Bloomberg New Contemporaries celebrates 70th with a grand exhibition

22.08.2019 | Art , Blog | BY:

Cover Image: Community Dance Showcase (2017) by Roland Carline, one of the artists selected for the 2019 Bloomberg New Contemporaries exhibition. 

This Autumn , New Contemporaries, one of the leading UK organisations supporting  emerging talent will celebrate its 70th anniversary with the launch of their annual touring exhibition. Set to initially launch on September 14th at the Leeds Art Gallery, the exhibition will feature 45 of UK most interesting artists selected by renowned artists Rana Begum , Sonia Boyce and Ben Rivers. 

Through a rigorous process of selection from the recent batch of graduates from the UK’s finest art schools, the team has put together a roster of creatives to tackle topics such as global and personal politics, class and community and gender and sexuality. Giving each artist the freedom too showcase their perspective on such issues. 

 “It’s so important for the enrichment of the arts and the UK’s cultural legacy that a new generation of artists have a platform to present their work to wider audiences, and give them an opportunity to develop a voice,” said Rana Begum, 2019 selector.

After closing it’s run in Leeds on November 17th the exhibition will then move to the South London Gallery on December 6th where it will remain until February 23rd 2020. 

For more information visit: New Contemporaries.

Community Dance Showcase (2017) by Roland Carline, one of the artists selected for the 2019 Bloomberg New Contemporaries exhibition.
Somewhere Crashing (2018) by Louis Blue Newby, one of the artists selected for the 2019 Bloomberg New Contemporaries exhibition.
Drunken Gravity by Xiuching Tsay, one of the artists selected for the 2019 Bloomberg New Contemporaries exhibition.
SCULPTURE CULTURE (2019) by Alexei Alexander Izmaylov, one of the artists selected for the 2019 Bloomberg New Contemporaries exhibition.

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Dark Air: A Solo Show by Gray Wielebinski

02.08.2019 | Art , Blog , Culture | BY:

Born in Dallas Texas, artist Gray Wielebinski uses their practice to explore the ways in which gender and sexuality intersect with other structures of power and identity, often referencing their body and journey as an individual who is currently undergoing the transition from female to male. 

Working between London and Los Angeles in print, video, performance, sound, sculpture, and installation, Gray moved to London in 2017 to complete a masters in Fine Art Media at The Slade.  Since then, Gray has exhibited internationally and is currently an artist in residence at The City & Guilds of London, alongside Taku Obata and Alistair Gordon. 

Using a variety of strategies to explore identity, specifically their ambivalent relationships to masculinity, Gray’s more recent research and practice uses sports for both aesthetics and metaphor as an entry point to examine themes such as national identity (specifically the US and Americana), desire, myth making, surveillance, hierarchies, race, and gender. In Dark Air, the artist’s first solo exhibition at SEAGER gallery curated by Martin Mayorga and Vanessa Murrell from DATEAGLE ART, we observe Gray’s ongoing exploration of sporting ceremonies as seen in the artist’s personalised football scarf stand. Located at the entrance of the gallery space, the piece highlights the ritualistic yet commercial nature of the sport, while also reiterating the entwined nature and relationship found between myth and sport. 

Dark Air, a solo show by Gray Wielebinski curated by Martin Mayorga and Vanessa Murrell at SEAGER Gallery © DATEAGLE ART

Instead of displaying a body of work, the exhibition uses the body as the work – acknowledging it as something which can be moulded and adjusted continuously. Using a diverse array of textiles to create a patchwork of materials that include recycled leather and jeans, Gray creates a site-specific sculpture, a monstrous creature that is representative of both the sphinx and Scorpion. Stuffed and stitched, the physical act of creating the hybradised beast presents the audience with a work that exists in a paradoxical realm. All at once it is violent and volatile yet gentle and vulnerable – playing with traditional binary stereotypes of male and female. With only a few days left to see Dark Air, Gray spoke with Twin about the show and their grotesque Frankenstinian beast. Gray also speaks openly about their own dysphoria and dissociation with their body as well as the importance of being conscious in order to re-inhabit and bridge the gap between their mind and body to create as harmonious a relationship as possible. 

You started to create art as a way of helping you relate to your own body – is this where the tactile element of your practice and its link to your own body manifests from? 

In a lot of ways, in regards to my gender identity as well as my art practice itself, I was existing very much in my own head and in an ideological way rather than a physical one, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but I think became a problem for me as I was coming to terms very starkly with my own dysphoria and dissociation with my own body. This show in particular deals with a rejection of “before” and “after” narratives in a broader sense around myth making and storytelling, but that are so tied to mainstream/cis narratives around transness that can really seep into my consciousness, but is ultimately a dangerous way of thinking when it comes to my own understanding of myself and my life. I don’t particularly identify with the concept of “being in the wrong body” so while my dysphoria is real and distressing in its own way, there’s also a recognition of and gratefulness for the body I have and what its capable of and finding ways to inhabit it more consciously as I discover the ways, big and small, I might have subconsciously unlearned out of self-preservation. The “before” and “after” narrative tells us we aren’t complete yet or we can’t be happy or know ourselves until an outward marker of change or identity has been breached for others, but that obfuscates the work and learning and daily experiences we encounter on the road towards knowing oneself. Everyone in their own way has these experiences with learning or unlearning themselves, recognizing and accepting their bodies and their possibilities or limitations, and making their own meanings and interpretations on their own terms. With this in mind, I moved towards a more physical or tactile practice which has been a way of trying to reinhabit my body in a more conscious and present way on a daily basis (sewing in particular is quite a meditative act). Without sounding too much like Frankenstein, there is a power and a catharsis for me in creating these new ways of embodiment that take up physical space and I can hold in my hands or that literally dwarf me in a room, and I can also use this physical practice as a means of furthering my ideological pursuits and explorations of my identity and the world around me, and in so doing I hope to get closer to bridging my mind and my body in ways that are within my control. 

Dark Air, a solo show by Gray Wielebinski curated by Martin Mayorga and Vanessa Murrell at SEAGER Gallery © DATEAGLE ART

You are influenced by science fiction and the way it allows us to create other worlds and possibilities Can you name some of your influences? 

Whether it was books or films or TV, I consumed a lot of media and stories as a kid and still continue to do so, so the list of inspirations is long and muddled together in some ways, but science fiction has always held a special place. Science fiction has long been a means, particularly for marginalized people, to hold up a mirror to see and critique that which is made to feel “natural,” which can then be a very useful tool for survival, communication, community and ultimately questioning and fighting the powers that be by understanding where they came from and how dominant narratives are upheld. 

In Kindred, Octavia Butler interrogates the impacts of slavery and white supremacy through a time travel narrative. The Matrix has widely been revisited through the lens of the trans experience and transitioning, particularly as the directors, Lana and Lily Wachowski, came out as trans in recent years. The Twilight Zone is masterful at weaving both the minor and major elements of creating uncanny atmospheres that can go from nudging you slightly off kilter to knock you out for the count. For ‘Dark Air’ specifically I was also thinking about Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris which subverts a more typical trope of space exploration as a colonization narrative, and in fact is ultimately about the astronauts’ inability to cope, physically and emotionally, with an overpowering ocean planet. It’s about our complete inability to understand or fathom the extraterrestrial (and maybe even our own subconscious). Science fiction, at its best, lets us imagine and wonder and be awestruck with possibilities, while still keeping a foot firmly on the ground and, in fact, may help us see reality even clearer. 

Dark Air, a solo show by Gray Wielebinski curated by Martin Mayorga and Vanessa Murrell at SEAGER Gallery © DATEAGLE ART

With Dark air you hope to overthrow the notion of the “hero’s journey” and our perceived set paths, goals, and obstacles – is this a comment on the overwhelming conditioning that has been determined through society and the West’s patriarchal system?

I’m fascinated by the idea of the hero’s journey as a storytelling archetype, and I think more so than completely subverting or throwing it out the window, it’s about an even deeper dive into it and not shying away from the minutiae and the mundanity that arguably differentiates a story from a life. The conditioning you’re referencing I think is important especially in relation to our contemporary moment within capitalism and this tension between expectations and conditioning to want certain things for our lives, to take certain paths or understanding success in specific ways, while at the same time being led to believe it’s our decision and that our happiness or opportunities lie squarely within ourselves or within our grasp rather than questioning what is out of our control and what might be possible to question or tweak within ourselves to find our own ideas or barometers of success. Some people are just trying to survive while at the same time we’re being told what we need to be happy or what we are doing wrong or what we need to overcome, and then the goal post keeps moving. It’s a function of capitalism to obfuscate our “true” foes or obstacles and for our path to be fog-covered, so perhaps even subconsciously I proposed of a sphinx that fits in with this atmosphere, or at least how I often feel while trying to navigate it. This all sounds a bit pessimistic but in actuality I hope for it to be empowering in any small way it can, that even in a time where things are made to feel and may very well be out of our immediate hands, there may be ways to internally recalibrate our parameters for success and happiness and fulfilment even on a day to day basis, even if it’s just how we relate to ourselves and each other.

Dark Air, a solo show by Gray Wielebinski curated by Martin Mayorga and Vanessa Murrell at SEAGER Gallery © DATEAGLE ART

 Can you explain the link between your exploration into Mythology and sports and how you connect the two? 

I’m interested in blending ancient storytelling and mythological creatures or narratives with contemporary interpretations and iconographies, and in so doing am hoping to bring into question the biases and power dynamics/hierarchies that are often involved in storytelling and myth making both in the past and the present, and how that has the potential to shape our futures.

I also was thinking of intersections of sports, mythology/religion and even being an artist-the relationships between the grand events and the mundanity of the everyday that both, in their own ways, make up these experiences and our relationships to them. Holidays, championship games, art exhibitions certainly hold their own meanings, they can build community and give us something to look forward to and remember, but these go hand in hand with the everyday and the myriad other emotions and experiences built up around these that make up our meaning as well. Personally I am also thinking about gender and transitioning and the relationship between insular and exterior identities and how to shift narratives from a “before” and “after” to a whole other way of being and experiencing and becoming oneself on a daily basis. Rather than being a sort of trick or gimmicky reveal, my use of this iconography and the set-up of the exhibition itself is coming from a place of optimism and empowerment, of wanting to give both myself and the audience the choice to create meaning for ourselves and to question how and when we might be told otherwise. 

What else will you be working on this year?

Right now, I’m working towards making new works for a group show at Lychee One in London and a three person show in Odense, Denmark both in September. I am also working on a newly commissioned video and performance piece in collaboration with HRH that I’m really looking forward to. After that I’m going to take some time to reflect on what I’ve made this year and how I want to move forward. 

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A Chat with The Artists of the Venezia Pavilion

29.07.2019 | Art , Blog | BY:

This year, the Venezia Pavilion at the 58th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia moves beyond the confines of the exhibition space and infiltrates the city. Reflecting the multitude of stories, of splendour and beauty and of cruise ships, flooding and souvenirs, these esteemed Italian artists plunge into the wealth of inspiration to depict the ancient city in new lights. 

As Alessandro Gallo,  Artistic Director, explains: “In thinking about the creative concept of the pavilion, we have focussed on two angles: on one side, we wanted to return to the original elements that have characterised and shaped Venezia, and from the other side, we wanted to communicate the dichotomy of representing the stereotype that Venezia has in the world, and also a more authentic reflection of the city lived from the inside.”

Twin spoke to the artists involved, Mirko Borsche, Lorenzo Dante Ferro, Sidival Fila, Ferzan Özpetek, Fabio Viale and Giorgos Koumentakis, as well as artist director Alessandro Gallo, about their artistic approach to Venice. 

Alessandro Gallo , courtesy of Fondaco Italia

TWIN: How have you responded to Venice in your work?

Ferzan Ozpetek:

As soon as I was asked to visualise a personal idea of Venice, I had mixed feelings:  I was proud to be asked,   but at the same time overwhelmed by the difficulty of finding a creative way to tell the story of a city that has always been a symbol of unparalleled beauty, art and landscapes. A place deeply probed from all points of view. All of a sudden, I remembered so many walks I had taken in the Laguna, not just in the city, and above all the times I spent some days at the Lido either with my movies or as a member of jury for La Mostra del Cinema. That’s it, Water and Cinema: a dream of fluidity once again. You happen to reach the Lido on a motorboat, get off and soon you can enter the huge screening room where a collective rite is going to be held. I gathered some of those memories and emotions and revived them into imagery.  

Fabio Vale:

In this work I was trying to represent not the object, but the spiritual side of Venetian Bricole.

Lorenzo Dante Ferro: 

My work as a Master Perfumer originated in Venice in the 1500s when it was a flourishing and prosperous centre for the trade and commerce of precious spices, unguents, fragrant oils and resins brought back by navigators and explorers returning from voyages to distant lands. They provided Venice with the first new ingredients and raw materials necessary to give impetus to the development and creation of the first Italian perfumes, making Venice a natural location. Today, I continue this work as the keeper of secrets and traditions of artistic perfume creation from my perfume studio in Gradiscutta di Varmo (Udine) only a short distance from Villa Manin, the summer residence of the last Doge of Venice, Ludovico Manin.

Sidival Fila: 

I was invited as a selected artist for the Venice Pavilion from the beginning of the project, so I was able to follow its birth and its development; my involvement was both individual and collective, and for different reasons during the making of the show, many synergies were born with the other selected artists. I was also present in Venice for the opening of the Biennale and I was able to see that the message I wanted to share, through the descriptive elements of my installation and through a specific technical procedure , was communicated to the visitors, in the form of reflection and emotion.

Giorgos Koumendakis: 

This work has been created specifically for Venice, a vibrant city that combines the crossroads of many different cultures that approach it by water and could not exist in its present form for any other city!

Mirko Borsche:

The Venice Pavilion invited our studio to contribute as an ‘artist’. The biennale’s theme this year is FAKE NEWS, among other topics that form ‘interesting times we live in’. We are not artists, but we believe in graphic design as a strong tool, so we developed an identity for the Venice pavilion, which could be seen to be the identity of the whole Biennale and therefore is aligned with the concept of the Biennale, it also creates the maximum awareness for the pavilion of Venice. The centre piece of our concept is the Lion of St. Mark, the symbol of Venice. Bureau Borsche created a reduced, abstract form of the lion to highlight the six boroughs of Venice in the lines of his wings. These simple geometric shapes were also used to create the secondary graphical element – an exclusive typeface. This consists of mainly vertical bars in reference to the omnipresent poles throughout Venice. The popping Neon Yellow is a modern interpretation of the golden ornaments of the historical centre. Functionally, the colour is used as a signal colour because of its special visibility. Together the lion, the typeface, and the colour create a strong and yet ironically confusing guiding system for the city – ultimately leading to the pavilion of Venice. The graphical system is applied on many elements like signs, posters, flags, and public transport etc. At the same time there will be several take-away items such as apparel, tennis balls, plastic bags or lighters referring to the city’s strong tourist business. All these items are branded the same way and reveal their connection to the Venice pavilion once the visitor arrives at the pavilion. 

TWIN: What does Venice mean to you?

Alessandro Gallo – Artistic Director:

Having the privilege to live and know this place deeply, we feel we belong to an identity that has developed over centuries, creating something so strong, unique and personal; something that has put together and mixed different influences and culture that have shaped it.

Ozpetek, Image Courtesy of Fondaco Italia

Ferzan Ozpetek:

I called my work Venetika right because that is the ancient byzantine name given to the powerful maritime city. Venezia was and still is deeply marked by centenary – better say millenary – stratifications of Ottoman culture and traditions. Having grown up in Istanbul, Venezia to me is another “mother-city” where everything reflects, immerses in and resurfaces from water.

Fabio Vale:
Venice is a very hard city that forces you to move with its rhythms, different than ones we are used to. Thanks to this slowness you can appreciate the details.

Lorenzo Dante Ferro: 

Tradition and culture that express an elegance and style that is entirely unique. These are all elements that I treasure and take great pride in as a Venetian. 

Sidival Fila: 

Venice has always been a place of choice for art, culture and beauty. It’s a metaphor of travel and meeting, a unique and timeless city. 

Mirko Borsche:

I really like Italy in general, not very surprising for a German I guess, but for me it was always a place I wanted to live.

Venice is special, I love the city, but more around Autumn, when it gets a bit quiet again. Most of the season tourists take over, like a flood, which is disturbing for a lot of Venetians and forces them into the background. I can tell because Munich is a very touristic city too, and during the season it’s quite hard to get through the city or get anything done.

Giorgos Koumendakis: 

Venice is a city symbolic for music, visual arts and architecture. I am very happy because after many previous collaborations and presentations of my music in Venice, the time has come to compose a piece that is written especially for the Biennale and the city’s Pavilion. It is a great honour and privilege to participate in this important venture, along with great artists and under the artistic direction of Stelios Kois. 

TWIN: How have you interpreted this in your work for the Venice Pavilion?

Ferzan Ozpetek:

The city has hit my imagination as a vision of a woman immersed in water. That woman is performed by the wonderful actress Kasia Smutniak, who conveys the sense of a mysterious and magical experience. At a certain point that female figure representing the city emerges on the surface and thus Venezia materialises once the liquid becomes solid. Now we can recognise its extraordinary shapes, its dreamy buildings, its great paintings as in a revolving kaleidoscope of human figures and astonishing images.

Fabio Vale:
The installation was a collective work where all the artists collaborated together for one project.The meaning was to create a landscape where the viewer is immersed as they would be in the city of Venice

Lorenzo Dante Ferro: 

“Venéxia Odorum” is the natural essence which I composed, inspired by the Venetian lagoon with its briccole bathed by saltwater and the evocative notes of Mediterranean vegetation in the air. This geolfactive fragrance is my invisible contribution to the collective work which I have created to portray and to prolong the olfactive memory of the Serenissima into the future of all those who have had the opportunity to visit the Venice Pavilion.

Sidival Fila: 

They asked me to talk about spirituality as a constitutive dimension of the life of Venetian civilization, so I decided to present the crucifixion as the representation of a historical event, not only as a sacred or liturgical element. My “Golgotha” installation is composed of eight elements,  but only one of them presents a figurative sculpture of the Holy Cross; the other 7 elements open the doors to spirituality and transcendence, but they are not directly related to a specific religion, they only want to speak to every creed and to the heart of the people. 

Giorgos Koumendakis: 

In my work “The pedal tone of a closed current”, Byzantium, Renaissance and this modern city overlap, by the use of pedal tones from the Byzantine music together with western polyphonic elements. All those have an operatic dimension, symbolically accumulating at an orchestra pit full of water.

Mirko Borsche:

Our aim was to involve the Venetians to be part of our concept, they either got items provided by the pavilion for their own use, or make their own souvenirs, they can also download the graphic elements for free to create their own products. The idea is to make this symbol viral and make the whole city of Venice an extension of the Venice pavilion. 

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The Art of Warez by Oliver Payne – July 31st

26.07.2019 | Art , Blog | BY:

In a time pre-internet, in the late 80’s early 90’s, existed an era when computer users would communicate through the telephone lines by leaving messages for each other on Bulletin Board Systems or BBS’s. This practice soon became known as a very early form of file sharing where Hackers and Internet Pirates would use BBS’s to illegally distribute cracked software, known as Warez and other genres of illegal materials. This graphic display of BBS was known as ANSI, and ANSI was the visual component to the BBS scene and subculture of hackers, software pirates and computer game crackers. At the end of this month,  acclaimed artist-filmmaker Oliver Payne, with the help of one-time ANSI artist Kevin Bouton-Scott, will release a film entitled The Art of Warez, taking a glimpse back to the ANSI graffiti art scene, pre-internet hackers, copyright theft, pictures of fantasy warriors, comic book monsters, naked ladies and graffiti B-Boys.

This 30-minute film, is one that carefully documents a genre of art that holds little to no trace left on the internet. Not long after its invention, the ANSI art scene took off and transformed into a type of underground art movement where artists formed crews to compete against each other. However, the arrival of the internet and the updates made to  computers wiped out the ANSI art scene and the majority of the artworks in the process, which is why the artists’ film holds such relevance as a recollection of an iconic genre which no longer exists. Keep your eyes out for the full version of the film to be released on Safe Crackers on July 31st. 

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Something that is present: Idil Tabanca on immersing within the Turkish landscape

25.07.2019 | Art , Blog | BY:

Cover image: by Idil Tabanca Gökhan Polat

Idil Tabanca isn’t someone you would necessarily assume to be a Chairperson of a museum. Her alternate title, Creative Director, absolutely clicks with the persona of the woman that founded and ran New York’s loved fashion and culture title Bullett Magazine, but a chairperson? If the role of a chairperson is to allow fair and open discussion of matters, Idil is set to be a total coup – the expectation of others, matched with the vision of herself seems like a task she is more than equipped to handle. Bringing a fresh standpoint she is sure to provide: now that is vital to the success of any Institute. 

We are here to talk about OMM, the Odunpazari Modern Museum, that Idil is holding these integral positions within. Opening in September in the Turkish city Eskişehir, OMM will be a foundry of both global and local vision. 

“OMM will have education programmes, residencies, and pairings with global and local artists – opening up the doors to create an institution that will be a stepping stone for a lot of young artists. We want this place to be like an exchange for artists – creating spaces for people to come together and have these intercultural dialogues. There will be a hotel attached for artists to stay, and a quadrangle, with a vegetarian café which is almost unheard of in Turkey! Giving people options and breathable space to come together and create. The building itself will be a feat of architectural beauty, designed by the respected Japanese Kengo Kuma and Associates. I don’t see OMM as a museum – it’s a platform, a bridge, for young people to have their voices heard”.

With an education in film and digital media, you see this influence impact Idil’s approach to presenting the Museum on a global, innovative and connected scale. Her editorial background gives Idil a lateral and relevant viewpoint: the threat facing museums is that they face cultural extinction unless they adapt to new audiences – if anyone can speak about creative agility as a necessity you need not go further than anyone in the magazine trade.

“It is very similar work – you are still creating content but instead of a magazine page you are working with a gallery wall. You are giving someone a platform for display.”

Idil has grown up since her DIY New York days. From pulling together character love letters with celebrities, Idil is now invested in the importance of educational awareness of her beloved museum within the surrounding art schools of the heavy university town she finds herself in.

Her eyes still sparkle when she speaks of the projects and the collaborative partners ahead; a natural thinker and doer, mover and shaker.

Did Bullett set her up effectively for this role she is undertaking? 

“I think it set me up to manage people more than anything else to be honest! Juggling different people and personalities is always tough, especially when you are working in fashion and art, and managing all these moving parts. Creatively Bullett helped me shape my vision – I can’t imagine if I didn’t do Bullett how I would see things.”

Marc Quinn, Mekong Delta İce Floes, 2008, Photo by Ozan Çakmak

So why has Eskişehir been chosen as the favoured site for an interactive, cutting edge cultural institute? 

“There are 3 universities here, and they are all art universities – for all the cities in Turkey it is a very secular city and a very intellectual city. It is also geographically quite central, so easy to get to from the other surrounding cities. It was in 2004 that the first contemporary art gallery happened in Turkey, so we only have a very short history of museum culture here. Now it is somewhat challenging as we are creating something that hasn’t been there before. Sure, in Istanbul, but not in other places. We did a study and found out 80% of people hadn’t done a cultural activity in their lives – rates that were astonishing. What is exciting about this situation is for me to change that.”

Will the OMM be more about creative expression rather than strictly art?

“Absolutely – we want to carry collaboration into every aspect of what we are doing.”

Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu, İsimsiz, tuval üzeri yağlıboya karışık teknik 1956

And Fashion?

There will be a store selling a small line, and a big name designer will be creating the uniforms for the staff. Hey, you can take the chick out of New York fashion… 

And a global outlook?

“We want to have a global outlook, but want to ensure we are starting by getting local communities involved. The city has the potential for this. Our mission is to ensure that we are also educating global audiences that we are a destination: have this connection with the rest of the world.”

Tanabe Chikuunsai IV Installation photo by Kemal Seçkin

There will be work showcased by the local and the international, starting with a permanent collection made up of Marc Quinn, Julian Opie and Sarah Morriss, to Turkish artists such as Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu, Ramazan Bayrakoğlu and Canan Tolon. A site-specific commission by bamboo artist Tanabe Chikuunsai IV will be installed for opening in September.

While we can’t say we knew Idil before,  and we can only imagine this role has led her into a new direction – museums and galleries must ensure the voices of the next generation are accounted for, and Idil seems set on bringing her native country into the realm she finds most familiar: of the innovative, the creative, the outsiders, the brave.

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Saatchi Gallery Presents – Sweet Harmony: Rave ft Seana Gavin and others

12.07.2019 | Art , Blog , Culture | BY:

Today,  London’s Saatchi Gallery opens it’s doors to an immersive retrospective exhibition devoted to presenting a revolutionary survey of rave culture through a variety of various voices who have experienced it. The exhibition, titled Sweet Harmony: Rave| Today is set to open on Friday July 12th and will include several portrayals of the new world which emerged from the acid house scene. Throughout the exhibition, the space will feature multimedia room installations and audiovisual works by some of the rave movements experienced by first hand. As the concept of the acid house revolution is set to be recalled through photo series , live music events, talks and panel discussions by the movements’ architects and influencers of the 80s and 90s. 

The Saatchi Gallery’s director Philly Adams in partnership with co-curator Kobi Prempeh have assembled a team of youthful visionaries and photographers including Sheryl Garratt, Agnes Bliah, photographers Tom Hunter, Vinca Petersen and a Twin favourite Seana Gavin. In anticipation for the upcoming event, we called upon the London based artist for a quick chat on what to expect. 

. In anticipation for the upcoming event, we called upon the London based artist for a quick chat on what to expect. 

For the exhibition, your work is mainly based off your time during the Spiral Tribe,  what would you say was the definition of  the term “rave” during a time such as this?

The raves I attended began in London. They were parties put on by collectives and sound systems such a Spiral Tribe who would take over abandoned empty buildings like office blocks, factories, post offices and outdoors in fields and quarries and would transform them into spaces where people from all walks of life could sweat the night away on a dance floor surrounded by likeminded individuals. The parties were run on a donation only entrance policy. Their ethos were all about the freedom to party as a way to break away from the commercial club culture that was emerging at the same time. They were illegal, very underground and it became a subculture. When Spiral Tribe left the UK in 1993 they would continue their mission across Europe. Other sound systems followed and raves turned into multi sound system Techno Festivals known as  ‘Teknivals’.

New Years day,Barcelona by Seana Gavin

 How would you say rave culture has changed since then and in what ways has the way in which you document rave culture since then evolved?

Overlapping with the scene I was part of, rave culture expanded from illegal warehouses into ticketed commercial club events. Even though raves and Teknivals still go on today they can’t have the same energy and rawness from the early days. Nothing can be repeated like that. In the early days to find out about the parties there was a secret party line info number you’d call on the night. It is incredible to think that between 30-50,000 people attended the iconic Castlemorten 3 day rave in the British countryside in 1992 purely through these channels and on a word of mouth basis.

In Europe, flyers were also handed out to pass on info about the next party. In my era it was pre-smart phones and social media so there was less documentation. Nowadays the digital age and overload of selfie culture has tainted things. Everyone has a portable camera in their phone so there is less mystery around it.

I think it’s great that clubs like Berghain in Berlin try to keep things more old school by storing your phone as you enter the club. Which also forces you to be present in the experience and not live through the lense of your smart phone camera.

record dusting, hostomice Teknival 1998, by Seana Gavin

 What would you like your audience to take away from your series?

I’d like to think the viewers would feel a sense of intimacy to the subject matter. I wasn’t a photo journalist documenting this scene at the time, I was immersed in this way of life . The photos I’ve included in the show capture the raves locations, the journeys in between, the aftermath of the parties and people who defined the scene.

I would hope the viewers would get a sense of the perspective of what it felt like to be part of that community which was more than a night out but an alternative outlook to society and a way of life.

Twice as Nice, Aiya Napa, London, 1999
VINCA PETERSEN Bus And Rig

Other names of images makers included in exhibition are Ted Polhemus, Dave Swindells and Mattko. Throughout the exhibition, a space is created featuring the visually stimulating collections of each artist accompanied by a Spotify playlist with sub-genres of Detroit Techno, Acid House, Happy Hardcore, UK Garage and Grime. Uniting a selection of like, yet diverse minded creatives including electronic musician, visual artists and of course photographers. After the exhibition’s debut this Friday, it shall remain open to the public throughout the summer, until September 14th. For more details, visit Saatchi Gallery.

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Artist+AI: Figures & Form in the Age of Intelligent Machines

18.06.2019 | Art , Blog | BY:

Cover Image: Hyperbolic Composition 1 by Scott Eaton

This evening American artist Scott Eaton debuts his first solo exhibition at the Somerset House in London under the themes  of the convergence of the human hand and technology of artificial intelligence. Throughout the exhibition generative artificial intelligence (AI) is morphed with century old practices of drawing and sculpting. As an interdisciplinary artist with a background in anatomy, Eaton creates pieces that offer new perception on the understanding of the human form.

“For as long as humans have made art, the figure has been a primary focus of creative exploration. In each age new tools, techniques and styles influence how the figure is portrayed. Often the tools remain the same -pencil, charcoal, paint, clay – but the style changes – impressionism, cubism, surrealism, abstract expressionism. At certain times, however, there are seismic advances in technology that create entirely new possibilities for representation – photography, moving image, animation … and now AI” the artist explains. “The magic of the process is revealed,” Eaton says, “when you guide the AI to create something unlike anything it has seen before: ‘The AI has no choice but to do what I ask, no matter how difficult or unreasonable my request. The result is often a wondrous, unexpected, interplay of visual ideas, both mine and the machine’s.” The exhibition opens it’s doors on June 18th and will run throughout the week until June 23rd. 

Peter Paul Rubens, The Fall of the Damned, 1620, Oil paint
Fall of the Damned, 2019 © Scott Eaton

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#WeTheNipple Art Action

05.06.2019 | Art , Blog | BY:

Cover Image: Fay Fox

Last weekend, the National Coalition Against Censorship and photographer Spencer Tunick staged a nude installation in New York City in protest against the censorship of artistic nudity on Facebook and Instagram. The campaign, set outside the headquarters of the social media entities featured over 100 nudes bodies who were in stance against the level of censorship included in the current instagram guidelines. For the protest, no genitals or female nipples are visible. All female nipples were entirely and meticulously covered with stickers representing male nipples, sourced and created by NCAC and Tunick. All genitals were additionally covered with large round cardboard cutouts also representing male nipples. All visible nipples are male. And yet, the images were still censored when posted online and the campaign’s hashtag was blocked by instagram.

Svetlana Mintcheva, NCAC’s Director of Programs, said, “Here we have the suppression of an awareness campaign that falls within community guidelines with no option to appeal. We are asking Facebook to work with us so that artists do not have to face the frustration and sense of helplessness provoked by such a turn of events.”

To stand in support of the NCAC’s initiative, one can join the fight  here as a We The Nipple campaign signatory. 

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Pervilion at Silver Building: May 30th – June 2nd

30.05.2019 | Art , Blog | BY:

Cover Image: Still from To Spoor A Stockroom by Dorothy Feaver

Today in East London, opens a new and interesting exhibition at the Silver Building space in Silvertown.  “Pervilion at Silver Building,”  curated by Dorothy Feaver features the likes of scent, sculpture and film creatives, respectively Katharina Dubbick, Jack O’brien and Stella Scott. For the show, these artists explore the various states of dissolution as they replicate and activate the defunct of the boiler rooms of a sixties office block. Proposing several ways in which the body may register, absorb and release tensions within a built environment. 

In the concrete chambers the Silver Building, sculptor Jack Obrien presents a series of hanging sculptures titled “Buildings that Weep” that approach the body’s complex interactions with surrounding physical structures. Featuring husk-like forms, made of pigmented silicon, silicon chains and taut lines that trace the folds of drapery while mimicking the patterns of veins and muscular definition. While scent designer Katharina Dubbick fills the upper boiler room with an installation called “Time Capsule 7.23am (2019).” 

“I want to capture the moment of exhaustion after a climax – the sense of space that’s left when feelings settle, ” she explains. Through steam the space is filled with scents that stimulate associations of sweat, saliva, sex, gin and tonic, cigarettes, smoke,  sticky skin among other products, capturing the smells of latex and body odour with the help of perfumer Meabh McCurtin. And in a film entitled “To Spoor Stockroom (2019)”, filmmaker Stella Scott tracks liquid cycles that confront the sanitised the future and fetishisation of space in central London. The exhibition is a response to both the pressures and pleasures of the urban fabric of London, presented in abstract ways to intrigue the entire human sensory system. The exhibition will run for four days and close its doors on June 2nd.

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Soft Opening: Belly Room by Nevine Mahmoud

23.05.2019 | Art , Blog | BY:

British visual artist Nevine Mahmoud recently partnered  with London art gallery Soft Opening on her first European solo exhibition entitled ‘Belly Room.’  The exhibition which opened earlier this month features a selection of five sculptures carved from marble and hand-blown glass.  Throughout the themes of the exhibition, the artist explores her ongoing interest in disembodied body parts with the series of glass forms that represent single breasts and full busts, re-opening the conversation around women’s bodies and their objectification thereof. 

With a palette of pinks, amber and nude, the translucent sculptures subtly distort and dissect the female human form, with each sculpture swelling and sagging along the walls of the gallery.  The sculpture series also includes curving marble slides and sheets mimicking a sort of abstract plastic humanity.

Throughout the exhibition, “the artist negotiates the boundary distinguishing perception and expectation. Searching for a form at once recongnizable and alienated, these uncanny sculptures reverberate with suggestive innuendo.”

The belly room is currently open at the Soft Opening in London and will run until June 30th. 

Nevine Mahmoud, bust (phantom Li), 2019 
Nevine Mahmoud, breast (tamarind), 2019
Nevine Mahmoud, carved slide (2019)

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Alexander Binder lends “A Glimpse Into The Bardo”

14.05.2019 | Art , Blog | BY:

German photographer Alexander Binder has been known as a self taught photographer gifted with the abilities of taking his viewers on psychedelic trip into a universe full of contrasts, and oddities using his craft vintage lenses, prisms and optical toys. His work has been featured in several mainstream media outlets including Vice Sleek and even Twin’s 2011 issue.

In his work, Binder explores the blurred lines between the real and surreal, fiction and fantasy, but his latest work is a venture into what is known as the subconscious. Inspired by Sigmund Freud’s famous paperback “The Interpretation of Dreams,” Binder’s series entitled “A Glimpse Into The Bardo” explores the abstract and symbolic aspects of consciousness. In an effort to make this venture as accurate as possible, the photographer had to learn to suppress his conscious control over the photographic process and in aid of this he used pinhole lenses, double exposures and various filters which made it nearly impossible for him to predict the final result. For an even further “Glimpse Into The Bardo,” we sat down with the artist himself to discuss the process. 


What was it like suppressing your conscious instincts during the creation of this series? Were you ever tempted to check if everything was going well? 

Our brain is pretty creative in inventing excuses to exert conscious control over everything we do. Not to forget that we live in a time where “thinking”, “control” and “rational behavior” are highly valued competences. We monitor our health-status 24/7 via fitness-trackers and we love listening to people who explain our world in rational terms.

So actually it was difficult and I had to use several methods to trick myself. I guess it helped a lot that I have been working with self-made lenses, prisms and pinhole cameras for more than a decade because these tools make it almost impossible to predict the final results in detail.

Another way to limit my conscious thinking was a chaotic timing for the whole editing process. Some of the images were on my hard drives for more than three years before I even had a look at them – and some of the photos were made in less than three days.

How long did it take you to create the entire series?

Several years and I am still working on new images for this constantly evolving project.During the process I realized that this specific series maybe doesn’t need a real beginning or an end. I don’t want to sound too esoteric but it just “is”.

What from Sigmund Freud’s “The interpretation of dreams sparked this concept? 

There is actually one paragraph that caught my attention:

“The dream-content is (…) presented in hieroglyphics, whose symbols must be translated, one by one (…). It would of course, be incorrect to attempt to read these symbols in accordance with their values as pictures, instead of in accordance with their meaning as symbols.”

(Source: “The interpretation of dreams” 1913 / Chapter 6 “The Dream Work”)

This is exactly the way that I wanted to look at the photographs. There is nothing to understand about these images with your rational mind. They are abstract symbols that have to be interpreted step by step. Something like a Rorschach test that helps to assess an individual’s personality – or at least trigger some questions about yourself, your hopes, fears and desires.

Being inspired by Sigmund Freud’s “The interpretation of dreams , a book which speaks to the exploration of dreams as our “unconscious wishes,”  do you think the end result from this series may hold some personal underlying connotation to you as well?

Yes, I think so. When I look at the series today I see a deep, almost romantic wish for some kind of nature mysticism.

What’s your favourite image from the series? Why?

There is one image that stuck in my head and I don’t remember when or how I took the photo. It’s one of the most abstract images of the series and it has – at least for me – a very strong, symbolic quality.

Honestly I don’t even know whether I like it or not but it resonates with me on a very subtle level. It makes me think about much more than a blurry black-and-white photograph, a bright light or the vague depiction of a wing-like object. As Symbolist poet Mallarmé said it’s not about the thing, but the effect which it produces. (See Below)

What would you like viewers to take away from this series?

The series doesn’t have a single-minded message or narrative. It doesn’t help trying to “understand” these images in the classical sense, e.g. recognizing specific objects.

Like Freud said, these are more or less hieroglyphics. And everybody has to interpret them in his own way and look for a personal meaning. So the only thing that I wish viewers would do, is that they took their time and let the photos open the doors to their subconscious.

What are you up to next? Will you continue to explore the subconscious? 

The exploration of the subconscious is one of the key motivations and goes far beyond my photographic activities. There is so much to read, learn and also experience that one lifetime is not enough.

I just returned from Northern India where I had the chance to get a deeper understanding of Tibetan culture and especially the Tibetan art in its various forms – from mesmerizing Thangka paintings to otherworldly bronze statues. So there will definitely be a photo project not about, but heavily influenced by this journey.

Keep up with Alexander and his work at Alexander Binder or on instagram 

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Public Gallery: “The Redemption of Delilah” by Alexi Marshall

02.05.2019 | Art , Blog | BY:

Cover Image: Your Hair Was Long When We First Met, 2019, Alexi Marshall

In less than a week, London based gallery Public Gallery, will present an exhibition featuring the work of British visual artist Alexi Marshall titled The Redemption of Delilah.

The exhibition, set to open on the 8th of May will reveal a series of work from Marshall exploring and reimagining denigrated women of history through the humanity and nuance that lies in what has been traditionally known as sin. In her work, with the use of print, fabric, drawing and embroidery, the artist invites her viewers for a deeper analysis of condemned female figures, with the story centred around the biblical story of Samson and Delilah. As Delilah’s name has been known to be synonymous with the qualities of being voluptuous and treacherous, her fate following her actions highlighted in the bible has never been revealed, which in turns, forever shows her in a degenerated light.

Throughout the exhibition Marshall highlights the characters’ powers as well as their fallibilities as she explores the internal and external forces and at play.  Each pieces of wrk highlights characters from different narratives including Mexican and Trinidadian folklore that tell stories of tragedies, fate, forgiveness and life and death. 

“At a time when powerful women are still regularly denigrated in contemporary society, Marshall shines a new light on these ‘imperfect female sinners’ offering them a voice beyond the confines of history. These characters from religion and folklore become Marshall’s own personal deities, neither benevolent or malevolent but acting as symbols for fate and the innate wild nature of humanity. ” The exhibition will run its course throughout May at the Public Gallery until the 4th of June. 

Sweetest Downfall, 2019, Alexi Marshall
Jezebels Burden, 2019, Alexi Marshall

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Six artists to discover during Art Brussels

28.04.2019 | Art , Blog | BY:

Cover Image: Autour de nous huile sur bois de Karine Rougier, 103 x 93 cm, 2018

Brussels is increasingly becoming one of the most refreshing European cities in which to discover art. Young spaces like collective Ballon Rouge and the collaborative La Maison de Rendez-Vous are opening new spaces and giving a new dose of oomph to the scene. Last week’s Art Brussels, an annual fair in its 37th edition with 148 galleries, was not too big, not too small – the goldilocks porridge of fairs. Here were six artists worth only a Eurostar away.

Merve Iseri

Turkish painter Merve Iseri was both a focus’ at Balon Rouge’s beautiful peach painted booth at the fair and the subject of a solo show at their downtown space. Her graphic large scale paintings touch on the body and landscape, balancing the figurative with a strong sense of abstraction and colour. An off-modernist breath of fresh air.

vision of holding a star in motion, Merve Iseri
Night Walk, Merve Iseri

Kayode Ojo

One of the NYC’s hottest current artists, Ojo originally emerged from a photographic background which he still balances with a glamorous and intelligent take on sculpture. His mirrored, misused furniture works covered with diamante jewellery or lame dresses were perfectly paired at Martos Gallery’s booth with a sexy large scale images of a trans model.

Boohoo Plus Verity Slinky Plunge Split Maxi Dress, Kayode Ojo
Balenciaga Bootcut, Kayode Ojo

Anicka Yi

Outside of the fair, the highlight of gallery night on Wednesday was Anicka Yi’s incredible show at Gladstone Gallery. Aiming to dissolve the boundaries between the human, animal, and vegetable, the show included sculptures that played with the living and kinetic. Its central room was filled with small animatronic moths flickering inside bulbous sculptural balls accompanied by a flickering electronic sounds.

Anicka Yi: We Have Never Been Individual
Anicka Yi: We Have Never Been Individual

Rubem Valentim

Mendes Wood DM devoted their booth at Art Brussels to Brazilian artists on their roster. It included some stunning paintings and a wood carved sculpture by the late Rubem Valentim, a self-taught artist who fused modernist ideas with the geometry, religion and aesthetic of Brazilian cultures. His Afro-Brazilian references were intentionally political, and the results exude vibrant energy.

Emblema 78, (1978), Rubem Valentim
Emblema-Relevo, (1980) , Rubem Valentim

Hoda Tawakol

It was impossible not to love Egyptian artist Hoda Tawakol’s sculptures at Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde’s booth. Made from tights, synthetic hair, rice, wadding and resin, these fetish-like small nudes are strongly rooted in the legacy of feminist 1970s art and the use of textiles as a loaded material. These gorgeous little fat figures questioned the representation of femininity.

Nude #20 (2019), Hoda Tawakol
Nude #20 (2019), Hoda Tawakol

Karine Rougier

Another off-fair highlight was Karine Rougier’s incredible detailed show at the young Fondation Thalie. Born in Malta and based in Marseille, this show brought together every element of her practise from scrapbook collages to tiny found object sculptures to her surreal miniature paintings. The work was filled with disembodied hands, doses of sex and horror and a dreamlike fantastical brilliance.

Soulever les Frissons, Détail, 38 x 45 cm, huile sur bois, Karine Rougier, 2019

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Congregation by Sophie Green

24.04.2019 | Art , Blog , Culture | BY:

For the past two years British social documentary & portrait photographer Sophie Green has been working on a project in celebration of Southwark’s community of Aladura Spiritualist African churches and congregations. As the product of her detailed studies, Green has created a compilation of all the documented images of the community that is often referred to as the “white garment” churches and will be presenting them in the form of an exhibition and hardcover titled Congregation this Thursday at the Hannah Barry Gallery. 

The images give a front row seat to the Christian denomination practised by Yoruba Nigerians that throughout the past 40 years has become a greater part of Southwark London —  being the community which hosts one of the highest concentration of African churches in Europe. Congregation will also raise conversation about collective identity and power within subcultures, cultural practices and traditional dresses, food and customs in modern technology and fashion. For the project, the photographer collaborated with members of the congregation through portrait sessions and photographic workshops which go hand in hand with the candid images of the men, women and children throughout their religious practice. 

Congregation will be launched available online this Thursday and can be purchased via Loose Joints.

Congregation by Sophie Green 
Congregation by Sophie Green
Congregation by Sophie Green

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Salone del Mobile: Maarten Baas,”I Think Therefore I Was”

15.04.2019 | Art , Blog | BY:

Salone del Mobile is the one time of year in Milan where one can discover the most interesting, jolting exhibitions and installations around the city. One of the most essential installations to see was that of Dutch designer Maarten Baas. Although not considered as design, the designer staged an exhibition in collaboration with Ventura Centrale entitled “I Think Therefore I Was.” Set in one of Ventura’s exhibition spaces in Centrale, the installation featured hundreds of monitors, playing fragments of videos in which the words ‘I think’ were cut from hundreds of random Youtube videos. This compilation of information is one that creates a great cacophony of words and moving images that hits you upon entrance.  Leaving one in awe with an overflow of feeling. There is no single screen to focus on, or single audio to listen to, there are hundreds being played simultaneously and what all that information does to the brain subconsciously is quite exciting.

Images by Claudio Grassi

“Having an opinion is once claim to existence. By placing the installation in reference to a catwalk set-up, the first impression is rather intimidating. The screens are like an audience, proclaiming opinions about you, as a visitor. Yet the other way around, it shows a colourful variety of people who have thoughts and therefore therefore are individuals,” comments Baas. The artist has been know for blurring boundaries between art and design using the element of surprise. The exhibition, which has already closed it’s doors, marked the artist’s 10th year in collaboration with the Ventura Projects in Milan. 

Images by Claudio Grassi

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Three Reasons To Go To MiArt

12.04.2019 | Art , Blog | BY:

Milan has quietly become a stealthy art hub. Its fair MiArt, which takes place the week before the city becomes obsessed with furniture and design in April, is like the Goldilocks’ porridge of art fairs. Its not too big, not too small. It has emerging names, big historical works and lesser known discoveries. The fair also is the catalyst for Milan Art Week when institutions like the Fondazione Prada, ICA Milan and Frigoriferi Milanesi open new exhibitions. These are examples of why you should book your ticket next year.

Saskia Te Nicklin At Vin Vin at MiArt

Danish artist Saskia Te Nicklin won the prize for best emergent booth at the fair this year, with her inventive Vienna-based gallery Vin Vin. Her paintings, installed against a metal wall installation, played with art historical themes such as still lives. Her refreshingly scrawled pieces touch on nature, the digital and the real. vinvin.eu

Five heads or masks executed while thinking of James Ensor, Saskia TeNicklin, 2019
4 plastic bags with drawn faces, Saskia Te Nicklin, 2019

Leigh Ledare at Office Baroque at MiArt

Brussels gallery Office Baroque brought some new large panel collage-like works from the always subversive Leigh Ledare to MiArt. These pieces felt more like disturbing scrapbook pages, which exposed Ledare’s own fascinations with sex, identity, history and social meaning. officebaroque.com

Leigh Ledare Plot I: Pre-existing Conditions, 2017
Leigh Ledare Plot III: Immune System, 2017

The Unexpected Subject. 1978 Art and Feminism in Italy

It is well worth travelling to the outskirts of Milan for this exceptional exhibition of Italian feminist art from the late 1970s. Discover artists like Ketty Le Rocco, Tomaso Binga, Lucia Marcucci, Maria Lai and Giulia Niccolai in this truly fascinating comprehensive archive show. At least pin down the catalogue until May 26, http://www.frigoriferimilanesi.it

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Hayward Gallery: “Kiss My Genders” 12 June – 8 Sep

05.04.2019 | Art , Blog , Culture | BY:

Cover Image: Martine Gutierrez, Masking Fish Mask from Indigenous Women (2018)

On June 12th this summer, central London art gallery Hayward Gallery will open it’s doors to a group exhibition titled ‘Kiss My Genders,’ showcasing the work of 30 international artists whose repertoires engage in conversation around gender identity. Curated by Vincent Honoré, the exhibition will feature a compilation of over 100 artworks by several generations of artists from across the world who share interests in articulating with themes of gender fluidity, non-binary, trans and intersex identities communicated throughout their work. The exhibition will include wide range of several types of media including installations, videos, paintings, sculptures, portraitures etc.

Juliana Huxtable Untitled Lil’ Marvel (2015)

The panel of creatives will include names who explore gender expression through the forms of performance, drag and masquerade. Such as names like Ajamu,  a London-based visual activist whose work challenges conventional understanding of sexuality, desire, pleasure and cultural production within contemporary Britain and Amrou Al-Kadhi, a British-Iraqi writer, drag performer and filmmaker, who in collaboration with British photographer Holly Falconer, created a photographic portrait Glamrou (2016) using triple exposure to communicate the experience of being in drag as a person of Muslim heritage. The exhibition will also bring forth political undertones with artist artist Hunter Reynolds who is an AIDS activist as well,  whouses art as a tool to process trauma as well as transform it. The Kiss My Gender exhibition will also be accompanied by an illustrated catalogue featuring original essays and a roundtable discussion with and from a few of the artists along with the exhibition’s curators and a performance by Berlin based artiste Planningtorock, whose song lyrics were featured as the showcase’s title. The exhibition will run throughout the summer and close its doors on September 2019. For more info visit Hayward Gallery.

Zanele Muholi, Phila I Parktown, (2016)
Catherine Opie, Mike and Sky (1993)

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Public Gallery ft. Joan Cornellà: “IM GOOD THANKS”: Apr 3rd – May 4th

03.04.2019 | Art , Blog | BY:

London based contemporary space Public Gallery in collaboration with renowned Catalan artist Joan Cornellà presents ‘IM GOOD THANKS’ — a solo exhibition featuring the artist’s work set to open on the 3rd of April. The exhibition will feature a series of new works by Cornellà featuring his instantly recongisable mix of pitch black humour and deeply unsettling imagery as he gives his audience a glimpse of his dystopic view of contemporary life. Throughout the exhibition paintings will line the walls and surround a central sculpture which represents the artist’s trademark suited character. Each piece of work included in the upcoming exhibition acts as a mirror into the depraved nature of society; confronting topics like our obsessive attachment to social media and masturbatory selfie culture to politically controversial topics such as abortion , addiction and gender. Upon first glimpse the artist’s work may appear as playful and lighthearted but upon further thought and inspection it reveals his admirable method of twisting saccharine settings to dissect modern culture.

“I think we all laugh at misery. We must start from the idea that when we laugh, we laugh at someone or something. With empathy or not, there is always some degree of cruelty. In spite of that, I am aware that if one of my cartoons happened in real life , I would not laugh at al,” he comments. In sync with the growing feeling that the world is sinking further into depraved absurdity, Cornellà sheds some light unto human nature, presenting us in his notoriously dark and disquieting manners. The exhibition is set to run until the 4th of May.

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Illustrating Fashion with Christina Zimpel

01.04.2019 | Art , Blog , Fashion | BY:

Broad strokes, dense colour, a sense of positive circularity to her work – Christina Zimpel is an artist of a wonderfully bold disposition. Being an Australian in New York City, her work has lifted the pages of Vogue Australia to the SS19 handbags (and set design) of Michael
Kors. There is a natural magnetism to her illustrations, often heavily centred around reinterpretations of the runway or figures of fashion. Christina breaks down familiar catwalk looks into bright colour comparisons of ink and gouache (think green against pink, red beside baby blue), or almost-Surrealistic monochrome, creating confident combinations.
Large almond eyes are bestowed on her interpretations, and for all the magnetism of their form and colour, look out with a gentleness: a reflection of the artist? May Christina Zimpel’s illustrative hand continue: she creates illustrations that lift the page through colour and composition.

What do you do for fun, what’s your favourite colour?

For fun I eat and garden and go for walks. My favourite colour is currently
a mossy green. 

What were you good at in school, what were you not so good at?

I enjoyed history and art and creative writing. I did not pay enough attention to maths and biology.


Who were you favourite bands growing up? Who do you listen to these days?
I like the same bands today as I did growing up… Bowie, Roxy Music, Kraftwerk, Prince, Miles Davis, The Clash, Joy Division etc etc. all really great to work to. And my son Lil Jabba!
 

How did you get into art and illustration?
I got into art by suddenly deciding I wanted to draw – so I drew everything I could see around me every day for a couple of years and shared the results on Instagram. Illustration commissions started coming due to that. In the past it might have been harder to get my foot in the door. However, now I have an audience and some great people saw something interesting in me and gave me work which is wonderful!

Describe a day in your life .
I am quite boring especially in winter when I barely leave the house! I work at home so I am up and working at the kitchen table. I can multi task as the dishwasher and stove are close to my brushes and paints. In the summer I get to go outside and do a bit of gardening or walk around my neighbourhood if I need a break.

Your work appears to be shaped greatly by blocks of colour: does colour or form come first for you when you start a piece?
When I’m painting, colour is an important starting point. I have a definite palette and love to work within those parameters. My colour choices come from distant memories when I became really conscious of my surroundings. The sixties pop colours, the clarity of bright reds and greens and pink my mother loved. They form my landscapes. With illustrations I tend to be influenced by the subject matter be it fashion or narratives. Using very bright colours is tricky so I add banal colours to balance them, otherwise you’d get a headache.

Do you doodle?
I love to doodle! That is something I’ve always done.

You are from Perth yet currently reside in New York: do aspects of either Australia or New York enter your work?
Definitely- Australia is a land of bright clear colours and I like the uplifting feelings it gives me, it ties in with the Fauvist paintings I love so much.
New York really gives me so much love for humanity… so many people all the time all living their lives right in front of you. It really comes out in my work – observations of people’s expressions, body language, the heaviness of life.

Does your mind drift as you draw or does drawing help your mind drift?
I have always been the anxious type. Drawing is the best help I’ve found to drift away from my thoughts and tune out the chatter. It makes me live in the moment.  In the UK, the government is increasingly moving focus away from the arts, leaving a potential massive gap in young people’s education of art.

How important is art to you?
When you are exposed to the arts there is something each person will find interesting or beautiful or earth shattering amongst it. All people should get the opportunity to open up their world and find their own creativity or passions. It shouldn’t be a luxury.


You have worked with the likes of the CFDA, Maison Kitsune and Michael Kors: what role has collaboration played in your career?
I was really lucky to work with some iconic brands in 2018. I had the opportunity to draw portraits, landscapes and create brand identities. I had my first merchandise produced – totes and phone cases and T-shirt’s, as well as beautiful look books and interactive displays. It’s been really exciting and it’s giving me hope that I can grow exponentially, and be collaborative, not just work in a bubble.

What was the last thing that made you excited?
The whole thing- I did not see any of this coming!

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“The Wahi Series”, – Northern New York City as seen by Kasandra Enid Torres

07.03.2019 | Art , Blog , Culture | BY:

Kasandra Enid Torres is a culture and fashion photographer based in Washington Heights, NYC who has been documenting the soulful inhabitants of her neighbourhood for the past three years. Her series titled “Wahi” — short for Washington Heights —  diaries the vivacious poetic spirits of the busy district in ways which treasure the Old New York City aesthetic with a 21st Century twist. In conversation with the photographer , Twin discusses her inspirations and experiences throughout the process of the project. 

When did you first start shooting in New York? 

I moved to the city at the beginning of 2013 after graduating from Savannah College of Art and Design in 2011. For the first two years I didn’t shoot much, I was constantly working 24/7 and if I had free time I spent it sleeping. I was also on an artist block, I wasn’t sure what to shoot. I came from an art background making abstract photography and films. To get myself unstuck, I started to shoot anything and everything.

What inspired you to start the “Wahi” series? 

Around 2015 I started to shoot regularly. At the time I didn’t have access to models so I decided to shoot outside in my neighbourhood. I am not the most extroverted person and having to go out to make pictures by approaching strangers was daunting to me. It was definitely a challenge. I slowly got more comfortable with it and found my flow. I got my hands on a Hasselblad Superwide C, which is a medium format camera with no viewfinder. It was fun experimenting with it and finding its sweet spot. It is a somewhat big and chrome camera. I liked shooting with it for this series because it attracts attention. It is also a conversation piece, people approach me asking me about it and allow me to take their portrait. 

How do you select your subjects? 

I walk up and down on St Nicholas Ave between 168th and 191st street, keeping myself open for opportunities. I am attracted by really interesting people, how they are dressed, how they walk, their  expressions etc. I also choose things that speak to the culture of the neighbourhood, such as the supermarkets, the crowded bus stops, the chairs, domino tables, and the empanada carts. 

What’s your favourite thing about Washington Heights?

My favorite thing about this neighbourhood is the people. I love being surrounded by other hispanics. Having lived away from my family for the past eight years, I like being reminded of my culture and roots. I like listening to the radio blasting salsa or reggaeton while walking to the supermarket. I like watching the intensity of people playing dominos. I love the sidewalk parties of people chilling on their lawn chairs, drinks in paper bags, puffing from hookahs and grilling up on barbecues.  I love the wafts of food smells, such as pernil, mofongo, empanadas, and asopao. It feels like home. 

What would you like people to take away from viewing this series?

I want these images to give the viewer a look inside this Old New York style neighbourhood. There really aren’t many places like this in the city. Majority of the city has been gentrified and franchised. I want them get an honest raw interpretation of this community.  I want them to be able to see how interesting and cool the neighbourhood is, to feel as if they were there. 

Can we expect to see more projects like this from you in the future?

Yes I will continue to document series like this one. I just wrapped up a series I shot near the Adirondacks in January of a Snowmobile drag race. I shot that one during an insane blizzard! I am also currently shooting a series at busy subway platforms like Times Square, documenting all types of people.

What’s next for you as a photographer? 

I am always looking for new ways to challenge myself. With each new series I try to do something I haven’t done before, be it a camera technique, lighting technique, shooting a specific way or subject matter. 

Where can one view more of your work?

Majority of my work is online. I have work published here on Twin (my Afropunk series), Document Journal, a couple of other indie magazines and my website. My Dependence series is published on issue 7 of Recens Paper, another of my favorite project. In the future, I aim to have a gallery show at a space in the neighbourhood. I want to give back to this community that has given me so much. 

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