TWIN Picks: Julija Zaharijević

Physical Cabbage, 2022
Materials: Print on silk, laser print on paper, acrylic, synthetic resin varnish
60 x 54 x 23 cm
Photo by Giulia Baresi

MiArt New Talent: Julija Zaharijević by Twin Art Editor Francesca Gavin

Julija Zaharijević exhibited wall sculptures with Eugster from Belgrade at Miart.. The gallery was in the emergent section of the Milanese fair  – in a great section in the fair which happens each April, curated by Attilia Fattori Franchini.

Detail of Physical Cabbage, 2022
Photo by Giulia Baresi

The Cabbage series depicts realistically recreated cabbages – complete with faked insect nibbles and decay. Each cabbage subtly varied in colour so it was clear they are the real veg on the wall. Pyschadelic, emotive and beautiful, the works play with the art historical tropes of beauty, decay and the sublime. They are stand ins for roses or flowers. Part of what makes her cabbages so engaging is how that question what is real, what is beauty, what is meaning.

Julija Zaharijević was born in 1991 in Serbia and lives and works between Vienna, where she studied, and Berlin. Still only a recent graduate, Zaharijević’s practise has incorporated performance, collage, text, that touches on the experience of class, gender and reality.

Highlights value systems that are innately built into the purchase and visual consumption of beauty and art in a wider sense. They are mirrors to our heads, emotions and performative selves.

www.julijazaharijevic.com; miart occurs April annually miart.it

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TWIN LOVES: Seana Gavin – a decade of free parties (eclipse theme)

Portrait of Seana Gavin. Mother Free Festival, Lincoln 1994.
Spiral Baby (1994) © Copyright Seana Gavin

On this solar eclipse in Aries, we celebrate Seana Gavin’s archive that serendipidously includes the eclipse free festival, photographed by Gavin below.

A group of friends wear protective glasses at the eclipse free festival. Hungary 1999
Build up to the Solar Eclipse (1999) © Copyright Seana Gavin

Following on from her phenomenally successful book “Spiralled” published by Idea Books, the artist and former raver opens her new exhibition Hidden Tracks at Gallery 46. This exhibition continues her exploration of the legacy of sound systems that put on illegal raves in the UK and across Europe in the nineties, and acts as a document of the creativity, vitality and community of the underground party scene in which Gavin features heavily. From 1993-2003 she spent long periods of time travelling in friends’ mobile homes, in convoy with the sound systems, living in nomadic communities, attending raves and parties in France, Spain, Holland, Italy, Berlin, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary.

“It was more than just a night out. I wasn’t a photographer or journalist I was part of this world and these people were my family. We were un-materialistic and survived with minimal funds without limitations.” – Seana Gavin

Whilst the book is aesthetically and nostaligically pleaseing, it also serves as a reminder about the radical potential and rebellious energy of the free party movement, which emerged as a rebellion against the over commercialization of Acid House that had developed in the UK at the time.

Even today we are left with the legislation that became ‘The Criminal Justice Act’, catalysed by the police response to Castlemorton festival – a week long free unlicensed rave which took place in the British countryside and was shut down by the police. As an underage teenager the artist’s adventurous spirit led her to other like minded wanderers as news spread before mobiles and the internet, and 20- 50,000 people came together by word of mouth alone.

Behind the decks of Hekate Sound system. Czech Teknival (free festival), 1999
Legs (1999) © Copyright Seana Gavin

The exhibition which opens this week, includes Gavin’s personal documentation including flyers, ephemera, diary entries and a large body of photographs that capture the build-up and aftermath of the raves across Europe alongside the characters and friends who defined this scene, and demonstrates the ethos and spitit of community and freedom.

Exhibition runs  10 – 28 April 2024

Gallery46, 46 Ashfield St, London E1 2AJ

www.gallery46.co.uk

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REFIK ANADOL: Echoes of the Earth: Living Archive

Refik Anadol, Echoes of the Earth: Living Archive, 2024. Installation view, Serpentine North. Photo: Hugo Glendinning. Courtesy Refik Anadol Studio and Serpentine.

Artist, technologist, and pioneer in artificial intelligence arts, Refik Anadol presents his new exhibition of eye-candy works at London’s Serpentine Gallery.

Refik Anadol, Echoes of the Earth: Living Archive, 2024. Installation view, Serpentine North. Photo: Hugo Glendinning. Courtesy Refik Anadol Studio and Serpentine.

Anadol’s collaborative generative process with AI plays here manifests to present “years-long experimentation with visual data of underwater landscapes and rainforests”. This large scale digital work features Artificial Realities: Coral (2023), which immerses viewers in an Al’s imagination of underwater landscapes. Made by training a unique AI model with approximately 135 million images of corals openly accessible online and generating abstracted coral images, “the AI then constructs new visuals and colour combinations based on the dataset.”

Refik Anadol, Echoes of the Earth: Living Archive, 2024. Installation view, Serpentine North. Photo: Hugo Glendinning. Courtesy Refik Anadol Studio and Serpentine.

This is also the UK premiere of Living Archive: Large Nature Model which was first introduced at the World Economic Forum 2024 in Davos, Switzerland. To make this, Anadol worked with the data of major institutions, including the Smithsonian Institution and London’s Natural History Museum to create the model, “centred around archival images of fauna, flora and fungi, will expand over the coming years.”

As far as spectacular exhibitions go, this is a sure fire crowd-pleaser.

Echoes of the Earth: Living Archive

16 February – 7 April 2024

Serpentine North

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TWIN MEETS: Incubator 22

Following the success of Incubator 21, Angelica Jopling is back with Incubator 22, a six-week-long programme spotlighting six new London-based emerging artists who have never had a solo show. The consecutive exhibitions showcase London-based emerging artists, Mary Stephenson, Xavia Duke Richards, John Richard, Archie Boon, C. Lucy R. Whitehead, and Alicja Biala.

In residence at London’s A. Society in Chiltern Street, Twin caught up with the exhibition’s founder and curator, Angelica Jopling, to discuss platforming young artists and her collaborative approach to curation. 

Can you explain the intention behind Incubator 22?

The idea for ‘Incubator’ stemmed from a failed grant proposal I wrote in 2018. I wanted to provide a platform for young artists to show their work in a collaborative space with maximum freedom. The general aim was, and continues to be, to reflect the energy and shifting cultural face of a city through the eyes of emerging artists. One of the hardest stages of an artist’s career is the beginning when they’re attempting to articulate a sensibility. Emerging artists rarely have the opportunity to present their work in a solo capacity. Yet this can paradoxically be a great catalyst for artists to take risks, be experimental, and create a cohesive body of work for a show.

Can you explain how you decide which artists to feature?

It varies. I typically visit many different artist’s studios before deciding who will be shown at Incubator. Beyond the work itself, the attributes I’m most drawn to in an artist are a genuine passion and confidence in their work as well as a distinct vision of what they wish to execute in the space. 

How do you approach your role as curator?

I love working with artists at the beginning of their careers and giving them the space to create freely. I like to spend a lot of active time in the studios, discussing their process, refining ideas, and understanding their inspirations and what drives their work. All of which influences the approach when it’s time to install. The collaborative approach extends to my work with Clara Galperin -Incubator’s curatorial consultant – who has helped to shape the vision. 

Incubator 22 is now open at A. Society, 2 Chiltern Street, London, W1U 7PR by appointment

TWIN PICKS: Palm* Photo Prize 2022 Shortlist

A landmark event in the annual photography calendar, The Palm* Photo Prize shines a spotlight on the photographers to watch. The team behind the prize has announced its shortlist for 2022. With an overwhelming 6800+ submissions this year, they have painstakingly whittled it down to 108 photographs. And they do not disappoint.

A mix of portraiture and landscape works, the shortlist reflects the international appeal of this competition. From London to Brooklyn, Kyiv to Tel Aviv, there is a breadth to this year’s shortlist that showcases each photographer’s unique aesthetic. 

Michelle Sank’s posed portrait of Miss Drag SA, as well as Megan Eagle’s intimate portrait of a mother breastfeeding her young child are standouts in the selection.  Elsewhere there’s Camille Lemoine’s capture of a young girl astride a horse and a simple evocation of play in a black and white portrait of a boy skimming stones by Isabel Martin.

The judges, which include the likes of Alastair McKimm and Lola Paprocka, will work on the selection of 20 finalists, and eventually decide on first and second place. Shortlisted images will also be in the running for the Canvas Represents Mentorship Award and the People’s Choice Award will be decided by a voting system open to the public via the website. 


The Palm* Photo Prize exhibition will be on display at 10 14 Gallery from 5th May – 5th June, sponsored by Spectrum & INK and partners Picter, Canvas Represents, Lock Studios, 10 14 Gallery, Labyrinth Photographic and i-D.

TWIN PICKS: I’d like to get to know you

I’d like to get to know you is a tentative exploration into a reimagined sibling relationship against the backdrop of British summertime. Shot at their mother’s house in rural Devon over the course of one summer, the uniquely singular relationship between sisters is explored and reframed. For the intimate series Francesca Allen turns the camera on her younger sister, Alida, and unravels the theme of family ties, re-tied. 

The sun-soaked images of poppies in bloom and swims in rivers, sports shorts and high-legged swimsuits, paints a vivid picture of a complex sisterly relationship and reveals, not only in how Francesca sees Alida, but how Alida sees herself. Intimacy and confrontation – a push and a pull, – are seen in Allen’s personal approach. Allen admits her and Alida’s relationship growing up was never particularly close. Portraiture, in this instance, is configured as a two-sided exchange opening up space for empathy and exploration.

The London-based photographer straddles the worlds of fashion and documentary photography, across themes of friendship, female bonds, and interchange between photographer and subject. Her first monograph Aya saw Allen spend a month in Japan photographing musician Aya Yanase. This second monograph is a testament to her developing practice and a celebration of sisterly bonds and the beauty of the British countryside.


I’d like to get to know you is available to buy from 23 March 2022. The exhibition is open by appointment at 1014 Gallery, Dalston, London

TWIN PICKS: We Are Made of Star Stuff

WE ARE MADE OF STAR STUFF asks us to step into deep time. From 4th – 27th March, the HOXTON 253 art project space is unearthing the layered entanglements that exist between humans and their natural environment and inviting us to enter into a geological worldview.

“All of the rocky and metallic material we stand on, the iron in our blood, the calcium in our teeth, the carbon in our genes were produced billions of years ago in the interior of a red giant star. We are made of star-stuff” wrote Carl Sagan in 1973 in “The Cosmic Connection: An Extraterrestrial Perspective”. 

©Mirko Boffelli Photography. Images curtesy of HOXTON 253 art project space.

Rocks, minerals, ice and the crust of the ground we walk on collect evidence of slow ‘deep time’. No longer bound to the dominating constructs of capitalist time, deep time is a way of seeing the world across multiple timescales. Curated by Berta Zubrickaitė and featuring work from Lydia Brockless, Ilana Halperin, Geistė Marija Kinčinaitytė, Matthew Needham, Josephine Pryde, Georgia Somerville Watts and Maël Traïca the works draw attention to the ways in which human and non-human agencies are wrapped together. 

Textiles in collaboration with Syrian women in Istanbul to upcycled toe-trainers and toe heels. Immersive video essays to imaginary subterranean worlds. WE ARE MADE OF STAR STUFF rethinks our relation to temporality and points towards a plurally determined existence. 

©Mirko Boffelli Photography. Images curtesy of HOXTON 253 art project space.

HOXTON 253 art project space is a green and sustainability-conscious initiative. Highlighting artistic voices that challenge the current system, they create environments that question our communal and individual responsibilities to the world.

TWIN PICKS : Alex Prager

Theatrical staging, high-drama and luxurious technicolour – photographer and filmmaker Alex Prager’s large-scale photographs feature ensemble casts that teeter between reality and artifice. 

Afternoon, 2021, courtesy Alex Prager Studio and Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, Seoul, and London

In this intimate series classic American archetypes are presented in the cinematic colour palette of a Hollywood Western. A cowboy, a cherub, an air stewardess, all frozen, suspended mid-air. Artefacts of modern American life seem to float  – or fall – alongside them.

Dawn, 2021, courtesy Alex Prager Studio and Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, Seoul, and London

Part One: The Mountain at London’s Lehmann Maupin gallery continues her exploration of the hyperreal. The series was created as a response to the last two years and the effects of the pandemic. Prager’s meticulously constructed characters are paired with details from the character’s backstories – casino chips, prozac and a pair of high heels capture our human idiosyncrasies. 

Twilight, 2021, courtesy Alex Prager Studio and Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, Seoul, and London

Prager plays on the tradition of classical portraiture as a way to encourage people to really look at one another again. After such a long period of isolation and polarisation, she works to flatten people out and then hone in on our emotional states. These questions are infused into each portrait, creating a spiritual death and consequently – rebirth. Shot in her hometown of Los Angeles, The Mountain draws on the themes of revelation, pilgrimage, achievement, and adversity. 


Alex Prager’s Part One: The Mountain is at London’s Lehmann Maupin gallery until March 5 2022.

Rhythms From The Metroplex: A Poetic Snapshot into a Pre-lockdown world

A tale of two cities: New York and London, circa 2017 to 2020 – this is the setting for Jermaine Francis’ Rhythms From The Metroplex. The photography book can be read as an anthology that takes the viewer on a journey through a pre-pandemic world, a world that is innocent and yet to be consumed by Covid; it acts as a prequel to Something That Seems So Familiar Becomes Distant (Francis, 2020).

Rhythms From The Metroplex, photographed by Jermaine Francis, 2017-2020

Francis’ work illuminates the different cultural parallels between New York and London – the ways people choose to communicate and fill the space (or lack thereof) and the somewhat theatrical essence between the two major cities.

Rhythms From The Metroplex, photographed by Jermaine Francis, 2017-2020

Each image is taken from a selection of frames, all layered together to create the narrative: some faces blurred and others in direct focus. The pictures play with a sense of closeness and distance, speaking to how people used to interact and exchange with one another.

‘In many ways, this book is about time and its intrinsic relationship to photography, but it is also about the poetic mystery of time. Time courses through us, like a heat wave in a vortex. It is a warm kind of whiplash, as life flashes before our eyes.’ – Oliver Kupper

Rhythms From The Metroplex, photographed by Jermaine Francis, 2017-2020

Rhythms from the Metroplex is a 106-page visual experience that encapsulates a time before now – one that shows the unbridled hustle and bustle of everyday life.  

The book was released on September 13th 2021 and be purchased on Francis’ website jermainfrancis.co.uk and clairederouenbooks.com.

The Mona Lisa Effect: Curated by Francesca Gavin

The internet, NFT’s, and memes: what do all of these things have to do with digital art and its consumption? The Mona Lisa Effect seeks to answers these questions, through a live-streamed auction championing artists of the new digital era.

Taking its inspiration from Darian Leader’s book Stealing the Mona Lisa (2002), where he argued that the theft of Leonardo’s painting was the cause for its universal popularity. The absence of the piece became the enigma, which built up the anticipation for when it returned.  

James Kerr/Scorpion Dagger Pointers (2021). Courtesy of the artist and CNL.

The artists featured in the exhibition embody the task of displaying a reinvigoration in the consumption of art in the digital space. Sarah Judy, James ‘Scorpion Dagger’ Kerr, Damien Roach, and Thomas Webb all explore the binary of absence and presence – balancing between the two ideas, and in some way, finding a point where they meet in the middle.

This exhibition is led by curator and co-founder of Manifesta11: Francesca Gavin, known for her editor position at LIMBO, contributions at the Financial Times How to Spend It, and widely for her book Watch This Space which delves into how digital screens have a direct impact on society, culture, and the self.

Damien Roach, ‘Nothing (Sink Hole)’, from the series Four Types of Nothing (2021). Courtesy of the artist and CNL. (Still)

The live exhibition is set to take place on 30th May 2021 at 2pm (GMT) and will be hosted on Croy Nielsen and Emanuel Layr’s gallery site cnl.casa

Header image credits: Thomas Webb, Art Kids Online (2021). Courtesy of the artist and CNL.

Eva Alt celebrates mature ballet artistry

Considered by many to be the first art, dance came before language: early humans communicated and expressed themselves through gesture and bodily movement. After all, dancers know that how you are in your body relates to how you are in your mind and how you move through the world. 

And in today’s increasingly saturated world of communications, it is rare to find someone who understands this and can merge a passion for communication, community and dance poetically. 

Eva Alt, Ballet1

Cue Eva Alt. Perhaps known to many on Instagram, as Glossier’s doe-eyed former Head of Social Media, Alt has, over the past few years, not only become known for building Glossier’s digital presence, but also managed to enchant New York’s fashion and beauty scene with her charme, wit and with her passion for dance. 

“It always seemed to me, as a person who is a “feeler”, that through dance and watching dance, I was able to inuit things that you can’t necessarily express with words. There’s power in that,” she stated during a Zoom call from her apartment in New York City. “So there is something very honest about communicating through gestures and, you know, you can’t lie!”

Eva Alt, Ballet1

A former professional ballerina, Alt’s trajectory into the world of ballet started when she was a little girl, realizing she wanted to get into dance seriously around the age of 11 or 12. After a brief summer stint at The School of American Ballet in New York, at 15 she auditioned for the Boston Ballet and was accepted. This then led to years of strenuous training in the Balanchine method by a former principal of The New York City Ballet. 

However, the world of ballet can be especially tough for young adolescent girls growing up and getting to know their bodies. 

Eva Alt, Ballet1

“In dance, at fifteen not only are you going through puberty but that’s also the moment when you start partnering. And all of a sudden your body is changing and it’s also being handled by the male dancers and that’s a very odd experience,” she recalls. 

And while many stereotypes regarding how a dancer’s body should look have now been broken, looking back, she wishes she had the knowledge she has now of her body. A lot of ballet is about the perception of line, and growing more self-aware of her form with time, has helped Alt embrace her body instead of working against it. 

“One of the things that continually amazes me about the human body, and through dance I am so in tune with my body and myself, is that we are changing all the time. We are constantly making new cells and regenerating. My body feels very different one day to the next! Yet, somehow, the body stores memories,” she quips. 

Alt stayed with the company until she decided to take a break and try out different things. This break then led her to fashion and after interning at a few publications and assisting a few stylists, she was then hired by Emily Weiss to work on Social Media at Glossier, and was there for six years, until she left this year to pursue her own personal projects. 

Yet, dance was always lurking around the corner and never really abandoned her in time of need. However, it was only after she joined Moves, her friends’ jazz class that she felt ready to get back to dancing full time and became what she believes is a truly rare being: a happy dancer.

“When I was returning to dance and getting in shape, in a lot of ways I felt like I was waking up again. My body wanted to remember the feeling of these movements, and in a lot of ways, it did.”

Eva Alt, Ballet1

It was then she decided she would create her very own ballet class open to all levels: Ballet1. The class proved to be so popular because of its diverse and inclusive spirit it attracted dancers from every borough of New York, and it also helped Alt discover her ultimate purpose: creating a safe and happy space for a diverse community of individuals passionate about dance who may not necessarily be professionals.

A class at Ballet1 pre Covid-19

“My purpose in ballet is that of creating more space for people. And something that is really important to me is performance, specifically for mature ballet dancers, or mature dancers. In a former company, there are lots of amazing dancers who dance for many years and then retire. I feel like there are things like broader life experiences, motherhood, you know, going to school, a job, whatever it is, that add something really valuable to people’s artistry and I feel like there is really no context for that idea to exist. I want to create that. I want to create a platform for mature ballet artistry. So that’s something that is going to be pretty central to the project,” she concludes.

Eva Alt, Ballet1

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Drag in the desert: A photo series by Jane Hilton

Of all the people and places photographer Jane Hilton has documented over the past three decades there is one location that she can’t quite shake – Nevada. The sweeping desert state in America’s west is of course home to the brash and bawdy Las Vegas, but beyond the neon lights there is a grainier side of life she is drawn to.

The London-based photographer first travelled to the States in 1988, sparking a fascination with all things Americana that would become a hallmark of her career.

“I just fell in love with it,” she says of that first visit which took her to Tucson, Arizona.

 “It was like being in a film. It was those 180-degree, blue sky vistas, and the sunsets, and the light – it was the light! I’m so passionate about lighting and they’ve got it there, “god’s light”. They might not have got other things right but they’ve got the light.”

In 1992 she first visited Nevada on a job shooting the desert landscape, which covers the majority the state. Nevada is home to both Las Vegas and Area 51, with a transient allure that, beyond the casino tourists, attracts a myriad of characters often looking to either get rich or get lost. Over the past 25 years the photographer has documented many of the people that often inhabit the fringes of the place, including burlesque dancers, cowboys and sex workers.

“It’s in stark contrast to the way I was brought up in English suburbia. I think had I gone to New York first, I might have a different relationship with America. I’m more interested in the American west and the way that genre (of Westerns) has played out.”

It was the Western genre that inspired her latest project, Drag Queen Cowboys, which was recently shortlisted as a finalist in the prestigious Sony World Photography Awards. Drag Queen Cowboys is a series of black and white portraits of Las Vegas drag performers in Western-inspired costumes shot out in the desert. Hilton was largely inspired by 1961 film The Misfits, written by Arthur Miller and starring Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable and Montgomery Cliff. In it, Monroe plays a recently divorced woman who meets an aging cowboy, Gable, and his friend, played by Cliff.

Since its release the film has been trailed by a macabre notoriety due to the death of all three stars within five years of its release. Gable died of a heart attack ten days after filming wrapped; Monroe of a suspected drug overdose some 18 months later; Cliff’s health deteriorated and he was dead by 1966. It was the last film Gable and Monroe ever made, and it is said that Miller’s marriage to Monroe was also a casualty of the film. Despite the playwright specifically writing the part for her, their relationship disintegrated during the lengthy and over-budget shoot.

“Arthur Miller himself went to Reno to get divorced so he could marry Marilyn. There were all these divorce ranches on the outskirts of Reno where people wait and have a good time while they are waiting,” Hilton explains.

“In the thirties and forties they were full of mostly housewives because their husbands had sent them there to get a divorce within six weeks, which was unheard of. They’d do that, then party with some cowboys while they had left the husband at home with his mistress.”

“So Miller went there because he knew about getting a divorce in Reno and the strange displacement of people who go to Nevada looking for a new life. Whether they are hiding from something, or trying to find something… In all my experience that is how Nevada is for me too; it’s people searching or trying to cover something up.”

After discovering the strange legacy of the legendary film, in February 2020, just before the pandemic hit, Hilton drove a handful of drag performers in their stage makeup and Western outfits in her ’66 Mustang to an isolated stretch of desert on the outskirts of Vegas.

“I was looking for another community, a different community, that I could document, one I didn’t know much about,” she explains of the process of choosing her subjects.

“I started to go to drag bingo in Vegas and got to know some of the girls. I was thinking about how they are perceived and how post-Ru Paul, social media has gone mad with drag queens. They are always literally lit with flash, it’s so artificial, with so much retouching or a filter, so that their imagery looks almost homogenous because of the way they all photograph themselves. I decided I wasn’t going to do that.”

Instead, Hilton photographed each performer in natural light, shooting on a 5×4 plate camera and black and white film, with no flash or retouching. Rather than just being passive subjects the performers worked with Hilton on creating the visuals, each creating their own Western-inspired outfit for the shoot. By removing the drag performers from their usual environment, that of a dimly lit bar or nightclub or karaoke stage, the portraits subvert the type of image often associated with drag performers and create a contrary energy that is both powerful and poignant, and typical of Hilton’s work.

Jane Hilton, United Kingdom, Finalist, Professional competition, Portraiture, Sony World Photography Awards 2021

As a documentarian she has long been drawn to sub-cultures; in 2000 the BBC commissioned a ten-part documentary from her about two brothels in Nevada, the only US state in which sex work is legal. She has spent the past few years filming the ‘The Last Lion Tamer’, following a family’s fight to save their livelihood as the government moves to outlaw the use of wild animals performing in circuses. Currently the photographer is riding out lockdown in her London home working on various projects, eager to start shooting again. As always, there is one place in particular she is waiting to revisit.

“I am doing a book about the state of Nevada because I’ve spent a lot of time here – almost too much time! No matter where I go, I seem to end up back there…”

Jane Hilton is a finalist in the Sony World Photography Awards 2021: Professional Competition. Overall winners will be announced on 15th April 2021. www.worldphoto.org/

Header image credits: Jane Hilton, United Kingdom, Finalist, Professional competition, Portraiture, Sony World Photography Awards 2021

Ekene Ijeoma: Breathing Pavillion

A sanctuary carved out of a time of intense loss and hardships, “Breathing Pavilion” is Ekene Ijeoma’s debut outdoor installation. In collaboration with Downtown Brooklyn Partnership (DBP) and Van Alen Institute, the installation will be available to view in The Plaza at 300 Ashland, in the heart of Downtown Brooklyn and the Brooklyn Cultural District, from 16th March – 11th May 2021.

Ekene Ijeoma as an artist and professor of Media Arts and Science at MIT, fuses his research in social inequality across various fields and his own experiences to create thought-provoking and inviting artwork. Breathing Pavilion was created in the context of Covid-19 and in the wake of rising concerns over the rampant police brutality and violence against black Americans. Ijeoma poetically reframes these social issues, and in the process reveals the stark reality of how these forms of oppression intersect.

The installation comprises a 30-foot circle of 20 nine-foot two-tone illuminated LED inflatable columns which gradually change in brightness and mimic a deep breathing technique, meant to trigger a meditative feeling of calm. The structure invites the public to enjoy a moment of respite, losing themselves in the lull of the lights allowing them to breathe, without feeling the weight of the world on their shoulders.

“Between the ongoing struggles in the racial and political movements in the United States and the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be difficult to find the time and space to breathe deeply and rest well […] I held my breath for most of last year, waiting to exhale into a new administration and new vaccines. It will still take some time before we see large-scale change. Until then, in these next few weeks, this pavilion is here to invite the public to breathe into the change within each of us, in sync with one another.” – Edward Ijeoma, creator behind Breathing Pavilion.

Ekene Ijeoma, Breathing Pavilion (2021) Rendering

Breathing Pavilion will be unveiled on 16th March 2021 and will feature a performance from Grammy-award-winning musician Keyon Harold, who will perform a trumpet solo. The piece performed by Harold will emulate the contemplative nature of Ijeoma’s structure and will be the first performance of many throughout the installation’s duration in Brooklyn.

“As we head into spring, outdoor public spaces remain at the core of our shared experience and Breathing Pavilion will serve as artwork with intention that can bring us together at a time when we must remain physically distanced. This innovative installation stands out as an entirely unique public art project that offers a much-needed moment for reflection after a challenging year. We look forward to sharing this thoughtful new public art project with our community.” – Regina Myer, President of Downtown Brooklyn Partnership.

To find out more about Breathing Pavilion, visit vanalen.org

Header image credits: Ekene Ijeoma, Breathing Pavilion (2021) Rendering

The Photographers Capturing Ireland Through a Queer Lens

Ireland has undergone tumultuous social change in the past three decades. The queer creatives who have come of age during this period are seeking to change the narrative when it comes to documenting LGBTQI lives.

The nineties were punctuated by a slew of queer pop culture moments that are still referenced today for their bolshy, unashamed arrival into the mainstream. KD Lang and Cindy Crawford indulged in a homoerotic barber shop sitting on the cover of Vanity Fair; talk show queen Ellen came out live on TV, and even the soaps, that most pedestrian of pop culture institutions, featured the first gay character and lesbian kiss on Brookside in 1994.

These iconic moments gave the impression that queerness was slowly but surely creeping from the fringes into a suburban sort of conventionality, but real life for LGBTQI people was far from that. In Ireland, still a social conservative country in the hedonistic nineties, homosexuality was only decriminalised in 1993. The Catholic church had an iron grip on many institutions (and indeed, still does) including the public school system and many hospitals.

Conservative and liberal ideology would continue to clash for the next few decades, culminating in the 2015 referendum that brought in same-sex marriage, and the 2018 one that legalised abortion. It was against this backdrop of seismic social change that a generation of queer kids were brought up, sort of as changelings of the Old and New Ireland. Now in their twenties, Gen Z and young Millennial creatives have a particular viewpoint of how they want to document and express the experiences of LGBTQI people.

Donal Talbot, 25, is a model-turned-photographer whose work has featured in publications including i-D and The Face. Most recently his portraits were chosen by Benjamin Wolberg for his latest book, new queer photography, which showcases work from breakout and established queer photographers from around the world.

Home project, photo by Eoin Greally

“My work tends to challenge how we, as a culture, see things like intimacy and queerness, and how those things correlate. There’s a softness and stillness that I try to capture in my portraits that aims to rewrite a narrative about how queer people communicate and interact with each other,” Donal says.

“I find a lot of inspiration from meeting people in gay bars and queer spaces but I’m interested in seeing what happens past that; the still moments of capturing someone after the lights go down in the club, or the day after a party in someone’s house.”

The photographer studied at Ireland’s foremost art school, the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, and it was in his final year that he found his medium.

“For my final project I knew I wanted to do work around queer narratives, but I didn’t have an idea of how to do that. I was in drag going to a boxing ring, then I started to take pictures and realised that was what I like. The project came together in the last two months and it was a portrait series of around ten different LGBT and queer people I had met. I photographed and interviewed them and that springboarded me into the art I make today.”

Eoin Greally is a 23-year-old from rural Ireland who has already carved out an impressive career in fashion and portraiture photography. While back in the family home during lockdown, the young photographer began working piecemeal on a project that has evolved into a cathartic reflection of his own journey as a young queer person. His rural upbringing, once something that he feared, has given him a unique perspective on how he has evolved both creatively and personally.

“At first I didn’t know it was going to be a project, they were images I was simply collecting. It’s a lot of portraiture, and also trying to capture the essence of my home. There’s that idea when people ask, are you going home, or are you going ‘home home’?” he explains.

“Now I’m piecing together the images I have realised there is a huge queer perspective but it’s not the typical gay male perspective from a gay mecca like New York. It’s all about a place I was afraid of growing up. I was in rural Ireland and I was afraid of being queer.”

“I was lucky, I always had support from my family about being queer but it still came with its discomfort. A lot of the focus is on my dad – he’s my favourite person to photograph, but also because he was the only person I was afraid of disappointing by being queer. I never received that sentiment from him, it was totally coming from what I thought I had to be afraid of. This project definitely has helped getting rid of some of that discomfort. It was something I largely put there myself, and now I’ve been able to take it away but it needed time. It’s been a healing project.”

While lockdown has given rise to a lot of creative output, it has also stalled many planned projects and events. 22-year-old photographer and sociology student Niamh Barry was on the cusp of launching her exhibition, ‘Queer Hearts of Dublin’ last October until yet another lockdown was announced. The exhibition is a range of portraits of queer people Niamh met mostly through a casting call on Instagram, with the aim of documenting as diverse a group as possible; “It was about reconnecting to my queer community but also so that people knew it wasn’t just a white male perspective (of queerness). The image is different to what people think. I wanted to collaborate with people who wanted to tell their story but it was also intersectional- it was a new narrative but yet one that’s always been there,” she says.

“I reached out people on Instagram and that’s how I met one of my subjects, Mimi. Her story was really interesting. She is a black queer woman and hearing her experience was amazing. She’s two years younger than me but so confident; I was almost surprised by her confidence in those moments because at the same time she was telling how hard it was to grow up where she lives, which is a small country town, very inward looking.”

“She told what it’s like growing up as a black woman in Ireland and what it’s like to not really have representation, especially also being queer. That experience made me realise that this type of story is not being told in Ireland.”

The resulting portraits are intimate and raw, quietly communicating what it means to be queer and young and living in Ireland at this moment in time. It’s a sentiment that Eoin echoes when considering his next chapter in his work.

Home project, photo by Eoin Greally

“I have realised my privilege within the queer community – I am a white, queer, cis gay male. I don’t by any means think that’s a bad thing but being a photographer gives me an opportunity to uplift other sides of the queer community that didn’t always get the limelight.

“What’s important to me now is focussing on the groups in the queer community that don’t always get the opportunity to speak. It’s still a work in progress, but that’s what I want to dedicate my time to now.”

Header image credits: Ming and their significant other Aisling, photographed by Niamh Barry

International Women’s Day: Female Voices of Latin América

In celebration of International Women’s Month, the digital art exhibition site: Vortic is set to host the first iteration of Female Voices of Latin América. This will showcase the work of over 150 living female artists from across the region, with 19 countries being represented across the board. The exhibition will be shown at over 60 galleries and institutions and will be launched on 8th March, the official date of International Women’s Day.

For so long, Latin-American artists have gone underrepresented in the art world nationally, with only a few names being highlighted. This exhibition aims to bring these artists to the forefront across generations, with artwork that spans from 1968 to the present day. Works from established artists like Liliana Porter and Adriana Varejão will be honoured alongside newer generation talent such as Sofía Clausse, Patricia Domínguez, and Nohemí Pérez.

“Madres adolescents”, 1988-1990 by Adriana Lestido. Silver gelatin print on fibre paper. Courtesy of the Artist and Rolf Art Gallery.

Galleries that will be participating include Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogotá, Museo Tamayo and Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo amongst a plethora of others established institutions. The initiative is all encompassing and will allow for collaboration and an exchange of ideas between galleries, whilst also exposing viewers to a range of diverse and talented Latin American artists.

“Sobre Isaacs”, 1989 by Karen Lamassonne. Acrylic on paper (116 x 85cm). Courtesy of the artist and Instituto de Visión.

“We have grown tired of not seeing female artists from Latin America receive the recognition they deserve in their own lifetime. As a platform, Voices of Latin America plays a well-deserved tribute to those with a remarkable artistic trajectory as well as promoting the current and next generation of artists. This presentation has been made possible by working hand in hand with the galleries, museums and non-profits in and out of Latin America that have contributed to develop the expanding arts scene. The future of our industry will rely on exchange, mutual support and collaboration. Through meaningful and memorable initiatives like this one, we aim to contribute to the art landscape in an impactful way”. – Elena Saraceni, Curatorial Director, Voices of Latin América and Special Projects
Consultant at Vortic

These shows will be hosted on the Vortic website, where they maintain efforts to support galleries and institutions by using cutting-edge technology to provide an immersive digital and physical experience of viewing art. The exhibition will be available to view from March 8th to May 2nd, 2021. Visit vortic.art

Header image credits: “Beatriz y Chelle en cuarentena” by Bernadette Despujols. Oil on canvas (39.4 x 29.9 inch). Courtesy of the artist.

‘Automatiste’: An AI x Art Collaboration Presented by Ania Catherine and Dejha Ti

Award-winning, LA-based art, and tech duo Ania Catherine and Dejha Ti have collaborated with Chinese gender-neutral luxury brand Mithridate to create Automatiste. The multimedia showcase will be part of Mithridate’s SS21 presentation at London Fashion Week on 22nd February 2021. This marks the second collaboration between the brand and the duo after their 35-minute immersive performance instillation “I’d rather be in a dark silence than” (2020) at London’s Serpentine Galleries.

Automatiste takes root in the French adjective which describes the Surrealist Automatism, a method of art making which suppresses the conscious mind, allowing the unconscious mind to have great control. The piece will work to provide viewers globally with an immersive experience, with portals that explore the richness, danger, beauty, and raw nature of the subconscious. The production will weave through the digital world through the AI integration, used to represent the chance operations and inner-workings of the mind.

The art piece is a full production incorporating performance art, interactive film, augmented reality, poetry, and web design amongst a plethora of other forms of media. The team is spread across countries and cities, including LA, Shanghai, Istanbul, London, Washington DC, Baltimore and Rome.  

Ania Catherine and Dejha Ti commented, “We cherish being trusted so fully by Mithridate, and that trust is bleeding into the rest of our phenomenal team, who are all pushing the boundaries with their own contributions to make an experience that we all believe will mark a new chapter in the history of fashion, art, and technology. We want to show that digital-only doesn’t need to mean second rate and everyone shouldn’t be sitting around waiting for the ‘real thing’ to happen again. This is the real thing. It’s thrilling to us that anyone with internet access can take this journey with us, share digital space and be introduced to Mithridate’s collection through our art.”

Other featured artists include musician Tony Cruise, XR artist Aaron XR artist Aaron Jablonski, 3D artist Curry Tian, and Immersive Kind Studios. The amalgamation of some of the most advanced technology used in fashion to date, and the raw artistic energy: Automatiste is a showcase that utilises the power of technology as a means to an end, and not an end in itself.

To view the boundary-pushing work, visit automatiste.mithridate.uk

Karon Davis: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

1969. A Chicago courtroom. Political activist and author Bobby Seale is on trial as part of the Chicago 8, a group of seven defendants charged by the United States federal government with conspiracy, crossing state lines with intent to incite a riot, and other crimes relating to the anti-Vietnam war efforts. During the trial, federal judge Julius Hoffman orders for Bobby Seale to be physically gagged. The episode was not photographed, however the court sketches leave a scathing mark etched into the memory of anyone that lays their eyes on them. This image was burrowed deeply in artist Karon Davis psyche, leaving a haunting scar as a reminder of the historical violence against black bodies in America.

Karon Davis’ No Good Deed Goes Unpunished is direct reference to the pillory of the Black Panther Party by the government and the relentless harassment they received. During the 1960s, the public were cajoled into believing damaging and skewed ideologies about the party and their place in the community. Davis’ uses her work to take back that power, presenting the reality in a raw and unfiltered manner. Her own connection to the Chicago 8 case intensifies the impact of the sculpture, as one of her father’s first acting jobs was reading out Bobby Seale’s transcript.

The frozen tableau sculpture is a haunting image, as Davis used life casts of friends and family with casts of her own body parts, with sections missing to emphasis the ghostly nature. The mummified sculpted bags of groceries which sit in front of the tableau are representative of the Black Panther party’s free food programme which was for the black community in Oakland, California; Karon describes these bags as a “garden of golden fruit”.

Davis’ work strives to catch the “in-between” state which captures the soul. Much of her work presents black bodies and their stories – the joy, the trauma, the complexities. The brokenness of the work and the missing pieces, are a reference to the internal brokenness of the black victims of police brutality and violence. Although this trial took place decades ago, the reality of the discrimination and disenfranchisement of black people in America is still rampant.

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished is Karon Davis’s first solo exhibition in New York. The show will be available for viewing from March 6th – April 24th 2021. To find out more about the exhibition, visit Deitch.com

Nokukhanya Langa: “Baby, I’m not even here. I’m a hallucination.”

Presented by Ballon Rouge: Nokukhanya Langa “Baby, I’m not even here. I’m a hallucination” is an exhibition and experience in one; it showcases the emotional state of being, both the imaginary and the tangible.

Nokukhanya Langa was born in 1991, Maryland, USA and currently lives and works in Groningen, Netherlands, and Ghent, Belgium. The majority of her work resides in painting, with abstract themes explored within her distinct and vibrant artwork. She also explores repetitive patterns, symbols, and letters akin to graffiti tagging, which allows her work to exist between different planes – sophisticated and grounded.

Nokukhanya’s work is framed by her use of subversive language and artwork with different mediums and textures, which pulls from layers of private histories, political and cultural undertones, and allegories.    

Layered with hidden meanings and tongue-in-cheek references that are littered throughout, her work points to various political expressions. Her use of colloquial, everyday terms plays on humorous elements, which heightens the personal connection within her work; it is unapologetically her. This presentation of her work and her use of approachable language makes room for the artwork to convey subtle subtext, forming a “hallucinatory reality” (Ballon Rouge).

The exhibition will be live from February 25th – March 27th 2021.

For more information, visit BallonRougeCollective.com

Jadé Fadojutimi – ‘Jesture’

Presented by Pippy Houndslow Gallery: ‘Jesture’ features a collection of artwork by London-based artist Jadé Fadojutimi. The artwork has been sourced from Fadojutimi’s 2020 repertoire, with much of the work featured in her solo exhibition last October; this her first published book. The publication also comes with a text by editor-at-large at frieze magazine: Jennifer Higgie, titled ‘From Life – Thoughts on the paintings of Jadé Fadojutimi’.

Fadojutimi work touches on a variety of subject matters, exhibiting the absurd in the disruption of the norm, through the jarring quarantines and lockdowns. Much of her work also tackles questions around identity and the fluidity that resides within it and the power and pleasure of nostalgia. Fadojutimi is known for using the soundtracks from films, animation, and video games to transport her to different places in her mind, which she then captures in her work

‘Globules of paint erupt like buds from the ground. These pictures seem like a garden in spring or a choppy sea; at times, the mood is so exuberant that it appears to be on the brink of exploding. Colours pulse like a bass line given centre stage. It’s clear: paint is an organic substance, as replete with possibility as newly composted earth.’ – Jennifer Higgie

Her work is layered with oil paints and pastels which creates textures that exist allow the work to exist in an artistic limbo – neither abstract nor literal. This level of depth draws audiences to her work, alongside the vibrant colours and patterns.

Jadé Fadojutimi: Jesture is co-published by Pippy Houldsworth Gallery and Anomie Publishing.

It may be ordered from WaterstonesAmazonCasemate UK, and Casemate US.

Whitechapel Gallery Art Icon 2021: Yinka Shonibare CBE RA

World-renowned artist Yinka Shonibare is to be presented with the Art Icon award, supported by the Swarovski foundation. Shonibare is one of eight artists who have received this award since its inception in 2003. This prestigious honouring will take place on 22nd March 2021 in a virtual gala celebration, and will be hosted by the director of Whitechapel Gallery: Iwona Blazwick OBE.

Yinka Shonibare is a name that instantly recognised worldwide. His work explores a range of subject matters: from race, colonialism and class systems. Born in 1962 in London, he moved to Lagos, Nigeria at the age of three and returned to the UK to study Fine Art, first at Byam School of Art (now Central Saint Martins College) and then at Goldsmiths College.

His signature medium is Dutch wax batik fabric, a material inspired by Indonesian designs, manufactured in Holland and appropriated by West Africans colonies. This fabric is woven by Shonibare into intricate and eye-catching artwork that questions identity, both contemporary culture and nationalism in relation to globalisation. Shonibare was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2004, and his work Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle, was the 2010 Fourth Plinth Commission in Trafalgar Square. It is now on permanent display at The National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.

Iwona Blazwick said: “Yinka Shonibare is a truly exceptional artist and is an exemplary Art Icon. His vividly clothed figurative sculptures, the Hogarthian scenarios he creates as installations and photographs, and his beautiful films celebrate African culture while exposing the legacies of race and empire. Globally celebrated Shonibare also supports younger generations of artists in Britain and Africa; both his artistic legacy and his charitable initiatives will resonate for years to come.”

The ceremony will be graced with a musical performance by four-time Grammy award winner Angélique Kidjo, amongst other live performances throughout the night. Artwork donated from leaded contemporary artists will be put up for auction, and the proceeds will go towards Whitechapel’s programme which continues to support the youth programme and educational activities. Whitechapel’s Youth Programme has helped to support and empower 4,000 artists the ability to explore contemporary art and meet creative professionals.

The event committee will include the likes of Aki Abiola, Sir David Adjaye, and Nadja Swarovski, amongst a plethora of other high profile attendees.

Nadja Swarovski commented: “The Swarovski Foundation is delighted to continue its support of the Whitechapel Gallery and the Art Icon award, which this year honours an artist who has made an outstanding contribution to our cultural life. Yinka Shonibare’s work is strikingly beautiful and exerts a profound emotional power whilst exploring issues such as race, power and identity. Through his charitable programmes, Shonibare’s support of the next generation of artists and to cultural exchange have been equally impactful.”

Visit Whitechapelgallery.org to find out more.

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