with an especially dear group of friends- we often threw around the word “pussy.” Coincidentally, we all previously held internships at Condé Nast.
What thoughts preoccupy you as artists and how is teenVAG a conduit for them?
There are infinite forms of expressions. Collectively, the constant desire to create has fuelled our greatest artistic ventures and our initiative enables these visions to come into fruition. We are constantly developing ideas, themes, and insights while cultivating a unique rapport with an incredibly talented group of our contemporaries. teenVAG has allowed us to create an evolving, communal space we share amongst our featured artists and audience.
Why did you feel the need to form a female collective of artists?
New York is a super hub of creatives. The artists we worked with on Issue # 1 inspired the idea of an all female project- they set the groundwork for the basis of the project. The progression of Issue # 2 continues to foster a strong voice and female presence we feel most necessary amongst the creative community.
Why is a zine still an effective way of communicating ideas in the era of blogs, tumblrs etc?
It is tangible- there is physical contact with our audience. The viewer experiences the artist’s work without interruption and becomes a part of the collective dialogue taking place. The zine becomes a perpetual vehicle of communication that can always be revisited. In our digital age it offers a slight sense of nostalgia and a quiet escape from the fast paced nature of the information super-highway.
Who are the other female artists involved in the zine?
We work with twelve artists each issue- a mix of friends, acquaintances and artists we admire. Issue # 1 focused on the basis of photography and featured the work of Nina Hartmann, Sandy Kim, Maggie Lee, Nicole Lesser, Kathy Lo, Katheryn Love, Luisa Opalesky, Logan White, Coco Young, and Nadriah Zakariya.
Issue # 2 encompasses several mediums ranging from sculpture, to illustration, painting and mixed media as well as the inclusion of photography. Issue # 2 features work by Aimee Brodeur, Elizabeth Jaeger, Olivia Locher, Carly Mark, Katie Miller, Anamaria Morris, Sophie Van der Perre, Rebecca Andrea Richard, Tara Sinn, Brooke Ellen Taylor, Alexandra Velasco, and Jessica Williams.
What, if any, obstacles do female artists still face?
teenVAG: When initially reaching out to print teenVAG Issue # 1, a business denied carrying out the job due to “explicit sexual content,” “pornographic” imagery, and a questionable title. Female artists face connotations that are inherently attached to their art due to gender- we want to break that stigma.
Where is the zine available?
The zine is available on our online shop http://teenvag.bigcartel.com/. as well as a selection of stockists in NY, LA and TX. For a full list of stockists check out our website teenvag.com
We are planning our second show for May of this year- it will be a collective exhibition surveying the work of artists we have been working with for the past year. In the coming months we will begin the conceptualisation of teenVAG Issue # 3 due out in September 2012.
We’ll also be doing a collaborative selection of pop-up shows and mini-events throughout the summer- we are very excited to continue working with an amazing network of creatives and hope to expand teenVAG to its fullest potential
There are many words to describe Claude Cahun: feminist, political activist, Surrealist artist, poet, writer, photographer, actress. However, the word thought-provoking seems to say it best.
Born in 1894 as Lucy Schwob in Nantes, she began practicing her most well-known form of creative expression, self portraits, at 18 years old. Produced under her pseudonym and playing between the extremes of androgyny and hyper-femininity, Cahun’s images express the idea that gender and sexuality perhaps aren’t always an A or B answer.
Involved in a life-long romantic and artistic partnership with her stepsister, and as a member of Georges Bataille’s left-wing organisation Contre-Attaque in Paris, Cahun was no stranger to controversy. In protest against the fascist regime of WWII, she distributed oppositional pamphlets combining governmental critic and poetic rhythm among the soldiers.
At a time where not even religious freedom was granted, Cahun’s defiance of political, gender, sexual and aesthetical conventions within society is remarkable. In her anti-realist, autobiographical work Aveux Nos Avenus, she wrote: “I will follow the wake in the air, the trail on the water, the mirage in the pupil … I wish to hunt myself down, to struggle with myself.”
This internal struggle, both emotionally and on the artistic surface, helped make Cahun not only an intriguing artist, but also an inspirational legend.
Entre Nous: The Art of Claude Cahun is on display from February 25 to June 3 at The Art Institute of Chicago. www.artic.edu
If London is known for anything as a fashion capital, it’s nurturing and supporting a hotbed of creative talents all across the design spectrum.
For a second year running, Selfridges has selected its Bright Young Things. The project allows 15 newcomers from the worlds of fashion, art, design and food talents to create a window display for its Oxford and Duke Street stores.
With participants this year including womenswear designer/illustrator and CSM graduate Sorcha O’ Raghallaigh, who specialises in intricate metallic coloured and lace designs (Lady Gaga is a fan) and designer Maarten van der Horst, who gave a new and fashionable life to the otherwise dreaded Hawaiian prints, it’s a testament to the design talents that the Big Smoke has to offer.
For those more interested in non-fashion creativity, interior designer duo Tinker & Tailor have created a Twitter-friendly interactive space, while coffee connoisseur Jack Coleman made his own personal ode to the art of the brewing and roasting.
There’s never been a better reason to stop and take a closer look. Rush hour crowds notwithstanding.
A multi-media exploration of the interaction between fashion, movement and appropriation, the House Of Yvonne exhibition showcases the work of Colin Self, Kenneth Anger, Sophie Macpherson and Clare Stephenson.
Self’s colourful pencil drawings of female subjects from the 1960s, addressing the zeitgeist of passivity and fear during the Cold War, as well as the escapism that entertainment offered during this period, will be on display.
Whilst Self’s work is a thoughtful reflection on the isolation of the individual, consumer culture and politics, the screening of American film artist Kenneth Anger’s 6-minute short film Puce Moment offers an exploration of Hollywood hedonism.
Glasgow-based creative Sophie Macpherson, known for her work on the formation of self-identity through communication, presents an archive of Barbara Hulanicki for Biba dresses for the exhibit, while sculpture artist Clare Stephenson has created digital cut-and-paste martini glass designs as a representation of decadence.
Showing in the Victorian-style interior of temporary arts space The Hidden Noise, House Of Yvonne is an interesting and eye-opening fusion of art and fashion.
House Of Yvonne is on display at The Hidden Noise, 1/1, 24 Hayburn Crescent, Glasgow, G11 5AY, until February 11. thehiddennoise.info
Since its introduction in 1955 the Marlboro flip-top cigarette box has been appropriated by logos and advertising. Similarly CDs, books and magazines have provided us with a whole host of iconic imagery with which we have forged our cultural identities. But in an increasingly digitalised age, where kindles and iPads have overtaken the broad industry that is print media, how will the individual define him or herself?
The new show at Shoreditch’s PayneShurvell gallery, entitled Your Garden is Looking a Mess Could You Please Tidy it Up, begs some rather pertinent questions.
Taking the Marlboro flip-top cigarette box as a springboard, a number of big name artists and recent graduates explore the questions surrounding print versus digital, mass communication and its visual media. Curated by artist Andrew Curtis, the artists exhibiting include: Peter Blake (the proceeds of whose work will be donated to the charity Kids Company), Sian Pile, Rupert Ackroyd, Dick Jewell, Gerard Hemsworth, Sarah Hardacre, Dermot O’Brien and Bruce McLean.
Until 17th December 2011 at PayneShurvell, 16 Hewett Street, London EC2A 3NN
Showing works from 1955-1962 this month the Mayor Gallery takes a look at two of the 20th century’s most fascinating female artists. On the surface their works seem to have little to do with one another, bar their temporal origin, but both are clearly marked by a preoccupation with form.
The Bell Jar‘s author Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) is lesser known, although none the less celebrated, as an artist. Her 44 pen and ink drawings and Brasilia poem on display, lent to the gallery by Plath’s daughter Frieda Hughes, showcase her observations from her time spent in Europe. Her carefully considered lines betray a tender and inquisitive concern with design.
Meanwhile Italian-born Dadamaino, real name Eduarda Maino (1935-2004), found fame as one of the proponents of the pan-European Zero Group, of which Yves Klein was a member. Albeit less renowned than Plath, her formulaic monochrome works present the viewer with a pleasure in graphic form and line. Cutting large shapes in canvases, the wall upon which each work is hung becomes just as much a part of the artwork as the slither of canvas she leaves untouched.
Until 17th December 2011 at Mayor Gallery, 22A Cork Street, London W1S 3NA
Drawings by Sylvia Plath, copyright Frieda Hughes. All images courtesy of the Mayor Gallery.
Sarah Cockings and Briony Clarke are Welcome to Happy. And today they are coming to roost. Got it?
Sponsored by the Arts Council, fine artists Sarah and Briony – collectively ‘Welcome to Happy’, – have spent the last three weeks rolling their red gypsy wagons around North London as part of a rather refreshing, nomadic installation. Assuming ‘the role of traditional street peddlers or modern door to door salesmen’, they have knocked on every door in Archway and offered locals the chance to invest in interactive art works at affordable prices (between £1.50 and £35). An antidote to an often profit-driven industry, rather than hard cash, they hope to forge personal connections within the community.
In the spirit of new friendships Sarah and Briony are continuing their interactive work this evening: post wandering, they are coming to roost at the volunteer-run charity-cum-gallery TOANDFOR. The private view is a concluding episode of a journey that highlights the heart of this project – to move beyond the typically transient and often severed experience between artist, artwork and viewer.
TOANDFOR, 720 Holloway Road, Archway, N19 3NH. The private view is on 24th September, 6-9pm.
The exhibition runs until the 10th October.
Twin’s art editor Francesca Gavin has been busy working alongside artist Jonathan Yeo co-curating a permanent collection of artworks for the Dean Street Townhouse, the latest addition to the Soho House Group, which opens tomorrow.
In the style of Colmbe D’Or artists Tracey Emin, Sam Griffin, Fiona Banner, Tim Noble and Gavin Turk – to name just a few – were all given credit at the hotel, which was once the notorious Gargoyle Club, in exchange for their artworks. So visitors know they will certainly be in good cultural company.