Salon 63

16.09.2018 | Art , Blog | BY:

Londoners heading south should leave room for a longer bus journey this week thanks to a new project opening along the 63 bus route.

Curator Sasha Galitzine has partnered with 13 artists with 10 hair and beauty salons to make site-specific works throughout the route. Each work explores and celebrates the role of the salon in the local community, and the journey runs from Clerkenwell to Peckham. 

The participating artists Larry Achiampong, Gabriele Beveridge, Ellen Gallagher, Gery Georgieva, Paul Kindersley, Eloise Lawson, Andrew Logan, Isaac Olvera, Paloma Proudfoot, Hans Rosenström, Stasis, Freddy Tuppen and Kirsty Turner Jones.

One of Lewis Barbers clients in Eloise Lawson’s workshop there whilst waiting for a haircut.

The participating salons are Barber Streisand, La Bodeguita & Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre, Diamond Nails, Manuel Guerra Skin Care & Sylvio’s Juice Bar, Old Kent Road Barber Shop, Lewis Barbers, Miami Health Club, Sam’s Barbers, DKUK and Divine Destiny.

The project draws attention to the vital role that these salons play in the local community, how they act as spaces for socialising and support as well as for beauty treatments and hair styling.

Eloise Lawson and Lewis barbers.

In doing so Sasha seeks to raise questions about the role of the salon in London, and beyond that to investigate notions around what a social space is, and how it is made.

For more information about Salon 63: Artist & Salon collaborations down the 63 bus route, click here.

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Soft Criminal, Red Hook Labs

31.08.2018 | Art , Culture | BY:

A new exhibition at Red Hook Labs this September looks to immerse audiences in an anarchic and imagined world.

Entitled ‘Soft Criminal’ the new exhibition brings together the work of three creatives: South African photographer Kristin-Lee Moolman, Sierra-Leonean designer Ibrahim Kamara and British designer Gareth Wrighton.

The collaboration between the three artists is set around an imagined story line about characters from the African diaspora. Soft Criminal centres around three families wrestling for power and explores the tension not only between individuals but between tradition and progress. In the story an old King is deposed by a “new money hacktivists” and an anarchic war lord.

The exhibition at Red Hook Labs will open with a live show featuring 22 hand-made designs alongside a display of photographs taken of the collection by Moolman in South Africa.

This exhibition at Red Hook Labs is the latest of an ongoing series of work between Moolman, Kamara and Wrighton. The group have also exhibited together at Somerset House and collaborated on a zine.

Poignant and evocative expected your imagination to be sparked and the impact of the trio’s vision to stay long after you leave the exhibition. 

Soft Criminal, Red Hook Labs, September 12th – 23rd, 2018.

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30 Days 30 Female Artists

26.08.2018 | Art , Blog , Culture | BY:

British cinematographer/screenwriter Molly Manning Walker is a creative best known for using her work to speak up on prominent issues within society from a unique perspective. 

In 2015, Walker collaborated with director Billy Boyd Cape to create a powerful short film titled ‘More Hate Than Fear’ which gave insight on the experience of an unjustly imprisoned graffiti artist as he navigated the first months of his 3 year prison sentence.

Previously, Molly also teamed up with producer Joya Berrow to create the mini-documentary ‘Not With Fire, With Paint’ which explores the impact of the murder of Diego Felipe Beccera — a graphic artist shot in the back by police officers while painting in the streets of Bogota, Colombia during 2011.

Painting by Camilla Rose

The cinematographer is now turning her lens to the subject of rape and is currently working to produce a short film entitled ‘Dark Is Her Shadow’ which is set to explore the emotional, physical and mental traumas and stigmas surrounding sexual assault. “We follow Amy, who is a 16 year-old girl who is trying to resume life after being raped, the day after the incident, she struggles with being provided with little to no guidance while the ghost of her rapist returns to haunt her,” says Walker.

Once a victim of sexual assault herself, she explains that the intention of the film is: “to prevent people from losing eye contact when the word rape is brought up and counteract people from asking victims what we were wearing when we say we were raped.”

In order to raise funds for the film — set to be shot in London this November — Molly has brought together a team of 30 female artists for 30 days of an instagram auction.

Over the span of these thirty days, the donated work of each of these artists will be auctioned off via Walker’s instagram to raise money for the film.

Big Titty Kitty by Netty Hurley

“The film is being funded through Kickstarter and the page will go live on August 29th. Each day we will have a different piece, an image of this piece will go out on instagram, facebook and twitter, the artist will self-evaluate this piece and that will be the starting price. When the image goes up, the followers will have until midnight to bid on each piece. At midnight, the winning bidder will donate to the Kickstarter page and the piece will be marked sold.”

The group of women include illustrator Alice Rosebery-Haynes , music photographer Natalie Wood, portrait photographer Charlotte Ellis, fashion designer Jazz Grant, along with several other poets, painters and talented creatives.

For more information and to get involved, tune in to Walker’s instagram.

Portrait by Charlotte Ellis

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Good Trouble issue 22, issue 2

26.08.2018 | Art , Blog , Culture | BY:

The second issue of Good Trouble issue 22, the zine produced by former Dazed & Confused editor Rod Stanley and designed by Richard Turley and Sophie Abady, is out this month.

Slightly confusing though the name of the magazine may be, the work included this issue is straightforwardly fantastic. The publication features original work by Wolfgang Tillmans, Sara Rahbar, Boychild, Scott King, Torbjørn Rødland, Helena Foster and others, curated by Francesca Gavin.

The broadsheet newspaper champions activism and resistance, bringing together a selection of creative and dynamic voices. This latest issue spans 32 pages and includes a pull out ‘Unmanifesto’ poster.

Get it here! 

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Azaadi by Misha Japanwala

23.08.2018 | Art , Blog , Fashion | BY:

Pakistani designer and visual artist Misha Japanwala recently presented an uplifting collection entitled ‘azaadi’ — an Urdu word which means freedom — as her official debut as a New York based designer.

The Parsons School of Design graduate returned/revisited her hometown for inspiration where she sought to focus on a more positive narrative from the headlines she often read as a child about murders and brutal acts of violence against women.

“My collection was inspired by women like late Pakistani social media star Qandeel Baloch and other victims of honour killings who were murdered by family members that believed they had brought dishonour upon the family because of actions or decisions the victims may have made.

Japanwala used her platform as a designer to create a series of wearable sculptures of the female body moulded from her own body along with accessories from the hands of other Pakistani women.

“The female body was the perfect symbol to highlight the strength of the women who aren’t afraid to fight to live on their own terms, but also representative of the fragility that comes with being a woman in Pakistan.” Twin spoke with the designer about her process and inspirations behind this meaningful collection.

Azaadi by Misha Japanwala

How long did it take you to compose this entire collection and what were some of your challenges?

I worked on this collection for almost a year. I spent the first couple months deep in research about honour killings and reflecting upon experiences of Pakistani women from different backgrounds, including my own. The process of designing the looks in the collection was the most challenging aspect for me, because it took a long time to settle upon visual anchors that represent struggle, strength, and what it means to be a woman living in Pakistan. A few months in, I had a dream where all of the final looks in the collection were created using sculptures of the female body, and that’s when the process of experimenting with casting and different materials began. I had never sculpted or life-casted before, so the process of trying to figure it all out included a lot of trial and error and experimentation, which was a lot of fun for me as an artist.

Photography by Alec Lesser and Teagan West

How has the general feedback been since you’ve launched?

The reaction I’ve received from people, both during the process of creating my thesis as well as after completing it, has been really special. As an artist, the best I can hope for with any work I create is to make people feel something, and it’s been amazing to watch so many of them, especially Pakistani women, connect with the themes explored in this collection. However, I also knew that by highlighting taboo and controversial subjects, and by being an outspoken Pakistani women, I would face some amount of backlash. It has been important for me to expose myself to the negative opinions about my work, because I think it is always necessary to have an open dialogue, especially when it’s conversations surrounding honour killings, domestic violence and the societal pressures faced by women living in Pakistan. 

Photography by Alec Lesser and Teagan West

How did it feel to show your muses the finished products?

After completing the collection, I went back to Pakistan for a couple weeks and had the opportunity to show my work to some of the women that had inspired it, and the ones who allowed me to make moulds of their hands to create the accessories in my collection. It was really special to see them excited about the collection and wearing the accessories themselves. It resulted in us having an impromptu photoshoot and it’s one of my favourite moments associated with the collection. 

Image courtesy of Misha Japanwala

Where can one find these pieces to view/buy?

My collection can be viewed online – official photos of the lookbook are up on my website www.mishajapanwala.com, and I continue to share photos and images of my process on my instagram @misha_japanwala. Anyone interested in buying my work can contact me directly through those channels.

Photography by Alec Lesser and Teagan West

What’s next for you?

I’m currently working on launching an online store in the next few weeks to sell accessories inspired by the themes I targeted in the collection. I want to use my platform and my art to help Pakistani women, and so a portion of all proceeds from the sales on my website will be donated to a women’s shelter in Karachi, Pakistan. Moving forward, my work will continue to explore the subjects I used with my first collection, because I still feel like there is so much to say. In Pakistan, now more than ever, it is so important to continue pushing boundaries and challenging the status quo, and I hope that my work can, in a small way, help change mindsets and open people to different perspectives. 

Image Courtesy of Misha Japanwala

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Strange Plants III

11.07.2018 | Art , Blog | BY:

Dedicated to plants in contemporary art, the latest of the Strange Plants series celebrates the diverse range of flowers, succulents and foliage and examines their power within the creative space. From large-scale paintings to granular photographs, the book captures the nuances and weirdness of the natural world.

Divided into themes, the 164 page book encompasses the work of 50 artists, across a range of media. Each section examines a different aspect of how plants inspire or function in contemporary art. Featured artists include Caitlin Keogh, Chloe Wise, Robin F. Williams, Louise Bonnet, Marius Bercea and the photography duo Synchrodogs.

This most recent release in the award-winning series also features a special section dedicated to the late photographer Ren Hang. Hang’s images of his friends floating in lily-pad filled ponds were a highlight of the previous book. “Regrowth”– section of Strange Plants III – is “a modest attempt to pay tribute to his life and art.”

Published by independent publisher zioxla, Strange Plants III is an ongoing tribute to, and meditation on,  the harmony, inspiration and provocation that plant life offers artists in the modern world.

Cacti, Strange Plants III

Strange Plants III

Strange Plants III

Synchrodogs, Strange Plants III

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L.A. Dreams at CFHILL

09.05.2018 | Culture | BY:

Bright colours radiate from the CFHILL art space in Stockholm were the exhibition L.A. Dreams is currently showing.

Colourful is the first word that comes to mind when describing the works of art that are on display. A women nonchalantly resting in the bluest water, a Goofy-esk headless body trapped in eternal bridge pose, large paintings of distorted roses and a sculpture of an insanely red apple – all share the space.

The exhibition, curated by Chines Californian curator Melanie Lum, shows the works of six contemporary L.A. based artists : Math Bass, Laren Davis Fischer, AAron Garber-Maikovska, Parker Ito, Becky Kolsrud and Joshua Nathanson. The pieces are different but tied together by an almost naively positive way of tackling the  the dualism of the a fragmented city tormented by pollution, drought and crime city in an almost. Smudging the lines between fantasy and reality with colour.

Images courtesy of CFHILL Art Space

“When we opened the show in April it was still that kind of grey early spring in Stockholm”, says Michael Elmenbeck creative director at CFHILL Art Space. “To fill 800 square meters with all those energetic colours was amazing. Walking into the space was like getting a light therapy shock.”

What’s so special about L.A.?

– Every now and then you get these creative movements from specific cities, take Leipzig for instance. First people discovered Neo Rauch, and then they became interested in what was happening in Leipzig and then ten other artists appeared from that specific city. That’s what’s happening in L.A. right now, except not just in art, but in other creative fields too. It’s an incredibly dynamic city when it comes to tech, music, food, fitness and, since Hedi Slimane brought Saint Laurent to L.A., even fashion. The music and hip hop scene is the most influential and progressive in the U.S. – it’s the same with art.

Images courtesy of CFHILL Art Space

Why do you think that is?

– One reason is that New York has gotten too expensive, it’s impossible for artists to find a studio. And then you have Donald Trump, he’s a New Yorker in every way, many want to get away from that too. So they move to L.A. where there are both studios and a place where different creative expressions co-exist. Most artist work with a broad variety of mediums and expressions, just look at Kanye West or Murakami. And then there’s the L.A. light that you just don’t get anywhere else.

Images courtesy of CFHILL Art Space

For L.A.Dreams you worked together with curator Melanie Lum, how did that collaboration begin?

– We were introduced by a mutual friend who works with Art Basel and we quickly realised that we had the same taste in art. And when I heard that she worked with many of my favorite contemporary artists I just asked her, then and there, if she wanted to do something for CFHILL in Stockholm. We quickly got positive responses from many of the artist, but they are all internationally renowned so it took about a year to put this expansive and well curated exhibition together.

Images courtesy of CFHILL Art Space

What would you say is most special feature in the exhibition?

– Math Bass is an artist that I’ve admired for a long time so it was incredible for me to show her work, but what made it extra special was the fact that we were able to, for the first time ever, show her work together with her partner Lauren’s. But really I think that the mix between these six L.A. artists it the most interesting thing.

L.A.Dreams is showing until May 19th and you can also see Carsten Höller’s work at CFHILL.

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New African Photography III

22.04.2018 | Art , Culture , Fashion | BY:

Following the success of previous collaborations between Nataal and Red Hook Labs, Nataal curates an exhibition of some of most exciting image-makers documenting modern Africa in a new exhibition. New African Photography III opens at the Brooklyn space in May.

The new exhibition will showcase the work of six female artists: Fatoumata Diabaté (Mali), Rahima Gambo (Nigeria), Keyezua (Angola), Alice Mann (South Africa), Ronan McKenzie (UK) and Ruth Ossai (UK/Nigeria).

Together these works celebrate female identity and diversity, offering an empowered and positive vision. A sense of energy is conveyed through the celebration of movement and the use of powerful juxtapositions – both in terms of colour and of form.

The event also coincides with the launch of Nataal’s first print issue. The website and magazine work as a platform to champion creativity and culture in Africa. You can find out more here.

Alice Mann, Dr Van Der Ross Drummies, Delft, South Africa, 2017, from the series Drummies

Ruth Ossai X Mowalao

Fatoumata Diabaté, Kara et ses oreilles, 2012, from the series L_homme en Animal

Sailing Back to Africa as a Dutch Woman, 2017, from the series Fortia

Nataal: New African Photography III, 4th – 13th May, Red Hook Labs, 133 Imlay St, Brooklyn, New York. Opening times: 10am-6pm daily. 

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Lindsey Mendick, Perfectly Ripe 

18.04.2018 | Art | BY:

In her new exhibition artist Lindsey Mendick brings audiences a rich and atmospheric memory of a summer holiday that she took when she was 13 years old. Immersing audiences in a world that is at first exciting and new, though later threatening and dangerous, Mendick uses ceramics, sculpture, painting and audio recordings to conjure the rich experience of her holiday.

Even at the peak of her sunny and nostalgic narrative, a sense of unease and discomfort pervades the piece. This is emphasised by the dark background within the exhibition. Below, Lindsey Mendick shares an extract from the audio recording which plays throughout the exhibition.

Lindsey Mendick, Tease Me Until I Lose Control (detail), 2018. Ceramic. Installation view of Perfectly Ripe, Zabludowicz Collection London. Courtesy the artist and Zabludowicz Collection. Photo: Tim Bowditch

I’d only ever been to France before. But this wasn’t France. We flew on a plane. And the man behind me was smoking cigarettes the whole way there. He was very fat and had two seats all for himself. The ashtray was in the armrest. You flip down one side of the metal and the dank smell of old fags rushes out. The ashy residue of successful flights. Your throat burns and your clothes stink. But no one complained.

It’s a proper hotel. It has three pools, a buffet and it has a discotheque. It has a discotheque.

Francoise has gone missing.

It was hot. So hot. I fall asleep on my Lilo on the beach. I wake up with salty lips and one hot cheek, a pool of saliva slipping across the PVC. There is shouting.

Francoise has been found and Joce and Viv are really cross. She had been flirting with a group of Local men. Vivian said she once saw Jesus behind the dustbins, so you can’t always trust what Vivian says. But Francoise had been looking at boys. And Francoise had been stealing your fags.

Your dad and sister tease you when you pull yourself up out the pool. They sing ‘Nutbush City Limits’, because no one told you at 13 that there was such a thing as too much pubic hair. This was evidently too much. Shamefully, you steal your dad’s razor that evening and shave it all off. For the rest of the holiday you itch insatiably.

Lindsey Mendick, Touch Me In The Morning, And Last Thing At Night (detail), 2018. Ceramic. Installation view of Perfectly Ripe, Zabludowicz Collection London. Courtesy the artist and Zabludowicz Collection. Photo: Tim Bowditch.

Francoise comes down to dinner with Joce and Viv. She has no glasses on and her mum is telling her what all the foods at the buffet are because she can’t see. ‘Francoise did you lose your glasses’ ‘no she didn’t, we took them away so she couldn’t look at boys’ you watch Francoise tentatively slip foods into her mouth. Fish mixed with chicken mixed with an unknown dish that nobody at the table likes. It’s buffet roulette. You feel lucky your parents let you do what you want.

I’m allowed Malibu and diet cokes. They’re so delicious and I drink them with Fran and Nick as mozzies attack my legs. I never knew alcohol could taste this exotic. They smell like Hawaiian tropic and in the mornings I am never sure if I can smell the aftermath of the night before or the residue of sun cream on my skin.

I wear my Jane Norman boob tube dress because I now have big enough boobs to fill the tube. I had always hated my body. But here men like my body so I like my body. And my body gets me into the discotheque because no one realises I am 14 in two months. But I’m mature for my age. Everyone says it.

Zabludowicz Collection Invites: Lindsey Mendick, Perfectly Ripe, Zabludowicz Collection, London, 12 April – 3 June 2018

(Feature image credit:Lindsey Mendick, An Itch That Needs To Be Scratched, 2018. Ceramic and flowers. Installation view of Perfectly Ripe, Zabludowicz Collection London. Courtesy the artist and Zabludowicz Collection. Photo: Tim Bowditch). 

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Everything is recorded: Francesca Gavin meets Toby Ziegler

21.03.2018 | Culture , Music | BY:

What happens when you mix sound and image? This layers of contrasts and collaboration has led to one of the most interesting projects of the year, between British artist Toby Ziegler, XL’s Richard Russell and Sampha. Toby took time to talk to Twin about the project:

How did the decision to work together happen?

I’ve known Richard for about 15 years. We’ve had a 15 year long discussion about music. We’ve also been talking about collaborating for ages but this is the first time it made sense. About two years ago he played me early recordings of some songs off the album, and immediately the title track clicked with this work I’ve been doing, using search engines, so I offered to make a video for that song. The installation grew out of that video.

How did you respond to the music?

Initially I set out to make a fairly conceptual video that only intersected with the song in places, using a similar image search to make a kind of visual Chinese whispers. I was aware of Sampha and Richard’s narratives behind the song, but I was trying to make a tangential video about the way images get juxtaposed online, poignant ones and banal ones. I wanted to reflect the dispassionate nature of the algorithm that drives an image search: sometimes cancer cells are visually equivalent to instagrams of pizza, and termite mounds segue with mushroom clouds. Image searches can function like cut-up techniques or tarot, highlighting our predisposition to find meaning or poetry in seemingly random juxtapositions, and sometimes looking for images online feels like consulting the oracle. In this case subconscious decisions and fate intervened in extraordinary ways to make the video far more autobiographical, and closer to the narrative of the song, than I had originally intended.

Everything is Recorded installation at Hackney Arts Centre

With this album Richard was considering his experience of temporary paralysis from Guillan-Barre syndrome, and Sampha related the song to the experience of sitting in hospital with his dying mother. During the month I was finishing the video my mother had an accident, spent two weeks in a coma and then died. So many people visited her during the course of those 2 weeks, it was a real vigil, but frequently the highly emotional atmosphere was punctured by the banal. Discussions of consciousness and mortality, jostled with lengthy conversations about sandwiches.The video took on all sort of resonances I hadn’t previously considered and I allowed myself a different sort of freedom in the final editing. So the video took this sequence of image searches as the starting point, compressing over 3000 found images and videos, but I then incorporated some photos and videos I’d shot myself.I’ve found images operate at different speeds, and editing the video was analogous to playing a musical instrument. I played the drums for 20 years and then quit in my late twenties, but for this video I made a sequence of images and ‘played’ them.

Then I decided to make a second video for a song featuring Infinite Coles called 8am. It triggered a very specific memory for me, from an acid trip when I was 16. I made a lot of work that stemmed from that one evening in a way, and it started me off using CGI in my paintings. I have this archive of 3D landscapes and objects that I used for paintings and sculptures about 10 or 15 years ago, and for this video I turned them into an animation, a sort of drive-through of this tunnelling geometric space.

Tell me about the installation you created to debut the films and how it functioned?

The song Everything Is Recorded was also central to my design for the installation at the abandoned cinema in Dalston. I wanted to project the video in an old disused cinema for the association with projected analogue images, and also as a space that clearly bore the scars of it’s history. For the installation I wanted to show the two videos I’d made on a cinema screen, flanked by two other screens with projections from webcams in real time. I wanted something that operated at a different frequency to the slightly epileptic ‘image search video’ and the CGI of the 8am video (originally I was going to use a live feed of motorway traffic cameras on the other two screens) When we found a space that could house both the projections upstairs, and the gig downstairs it seemed perfect, and immediately it was clear that the live feed should be to cctv of the stage and rehearsals downstairs. It was very interesting to have these different projections running simultaneously. When you walked into this delapidated, cavernous cinema you could hear the band rehearsing in the space directly beneath you, rumbling through the floor, and see a live link to two cctv cameras trained on the stage. It was an uncanny experience, and often took people a few minutes to compute how the sound and images fitted together. If you put on the headphones you could hear the soundtrack to the videos I made, which were projected on a larger central screen. There were two parallel audio spaces to go with the two visual ones.

What works did you show as part of the performance rehearsal area? What did you like about that context?

When I was 17 I went to Lagos and saw Fela Kuti play in his club, Shrine. It was this huge corrugated iron shed with black and white photographs lining the walls, really rickety podiums dotted around for his dancers, and a huge stage that didn’t really separate the audience from the band. Initially about ten musicians came on and started playing , and then periodically a few more people would wander on stage, have a drink and a chat, and then join in, until eventually there were about 50 people on stage. Fela came on after about four hours of this. That was partly the inspiration for the stage downstairs.

I put a low stage in the middle of the room so the audience could get close and it felt intimate, but it was a place the whole band could hang out. The space downstairs is usually a venue for weddings and is white with a tiled floor and a lot of purple furniture, but I wanted attention to be focussed on the performers and a few objects I introduced, so I put a black floor down and black drapes all around, like a Samuel Beckett production. The stage was approximately triangular with some higher and some lower platforms, and three of my my older sculptures functioning a bit like totems or sentinels at the points. The sculptures also appear in the 8am video as virtual models in a CGI landscape. On the walls there were huge posters of Robert Johnson and Ralf and Florian from Kraftwerk, who were the household gods for the whole project.

Everything is Recorded installation at Hackney Arts Centre

What interested you about the contrast and relationship between music and your work?

I used to play in bands when I was a teenager and in my twenties, but it reached a point where I was dividing my time between visual art and music, and not doing anything justice. I got sick of being the unreliable drummer so I completely quit playing. I loved what playing the drums does to your brain, and I think I can occasionally reach a similar state making visual things. I definitely think music informs my paintings and sculptures in a lateral way. I think images and objects function at different frequencies or speeds, and since I’ve started making video work that aspect has become more explicit.

The title track is very much a criticism of our relationship to the digital. How does this connnect to your own take on the internet, technology and our access to imagery?

I’m not sure if that’s what Richard and Sampha intended, but for me it’s exciting how quickly things are changing and sinister how trusting we are. My diabetic son has a sensor under his skin that talks to my phone, to monitor his blood sugar, and in a way the internet also functions as a prosthesis. The internet is a repository for many of our memories, and Google could be seen as our collective unconscious. When you do a similar image search for a picture that doesn’t exist online, the algorithm analyses the image and creates a set of visual parameters by which to find similar ones: colour, tone, composition, and to some extent subject, and shows you the most popular images within those parameters. The results change from day to day depending on what people are looking at. I found that one brownish, abstract image which reliably fed back images of fried dumplings suddenly started to prompt pictures of arid landscapes, because of a drought in California. The results also change because of the constant modification of the algorithm , and it’s scary to think how much influence the designers of these algorithms have.

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‘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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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). 

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Champignons!

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. 

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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.

Convoyprojects.com

Main image: ‘Interface 26’, Melissa Jordan

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Anne Morris in ‘Form and Volume’

04.06.2017 | Art | BY:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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