100 PHOTOGRAPHERS FOR BERGAMO Initiative

Cover Image by Mario Sorrenti

In the last few days many have been lending support to the Italian health system, which has been recently severely threatened by the Coronavirus outbreak.

A group of local photographers have also joined the efforts with the creation of an initiative in favour of the intensive care unit of the Papa Giovanni XXII Hospital of Bergamo,  which at the moment is one of the most affected hospitals.

The project was born following a testimony of one the hospital’s doctors, who told the fundraiser’s organizers about an extremely dramatic situation for which all possible help is seriously needed.

Rome, Italy by Alec Soth

100 PHOTOGRAPHERS FOR BERGAMO is a call to some of the most influential voices in the world of Italian fashion, art, architecture and portrait photography, an invitation to donate their images, which can be purchased at a cost of 100 EUR on https://perimetro.eu/100fotografiperbergamo 

The operation, coordinated by the community magazine Perimetro and the non-profit organization Liveinslums, initially involved some of the most important names in the contemporary Italian photography scene, who have generously intervened and immediately accepted the appeal of doctors and healthcare workers, battling on the frontline of the COVID-19 emergency.

Among these photographers are: Davide Monteleone, Alex Majoli, Oliviero Toscani, Michelangelo Di Battista, Toni Thorimbert, Giampaolo Sgura, Maurizio Galimberti.

The 100 photographers for Bergamo has already collected 350,000 euros in 5 days and today thanks to the help of the international network Linke Lab, other important international photographers will join the ranks, including Alec Soth, Susan Meiselas, Adam Bromberg, Ed Kashi, Christopher Morris, Ami Vitale, Pep Bonet, Michael Ackerman.

The funds will be entirely donated to the hospital to support the intensive care unit in the purchase of specialized technical equipment.

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Twin Flames by Justin Aversano – Documenting shared tulpae of genetics

Cover image: Vera & Barbara Ann Duffy and Jimmy, Saoirse, and Albie

Over the period of a year and two months, New York based photographer and creative director Justin Aversano photographed 100 sets of Twins from all across the world which he has recently published in his latest hardcover photobook Twin Flames.

“I photographed 100 sets of twins, aiming to create a body of work focused on the existence of multiple births and the phenomena of twindom through an immersive portrait survey. Twins and multiple siblings provide a lens on the magic and causality of biology. In our everyday society, twins, triplets et al. have an assigned position within all current and historical cultures—a shared tulpa of genetics, fate and timing. Twindom has a deep root in shared storytelling, its visuals conjure metatextual manifestations across the astrological, the mythological, the academic and the popular, stringing together tangents of the everyday and simultaneously karmic,” explained Aversano.

Asha & Ayanna Diaz and Chris & Clayton Griggs

Bahareh & Farzaneh Safarani
Valeriia and Anna Lyshcenko

Each image was shot using three formats of film Polaroid, by focusing on the simple idea of seeking an “intentional phenomenology” by direct image making and facilitating a broad and reflexive photographic engagement that is about these unique individuals and their presence in a collective nature.

The full hardcover compilation of images Twin Flames is currently available for purchase online.

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To Survive On This Shore – A Compelling Visual Documentary of the Older Trans Community

All images are Courtesy of the Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago

Cover Image: Hank, 76, and Samm, 67, North Little Rock, AR, 2015

Over the past five years photographer Jess T Dugan and social worker & professor Vanessa Fabbre traveled throughout the United States in documentation of the stories and imagery of transgender and gender nonconforming older adults in the country. Traveling from coast to coast , the duo sought out subjects whose experiences of life exist in the intersections of gender identity, age , race , ethnicity , sexuality, socioeconomic background &  geographic location. The result of their venture, a moving body of work giving voice & visibility to an underrepresented group of older individuals with a wide variety of narratives spanning throughout the last ninety years, offering a historical record of transgender experiences & activism in the USA in the form of a book and several exhibitions. 

“So many trans-related stories in the media are about people being murdered orare about discrimination of some kind. With this project, I wanted to create representations of many different ways of living and aging as a trans person. I also wanted to record the history of people who, in many cases, paved the road for the world we live in now. I worried their stories were at risk of being lost or forgotten, and I wanted to record and preserve them,” explained Jess T. Dungan.

“For me, part of the inspiration for this project also came from thinking about the limits of knowledge dissemination in the social sciences, especially in terms of our ability to engage in broader cultural forces and public discourse. I saw the potential to make an impact beyond academia by creating this project together, ” added professor Fabbre.

Each story, each image captured and included in the photo series, shines a brighter light on stories that have been long overlooked, and in many ways creates blooms of hope and validation for onlooking generations of trans individuals.

Dee Dee Ngozi, 55, Atlanta, GA, 2016

“This coming into my real, real fullness of knowing why I was different is because I was expressing my spirit to this world. And I didn’t know how God felt about it, but I believe in God and I have a deep spiritual background and I talk with the Holy Spirit constantly who’s taken me from the Lower West Side doing sex work to being at the White House.” – Dee Dee Ngozi .

Sky, 64, and Mike, 55, Palm Springs, CA, 2017

One of the hardest things in terms of transitioning was the difference in personal space. When I was perceived as female, there wasn’t a lot of touching. Women don’t get into each other’s space. When two women are attracted to each other they don’t immediately put their hands on the other woman’s body. It’s not considered appropriate. Whereas the way men cruise, there’s about two seconds of eye contact, and then an approach, and either hands on your chest or hands in your crotch or some other type of immediate physical contact.I started out with a lot of insecurity in terms of my body, insecure about myself, and it has taken time to build confidence.” – Mike

Duchess Milan, 69, Los Angeles, CA, 2017

“I just know I’m me. I don’t think in terms of names and forms and all that. It doesn’t matter.I’m just myself and that’s who I am.I am at peace with myself. It is the most wonderful feeling in the world because you’re never in a hurry to get somewhere, you know, to prove to anyone that you’re who you know you are. I know who I am, and what other people think about me is none of my business. So that’s who I am. I identify as the Duchess.

I knew that I might lose family, that people might reject me. But I weighed that, and I thought,“If I lose everything and everybody, but I keep me, that’s all that matters. That’s all that matters, because I’m not going to live a life that I’m not happy in, for other people.Why?It doesn’t make any sense.”So I put my money down and took my chances. My family accepted me. They came to accept me, and I’ve had kids around me, I’ve gone to all the weddings, all the funerals, and it’s a situation that everybody just thinks of me as who I am. It’s not even an issue anymore. “Oh, you mean her? Oh, that’s just Auntie.” – Duchess Milan

David, 63, Hull, MA, 2015

“When I was five years old,I found my older brother’s first communion suit. It was a very cool looking suit, white and double-breasted, and it fit me perfectly. I wouldn’t take it off.I wore it everyday. Day in and day out, until my parents got so tired of seeing it on me, they turned it into a Halloween costume as a way to get rid of it.When I was older,I played in this little rock band and one time whenI was over at my friend’s house I heard his mother mention a story about a person named Christine Jorgenson who had “changed sex.”I couldn’t keep my mind on practice after that!I wanted to find out more about this person, but you couldn’t Google it, of course, and so it took me months to find it. I was finally able to piece together that this was a person who knew their gender and went somewhere and there were people who could help.” – David

SueZie, 51, and Cheryl, 55, Valrico, FL, 2015

When we got married, I never imagined that someday my husband would become my wife,” Cheryle said. “Right from the start, SueZie confided that she identified as female on the inside, but transition never appeared to be an option. But, I never had a problem with her wearing lingerie. You know, it’s just clothes. I fell in love with the person inside, and what’s on the outside is more about what they feel comfortable with.”

For more information on the ongoing exhibition and book purchases visit To Survive on This Shore.

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Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago – Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago

Recently the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA) opened it’s doors to its latest exhibition entitled Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago. Curated by internationally acclaimed Nigerian-British designer Duro Olowu known for his womenswear label, the exhibition is a recollection of the public and private art pieces of Chicago which are anchored by the MCA’s art collection.

The exhibition is a conversation, a map between artists, media and geography which using a combination of paintings, sculptures, photographs and films in layered textured scenes to incorporate fashion. On the ocassion, Olowu engaged with numerous institutional and private collections in Chicago and selected artworks that reflect mutual ways of seeing, selecting, and acquiring across the city, which he curated  in manner to reveal unexpected connections, patters and common interests in  ‘salon-style,’ using vertical wall space and playful combinations to place works in surprising conversations with one another. Olowu has organized the show to prioritize aesthetics and the visual experience of the visitor, with wall colours including saturated shades of orange, purple, and teal – inspired by the exhibition. 

Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago is currently underway at the MCA and will run until May 10th.

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BODY by Lotte Van Raalte – An Ode to The Female Body

Post-production of all images by Dutch Retouch

Within the past 16 months photographer Lotte van Raalte shot 46 women age ranged from 13 to 46 in their most natural forms, which she has compiled into the launch of her first photo book entitled BODY.  The book is a visual documentary of the photographer’s encounters with these women and on a larger scale it is a celebration of individuality, life and the beauty found in both vulnerability and strength throughout the female body and experience. 

“With my photography, I’m always on a quest for candid in-between-moments. It takes genuine interest and care to capture people in their most authentic and free way of being. BODY originally started as research towards the female body. Each time I photographed someone, I was left fascinated, curious and inspired at the same time. I think my fascination with the female body comes from different angles: the fact that women are dominantly sexualised and unrealistically portrayed in the fashion, movie and music industry. The fact that the female body is the carrier of new life, and the tremendous impact that has. And last but not least, the fact that I’m a woman myself, ” the photographer commented. 

The book is currently available for purchase online and will soon see a launch event on the 26th of March Oaxaca Mexico at La Señora Gallery following the local launch event in London a few weeks ago. 

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Hen’s Teeth: HONEY DIJON -Black Girl Magic

This evening Hen’s Teeth London launches their latest production HONEY DIJON: Black Girl Magic with Marina Esmeraldo at Dover Street Market which will be followed by an exhibition at the Hen’s Teeth Dublin 8 Gallery. 

The project is a celebration of six black iconic female music icons handpicked by DJ Honey Dijon herself with large-scale neons crafted by Brazilian artist and collaborator Marina Esmeraldo . 

The graphic neon pieces with powder coated aluminium backing feature the likes of names such as Chaka Khan, Diana Ross, Grace Jones, Sade, Erykah Badu and Sylvester and also in limited edition A2 & A3 giclée prints, canvas totes and postcards which will be onsale at DSM and online the Hen’s Teeth website post launch. 

Speaking about the concept for the show, Greg Spring, creative director at Hen’s Teeth, said: “This is Hen’s Teeth’s first big international show and the first in a series of planned exhibits that will see us creating shows with musicians and artists who have never curated shows before. To be doing it with our longtime collaborator Marina Esmeraldo and Honey Dijon, an icon in her own right, who has collaborated with COMME des GARÇONS and Dior in the past year and now Hen’s Teeth, is an unbelievable honour.”

Visit Hen’s Teeth for further details.

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Camera Nazionale Della Moda Italiana – MEMOS: On Fashion in This Millenium

Late last month during Milan Fashion Week , the Italian chamber of fashion Camera Nazionale Della Moda Italiana launched an exhibition entitled Memos on Fashion in this Millenium, in collaboration with Museo Poldi Pezzoli and with the support of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

The exhibition was inspired by the series of lectures written by author Italo Calvino  called Lezione Americane which he was set to give at Harvard in 1985, but was never given the chance as a result of his sudden death. During the time, his wife opted to publish the lectures with the author’s original title, Six Memos for The Next Millenium. 

Calvino’s work inspired the exhibition simply because it poses the question  as to whether fashion, as a cultural industry, a communication system, a rich, hybrid yet problematic terrain, be considered a scientific and a poetic practice, and therefore naturally literary? By using his words as a guide , the exhibition takes its audience through a guide throughout the history of fashion by way of memorable images and garments created with deeper meanings to them. 

Featuring a collection of garments, images, objects, magazines that serve as a part of fashion history by designers and creators such as :

Giorgio Armani,  J.W. Anderson for Loewe, Arthur Arbesser, Demna Gvasalia for Balenciaga, Boboutic, Riccardo Tisci for Burberry, Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, Gabriele Colangelo, Maria Grazia Chiuri for Dior, Marco de Vincenzo, Fendi, Maria Sole Ferragamo, Paul Andrew for Ferragamo, Alessandro Michele for Gucci, Maison Martin Margiela, Francesco Risso for Marni, Noir per Moncler Genius, Moschino, MSGM, Fausto Puglisi, Prada, Pier Paolo Piccioli for Valentino, Giambattista Valli, Random Identities Versace and Zegna, all of whom help to shape the 3 dimensional structure of the exhibition’s aesthetic visually designed by Stefano Tonchi.

The exhibition is now underway at the Museo Poldi Pezzoli in Milan and will be open until the 4th of May.

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Signature African Art: The Way We Were by Oluwole Omofemi

Cover image : Oluwole Omofemi, ‘Omonalisa II’, Oil and acrylic on canvas, 121 x 121 cm, 2019. Courtesy Signature African Art

Mayfair based art gallery Signature African Art is set to open it’s new space with an exhibition by Nigerian artist Oluwole Omofemi entitled The Way We Were . In the words of the artist herself , the exhibition will be a celebration of Afrocentric pride and a reflection on the post colonial era. Throughout the exhibition Omofemi explores the importance of black hair in the black community as a call for people to assert their own identity through their own stories and shedding traces and definitions of identity left from colonialism.  

The artist also references more recent times regarding The Civil Rights Movement of the ‘60s and ‘70s and the natural hair movement that came with it, made popular by icons such as Diana Ross , Jimi Hendrix and Angela Davis. 

Throughout her work hair is a metaphor for something deeper , a level of freedom prized with the owning of ones own identity, very much similar to the significance and thought process of black woman choosing to keep or go natural in the community. Rendered in oil and acrylic, her paintings at times have simple primary coloured backgrounds, which lend them a vivid Pop Art sensibility; in others, a darker mood is created, referencing the works of the Old Masters.

Located in Davies Street, Mayfair, Signature African Art was founded by Rahman Akar. Of its first show, he says: “We are delighted to be opening a space in London, and thrilled that Oluwole Omofemi, one of Nigeria’s most compelling young artists, is our first show. In addition to his mastery of composition, his works are at once both celebratory and deeply thought-provoking.”

The Way We Were exhibition opens on the 12th of March at the Signature Art Gallery in Mayfair, it will run until the 9th of April.

Oluwole Omofemi, ‘Root II’, Oil and acrylic on canvas, 121 x 121 cm, 2019. Courtesy Signature African Art
Oluwole Omofemi, ‘Omonalisa’ Oil and acrylic on canvas, 121 x 121 cm, 2019. Courtesy Signature African Art
Oluwole Omofemi, ‘Root III’, Oil and acrylic on canvas, 121 x 121 cm, 2019. Courtesy Signature African Art

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Twin Talks: The Versace Baroness by Sarah Baker

Multimedia artist, entrepreneur and founder of Baroness Magazine Sarah Baker recently teamed up with iconic Italian designer Donatella Versace as guest editor for the second instalment of the magazine. In a photographic storybook shot and curated by Sarah Baker, art directed by Stephen Male and styled with Versace’s collection, the artist tells a tale of glamorous yet tumultuous affairs among five characters as the dominantly females cast is tasked to work together in order to successively overcome blackmail & deceit. The scenery is set by Decor from the Versace Home collection and even served as the brand’s holiday campaign.

Twin sat down with the artist Sarah Baker to discuss inspiration and her process of realizing the issue.

What was the experience like working Donatella Versace as guest editor for BARONESS issue NO.2 ? 

Working with Donatella was amazing. I have admired her for a long time as a business woman and creative director and she has inspired my artwork for many years. Her team is superb and they have been carefully chosen by Donatella to filter the first round of decisions. When Donatella reviewed our progress, she had a fresh perspective on all the options, and I really admired her bold decisions. As an artist, it is a dream to work with an editor who is open to a lot of very outrageous ideas and willing to experiment and take risks.

You opted to go in the untraditional direction by creating a saga around female collaboration as opposed to female rivalry, what inspired this?

I think it’s about time female collaboration is not seen as groundbreaking. We were interested in reinterpreting the character of The Bitch (the title of a Jackie Collins novel that inspired Alexis Carrington). Interestingly, Collins also wrote Lucky, perhaps her most famous character, who is sexy, sassy, brilliant, and in-control. This really personifies the Versace woman, and the strong traits of our lead characters Angelina and the Baroness resonated with Donatella. My work has been about looking at how women are represented in popular media and how a woman might represent herself. As an artist, I am interested in shifting the narrative away from woman as seen from a man’s perspective, to a woman who is very much in control of her own image, and temper, and therefore abandoning Dynasty-style cat fights. Regarding my personal inspiration for female collaboration, I was also thinking about my own very close group of girlfriends—we have supported one another since early childhood.

What was your favourite aspect of the process while fabricating this issue? 

I really enjoyed solving problems with the structure of the narrative. The plot shifted so much from the very beginning, and every time a character was removed or dialogue altered, it had a ripple effect over the whole story. We started with twelve characters and twelve chapters, and due to the reality of shooting schedules and time constraints, we needed to alter the story quite a lot. It was extremely challenging to keep the story alive while maintaining logical conclusions. This problem kept me extremely excited and maybe in the end it was never fully solved, but that contributed to the ridiculousness of the narrative, which made it a little bit more funny. It was reminiscent of the TV show Soap, which is often a point of reference for my work, where the farcical narrative explodes into embellished dialogue. It is true to many fictitious dramas—most Noel Coward plays have the absurd built in—but sometimes life can actually be like that too. Or maybe it’s just my life!

Is there anything you want your viewers to take away or feel from this series? 

Humor is really important. That is another thing that was really great about working with Donatella: she has a great sense of humor. Especially at this current time when it seems like the world might blow up—politically, ecologically. It can feel very overwhelming. I personally find laughter more important than ever right now.

Do you have ideas or clues you can give on what may be in store for the next BARONESS issue? 

Something fabulously sexy and witty, like everything published by Baron and Baroness.

Where can one purchase the book ?

The Baroness is available online at baronmagazine.com.

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Fred Perry x The Museum Of Youth Culture: From Bedrooms to Basements

Cover image by Tony Othen-Bede Association

In collaboration with the Museum of Youth Culture, British brand Fred Perry has  announced the launch of two in-store take overs with the emerging museum in two of their London locations. The aim of the project is to inspire future generations to make an impact on the world around them, and the first installation is under the theme “From Bedrooms to Basements.” 

This takeover is an ode to scenes and sounds made by young people within the last 100 years, which will be displayed through a compilation of crowdsourced photography as well as images from the original archive of Fred Perry. 

The space will also be interactive with a DIY Scanning booths, allowing its audience the chance to participate. 

The Fred Perry x Museum of Youth Culture project is currently in motion in Fred Perry’s Camden & Henrietta Street stores.

Image by Sharon Long

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A simple idea for people talking: Andy Warhol’s editorial legacy bound in one tome, thanks to Assouline

A simple idea for people talking: Andy Warhol’s editorial legacy bound in one tome thanks to Assouline

There is a new book on the shelves of Assouline’s publishing maison on Piccadilly in London – it weighs over 5kg, it takes up more than a shelf, its hardcover is awash in acrid green and it rests in a metallic pink protective jacket. Bold, bright, brassy, beautiful: 50 years of Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine has been collated, curated and bound into a vibrant dazzle. 

Assouline’s mighty tome on this dazzling riot that was Interview Magazine lets you eavesdrop in on the romance, the righteousness, the unrest and the regalia that made and still makes Interview one of the most infamous magazines to this day. 

© Christopher Makos, June 1972

Initially contrived as a cross between the youth culture-led Rolling Stone and the nudity of Screw, Interview was due to be a riot of a success according to Andy Warhol, as it was going to be a film review magazine that was comprised of decent and relevant journalism, and sex. Having resulted instead in a zeitgeist of exceptional journalism, outrageous interviews and total creative freedom across fashion, art, music and culture, Interview turned on its head what a magazine could encompass. 

Speaking to Esther Kremer, Editor In Chief and Director of Publishing at Assouline, we discuss why the powerhouse of noble titles saw the legacy of Interview Magazine as a key opportunity to celebrate and support the reputation of what Richard Turley, Editorial Director of Interview, labelled “a mess, a big beautiful mess.”

Glenn Steigelman, November 1969

How did this retrospective of Interview Magazine come about?

On the occasion of Interview’s 50th anniversary, it seemed opportune to curate their history in a book.

Why did you feel this was a valid retrospective that needed to be published under Assouline?

Assouline is a curator of culture, we educate with strong imagery and constantly refer back to the creative leaders of the past in all our works. Interview: 50 Years is a visual text book to decades of history of film, fashion and art.

How did Interview change the publishing landscape?

In an age when magazines were all about carefully composed shoots in exotic locations by leading photographers, Andy turned publishing on its head with a real and unedited interview format for his magazine. Because he could not afford to pay writers, he just published the interviews verbatim.  He took chances by featuring young stars like Jodie Foster, the only talent he could afford  at the time, and at 18 she ended up working as a staff writer for him as well. He was innovative and ahead of his time in that regard. He was an entertainer, not just an artist,  and dreamed up ways of captivating his audience within his small operating budget.

© Glenn Steigelman, December, 1991

Do you think Interview is still a relevant publication? 

Yes, because it focuses on emerging talent, like Nick Braun (Succession) and has an edgy vibe which is presented for a sophisticated audience who understands good design. It’s different than what else is out there and many of their competitors.

What did your involvement in the creation of this title teach you about the magazine and Andy Warhol’s lateral creative vision?

Andy’s Interview shows that Innovators take risks. He had a  “go big or go home” attitude that we see today in the startup community. Andy was that kind of visionary and his creativity extended way beyond art.

Glenn Steigelman October 2002

The book is published as a mighty tome: why did you feel this was the right format for a retrospective on Interview?

The contents of the book are epic. They take readers through  what many consider the heyday of NYC. It deserves to be XXL.

Can you summarise what Interview meant to you in three words when you started work on this project ?

ANDY, NYC, INNOVATION

Can you summarise Interview in three words after creating this tome?

ANDY, NYC, INNOVATION

Interview 50 Years – 3D Cover

What would you like readers to take away from this book?

An understanding of a time where creative energy exuded from the streets of NYC and how that magic happened.

Interview is available to purchase by Assouline here.

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Tallawah: A Jamaican story by Jawara & Nadine Ijewere

Later this month photographer Nadine Ijewere and hair stylist Jawara will reveal an exhibition titled Tallawah in collaboration with Dazed Beauty at the Cob Gallery in London.

The showcase takes it’s name from the Jamaican patois word Tallawah, which means small but nonetheless fearless and strong-willed. Throughout the exhibition, Jawara explores his childhood of growing up in Kingston during the peak of Dancehall culture and the influence of creativity in the fashion & hairstyling by the women around him. For photographer Nadine Ijewere, she dives into her Nigerian-Jamaican heritage and aims to paint an image of the stories shared by her mother about the island of Jamaica. 

“This project is very close to my heart,” said Ijewere in a statement. “It was empowering to be able to explore part of my heritage by photographing these beautiful, strong people. The relationship between hair and identity is one I wanted to capture and celebrate – it’s a story that’s important to tell.”

Jawara added: “Small but Strong. Likkle but Tallawah. The strength and beauty of Jamaica.”

Tallawah opens it’s doors at the Cob Gallery in London on January 23rd and will run until February 1st. 

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Theaster Gates: “Amalgam” at Tate Liverpool

Cover Image: Theaster Gates: Amalgam, installation view at Tate Liverpool© Mark McNulty

American  social and practice installation artist Theaster Gates has opened his first major UK exhibition in collaboration with Tate Liverpool. Titled Amaglam, the exhibit explores the complex issues of race, territory and inequality in the USA. 

More specifically, the artist zooms in on the history of Malaga, a small island off the coast of Maine which served as home to an ethnically mixed community in the 19th century. Close to the end of their time, the inhabitants were forced to leave the mainland sans any offerings of housing jobs or support. Amalgam explores this narrative using a combination of sculpture, installation, film and dance.  An accompanying film , dubbed Dance of Malaga 2019, features the work of acclaimed American dancer Kyle Abraham as well as the artist’s musical collective – The Black Monks , who produce the film’s score. Their music also echoes throughout the exhibition . Theaster Gates: Amalgam is currently on show at Tate Liverpool until May 3rd 2020.  

Installation View of Amalgam at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris © Theaster Gates , Photo: Chris Strong
Installation View of Amalgam at the Studio of Theaster Gates © Theaster Gates , Photo: Chris Strong

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Keith Haring | Jean-Michel Basquiat: Crossing Lines by The National Gallery of Victoria

Cover Image: John Sex, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring at AREA Club, New York, 1985
Photography © Ben Buchanan

The 1980’s in New York City was a period known for several genres of creativity including music, fashion and of course art. There exists a fair share of names who have all helped define contemporary art as it is today, but two of the most prominent influential names are Jean Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring.

Which is why the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne has presented the work of the two artists in an exhibition entitled Keith Haring | Jean-Michel Basquiat: Crossing Lines.

The exhibition offers interesting insights into the artists’ unique visual languages, and reveal for the first time, the intersections between their lives and ideas throughout their friendship. Curated by Dr Dieter Bucchart, it features over 200 artworks including samples of their work to exclusive collaborations as the audience is given a glimpse inside their star studded world with names like Grace Jones , Andy Warhol and Madonna. The exhibition is currently open to the public and will run until the 13th of April 2020. For more info visit NGV

Grace Jones body painted by Keith Haring, New York, 1985 Art © Keith Haring Foundation Photography Tseng Kwong Chi © Muna Tseng Dance Projects
ean-Michel Basquiat in his studio at the Annina Nosei Gallery, May, 1982Photography © Marion Busc

“Ishtar” (1983), synthetic polymer paint, wax crayon and photocopy collage on canvas and wood – Jean-Michel Basquiat Artwork © Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York, from Collection Ludwig, Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst, Aachen

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“The Hoodie” – An exhibition by the Het Nieuwe Instituut

If one was to compose a list of the most political articles of clothing in modern day fashion, the hoodie would undoubtedly be in the top five of that line up. The garment which went through it’s prime evolution period with Champion in the 1930’s has grown to tell a variety of several narratives including perspectives in music, subculture, androgyny, gender fluidity and most pressingly tales of social equality. Throughout the past two decades with the aid of the media, the hoodie has come to be accused as the narrators in many cases of police brutality & racism. 

“The Hoodie” exhibition, recently opened at the Het Nieuwe Instituut Rotterdam curated by water and curator Lou Stoppard is an in-depth mixed media showcase involving artworks, garments, printed matter, digital footage, social media posts and other cultural artefacts to tell the story of the garment’s history in society.

It explores and examines conversation themes which enable its viewer to consider and reflect on the hoodie’s complicated relationship with contemporary culture from streetwear icon to workwear to political garment. It features work from a lineup of seminal artists and photographers including David Hammons , Campbell Addy, Sasha Huber, John Edmonds & Lucy Orta as well as brands such as Rick Owens, Off-White, VETEMENETS and Vexed Generation.  The exhibition will run until April 2020 and will also be accompanied by a digital magazine featuring specially commissioned essays, interviews and visuals. 

‘February II, 2019’ by Devan Shimoyama
‘EUnify – Berlin 2019’ by Ari Versluis & Ellie Uyttenbroek,  Exactitudes 168 

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Polar Night – a visual poem of Alaska’s changing snowscape by Mark Mahaney

American photographer Mark Mahaney is one of the talented creatives who contributed to Twin Magazine’s latest print issue. His feature which included a short photo series in the issue is expounded in his recently published hardcover book entitled Polar Night. Mahaney creates a compilation of images documenting a passage through the rapidly changing landscape of Alaska’s northernmost town of Utiqiagvik. 

“It’s an exploration of prolonged darkness, told through the strange beauty of a snowscape cast in a two month shadow. The unnatural lights that flare in the sun’s absence and the shapes that emerge from the landscape are unexpectedly beautiful in their softness and harshness. It’s hard to see past the heavy gaze of climate change in an arctic town, though Polar Night is a visual poem about endurance isolation and survival, ” reads it’s foreword.  

Polar Night is now available for pre-order here, and will beginning shipping shortly. 

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Unsigned – a new zine curated by BBH dedicated to showcasing diverse undiscovered talents

Unsigned came to fruition by dint of strong will, creative vision and a desire to celebrate emerging talent in all its forms. 

Surrounded by creatives struggling to find sufficient avenues to showcase their work, Tom Burns felt inspired to provide an event that allowed just this. Working alongside Art Director Stephanie Flynn, Film producer Nnena Nwakodo and Strategist Sofia Bodger at the global advertising agency BBH – they saw an opportunity to do just this at the agency. Through its creative department UP @ BBH – the cultural heart of BBH, a curated programme of art, music, film, technology, talks and events – this team launched the first Unsigned in 2018. 

Twin spoke with the Unsigned team and a selection of artists included in the most recent issue of it’s zine to learn more about its journey towards democratising the creative industry. 

The idea itself was initially pitched as a talent fair to be hosted at BBH; The idea would be to invite a variety of artists into the agency to pitch up a space and showcase their work, with their books and prints on show for people to view. When the idea was given the go ahead, and the team established, they went on to develop the concept and see how it could be best placed within the industry.

 Unsigned grew out of their close and insightful collaboration. The team explains; 

“Our observation was that the advertising industry was losing relevance. In 1990, 31% of UK adults thought that the adverts were as good as the programme, in 2018 it dropped to a meagre 14% (TGI, 2018). One reason for this is that we too often resort to established talent over emerging talent. More so than ever before. Tighter deadlines and smaller budgets mean it’s easy to become complacent. To take the safe route. Brands are nervous and need to sell, which leads to producers and creatives alike defaulting to that ‘safe pair of hands’ talent rather than taking a risk.”

Unsigned was created as a tool to challenge perspectives within the agency, opening its eyes to the plethora of individuals working within the creative and cultural realms who may often be overlooked for commissioned work due to a lack of experience; Unsigned was an opportunity for us to observe the pool of fantastic, diverse makers surrounding us. 

Attending degree shows, using social media, call outs, word-of-mouth, and recommendations to source talent, the team explored every avenue in order to find and showcase raw, cutting edge and diverse content; 

“Over the months, the artists would be invited into the agency to meet and chat through their work. They’d often bring in a portfolio, or perhaps an iPad and go through their projects. It’s been an incredibly exciting experience meeting all these artists and has massively enhanced the team’s art buying knowledge. It’s also been an invaluable way to remain educated on current trends within the art world, and take note on some of the key narratives that lead their work.”

Speaking with photographers and visual storytellers Anett Pósalaki, Jonathan Wykes, Daniel Jackont and Domino Leaha from this year’s issue provides insight into the events success as offering visibility to emerging talent within the creative industry. 

Born in Hungary, Anett Pósalaki’s images are not replicas of a reality, not even composed alternative dimensions. Instead, they are lucky segments of life, where everything has found its perfect place. Pósalaki explains;

“these little details become a manifesto of quietness, leaving a sense of what life should be. My work is to show all the tranquility around me, around everyone. “

For Pósalaki, the zine gave her the opportunity to showcase her work to a new audience, offering up potential collaborations with designers and magazines. Similarly both Daniel Jackont and Domino Leah highlight the access that Unsigned provided for them as foreigners to London’s creative scene. 

Living and working in Tel Aviv, Burns came across the photographic work of Jackont through instagram; 

“Earlier this year, Tom discovered my work and invited me to join the Unsigned exhibition. The event’s concept gave me an opportunity to make acquaintance with new approaches and mix different styles of photography and visual arts. Presenting my work alongside brilliant artists and creators from all around the globe. Thanks to the exhibition, I was noticed and have been contacted with regards to inquiries and UK representation.”

Originating from a small village in Italy, Domino Leaha’s images are often intimate snapshots into the lives of her subjects; 

“I like to capture their vulnerability, without touching them. I think of them as delicate objects. They are precious to me. I want to see their scars I want to push their boundaries and see how far they will let go. I am interested in those boundaries that lie between strangers. There is an immense mystery in that space, it is a place where anything is possible. “

Describing herself as shy, Domino explains the importance of Unsigned to help elevate and promote her work; 

“I don’t like to share or advertise my work a lot so for me it was really a challenge to be able to do this and I felt great. Also the opportunity to be seen and that people can actually asked to work for them or share your work is amazing. “

Image by Jonathan Wykes

British photographer Jonathan Wykes draws inspiration from popular culture – with an interest in fashion and hair styling – fusing these elements together to present a fantasised version of his subjects. For Wykes, Unsigned was the first public showcasing of his works; 

“It introduced me to a community of other unrepresented artists out there, having the opportunity to be featured in an exhibition of upcoming talent has definitely been an exciting experience for me. The exposure from the show has been beneficial and I’m extremely grateful to Tom Burns and the rest of the team for recognising all of our work and for bringing us all together.”

Since 2018 the Unsigned zine has grown from featuring 31 artists across Film, Photography and Illustration to now include an additional total of 49. This year’s exhibition to celebrate its second issue attracted over 600 visitors, featuring 33 large scale prints and over 350 prints as well as 9 individual screenings for the directors, which included an installation by exciting up and coming filmmaker Starkie Reay. 2019 also featured a live performance from soul sister duo, The KTNA. The team itself expanded in its second year to accommodate its fine execution, with Beth Mechem, Thandi Mibre, Lauren Gillies and Angus Lees completing the Unsigned team. 

This BBH initiative will continue to bring underrepresented emerging talent to the fore, providing a platform for this work within the agency and the wider industry. Stay tuned for Unsigned’s 2020 plans, which Burns explains are to make it: … “bigger, better and even more collaborative. We want to push the creative potential, and make sure we are vigilant of being as inclusive to all different diversities along the way.”

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“The Mirrors Within” , by Bolade Banjo

Photographer Bolade Banjo recently announced the release of his photographic story “The Mirrors within” in the latest issue of i-D Magazine. The inspiration behind the series stemmed from the work of photographer Anna Puschel’s book Layer of Reality where she explores experiences with the concept of Synesthesia, which is the condition of connecting colours, emotions and memories. From this , the photographer took away the knowledge of how the tonality of colours hold connections to memory and inherit acts as an emotional factor of life. Which is how he began exploring the archive of his reportage shot in the past few years and was able to spot the moments which these patterns had manifested themselves and now had been evident as emotive inspirations for samples of his present day work.  

“I’ve come to understand reflection is a process that allows for personal expansion and greater awareness, something that has taken me some time to accept. Looking back at this rhythmic arrangement. I’m able to connect all these collected moments to navigate the ever-changing world, ” he explains. 

Throughout the series, Banjo takes his audience on a sensorial journey throughout the  concerning nature’s various channel of perceiving memory as he connects moments and images that from a wider view, acts almost as an visual auto-biography of his artistic journey. The full version of the story can be found in i-D Winter issue NO.358 – 2019. 

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The New Black Vanguard -Photography between Art and Fashion

Cover image: Renell Medrano, Untitled, Harlem 2017

A few weeks ago, NYC based not-for-profit foundation Aperture opened its doors to The New Black Vanguard — an exhibition of photography between art and fashion curated by Antwaun Sargent. 

The New Black Vanguard is a visual  documentary of fifteen artists who works fuse the genres of art and fashion through innovative perspective. It compiles the images of these talents that have recently been on reign in magazines,  ad campaigns & museums across the world , be it New York, London, Johannesburg or Lagos.  Each piece of work opens up conversations from different perspectives around the roles of the black body and black lives as a subject matter, collectively celebrating black creativity in fashion and art.

Not only through the hands of photographers, but stylists, designers and other creatives as well. The exhibition includes selected works from photographers including Campbell Addy, Arielle Bobb-Willis, Micaiah Carter, Tyler Mitchell, Daniel Obasi, Justin French and a few others. It will be open throughout the rest of the year and will come to a close on January 18, 2020. For more information visit Aperture. 

Jamal Nxedlana, Late Leisure, 2019
Campbell Addy, Adut Akech, 2019
Dana Scruggs, , Nyadhour, Elevated, Death Valley, California, 2019

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Twin Talks: Melanie and Stephanie Hausberger

Taking inspiration from Tyrolean mountains and New York, Austrian twin sisters Melanie and Stephanie Hausberger make striking work about womanhood, connection and nature. Twin caught up with the twin sisters to talk about the synchronicity of creativity, New York hang outs and the creative power of two.

Duplications in nature and the female form are subjects that you return to in your works. What are you both drawn to?

Recently we were going though our works we created when we were really young and its striking how figures and the female form always have been the major subject. Being identical twins we always were very much of aware of people judging our differences and compare us. In our work its about the way these figures embody the world, the way they relate to one another. And then of course there is body image, which is another big theme we are interested in since we have a history of struggling with it. 

Also, growing up we never really had access to art museums or gallery, for us getting a magazine like I-D or Vogue, was a big deal. They certainly influenced our aesthetics and style too, the people featured but also the fashion ads and campaigns. We like to add nature since its timeless and also calming. Expressionist artists work such as Kirchner or Otto Mueller also incorporated a lot of natural scenes, and those works are the first ones we were exposed to. Also we grew up in the Alps, being outside in nature was a big part of our childhood. 

But we think our work has many layers and is quite complex sometimes, as art should be, so there is always the possibility to have a different perspective and one can read many things into our work. We like to let the viewer question our work, and we like if its not too obvious.

What does your creative process look like?

We are not working from photographs or pictures, its all out from our imagination and the accumulated input and inspiration. We are really sensitive to colors, patters, atmospheres and we always explore the places we are traveling to, whether for work or pleasure, often wonder how beautiful something is although nobody else seems to notice.

Also, we are very much influenced and inspired by the history and language of painting, we look and read a lot about art, so whether consciously or unconsciously we incorporate all this in our work. 

We love how art opens up new horizons and teaches one to think in different ways. For us, Painting and drawing is our way to reflect and explore everything, and we love how working together on a painting you never quite know what it will come out in the end since you don’t have full control – it can happen that I paint over something my sister just painted so one really has to let go of control. 

On larger drawings we also work on at the same time, with smaller ones we switch around until its finished. 

When it comes to creativity, do you think collaboration is generally more powerful than individual effort?

We find that our collaboration is a huge blessing – unless we have a hard time agreeing on something. We both have a very strong sense of what we want to make, so it can happen that we argue for a while…but that is rare because we instinctively know what the other wants and vice versa, maybe thats a twin thing… In the end every work we make is a teamwork  and we work toward a common vision. So yes, if things run well, a collaborative process can be more powerful than an individual one.

As both individuals and artists your visual identity is very distinct, how did this develop? 

Well, it is probably a mix of many things. The location (in the Tyrolean Alps) we grew up, our early influences, our own curious characters, and of course New York. We both always knew what we liked or disliked aesthetically. Early one we were drawn towards paintings and drawings, even though at that point we had no idea that one can become an artist per se. We both remember always feeling the impulsion to make things, not only to look.  We are very interested in many subjects outside art which eventually inform our work. Aesthetic decisions were always much easier for us than deciding on the mundane things of daily life. Its interesting that even though we spent time apart for longer periods, attending different schools at times, we were always drawn to the same artists and art movements.

What do you see as the relationship between photography and drawing / painting? 

Photography is a quick medium and for us, since we draw very quickly they both are quite similar in their ability to capture impressions and moments. 

Photography has always played a part in our live, shooting each other all these years when growing up and studying in New York. 

We both have this urge to record things, which we used to do through solely drawing before the iPhone came out. Now drawing and photography go side by side. We photograph a lot of inspirations, have separate folders sorted by theme and so on, but when it comes to painting then we try and trust our own instinct and ability to 

You both studied in New York, did the city help to shape or impact your work?

We love NY, its pace and energy perfectly lends itself to our lifestyle. The city definitely shaped our work – we love the New York School artists such as De Kooning, Lee Krassner, Joan Mitchell and also Francesco Clemente and Alex Katz. Those mixed with Austrian and German Expressionism seems to be the base of our work. 

What are your favourite places in New York?

Our regular go to spot has always been Souen, unfortunately there is only one left. Tomoe Sushi has the best sashimi platters, and we love classic New York restaurants more than the new “trendy” ones, such as Odeon, Balthazar or Raoul’s. For drinks in the evenings, when we go its usually Paul’s Baby Grant, Primos or Alley Cat at the Beekman Hotel. Bemelsman’s Bar at the Carlyle Hotel is also really beautiful.

Which other creative duos are you inspired by?

We like what Gert and Uwe Tobias are doing and the Haas Brothers,  and we think there are a couple of Filmmaker duos such as the Dardenne Brothers, which we think make great work together.

What are you working on at the moment, and what are you looking forward to for the rest of the year?

Right now we are preparing work for an upcoming show in Brussels in December. The rest of the year we Milan, where we are excited to work on a new body of work. 

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