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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SUPERSTRUCTURES: The new architecture 1960-1990

03.04.2018 | Art , Blog , Culture | BY:

The phrase ‘high-tech’ makes most of us think about phones, computers or intelligent dishwashers. But it’s one that makes some architects gasp with indignation. This year the Sainsbury Centre celebrates its 40th anniversary with “Superstructures: The new architecture 1960–90”. An exhibition that picks apart the architectural movement behind the centre itself and examines the controversial label of ‘high-tech’ against the wider architectural canon.

‘High-tech’ architecture was championed by legendary British architects Norman Foster (the designer behind the Sainsbury Centre) and Richard Rogers (Centre Pompidou), amongst others. This group of architects found ideas of adaptable, expandable and mobile buildings exciting. They were interested in pragmatic solutions, and inspired by earlier architectural ideas and innovations like Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic domes and Jéan Proves demountable house.

Current day Sainsbury Centre 2009 | Photo:© Sainsbury Centre, Pete Huggins

The high-tech style managed to blend post-war 60s utopian ideas with 19th, and early 20th century ideas about adapted architecture – a mixture that resulted in expressive and very characteristic buildings. It was a  technologically focused – one might even say obsessed – development from modernism.

Talking via a malfunctioning, ironically un-high-tech Skype connection, Twin chatted with curators of the exhibition Jane Pavitt and Abraham Thomas. An era of optimistic architecture that looked to engineering and technology for new possibilities certainly seems resonant in 2018.

Sainsbury Centre construction 1975 – 1978 | Photo: © Foster + Partners, Alan Howard

Could you begin by telling me a little bit about the exhibition?

Jane Pavitt: The exhibition is about this crux in late modernism, the term often used in association with it is high-tech. We have taken a rather interesting positioning I suppose…  In the exhibition we show the long history of association between technology, engineering and architecture. It starts with the the Sainsbury Centre, a superstructure that is, in a sense, an enormous shed. It’s complex, beautiful, precisely engineered, but still kind of like a shed.

We used this building to explain the high-tech approach to architecture. Then we look at ground structures like the Crystal Palace, and through to the modern experiments by Prouvé and Buckminster Fuller. Finally we look at the generation of architects that we are focused on. The first part of the exhibition tell the pre-history, then we get to high-tech it self.  

Abraham Thomas: Should I go back to high-tech?

Jane: Yes, I see that she’s dying to hear about it.

Abraham: One of the things that we wrestled with as curators is using the phrase high-tech without actually using the phrase high-tech. The term is very divisive, a bit like postmodernism. Many of the practitioners of postmodernism hate that label. Jane curated the big postmodernism exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum so she has been through this.

Jane: [laughs] The toxic term.

Ben Johnson, Inmos Central Spine, 1985Acrylic on canvas | © Ben Johnson

Abraham: We had to be conscious to the fact that many of these leading architects absolutely reject the term high-tech. It is reasonable to an extent, they reject it simply being a style. What we are trying to say is that it was more than a style. It was a sort of ethos, a movement. But it is a convenient term, it refers to the idea of influence of technology. In a way it is valid. But we also sort of pick it apart, don’t we?

Jane: We wanted to make it very clear that it’s certainly not a style label, although it’s often used like that. These buildings are stylistically very different. The architects reached different types of solutions, but they all share a set of principles. The Sainsbury Centre and the Pompidou Centre are totally different solutions to the same set of ideas and concerns. They respond to their sites, position and purpose in different ways. On the other hand, we felt as curators, and historians, that if there is a term that has some currency historically – it is a frequently used label in architectural history – then this is the right time to kind of, as Abraham says, pick it apart and attempt a much more nuanced understanding.

Do you think there is another term that could work better?

Jane: Architecture of advanced engineering is a good description. That’s what they are concerned with, testing the limits of certain kind of building methods. If you think of high-tech as a process, rather than a style, that’s quite a useful way of approaching it. I would say that it’s a type of technological modernism.

But people like labels, don’t they? Like art deco. Everybody has contested the meaning of art deco, but it is still a very powerful term. Postmodernism is a term that makes people angry [laughs] but it persists. Rather than abandon the label all together, we wanted to unpack and position it. These buildings share certain things about advanced engineering and precision engineering, but they can also be simple solutions.

To take an example: we have reconstructed a section of Michael and Patty Hopkins house in the exhibition. It is not high-tech in that sense. It is appropriate technology. They liked the idea of using pre-fabricated components and cost effective materials that could be assembled simply, cheaply, effectively with a powerful aesthetic.

ZipUp HouseDetail colour presentation competition model, scale 1:20 | Photo: © Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, Eamonn O’Mahony

Abraham: There are a number of examples of high-tech buildings with ideas from other explicitly progressive technological contexts. For example, here at the Sainsbury Centre, Foster created a double skinned wall which allows a lot of the servicing and utilities to be packed away, resulting in this sleek exterior surface and an uninterrupted interior space well suited for an exhibition layout. That idea came from Foster’s observations of a passenger aircraft, were you have a sort of false elevated floor where all the services can be packed underneath.

Jane: There is this section in the exhibition where we have some of the original cladding from the Sainsbury Centre next to a part from a [Citroën] 2CV van. Those ribbed aluminium panels that slot into a car are remarkably like the panels that clad this building. The term high-tech is a bit forbidding, but these buildings have almost the childhood appeal of assembling models.

Abraham: Jane’s point immediately makes me think of this amazing object in the exhibition, a project called Tomigaya. It is a mixed use, residential and cultural space in Tokyo, and the model is made from Meccano. It’s a slightly lighthearted moment in the exhibition. The model of Tomigaya encapsulates a rare notion of simplicity, an understanding of how buildings are put together. It makes it very accessible.

Crystal Palace details of bracing between columns | Photo: © Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851

What drew you to this project at first?

Jane: The Sainsbury is one of Britain’s best postwar buildings and it is extraordinarily powerful. It attracted a huge amount of controversy, admiration and criticism at the time it opened. It’s been fascinating to re-examine that. This group of architects are among the most prominent in the world and produce buildings in all typologies: office buildings, factory buildings, buildings for culture, domestic projects, airports, stations. In London, especially in transit, we all move through these buildings. You probably could encounter a Foster, Rogers, a Grimshaw building within any square mile of central London.

Abraham: I went through Heathrow today and the Rogers’ Terminal 5 has a lot of expressive engineering.

What would you say was most challenging with this exhibition? There are so many different aspects to it.

Abraham: I think it’s always tricky when you’re a temporary guardian of someone’s legacy. These are all very successful architects now, huge international names.

Jean Prouvé House, France | Photo: © Galerie Patrick Seguin and Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

And still alive!

Abraham: Yes they are all still alive! You’ve got to be really careful with how you present that legacy. That is always the case when you’re working with any contemporary artist or architect, but I think that is particularly the case here.

One of the hardest things was to ensure that we were sensitive to their legacies, but also created a new narrative. Since the mid 80s there have been shows on these key British architects – Jane and I didn’t want to do another “Best of British Architects” exhibition.  

Jane: It’s not a biography show. Architecture exhibitions are difficult. A lot of visitors may not be familiar with reading architectural plans and some of the buildings will be unfamiliar to them. We wanted to explain how buildings worked and how they were made. We’ve just come back from installing two giant wooden carved prototypes of the steel joints from Waterloo International Station. They are about a meter or so high, but fantastic objects. Like pieces of sculpture.The process of construction is fascinating for people of all ages, we are just trying to emphasise that.

SUPERSTRUCTURES: The New Architecture 1960 – 1990 is on at The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts 24 March – 2 September 2018

Feature image credit: Century Tower, Japan | Photo: © Foster + Partners, Saturo Mishima

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“Like I’m working with them, alongside them, in tandem.”: Twin meets Terri Loewenthal

28.03.2018 | Art , Culture | BY:

Her vivid, evocative ‘in-camera collages’ of the Californian landscape will have you captive for hours. Twin meets photographer Terri Loewenthal to talk about immersing oneself in the environment, the power of nature and startling “little old ladies in women’s restrooms.”

How did the idea of California manifest itself in your consciousness when you were growing up?

Everything I knew about California I learned from Top Gun and Beverly Hills 90210. I spent my childhood in South Florida, on the other side of the continent. As a kid, I didn’t think California was that much different than where I grew up. We had beaches, sun, pastels and fancy cars too. I played a lot of volleyball. Same thing, different coast, right? I was a jock, competing at a national level. What seemed to matter most at the time was that the volleyball players coming out of California were better than the ones coming from anywhere else. And of course, the continual juvenile version of an east vs. west debate: which is better, Disney World or Disneyland?

I ended up in California not because of a childhood vision, but because of a rebirth later in life. Right after I graduated from college in Texas, my rental house burned down. I took the nominal insurance settlement, borrowed my mom’s manual 35mm camera, and hit the road. I traveled for over a year exploring, camping alone, aligning my schedule with the sun’s, and teaching myself to take pictures. That was when I fell in love with photography and California’s backcountry.  

Terri Loewenthal, Psychscape 48 (Lookout Mountain, CA) 2017.

What about the landscape makes it compelling to photograph?

I chose to work with the eastern Sierra for this body of work. It’s not the California most people have in mind – it’s nothing like El Capitan in Yosemite, the ring of mountain peaks around Lake Tahoe, or the beaches in San Diego riddled with surfers. There’s something otherworldly about it. You see Mono Lake from above as you drive towards it, and it doesn’t even make sense. There are no rivers or streams flowing from it; being in the desert, it just evaporates. It’s away from everything, the end of the line.

When I’m thinking about where to shoot, it’s very much about using the shapes of the land as a paint brush — for example, how the curve of a dune when juxtaposed with another dune overlapping it creates a sloping line, a single gesture formed by the contours of the land. The eastern Sierra expanse is ripe with geometry, all these granite building blocks, which I use in my work. With a lack of iconic shapes like pines and sequoias, I’m able to freely use the landscape as raw material instead of subject.

Also, photographing remote landscapes means camping. I have a deep need to sleep on the land, to skip some showers. I love to lose the safety of manicured city life.

Terri Loewenthal, Psychscape 73 (Downs, Mount, CA) 2017

How much did you choose to engage with the predominantly male canon of Californian photography when conceiving this project?

When I had the idea for these images, it was purely aesthetically driven, at least in my conscious mind. I’m extending an invitation to step inside of these imaginary places, to have a subjective experience. Our perception of the natural world isn’t gendered. I don’t think of the conceptual framework of Psychscapes as relating to gender, however there are a number of gender norms I don’t buy into, and that offers a certain freedom necessary for creating this work. I love camping. I love being dirty. I love uncontrolled adventure. I might be less afraid to venture solo into un-manicured territory because I’m taller than most men – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve startled little old ladies in women’s restrooms!

Terri Loewenthal, Psychscape 18 (Banner Ridge, CA) 2017

Do you feel a tension between the wild as a free space and the idea of capturing it through photography?

I’m currently reading a book called The Ohlone Way about the indigenous people of the Bay Area. It’s a fantastic account of the abundant wilderness and wildlife here before white people “headed west.” The sky was so filled with birds that, looking up, you were more likely to see one than not. I often wonder if my life were as deeply enmeshed with the natural world, if I’d be drawn to make landscape images. My desire is to commune with my subject. Looking through the lens, I slow down and consider subtle nuances. Sometimes it’s shape, or correlation of shapes, sometimes it’s color, sometimes it’s a character trait that I didn’t notice before the camera was in my hand. Mine is a sensitive approach to photography. It’s always been an attempt to process my surroundings more deeply. What I mean to do is appreciate. If I were living off the land, I wouldn’t need to venture away from the distractions of city life in order to touch the dirt. I wouldn’t seek out the grounding feeling that immersion in nature offers. But here I am, surrounded by pavement and electronics, and I do need to visit those spaces for refuge. I am driven to make something out of the feeling of re-finding myself when I’m there.

Was there anything about the landscape that surprised you when you were working in it?

In America, when you drive through the mountains, there are often signs urging you to pull over in the most picturesque places, signs that say “Overlook” or “Scenic View.” To my surprise, these vistas don’t work. Everything is at infinite focal distance, and it feels flat. I am able to create more when I’m nestled in a dynamic environment. If I’m on a trail, say, along the side of a canyon, I’m able to utilize the huge mountain face that is reachable with one hand, and the majestic mountain ranges in the distance. Another surprise is that the horizon line, something I’ve loved photographing all of my life, proves to be a challenge with these compositions. What isn’t surprising in the least is that I’m happy to be limited to the 360 degrees surrounding me as I’m making the collage. Limitations are built into my process, and that’s a relief.

Terri Loewenthal Psychscape 26 (Rock Garden, CA) 2017

Can you talk about your compositional approach and process?

 Each image is a single exposure. All of the layering and colour shifting happens in-camera. I like to think of these images as in-camera collages. There are a number of aspects I tweak as I’m compositing: the position, saturation and palette of each layer, along with all the traditional photographic controls like focus and shutter speed. I can make an environment feel soft or hard, depending on how muted or bright it is. Placing different colour washes next to each other, then saturating them just so, is often the final piece that makes an image sing – like sprinkling flake salt on top of your meal. I just experiment until I strike something that sparks the rush. Anyone who’s ever made anything knows about the rush. It doesn’t always happen, but when it does, I no longer question what I’m doing, or why I’m doing it – it’s just absolutely meant to be.

Did you feel that your relationship with the landscape changed as you were creating the images?

Absolutely. Since I’m working to distort reality, and it’s all happening in real-time. I don’t feel like I’m looking at the mountains as-they-are anyway. They immediately morph into something new and I feel like I’m working with them, alongside them, in tandem. Not only have Psychscapes changed my relationship to the landscape I’m actively working with, they’ve changed my relationship to every wild place I’ve yet to see. I can barely take a hike now without trying to envision it in the context of a Psychscape, even if I don’t have a camera in my hand.

Shooting these images involves contortions, octopus arms, propping things up with my knees. I dive deep into the unknown. It’s a reverie where I feel like I’m falling through times and places. I experiment until I stop questioning my experiments, until I find a composition that feels like another landscape altogether – a place I want to be. When I resurface, I find myself twisted into the least comfortable position attainable, a crick in my neck and knotted-up shoulders. My yoga teacher would be horrified. There’s always a “come to” moment where I finally open both eyes and think briefly, “whoa, where am I?”

Terri Loewenthal Psychscape 41 (Lundy Canyon, CA) 2017

Aside from the natural surroundings, did you seek inspiration anywhere else when preparing for the project?

Color plays a huge role in my drive to create these images, and paintings are where I find the most unexpected palettes. I’m surrounded by fantastic painters in my immediate community. My dear friends Joe Ferriso and Alexander Kori Girard come to mind. They both have a knack for using odd colors that when used solo, might not work; but they add other colors, and then there’s a relationship between the colors that challenges what I thought of the colors in the first place. I have an incredible painting of Joe’s in my living room where he started with rejected house paint from the hardware store, and built from there. It’s my reminder that nothing exists in a vacuum, that the correlation between two things makes a third thing. I was a touring musician for the first ten or so years of my photographic career and I draw a lot from that experience too. Attention to rhythm, composing layers of color/sound washes, and seeking collaboration with my surroundings are all instincts honed by performing pop music. Inspiration, as it goes, tends to be an ongoing concoction of every single moment of your life.

Are there other landscapes that you’re interested in approaching in the same way?

I had the idea for these images years ago, but I’ve only recently figured out how to pull them off. California is a natural starting place. Not only is this the place where I fell in love with photography, it’s the place where I’ve found my people – people who care more about creativity, social justice, and community building than paying homage to the crumbling paradigms of what we “should” do with our lives. In California, I feel encouraged to explore ideas that don’t spring from what I’ve been taught or shown, to trust my inner rebel. Hopefully my discovery will open the door to all sorts of adventures. At the moment, I’m curious about working in a tropical place, mainly because an expanse is harder to come by. Jungles are tangled, the shapes less obvious due to the uniformity of color and the dense layers of plants growing on top of one another. I wonder if Psychscapes would work in that context. I wonder if I’d be able to make images that would offer a similar sense of otherworldliness. Maybe jungle Psychscapes would feel like you’re nested inside the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. And maybe that’s not so bad.

TERRI LOEWENTHAL: Psychscapes is on at CULT in San Francisco until April 21st. 

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Natural and animalistic: Twin meets jewellery maker Rebecca Onyett

11.03.2018 | Blog | BY:

Rebecca Ellis Onyett’s jewellery (REO Jewels) personifies everything that she stands for: it is unapologetically raw, natural, bold, elegant and visually strong. Like most young creatives looking to explore their craft and talent, having completed her degree at UCA in Silver and Goldsmithing Onyett came to London to carve out a career for herself. She spent the first two working in Harrods and Selfridges for jeweller Shaun Leane, until she felt that the experience and knowledge she had gained from this time was strong enough for her to formulate her own brand. Five years on, Onyett has created a mini empire where her brand recognition is growing steadily, as is her international following.

Speaking with Twin, Onyett explained the ethos behind REO jewels; I think it has always been the same, since the beginning. I’ve always just wanted to make jewellery that’s nature driven and animalistic in a sexy couture way. To be worn by strong women and men who feel free to express themselves by wearing something a bit different. For me it goes back to our ancestors who wore animal bones and skins to express their primitive strength. After all, we all were once animals ourselves.

This drive to make jewellery that places a strong focus on nature and animals comes from her experiences as a child, growing up in the Kentish countryside, constantly surrounded by the natural elements. I have always loved to be around nature and growing up spent a lot of time  both in the woods near my house but also along the Kentish coastline due to my father’s love for nature and always taking me for long woodland walks or beachcombing. From a very young age I always knew I was an artist. I always loved using my hands and after experimenting at Plymouth university in 3D design I found myself engrossed in a jewellery making evening class, which is when I knew I had found my calling. After finishing my degree at UCA in Silver and Goldsmithing I definitely felt a call to move to London and try and make a name for myself there.

While her time in London was critical to the success of REO Jewels, Onyett’s love of the city was starting to wane as she became more and more aware of its rushed quality of life and the realities all Londoner’s face; property development and gentrification. These became a catalyst for her move to the small Kentish seaside town of Margate; 5 years on, with a huge wealth of experience, new friendships and a mark made in the jewellery industry I started to fall out of love with London. I just felt that my quality of life was less than it had been after having to leave my huge studio due to development work and I felt the need for change. I mentioned this to other artist friends and Margate became a recurring theme. I decided to take a trip there as I had never visited before. As soon as I did, I knew I wanted to move there. I think that’s the thing with Margate you either get it or you don’t. And I got it.

Reo Jewels | Jenna Foxton

Having now lived in the seaside town for two years, Rebecca discusses what she loves most about it; the space, the fact that I have a home I can call my own and a new studio that is cheap and big. The skyline, something about Margate skies really does soothe the soul. The pace, everyone in London is in such a hurry that they miss out on life. You don’t even realise it until you leave but I was so caught up in having to make money that I forgot to enjoy the simple things. For Rebecca, REO jewels is both her work and passion, it is all-consuming, which means she tries to have moments separate from the business. With this in mind, she mentions Feral Sistas, a project she has started working on with her best friend. Throughout the summer the duo will travel around the UK to summer festivals in their 29 year old Bedford Rascal campervan hosting creative workshops, which will include jewellery making and life drawing. Onyett explains how the project naturally came to fruition through their shared love of meeting and engaging with new people on a creative and fun yet also productive level.

As for many small businesses, Instagram has been  instrumental in the growth of REO. Onyett’s beautifully curated profile, has been invaluable for the brand. It showcases her most popular products,  arguably her signet rings as well as the bespoke commissions she regularly receives. It is a godsend. I have a lot of sales through it and it’s a free platform to advertise. I’d like to think that not long from now I won’t need a website and I can do all my sales through it.

Sparrow Claw Pearl Earrings, £100

While in time it may not be necessary for Onyett to have a website, she will always depend on Hatton Garden for sourcing her materials. When we discuss the topic of gender equality within the jewellery world, she touches on London’s jewellery district and why she feels it is still so old school and relatively sexist; I suppose it is this way because there are not many women employees, especially in trade jobs. It is predominantly male and even the men my age working there have learnt the trade from being an apprentice. But from my time, university degrees seem to have produced mainly female contemporary jewellers (whether they are full on makers or just designers is a whole other point). So it seems to depend on your background , but saying that if you were female and couldn’t afford to do a course or a degree I think you’d find it hard to get an apprenticeship in Hatton garden.

Raised Bee Signet Mix, £75

For Onyett, having full control over her life is the most important part of working for herself. With this in mind, she credits her father for teaching her about the importance of a strong work ethic and describes him as her biggest inspiration. When asked who on the contemporary scene she would like to see wearing REO Jewels Rebecca’s response again embodies what she stands for; an individual who instinctively avoids the status quo; There isn’t really anyone current who I can think of but if I was making my jewels in a different time I’d say Janis Joplin or Courtney Love. Travelling, especially road tripping across America, and observing the reaction of a customer when they first see her work, are what make her most happy. You can find REO jewels on Broadway Market every Saturday from 9AM-4PM. If at first you cant find Onyett’s stand, listen out for and then follow the loud laugh, and that’s where she will be.

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Louis Vuitton AW18 brings a new vision for strong women

07.03.2018 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

Military yet undone, matching but out of synch, the Louis Vuitton AW18 show brought to life a new vision of powerful women. The show was all about turning the expected on its head, and there was a palpable sense of strangeness and mystery throughout. Bags were carried on their sides, rather than upright; eye make-up streaked across one eye but left the other bare; traditional silhouettes such as pencil skirts and cashmere polo necks were mixed with peplum leather jackets and suede-shouldered pale yellow, shearling jackets. It was Nicolas Ghesquiere at his savviest, blending femininity and power to offer an original vision. Here’s to the new era.

Louis Vuitton AW18

Louis Vuitton AW18

Louis Vuitton AW18

Louis Vuitton AW18

Louis Vuitton AW18

Louis Vuitton AW18

 

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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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The Great Women Artists: Women on Instagram

14.11.2017 | Art , Culture | BY:

‘But in actuality, as we all know, things as they are and as they have been, in the arts as in a hundred other areas, are stultifying, oppressive, and discouraging to all those, women among them, who did not have the good fortune to be born white, preferably middle class and, above all, male,” Linda Nochlin wrote in her seminal essay Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists? published in 1971. The essay highlights the ways in which institutional barriers have suppressed the voices of female artists throughout western history, acting as a foundational text for feminist art theory. It only takes a scroll through Katy Hessel’s Instagram account @thegreatwomenartists for one to be reminded of all the voices that were silenced; all the brave, provocative and breathtakingly intelligent female artists – from 18th century portrait painter Maria Verelst to sculptor Andrea Zittle to contemporary photographer Nydia Blas.

'Disgusting, Self Portrait', 2016 | © Antonia Showering

‘Disgusting, Self Portrait’, 2016 | © Antonia Showering

It is Instagram that has become the common denominator in the curation of Hessel’s first exhibition The Great Women Artists: Women on Instagram – an exhibition which will feature fifteen UK-based female artists who have used Instagram as a mechanism to showcase their work. Speaking to a following of over 600,000 Instagram users globally, these artists have a very powerful voice indeed.  The show questions what it means to be a female artist in an era dominated by notifications, and asks whether this has facilitated a greater emancipation from the instruments of oppression for the women of this generation?

The theme of the exhibition is interesting as it seeks to display the works by these artists in a way that has been rarely seen: face to face. We are encouraged to take our eyes off the cracked screen of one’s iPhone and flock to Mother, London this Thursday to engage with the work in a more tangible manner. One featured artist is Dolly Brown, or @londonlivingdoll, a visual and performing arts photographer based in London. When asked what viewers will find most surprising about her work when they see it in real life she remarked: ‘I think that after people become accustomed to seeing your images on a very small scale on their phone, it must be a pleasant surprise to see them printed large(r). The first time that I showed work “in real life” I printed as large as I possibly could, I think simply because I was so excited about the prospect of the images having a life outside of the phone. The hang that we are going for in this show is a grid so it replicates the way that the images are presented in Instagram, but I think this is also an indication of how the “gallery” on Instagram has encouraged me to shoot in series and to think about how all the pictures will look together when they are eventually posted.”

© Alice Aedy

© Alice Aedy

There is a broad range of participating artists, including Juno Calypso (@junocalypso), whose self portraits have won her prestigious awards including the Series Award at the 2016 British Journal of Photography International Award; Kate Dunn (@bellissi.mama), whose earthly toned oil paintings revive the traditional medium; and Unskilled Worker (@Unskilledworker), who has been commissioned by fashion’s great including photographer Nick Knight and brands such as Gucci. The artists conquer a wide array of themes including feminism, womanhood, politics, diversity, mental health, colour and form.

‘Whatever else Instagram is, it has given me the opportunity to work with artists and performers that I never would have been able work with, had it not been for the app, ‘Brown praises the medium for its ability to connect female artists globally – to share common issues, grievances and ideas. Whatever you do this Thursday, it might be worth getting off Instagram and coming down to see the exciting collision of female creativity in real life.

The exhibition is at Mother London, E2, from November 13-17th, by appointment only. 

Featured image by photographer Maisie Cousins

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Posturing: Photographing in the Body in Fashion

24.10.2017 | Blog , Fashion , Twin Video | BY:

Curation has somehow has become a dirty word these days. We think of a curator in the digital age as a bloodless algorithm editing the things we don’t want to see or interact with out of our feeds and experiences. The great shame of all of this is that curation in its truer sense is far less about editing out the things we don’t want to see and far more about shedding light on the things we didn’t.

A great curator – be that of an exhibit in a gallery or an assortment of bric-a-brac at the local car-boot – knows how to make things elevate each other within a fresh context. Discovering something in a single painting, say, is in and of itself an incredible thing, but being able to connect that indefinable something to a whole exhibition is where a curator shows their skill.

Shonagh Marshall is a Fashion Curator who embodies the contemporary make-up of the profession, and reminds us why curation is a job of such unique expertise. After completing her Fashion Curation MA at LCF in 2010 Shonagh went on to archive the Alexander McQueen collection ahead of the Met’s Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty retrospective (!), and then to work on the Louboutin and Isabella Blow archives.

The rest of her CV is as impressive as those early projects would suggest, and since leaving her post as Curator at Somerset House in 2016 she has been flexing her muscles as an independent curator, as well as founding The Ground Floor Project with friend and AnOther Magazine Photo Editor Holly Hay.

With the fashion industry in recovery from a month of new collections, and ahead of the co-curated exhibition Posturing: Photographing the Body in Fashion (also with Holly Hay) now seemed like the right time to pick her brain about curating a disparate industry, and contemporary photography’s fascination with documenting the body within it.

Lurve Magazine, Issue 10, Spring/Summer 2016 | Posturing : Photographing the Body in Fashion

Lurve Magazine, Issue 10, Spring/Summer 2016 | Posturing : Photographing the Body in Fashion

How did you initially get in to curation – did you always know it was a job that somebody did?

Not at all. I studied Fashion History & Theory as my BA at Central Saint Martins and when I finished I wasn’t sure exactly what job I wanted to do. As a freelancer I was employed as a researcher for Somerset House’s first exhibition in 2007, in its current cultural iteration. It was a traveling show called Skin and Bones: Parallel Practices in Fashion and Architecture and it was then that I realised that I was really interested in curation. I applied to do the MA in Fashion Curation at London College of Fashion as a result, and studied under Judith Clark and Amy de la Haye, which was the most amazing training.

What was it that drew you to fashion in particular?

I started my BA in Fashion History and Theory when I was eighteen. It gave a historical overview of dress from renaissance to present day and teaching into the application of theory. Being a curator you need such an overarching knowledge of a subject I don’t think I would have been able to focus on another subject. The tools I have picked up over the years in how to consider fashion, applying historical knowledge to assess the contemporary for example I think is so important. Art History is something I am fascinated by personally but I am absolutely no expert! I love so much about the telling stories about clothing within an exhibition, with projects like Isabella Blow it was about the tale of a life lived through the garments but then Posturing: Photographing the Body in Fashion, which is about to launch, looks at the practice and process of fashion photography by making the link between the body and the garment.

Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! | Photos Chris Brooks/CLM

Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! | Photos Chris Brooks/CLM

Archival work is very solitary and organised, it is all about the process you are putting in place. Through doing this work into catalogue, photographing and boxing and storing the objects you have such an affinity with them. You learn about every mark or pulled stitch and note it down. When you are working on an exhibition the process is all about building a team around you: the graphic designer, the exhibition designer, lighting designer, the install team, the conservators. As a curator you are telling a story through the objects, bringing to life what you have noticed in the archive, and the team all works together to realise this for the visitor. It was such a lovely experience to be able to work on so many exhibitions about Isabella Blow after archiving her collection, there are so many hidden stories within the garments and accessories it is such a treat each time to tease them out.

From Marfa Journal, Issue 6, November 2016 | Courtesy of Pascal Gambarte

From Marfa Journal, Issue 6, November 2016 | Courtesy of Pascal Gambarte

Do you have a favourite forgotten gem that you’ve come across in your work?

I spent a lot of time throughout August at the Isabella Blow Collection reordering it and making sure everything was in the right place, after finishing archiving it nearly six years ago. When going through Isabella’s bags I found a nail polish that I had previously not noted down. There was something so evocative about this silver liquid, the brush once used to apply varnish to Isabella’s nails. I wondered if in the next exhibition, we are hoping to stage, if contextualised in the right way it might be able to conjure in the visitor the same reaction it had had in me.

You have worked on some very culturally important exhibits, such as Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! How do you approach the legacy of documenting the life’s work of such significant figures?

Isabella Blow’s legacy through her clothing is a project I have worked on since 2011. Firstly by archiving the collection and then by co-curating the 2013 exhibition Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! At Somerset House. I still work with the Isabella Blow foundation and have done a subsequent exhibition in Sydney and we hope to stage more to raise money for the charities we support and student bursaries the foundations runs.

Working with the clothing to tell Isabella’s story is really amazing, I always think that like other figures in history she was building her own myth through the objects she amassed. Every object in the collection has a story attached, through either her personal relationships or where she wore it. Daphne Guinness bought the collection so that she would be able to keep Isabella’s legacy alive through the garments and accessories so it is a real honour to be a part of that.

Do you think fashion is inherently fine art?

No I think art and fashion are two completely different things, which sometimes speak to one another but are incomparable.

What do you see as the difference of approach between choosing how to display a piece of clothing and a priceless painting?

I think that curating fashion and curating art are two different disciplines and the approach is so wildly different. The interventions used within an exhibition of dress are selected and considered to give further context to the story, however within a fine art exhibition the art is centre-front in laying the narrative.

It seems that everyone is a ‘curator’ today. Do you think the term has lost some meaning, and does its meaning matter?

A curator is a keeper of a collection and as I don’t actually manage a museum collection, and I never have, I think the meaning of the word has changed somewhat. The application of the word curator to define making lists, or selecting something, is another mutation of this. I don’t know for me it is great as I think so many doors have opened over the last ten years for curators in light of it.

You are also working on a new cultural programme for Chess Club London – would you say programming and curation are two sides of the same coin, or fundamentally different?

They are so different. I really love working with Holly Hay to programme the events at Chess Club, it is such a lovely project. We think there is something so brilliant about learning nuggets of information and Holly and I set out that everything we did at Chess Club would result in absorbing tidbits that you could then relay at dinner to your friends. We do such different things there and meet so many amazing people. Last month we had an expert tea taster who travels the world to find the best tealeaves, and this month we have Clym Evernden coming to talk about his inspirations amongst so many other things.

 Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! | Photos Chris Brooks/CLM


Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! | Photos Chris Brooks/CLM

Exhibits are most often worlds built for the public – what do you think is valuable about working on an experience for a more private sphere?

It is to nice to build a rapport with people who come frequently to the events at Chess Club. Also we have figured out what people like coming to, and can incorporate their feedback. It is much more organic than mounting a temporary exhibition which is on and then dismantled with no opportunity to change anything. It would be really interesting to do an exhibition that morphed with the times and opinions, I wonder how you could make that work?

Can you tell us a little about your new project ‘Posturing’ – what made you decide to focus on the body?

I had been thinking about it for a while. About two years ago I proposed a promenade contemporary dance commission around the body in fashion when I worked as curator at Somerset House, which didn’t happen. However it got me thinking. I noticed a shift, away from the sexualized body within fashion photography and I thought a group of contemporary photographers were exploring a new approach to gesture and pose in their work. I wondered how we could present this within a group exhibition. This exhibition is now launching on the 1st November and is entitled Posturing: Photographing the Body in Fashion, the first of a three part project the second looks at filming the body in fashion and the third, a book, writing the body in fashion.

What do you think that the repeated distortion of the body in fashion imagery, the ‘new aesthetic’ the exhibit focuses on, tells us about fashion today?

It is less about fashion today and more about the presentation of fashion. Shifting trends each season is the very foundation the fashion system is built upon but with this project we evoke thinking (hopefully) around how this then impacts on the way in which it is captured across different mediums. The approach employed by all the photographers within the exhibition is one of wit and subversion could this be a reaction to the world we live in now? Should we take fashion very, very seriously? I don’t know – but these are the kind of questions we would absolutely love the work to inspire in the visitor.

Photos above Kristin Lee Moolman and Ibrahim Kamara. All other photos courtesy of the artist.

Photos above Kristin Lee Moolman and Ibrahim Kamara. All other photos courtesy of the artist.

For Holly and I the whole project is about mediums and imprints. The body is the common thread but applying this theme to look at the way in which it, and in turn the clothing, can be captured in a photograph, a film or within the written word felt a really exciting way to capture different thoughts, insights and opinions. The Ground Floor Project, the company Holly Hay and I have founded, is all about creating conversations instead of offering conclusions and full stops. All the work is so contemporary that we wanted our exhibition, film and book to become part of the conversation as opposed to offering reflection and analysis to something that has already happened.

Do you have a favourite fashion image? A favourite collection?

I couldn’t possibly pick! I love researching imagery and slotting them together, I don’t think I could single one out.

And finally, apart from your own, can you recommend any new or upcoming fashion exhibits we should look out for?

I am really excited about Amy de la Haye’s next exhibition at Brighton Museum on the artist Gluck. It isn’t fashion but I can’t recommend Andy Holden and Peter Holden’s Artangel exhibition ‘Natural Selection’ enough, it is amazing. I also loved Rachel Whiteread at the Tate Britain is fantastic. I am super looking forward to going to see the Basquiat exhibition at the Barbican.

Posturing: Photographing in the Body in Fashion co-curated by Shonagh Marshall and Holly Hay runs 2nd – 12th November 2017: 10 Thurloe Place, London SW7 2RZ. The exhibition is free of charge. 

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Like splitting a milkshake: Twin meets Stevie and Mada

08.10.2017 | Art , Culture , Fashion | BY:

There are so many reasons why a sane person might avoid working with our other halves at all costs; mixing the ego of creativity with the power dynamics of a relationship seems like a recipe for disaster. And yet some of the most celebrated creative pairings in fashion and beyond have been couples. From Andreas and Vivienne to Inez and Vinoodh, there’s no shortage of partnerships emotionally evolved enough to sustain making beautiful things with the person they share a bed with. Shame on all of us for not making a go of it, perhaps?

Twin contributors Stevie Verroca and Mada Refujio are another enlightened example. Crediting themselves as Stevie Mada, the couple have been working together since meeting in California in 2010. They take photographs that are full of colour and buckets of the sun-drenched outdoors, tempered by the cooler airs of their current home in NYC. Their subjects are lovingly rendered and playfully directed, with winding poses that remind us that it’s actual human beings who wear the clothes in editorials. The body’s physicality is often at the forefront of their work, and the combined adoration of an evenly balanced female and male lens unlocks something pleasingly sensual for their viewer.

There is lots of beautiful work by Stevie Mada to be found out there – for the likes of V Magazine, Interview and Teen Vogue to name a few – but very little about them as people. Before their feature in the new issue of Twin hits shelves, we caught up with the pair to get to know them better.

What kind of work were you each making before you met?

Mada: Some light book keeping .. haha. I was playing around with some paints and mixed media before photography found me.

Stevie: He’s modest, he’s a painter. I’ve always taken photos.

You used to be based on the west coast. What prompted the move from LA to New York?

M: A more creative energy was drawing us to NYC.

S: We craved a change in culture and style. Very much miss the weather and ease of CA, but it’ll always be there. It felt like the right time for a change.

Did that move have an impact on your work?

M: Extremely.

S: Night and day.

We tend to think if the photographer as a single eye, how do you align your perspectives to create cohesive work?

S+M: Thanks for saying our work is cohesive 🙂

M: I think it’s like splitting a milk shake. You decide on the flavour before you decide to share.

S: We’re becoming firmer in our individual likes through experience and we happen to be fortunate that our shared likes outweigh the dislikes. Plus, whatever I say, goes. ha!

You seem to work a lot in exterior locations – do you prefer them to the studio?

M: I love to work outdoors – partially the reason I don’t paint anymore. Following the sun and the earth’s textures really makes me feel connected. Although a studio shoot does have its appeal from time to time.

S: Yes! Light, colour, space. I never get tired of it.

© Stevie Mada

© Stevie Mada

That said, the environment of your images never overwhelms the subject – what draws you to that?

S: We like open spaces – probably because we grew up near deserts in the LA valleys.

Do you have any interest in making work without a human subject?

M: Yes, but working with cool peeps outweighs that. 🙂

S: I love looking at photographs of empty spaces. I can look at Stephen Shore for hours. But to take them myself, I crave people.

The ‘naughty & nice’ story you shot for the newest issue is very playful but also very sexual, how did you approach the shoot?

S: I’m naughty, Mada’s nice 🙂 It really is a female/male perspective on sexuality and femininity. Can you tell which is which?

There is a very rich, almost painterly quality to your images – how do you think about colour?

M: Colour is the 5th element.

S: It’s my obsession.

Do you ever hope to work on any individual projects, separate from each other?

M: I’m open to it, but no.

S: I have fun doing what I love the most with my best friend.

© Stevie Mada

© Stevie Mada

How do you see your partnership developing in to the future?

M: Kids? (we’re a couple). I LOVE short films!

And to close on something lighter – do you have a favourite anecdote about working with the other?

S: Mada loves to wear a t-shirt with Rihanna’s baby photo printed on it. It’s become a uniform.

M: Stevie blushes when you compliment her.. haha, BiG time! Try it!

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FENTY BEAUTY: RiRi’s beautiful vision

21.09.2017 | Beauty , Fashion | BY:

Something about this month’s launch of Rihanna’s new beauty line – Fenty Beauty – has touched a nerve with consumers and it’s not entirely owing to her A-list cred. In a sea of celebrity-endorsed fashion and beauty collections, Fenty stands out thanks to its notably diverse range of foundation shades (all 40 of them, near revolutionary in its inclusivity), from lightest of alabasters to the deepest of coffees, with a range of authentic skin-loving undertones as well. Word on the street is that customers are liking – and buying – what they see: there are reports of the darkest shades selling out instantly, which flies in the face of the argument of bigger brands that producing darker shades is a risk for their profit margin. But it’s not only dark-skinned girls loving the range, a number of people with albinism have sung the praises of Fenty for making shades light enough for pigment-free skin, using the hashtag #AlbinoMatch to broadcast the discovery on various social platforms.

Of course this isn’t Rihanna’s first foray into the world of beauty, with products from her RiRi for MAC collection reportedly selling out in hours. However, with a whole makeup line created by the original bad girl herself – and with names like Trophy Wife, Moscow Mule, Sinnamon, Killawatt and Pro Filt’R – this one’s got RiRi written all over it, in a very good way.

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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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Dreeams can come true

16.02.2017 | Blog , Twin Video | BY:

For Resort 2017, Chanel staged a sartorial carnival on the streets of Cuba, which was both heart and home to Ernest Hemingway for many years. So it seems only fitting that the writer’s great-granddaughter, Dree, takes the collection out for a spin on the open road.

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Below The Unchanging Heavens

18.12.2016 | Blog , Fashion , Film | BY:

As Issue 15 hits the shelves, Twin presents ‘Below The Unchanging Heavens’ starring Agnes Nieska who wears 1.61, and directed by Jacob John Harmer.

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Dree Hemingway

18.12.2016 | Fashion , Film | BY:

How do you define love? Twin presents Dree Hemingway in a film by Nick Dorey to coincide with the ‘Dreeams Can Come True’ feature in Issue 15.

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Dani Miller: ‘Where the freaks at?’

02.09.2016 | Music | BY:

For the latest issue of Twin – issue XIV – we chronicled some of the most exciting female figures in the music industry to be aware of, right now. One of these girls, was 22-year-old Dani Miller, lead singer of the riotous band SURFBORT, who fills our Instagram feeds with infectious mayhem under the guise @alienzarereal. Here, we discover a little more about what makes this brilliant young woman tick.

Where are you from?
California.

What was it like growing up there?
I learned how to chill hard, smoke a ton of weed and dodge beach jocks.

Where do you now live?
Brooklyn, New York.

Why do you like it?
It’s nasty, full of dreamers and magical aliens that constantly are creating and loving each other. The streets are alive and make me feel an electricity that is specific to New York. Also the weather is nice, the blazing heat cooking the rats and puke right onto the sidewalk wakes me up and influences my art in a completely different way than the art I make in the slushie ice queen winters. It really mixes my world up.

Where did you study?
San Francisco, but do not plan on returning anytime soon. I hate that the tech industry has taken over, especially when it so concentrated and sterile. It’s just making everything boring and shitty. You could really say that about a lot of areas. Rich people who don’t understand the arts just pollute the world with ugly establishments and ugly energy. Where are the freaks at?

What did you study?
Film.

What did you learn?
I have always been constantly making films and imagining how passing moments would translate onto the screen. but what I learned the most was about gender studies and I discovered I wanted to make experimental films that wake people up and inspire them to create positive change in one’s society/world.

Describe what you do for a living.
I am the lead singer in SURFBORT, I am also a director and set designer and I DJ for my Jarritos™ and pizza budget.

Why did you want to do that?
Singing, screaming and laughing on stage is such good therapy and it gives me a voice in the community. I enjoy bringing friends and people together. One: to have everyone realise they aren’t alone in their suffering and that we can all dance and run around and scream to let our frustrations out together, this is a fucked up world. Two: I enjoy that being in a band lets me publicly address things that matter to me like pollution and exposing the fucked-up government.

Do you think you’ll do it forever?
I will always create forever. I will always sing my poetry and thoughts into the universe.

Did anyone inspire you to do what you’re doing?
Patti Smith and Exene Cervenka, but my loneliness and sadness inspired me the most.

DANI_MILLER

Dani Miller by Ben Rayner for Twin

What are you currently working on?
Just finished recording a 7” with SURFBORT. Have been working on another project where I also sing, called Hippie Vomit Inhaler. I am making a film about a post-apocalyptic New York where the water supply is so toxic it drugs people, and a group of women plan a trip to a “magical milk mother” in the city who will trade holistic healing crystals and potions to counteract the poison coming from the water supply. In return for putrid milk from the last remaining cows in the country,which are located in Brooklyn.

What would you like to work on?
Finding more time to paint in my basement.

Is there anyone you’d love to work with?
Nickelback, Slipknot, Patti Smith.

What are you the most proud of so far?
Doing what makes me happy – which is art – and surrounding myself with magical witches and wizards.

How would your friends describe you?
Alien.

How do you think a stranger would describe you?
Fucking psychotic angel.

Would you say you have a ‘look’?
My “look” is comfort, things that make me go “hahaha”: ’70s, up tha punx. I basically don’t really give a fuck and I think it is important for any human to look the way that makes them feel electric. I am missing teeth, very hairy everywhere, and love wearing anything that makes me laugh and that’s what makes me feel good. A “feel-good look”!

How important is your image to what you do?
My image is important to my art because being in the public eye coincides with exposing a certain type of freak to the world, and letting other young women who look up to you or identify with the same type of alien I do that it is completely acceptable to be yourself. Shave or don’t shave, be toothless, wear clown clothes. Say R.I.P. to caring or letting toxic media define you.

How important is social media to you? What do you like and dislike about it?
I use it for a joke and to connect to other people and laugh at current events of the day. I also just enjoy seeing my friends paintings especially @chaka_sean. On the @therealsurfbort Instagram I am more political and point out how idiotic many of the current politicians are. The main things I dislike about social media is when people use it in an abusive ways to personally attack or shame each other. I also hate that Instagram over-sexualises women’s bodies and shames them into thinking their bodies don’t belong to them. There are a lot of negative things to say about social media because it can be extremely narcissistic and known to rot brains, but I overall just acknowledge that it is a powerful tool and it usually brings me more smiles and laughs than anything else.

What pisses you off the most?
Donald Trump and violence.

What makes you happy?
My puppy and Mom.

All images by Ben Rayner, exclusively for Twin. Benrayner.com

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Twin Issue XIV

19.05.2016 | Blog , Twin Book | BY:

Spanning the realms of music, art, film, literature and fashion – Issue 14 is an exploration of the female perspective: From Alexa Chung’s personal musings on the pull and perversity of astrology, to director Elizabeth Wood’s controversial position of power within new Hollywood. We also see girl-of-the-moment Heather Kemesky shot by Maciek Kobielski while swathed in every day detritus, meet actress on the rise Anya Taylor-Joy, discover Louis Vuitton’s cosmic universe through the lens of Juergen Teller and dismantle ‘black sheep feminism’ with the work of artists Betty Tompkins, Joan Semmel, Anita Steckel, and Cosey Fanni Tutti. Ben Rayner also photographs some of the most exciting musicians to be following right now.

BUY

alexa

janeke

matteo

maciek

BUY

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Dior mounts another triumph

22.10.2015 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

If the draw of Roksanda and Celine wasn’t already pulling you by the coat hem towards London’s Mount Street, then perhaps the irresistible lure of fleeting fancy might do the trick. Last week, Christian Dior opened a rather permanent-looking pop-up on the well-heeled avenue, to satisfy and intrigue both regular and window shoppers alike, while work is completed on their Bond Street London flagship.

As one would expect, Raf Simons riffed on the lineage of the great fashion house for the aesthetic of the premises. While nodding to their historic 30 Avenue Montaigne with the shop’s clean, grand Victorian exterior, inside he thrusts customers into a forward thinking, contemporary space of mirrors (by Hubert Le Gall), floor to ceiling digital screens and eye wateringly cool furniture, such as the Nuage table by Guy De Rougemont and a beautiful sofa by Vladimir Kagan.

On said digital screens, is a recurring loop of Simons’ a/w 2015 twisting and distorting animal print – more abstract camouflage than straight-up cheetah. Again, it is a fitting tribute to the past – Dior is said to have ‘invented’ animal print in 1947 – with the smart touch of the brand’s new, new look.

With autumn/winter’s ready-to-wear, accessories, footwear and leather goods linings shelves and hanging deliciously from racks, eager to be slipped on in the pink (of course) changing rooms at the centre of the store – this is a temporary treasure trove worth pillaging. And despite the abundance of camo, when strolling through Mayfair you’ve little chance of overlooking this momentary gem. Please ensure sure that you don’t.

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Twin Issue XII

21.05.2015 | Blog , Fashion , Twin Book , Twin Life | BY:

Twin’s 12th edition is all about attitude. Edie Campbell talks to fellow model Saskia de Brauw about finding friendship and surviving the fashion game. Photographer Liz Collins explores the new rules of beauty (the good news is, there are none). Skinny Girl Diet, the London band with big ideas and a brilliantly bad attitude, let out a rebel yell. We get up close with talented multi-hyphenate Miranda July as she shares her singular views on middle age and motherhood. Then step inside the Milan studio of Nathalie du Pasquier, the French-born painter of Memphis fame, who extols the freedom of later life. Then another inspirational image-maker, Roberta Bayley, recalls Manhattan’s Seventies punk scene—the perfect accompaniment to 74 pages of scintillating summer fashion.

BUY





BUY

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Family tree

27.05.2011 | Art , Blog | BY:

Artist Taryn Simon’s work is a fascinating blend of photojournalism and art photography. Often taking the form of a visual inventory, she’s famed for her meticulous research and crisp photographic execution.

Among her projects, the 2007 book, An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar delved into America’s secret places such as a nuclear waste storage facility in Washington State to a cave where a sleeping black bear and its cubs are monitored by biologists studying hibernation,

Her new show at the Tate Modern is no less obscure, or engrossing. A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters is a complex genealogy of family histories. Four years of research that took just two to photograph, the installation traces a series of 18 family bloodlines, each with its own individual story.

The opening chapter centres on a living Indian man who gives the project its title, having been declared dead in official records. Other real life characters include an Iraqi man who was apparently employed as Saddam Hussein’s son’s body double and a member of the Druze religious sect in Lebanon who believes in reincarnation and re-enacts remembered scenes from previous lives. It’s a magnum opus that’s not to be missed.

A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters is at Tate Modern, London, 25 May to 6 September.
tarynsimon.com

Caption: Excerpt from Chapter IV, A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters
a. Gold-plated Iraqi Al-Kadissiya sniper rifle seized by members of the American Defense Intelligence Agency during a search of Uday Huessein’s palace in Baghdad. The inscription on the gun transalted from Arabic reads: “A gift from the president of the republic, Mr. Saddam Hussein.” Saddam Hussein produced gold-plated weapons for use on ceremonial occasions and as gifts. Defense Intelligence analysis Center, Bolling Air Force Base, Washington, D.C.
b. Latif Yahia impersonating Uday Hussein. Undisclosed location, Ireland.

Caption: Excerpt from Chapter VI, A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters
51. No. 326, 27 May 2009. Inglewood, Queensland, Australia.
52. No. 327, 27 May 2009. Inglewood, Queensland, Australia.

Images Courtesy Gagosian Gallery.

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Pearly queen

19.04.2011 | Art , Blog , Fashion | BY:

Nowhere else does fashion collide with art more vividly right now, than at the M.O.P Shop, the temporary residence of  Maia Norman’s clothing line, Mother of Pearl. The designer’s Spring/Summer 2011 collection has hijacked her husband, Damien Hirst’s publishing outlet-cum-gallery, Other Criteria.

The art link doesn’t stop there – each season Maia works with an artist to create prints from existing artworks, forming the basis of her collections.  This season it’s the turn of Jim Lambie, whose vibrant installations work hard in leathers and silks.

Californian surfer, Maia also infuses Mother of Pearl with a heavy shot of sports.  Utilitarian pieces like the Havana and Toro jumpsuits and the Ortis anorak encourage effortless dressing.

The Mother of Pearl M.O.P shop is at Other Criteria, 36 New Bond Street, London W1S 2RP until 11th May 2011.
motherofpearl.com

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