THE ART & CULTURE MAGAZINE
Issue 100 April / May 2021
FORGING NEW PATHWAYS
THE STORY OF AESTHETICA
Buildings that incorporate nature into the blueprints pave the way forwards
Examining the ways lighting has developed over the last century
Chinese trailblazers are changing the definition of successful design
Reflecting upon 100 editions through a survey of groundbreaking artworks
UK £5.95 Europe €11.95 USA $15.49
Welcome Editor’s Note
On the Cover Kriss Munsya was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and was then raised in Brussels. Nestled within this Euro-centric community, he was confronted with his “differences” by other individuals. The Eraser photography series translates the concurrent experience of disassociation, providing an alluring reflection upon internalised structures (p. 98). Cover Image: Kriss Munsya, from The Eraser (2020). Courtesy of the artist.
The past 12 months have been filled with a lot of noise. This pandemic has rocked us to the core. I’ve been experiencing a strange sense of nostalgia towards the first lockdown a year ago. I look at photos of the small things: the pet rocks we painted; visiting the “fun trees” near my house. It’s oddly comforting. We have all been changed by this experience, but there are some positive things to take away, such as the support for independents – films, arts, music, retail, coffee – you name it. I feel, now more than ever, that we need to spend time with and invest in independent culture. This moves me on to the fact that this is a special edition of Aesthetica Magazine. We are 100 issues old, marking 18 years of the publication. Inside this issue we are celebrating this momentous milestone. You’ll find a feature from me about how we set up this magazine in a small northern city in England – how it has grown to become one of the world’s leading voices in contemporary art. We also have a spread of some of our favourite photographs over the years, accompanied by text about what makes each image so successful. The other features in this issue exemplify the spirit of independence. We speak with curators worldwide including Cindi Strauss, Curator of Decorative Arts, Crafts and Design at Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and Sarah Schleuning, Curator of Decorative Arts and Design at the Dallas Museum of Art, for the show Electrifying Design: A Century of Lighting, which takes its starting point from the invention of the first electric light by British chemist Humphry Davy in 1808. Lighting technology has fascinated engineers, scientists, architects and designers globally, and has inspired periods of extensive creative expression. Living in Nature, a new monograph published by Phaidon, considers the role that the organic world plays in contemporary architecture. Finally, be inspired with the photographers in Issue 100 – from fine art to experimental, there is a life-force of innovation and idea generation on each and every page. Thank you for being part of Aesthetica – supporting independent print and our talented artists. Cherie Federico
Art 14 News Coverage includes a seminal Barbara Hepworth retrospective as well as a timely exhibition that taps into the accelerating theories of flat-Earthers.
20 10 to See Moving into the spring season, key shows explore the development of visual culture, from post-war magazine publishing to the influence of AI.
24 Symbiotic Architecture Around four billion people live in urban areas, a figure set only to grow. The only way forward is to welcome the environment into the blueprints.
30 Playful Geometry Michael Oliver Love's style is focused on shapes. Bodies play within concentric red circles; ridged lines mark the slip faces of yellow sand dunes.
40 Spatial Minimalism Japanese minimalism advocates using only what is essential, favouring neutral tones and natural materials. Studio Nendo builds on this ethos.
46 Obscure Portraiture Alma Haser’s puzzle-piece portraits negotiate the real and the manufactured. These unsettling images provide disruptions of the human form.
56 Forging New Pathways China’s most forward-thinking architects are repurposing structures to offer a new landscape that is both culturally resonant and sustainable.
62 Fleeting Moments Alex Mitchell investigates Surrealism through the lens of the everyday, transforming recognisable subjects with staged lighting and rich colours.
72 Breaking New Ground How do you create an original image? How do you captivate the viewer? Find out with some of our favourite photographers from over the years.
92 Pivotal Illumination Electrifying Design is the first large-scale show in the USA to examine international lighting projects and their influence on global domestic living.
98 Identities Transposed Kriss Munsya's The Eraser series translates the experience of disassociation, providing a critical reflection upon deep-set internalised structures.
108 The Story of Aesthetica Our editor reflects upon the last 100 issues – how the publication has grown to become one of the world's leading magazines in contemporary art.
Aesthetica Art Prize
114 The 2021 Shortlist 20 artists push the boundaries of genre, tapping into the climate crisis, the acceleration of posttruth narratives and the 2016 EU referendum.
122 Spotlight on New Talent Reaching the goal of gender equality in cinema may still seem a way off, but the community of female voices is growing louder by the day.
124 American Nostalgia Glüme, aka LA native Molly Keck, describes herself as a “Walmart Marilyn.” Hers is a world of glitter and grime; crushed velvet and lipstick.
126 A Lavish Compendium Cig Harvey's latest monograph, Blue Violet, is a cacophony of nature, colour, smell and taste – a sombre yet contemplative view of life cycles.
138 Featured Practitioners This edition’s artists are using colour, light and texture to explore the past, whilst considering the future living amidst a rapidly evolving landscape.
146 Robert Mann The director of Robert Mann gallery discusses a new online show of Chip Hooper, channelling the influence of Ansel Adams and Edward Weston.
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The Aesthetica Team: Editor: Cherie Federico Associate Editor: Kate Simpson Digital Content Writer: Eleanor Sutherland Digital Assistant: Saffron Ward
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Installation view of The Montafon Letter, 2017; When first I raised the tempest, 2016; and Sunset, 2015. Chalk on blackboard. Dimensions variable. © Tacita Dean. Photo: Ron Amstutz. Courtesy: the artist, Frith Street Gallery, London and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York / Paris.
Multi-Layered Narratives TACITA DEAN In a 2018 interview with Royal Academy, Tacita Dean (b. setting and the murkiness of photographic negatives. The “The process of erasure 1965) stated that she “didn’t care about the long run, caring process of erasure and punctuation innate to the medium and punctuation only about now.” Dean is a British European artist born in are in dialogue with the scene and the indecipherable text innate to the medium Canterbury, currently living and working between Berlin and peeking through the many layers of chalk. There is also a are in dialogue with Los Angeles (where she was the Artist in Residence at the performative element at play: the artist adjusts the works with the scene and the indecipherable text Getty Research Institute from 2014 to 2015). She is perhaps each installation, changing words and modifying shading.” Dean began working on Sunset (2015) after moving to Los peeking through one of the best-known female artists of her time – a nominee for the Turner Prize in 1998, winner of the Hugo Boss Prize Angeles in 2014. Shrouded in thick cloud, the sunset manag- the many layers in 2006, and a Royal Academy of Arts electee – exploring a es to be both still and moving – impending darkness looms. of chalk. There sense of history, time and place, as well as the quality of light The motif is inspired by the California sky and recalls the is a performative work of Romantic-era British landscape painter John Consta- element at play.” and the tangible essence of analogue film reels. Dean works across 16mm film, photogravure, sound in- ble. When first I raised the tempest (2016) takes its title from stallation, gouache, artist books and found objects, with an Act Five in Shakespeare’s The Tempest, in which Prospero reimpressive portfolio that transcends categorisation by genre, sponds to the spirit Ariel: "I did say so, when first I raised the medium or interpretation. Glenstone Museum, Maryland, tempest. Say, my spirit, how fares the king and ’s followers?" Lightning strikes through the dark, ominous clouds; their opens an installation comprising three monumental chalkboard works – Sunset (2015), When first I raised the tempest forms conjure the supernatural storm and subsequent (2016) and The Montafon Letter (2017). Affixed to the pre-cast shipwreck at the heart of the play. Spanning 32 feet, the work concrete walls of the pavilion, these large-scale, multi-panel is Dean’s widest blackboard drawing to date. The title of The chalk-on-blackboard drawings create a panoramic effect as Montafon Letter (2017) alludes to a series of 17th century visitors descend into the gallery space. avalanches in the mountainous Montafon valley of Austria, Glenstone Museum, Glenstone comments: “These drawings operate between the from which one priest miraculously survived. Maryland didactic and the sublime, depicting – amongst other things The scale of these works, alongside their allusions to both Opens 6 May – the sea, sky, ships and rocks. Executed on Victorian-era tangible and images landscapes, places the viewer at the chalkboards, the works manage to evoke both a classroom centre of a dramatic and multi-layered historical narrative. glenstone.org
Spanning the Climate Crisis RISING TIDE lands-based Kadir van Lohuizen (b. 1963) – works that ex- “What is often amine the consequences of rising sea levels caused by the forgotten is that climate crisis, through photography, video footage, drone before seas flood land images and sound work. The pieces range from Greenland permanently, the to Bangladesh; Miami to New York, documenting the fine sea water intrudes lines – both literally and figuratively – between land and sea, much earlier at high the present and the future. Lohuizen notes: “In my reportage tides, thus making I have tried to provide globally balanced coverage. I trav- once-fertile land elled to Kiribati, Fiji, the Carteret Atoll in Papua New Guinea, no longer viable for Bangladesh, the Guna Yala coastline in Panama, the United crops, and drinking Kingdom and the United States. In these different regions, I water brackish and not only looked at the areas that are, or will be, affected, but undrinkable.” also where people will likely have to relocate to.” He continues: “What is often forgotten is that before seas flood land permanently, the sea water intrudes much earlier at high tides, thus making once-fertile land no longer viable for crops, and drinking water brackish and undrinkable. Coastal erosion, inundation, worse and more frequent coastal surges and contamination of drinking water mean increasingly that people have to flee their homes and lands in a growing number of locales across the world. Almost no one with whom I have spoken wants to move; they simply have no MCNY, New York other choice as conditions worsen.” As we look ahead to the Opens 16 April agreements sent out this November, this show is undoubtedly an important part of the climate conversation. mcny.org
Kadir van Lohuizen, Greenland (2018). © Kadir van Lohuizen / NOOR.
The ocean is vast, covering 140 million square miles, equivalent to 72 per cent of the Earth’s surface. According to the UN, more than 600 million people (around 10 per cent of the world’s population) live in coastal areas that are less than 10 metres above sea level. Nearly 2.4 billion people (about 40 per cent of the population) live within 100 km of the coast. Regardless of whether you live close to or far away from the coast, marine life (particularly its biodiversity) affects every living thing. From the economy (ocean ecosystems are estimated at $3-6 trillion per year) to health, sustenance and nutrition, right through to available land (the number of displaced individuals is thought to rise to 1.2 billion people by 2050), the issue is intrinsic to the human experience. As we approach 1.5°C of warming (and more realistically beyond, with COP26 meeting in November this year to discuss the parameters laid out in the 2016 Paris Agreement and goals for net zero emissions), the planet begins to tip over into irrevocable change – feedback loops of collapse and destruction. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, by 2100, global mean sea level rise is projected to be around a 10th of a metre lower at 1.5°C as opposed to 2.0°C. Just 10 per cent of a metre puts a further10 million people at risk from the related effects. Rising Tide, on view at the Museum of the City of New York, brings together a collection of photographs from Nether-
Barbara Hepworth with the Gift plaster of Figure for Landscape and a bronze cast of Figure (Archaean) November 1964. Photo: Lucien Myers.
The Shape of Inspiration BARBARA HEPWORTH: ART AND LIFE “Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975) is one of the most impor- Moving on chronologically, a large section considers Hep- “Audiences can see tant artists of the 1900s, with a unique artistic vision that worth’s development of abstraction in the 1930s, including how Hepworth was demands to be looked at in-depth. Deeply spiritual and Three Forms (1935), created shortly after she gave birth to a proponent of direct passionately engaged with political, social and technologi- triplets, an event she felt invigorated her work towards a carving, combining cal debates in the 20th century, Hepworth was obsessed with bolder language of geometric form. The show then takes an astute sensitivity to how the physical encounter with sculpture could impact the various pathways into the 1950s and 1960s, before later the organic materials work inspired by space exploration and Neil Armstrong’s first of wood and stone, viewer and alter their perception of the world.” Eleanor Clayton is a curator at The Hepworth Wakefield steps on the moon – a hinge-point for the artist. Hepworth fa- with the development and a Hepworth specialist. She is the editor and contributing mously noted: “Man’s discovery of flight radically altered the of a radically new and abstracted editor of Howard Hodgkin: Painting India, (2017) Lee Miller shape of our sculptures, just as it has altered our thinking.” The show will be a huge event in the artistic calendar, with formal language.” and Surrealism in Britain (2018) and author of Viviane Sassen: Hot Mirror (2018). Her latest title, Barbara Hepworth: Art & Barbara Hepworth retrospectives famously bringing in hunLife (Thames & Hudson, May 2021) coincides with the major dreds of thousands of viewers (the Kröller-Müller Museum in exhibition, charting work from the 1920s to the early 1970s. Otterlo, Netherlands, reported a gallery record of 113,275 The exhibition opens with an introduction to the artist, visitors in 2016). Further to this, pre-pandemic, the Yorkshire showing the three key sculptural forms she returned to re- Sculpture Triangle (comprising The Hepworth, Henry Moore peatedly through a variety of different materials – from Institute, Leeds Art Gallery and Yorkshire Sculpture Park) had bronze casting and gray alabaster to marble, silver, Burmese begun to report record numbers also, bringing more than wood and limestone. A detailed look at Hepworth’s child- one million visitors between April 2017 and March 2018, hood in Yorkshire also includes some of her earliest known and over one million to the 2019 Yorkshire Sculpture Interpaintings, carvings and life drawings as she began to explore national (June-September). This is an unmissable exhibition the human form. Here, audiences can see how Hepworth was – for Hepworth fans and both Yorkshire and non-Yorkshire- The Hepworth, Wakefield a proponent of direct carving, combining an acute sensitivity based attendees. This is an exhibition which viewers from 21 May - 27 February to the organic materials of wood and stone, with the devel- every region (restrictions permitting) should have a chance opment of a radically new and abstracted formal language. to view and enjoy, with dates stretching well until 2022. hepworthwakefield.org
Rethinking Innovation GERMAN DESIGN 1949 – 1989: TWO COUNTRIES, ONE HISTORY one of them, but it provides an especially fascinating case “Viewers will of ‘double history’ with its western neighbour, the Federal undoubtedly Republic of Germany (FRG, West). Here, we’re looking at two recognise iconic opposing political systems of socialism and capitalism, yet objects. I hope this the same language and culture, and the same toolbox of show reframes their design principles and approach from pre-war modernism, as understanding of well as the same dark legacy of fascism and destruction to German design, but overcome. There’s generally an interest in finding out more beyond this, I hope about these material possessions, as they are reminders of some of the objects a culture to which they are inherently linked. Yet the exhibi- might even shift tion isn’t just about the East, it’s about including it within the their idea of what bigger story of German design, of which it is inevitably a part.” design is today.” The museum presents over 250 items, ranging from iconic pieces of furniture and lamps to graphic, industrial and interior design, right through to fashions, textiles and assorted personal ornaments. Key practitioners include Klaus Kunis, Dieter Rams, Erich Menzel and Ernst Moeckl. In a tumultuous year, defined by shifting politics in the global east and west, the curatorial team hopes that this show encourages visitors to leave clichés behind. Pinner concludes: “Depending on where they grew up – whether it’s East or West Germany, or Vitra Design Museum, somewhere else – viewers will undoubtedly recognise iconic Weil am Rhein design objects. I hope this show reframes their understand- Until 5 September ing of German design, but beyond this, I hope some of the objects might even shift their idea of what design is today.” design-museum.de
Foyer of the Palast der Republik, Berlin, 7 July 1977. (Architecture: Heinz Graffander) © ddrbildarchiv.de / Manfred Uhlenhu.
“It has been over 30 years since German Reunification, yet the two sides of the country have still not truly merged. The same essentially goes for the telling of German design history – they’re mostly kept separate. With the exception of the main protagonists of post-war modernism such as Dieter Rams, Hans Gugelot, and others centered around the Ulm School of Design (HfG Ulm), many accounts of German design generally lose traction after the 1940s, whilst many others diminish or omit the East German position altogether. We wanted to pick up where such narratives leave off, filling in the blanks of design history in a divided Germany by reintroducing forgotten – or virtually unknown – design practitioners from both East and West and situating them within the canon. We’re in a place as a society (and as institutions) where the re-telling of history to include more of its participants is not just important, but imperative.” Vitra Design Museum’s latest show, German Design 1949– 1989: Two Countries, One History, breaks with simplistic stereotypes and presents a differentiated view of design from the two sides, exploring ideological and aesthetic differences as well as parallels and interrelations across the landscape. Vitra Design Museum's Curator Erika Pinner continues: “In the last 15 years, there has been a growing interest in the private life and material culture of countries in the Eastern Bloc. The German Democratic Republic (GDR, East) is only
Heinz Mack, Licht-Architektur (Modell für eine schwimmende Forschungsstation in der Arktis), Grönland/Arktis, 1976 Courtesy Archiv Atelier Heinz Mack © Heinz Mack/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, 2021. Fotografie: Thomas Höpker.
A Trailblazing Light Artist HEINZ MACK ZERO was an artist group founded in Düsseldorf by Heinz Mack (b. 1931) and Otto Piene (1928-2014) – described as a “zone of silence and pure possibilities of a new beginning.” The collective was formed in 1957, in reaction to the European movements of Tachisme (non-geometric abstract art characterised by spontaneous brushwork, drips and scribble marks) or Art Informel (gestural abstract painting). ZERO was concerned with the development of kinetic art – making use of light primarily, as well as space and motion – de-emphasising the role of the artist, looking to viewer participation. Kunstpalast celebrates the 90th birthday of Heinz Mack, illuminating the innovative and revolutionary spirit with which Mack unlocked “new spheres of thinking and working outside academic requisites.” The selection includes around 100 works tracing key stages in Mack’s career, such as his studies at the Academy of Art Düsseldorf, the ZERO period, as well as seminal light-based environmental art, which has since influenced numerous high-profile practitioners the world over. Many of the pieces demonstrate Mack’s strong interest in exploring “pure light” in “unspoiled” areas, especially in the vastness of the African and Arabian desert, and in the perpetual ice of the arctic. In a 2017 interview with The Art Newspaper, Mack noted: “The landscape should be free, clean, untouched – it should be just nature in a very pure way.” This can be seen in the Sahara Project – installations of “artificial
gardens” in the desert, including wing-reliefs, cubes, mirrors, “There is a kind of sails, banners and monumental light-stelae. utopian quality to There is a kind of utopian quality to Mack’s work in this way, Mack's work, with with mirrored platforms and blocks protruding from sand mirrored platforms dunes or bodies of water. Some of the images on show at and blocks protruding Kunstpalast will look uncannily similar to the strange metal from sand dunes or monoliths that began materialising in 2020: beginning in bodies of water. Some Texas and moving through to California, Romania, the Isle of of the images at Kunstpalast will look Wight and the Netherlands, amongst other locations. Licht Architektur (1976) for example, includes reflective uncannily similar cubes surfacing from the water, like a city resting on a lone to 2020's strange glacier. The piece is part of a series installed in the arctic. metal monoliths.” In the 1970s, Mack became intrigued by plexiglas-bodies, light-flowers, prismatic pyramids, ice crystals and fire-rafts. These works were documented in Expedition into Artificial Gardens, which Mack issued with Thomas Höpker (b. 1936). Other projects on show include Heinz Mack with Silver Foil in The Field of Sand Dunes – Sahara, which depicts the artist waving a reel of foil on an open plane, letting the light reflect and refract off the surface. Mack resembles an abandoned cosmonaut. Images like this also feel incredibly timely, especially considering the Perseverance landing on Mars on Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf 18 February – the location point now named after science Until 30 May fiction writer Octavia E. Butler, who wrote: “Mars is a rock – cold, empty, almost airless, dead. Yet it’s a heaven in a way.” kunstpalast.de
Living on a Post-Truth Planet PHILIPPE BRAQUENIER
Philippe Braquenier (BELGIUM, B. 1985) The Planes Help to Prove the Plane, 2018. Chromogenic print, mounted, aluminium frame with sandblasted UV glass. 100 x 125 cm. Edition of 3 plus 1 artist's proof.
“From high altitudes, or even from space, the true shape of the century’s most extreme conspiracy theorists, Samuel Birley “With the coronavrius, Earth can easily be seen. Its dimensions can be measured; its Rowbotham. The work explores communities who believe conspiracy theories radius of curvature in all directions can be calculated; the im- continents float on an endless ocean: the North Pole at the have gained even more strength. These perfections and departures from sphericity are directly ob- centre of the Earth, the sun and moon above the Earth. servable by our instruments. If you travel far enough away Jasper Bode, Director and Founder of Ravestijn, notes: have lead people to from Earth, you can observe an entire hemisphere at once, “Conspiracy theories are increasingly popular thanks to believe that they are even watching the planet rotate on its axis in real time. social media. With the coronavirus, conspiracy theories in possession of a “At right around 12,700 kilometers (7,900 miles) in diam- have gained even more strength. These have lead people to secret that the alleter, our world is undoubtedly a sphere. Of course, it actually believe that they are in possession of a secret that the all- powerful want to is quite round: a near-perfect sphere, to better than 99% pre- powerful want to hide – and that the rest of the world is just hide – and that the cision. If you leave Earth’s surface, it’s impossible not to see too blind to see. It is interesting to see how conspiracists mix rest of the world is the true shape of the Earth, as it›s been unavoidable since we knowledge and supposition, science and belief, fact and fic- just to blind to see.” first travelled high enough to observe our planet’s curvature.” tion, to take only what serves their purpose, even if it means (Ethan Siegel, Five Impossible Facts That Would Have to Be contradicting themselves. In an era of post-truth, this project True if the Earth Were Flat, Forbes, 24 November 2017). Even poses a reflection on the conspiratorial power of images.” still, there’s an increasing number of “flat-Earth” believers Featured images centre around light, gravity, reflections – those who think the Earth exists as a disk, drawing on beliefs and rotations, as well as propaganda vans, star trails, experifrom classical Greece, and the Bronze and Iron Ages. ments in buoyancy and density, and rocket launches. The Philippe Braquenier (b. 1985) is a Belgian photographer image below, Planes Help to Prove the Plane (2018), depicts fascinated by knowledge; intrigued by how it is collected, pale pink corrugated iron suspended amongst a near-barren used, shared and stored. Braquenier’s practice encourages forest. A deep blue sky contains silvery strands stretching Ravestijn Gallery, discourse about humanity’s obsession to deal with informa- upwards, seducing the viewer through its science. Bode con- Amsterdam tion – especially when data is becoming ever more omni- cludes: “You could describe Braquenier’s work as aestheti- Until 10 April present, yet all the more unseen. His latest series, Earth not cally pleasing documentary – that helps the audience to a globe, is named after a volume written by one of the 19th question conspiracy mechanisms at work in society today.” theravestijngallery.com
10 to See RECOMMENDED EXHIBITIONS THIS SEASON
Moving into the spring season, key shows and events consider the essential role that natural ecosystems play on our rapidly changing and warming planet. Elsewhere, galleries examine the development of visual culture – through the lens of post-WWII publishing and the AI age.
Wisdom and Nature Christie's, Online | 6-27 April
christies.com 2021 is a momentous year for the environment. The 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties takes place this November in Glasgow – a summit to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement. The Le Ciel Foundation is built on the belief that the crisis has been caused by a systemic separation between the material and spiritual. Christie’s London hosts a fundraising exhibition in aid of the foundation, with 49 artists contributing in order to protect and integrate ancestral indigenous knowledge into the ecosystems of western society.
Ed Ruscha: OKLA
Borealis – Life in the Woods
Online | Until 2 May
festival-circulations.com Since its inception in 2011, Circulation(s) Festival has showcased the work of over 382 artists and attracted over 300,000 visitors. It is a hub of creative talent from across Europe, providing a stepping-stone for artists to interact, collaborate and present their work to thousands of attendees through various platforms and strands. This year, the festival goes completely online, promoting meetings between artists and the public across a variety of digital formats. The 2021 programme includes 33 artists across 12 different countries, from Russia to Austria.
Oklahoma Contemporary | Until 5 July
oklahomacontemporary.org “Oklahoma looms large in Ed Ruscha’s work as a source of inspiration from which his unique perspective on America was formed. In 1956, he embarked on the first of many road trips – which he would frequently make reference to in his art. Ruscha has repeatedly been quoted in the years since saying everything he’s done was already part of him when he left Oklahoma at 18; his mythos is tied to Americana and the open road." OKLA includes more than 70 works from Ruscha's prolific 60-year career, exploring the role of the artist's home state.
Fotomuseum Den Haag | Until 3 October
fotomuseumdenhaag.nl/en The Boreal Region forms part of a band of vegetation circling the entire northern hemisphere, boasting an endless expanse of coniferous forests, mires and lakes. Over four years, photographer Jeroen Toirkens (b. 1971) and journalist / broadcaster Jelle Brandt Corstius (b. 1978) visited various locations in the boreal zone, seeking stories from the land and the people who live there. Toirkens’ images bear witness to the region's mythical appeal as well as its complex present-day realities, from conservation efforts on Hokkaido island to Siberian forest fires.
Illusion: The Magic of Motion
MOPA, San Diego | Until 16 May
mopa.org “Our brains can’t see, or hear, or taste. They sit in the dark, making up a world informed by electrical stimuli from our sense organs. The act of perception is an act of prediction, of estimation. What we consciously perceive is our brain’s ‘best guess’ at what the outside world is like.” (Laurence Scott, Picnic Comma Lightning, 2018) MOPA, San Diego, considers the inception of photography through experimentation with light, optics and perception. Key pieces include shadow play and anamorphosis, all highlighting the illusion of motion.
Grief and Grievance New Museum, New York | Until 6 June
newmuseum.org Polls from last summer estimate that between 15 million and 26 people participated in the Black Lives Matter demonstrations in the USA – making the protests the largest in American history. The lessons we have learnt, and are still learning, about systemic racism are immense. New Museum’s Grief and Grievance is an inter-generational exhibition collating 37 artists who address the concepts of mourning, commemoration and loss as a direct response to the emergency of racist violence experienced by Black communities across America.
Format Festival 2021 Derby City Centre & Online | Until 11 April
formatfestival.com Format International Photography Festival is a biennial event held in Derby, UK, founded in 2004. This year's edition heads online, with a dynamic programme of digital curation, talks and portfolio reviews. Key themes for the 2021 exhibitions include Picturing Lockdown: Photography in the Pandemic; Matrix: Fluid Bodies, Unlimited Thoughts; East Meets West; Notes on Distance; Unperson Portraits of North Korean Defectors; and Honesty and Disguise. Mixed reality, performance, images and film explore mass isolation and the concept of home.
Modern Look: Photography and the American Magazine Jewish Museum, New York | Until 11 July
thejewishmuseum.org.uk Both Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue’s early art directors – Alexey Brodovitch and Alexander Liberman – were European émigrés, born in Belarus and Kyiv respectively. These seminal photographers moved to New York in the aftermath of WWII, building careers in magazines through visions of innovation, inclusivity and pragmatism. The Jewish Museum compiles a variety of images, layouts and cover designs for some of America’s best-known publications, considering the photographs that transformed American visual culture from 1930 to 1960.
Hito Steyerl: I Will Survive
Centre Pompidou, Paris | (Check online for new dates)
centrepompidou.fr “In the future, 100% of all humans will die. Access this zone at your own risk and don’t complain later.” So warned Hito Steyerl (b. 1966) when viewers downloaded an augmented reality app for Serpentine’s 2019 exhibition Power Plants (11 April - 6 May). Steyerl’s moving image works often follow this unsettling tone, as well as concerns over militarisation, surveillance migration and the role of media in a globalised world. Her latest show, held at Centre Pompidou, re-imagines the facts of the world in the age of social stimulation technologies.
Artes Mundi Online | Winner Announcements 15 April
artesmundi.org Artes Mundi celebrates artists who engage with social realities and lived experiences. This year’s six nominees (including Carrie Mae Weems, Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, Meiro Koizumi, Prabhakar Pachpute, Firelei Báez and Dineo Seshee Bopape) express diverse global narratives, encouraging meaningful thought on cultural identity, global gentrification and the psychological dimensions of 21st century conflicts. Nigel Prince, Director, notes: “These artists prompt us to critically reflect on what it means to exist in this world, in all its complexity.”
1. Oliver Barnett, Kalandreamer, 2017. Archival print on Hahnemühle Photorag. 130 x 158 cm. Courtesy the artist. 2.© Sofia Yala Rodrigues, Playing with Visual Fragments (2020). Courtesy of Festival circulation(s) 2021. 3. Desert Gravure, 2006. Photogravure. 21 1/4 X 24 3/4 in. (54 x 62.9 cm) Ed. 4/30. Collection of Jordan D. Schnitzer. © Ed Ruscha. Photo courtesy the artist and Gagosian. 4. BOREALIS, Buryatia, Russia, August 2019 – Damage from a forest fire in Siberia © Jeroen Toirkens. 5. Phillip Leonian, Untitled #20 from the series Mini Cine, 1973, printed 2020, inkjet print. Courtesy of Leonian Rosenbaum Charitable Trust. © Leonian Rosenbaum Charitable Trust. 6. Rashid Johnson, Antoine’s Organ, 2016. © Rashid Johnson. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. 7. Brian Griffin, Big Bang. Courtesy of Format Festival. 8. Martin Munkácsi, Woman on Electrical Productions Building, New York Worlds Fair, New York, 1938. Gelatin silver print. F.C. Gundlach Collection, Hamburg. Artwork © Estate of Martin Munkácsi, Courtesy. Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York. 9. Hito Steyerl, Hell Yeah We Fuck Die, 2016 Vue d’installation au LBS West, Münster, 2017 Skulptur Projekte Münster 2017, 10.06 – 01.10.2017. Courtesy: Hito Steyerl, Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York, Esther Schipper Gallery © Photo: Henning Rogge. 10. The Angels of Testimony. Image Credit: Meiro Koizumi, The Angels of Testimony, 2019. Commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation. Courtesy the artist, Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam and MUJIN-TO Production, Tokyo.
Symbiotic Architecture Living in Nature FOUR BILLION PEOPLE LIVE IN URBAN AREAS, A FIGURE SET ONLY TO INCREASE. THE ONLY WAY FORWARD IS TO WELCOME THE ENVIRONMENT INTO THE BLUEPRINTS.
Following on from other titles in Phaidon’s groundbreaking As Covid lockdowns got underway last year, Tove Jansson’s 1972 novel The Summer Book suddenly became relevant Living in series (deserts, water, mountains and more) this new again. Though written by the Moomins creator nearly half a publication includes designs from all over the world, ranging century before, it now reads as a primer for isolation, detailing from the modest to the much more substantial. These are how an elderly artist and her granddaughter whiled away a houses in which the organic world has been the primary summer on a remote Swedish island. “Rereading it now, this consideration, informing decisions about everything from book feels like a survival guide,” noted nature writer Melissa the plot size to the materials, views, carbon footprint and Harrison in The Guardian in April. In July, TED included The geometry within the landscape. Phaidon’s editors note: “These projects take challenging terrains and climates into Summer Book on its list of summer recommendations. The characters in Jansson’s book are alone for much of the account, but they do not aim to tame or colonise nature.” Take Bivouac Luca Pasqualetti, built by Roberto Dini and book, but what comes across isn’t their lack of social contact. Instead, the novel is rich with life, filled with the movement Stefano Girodo, in Morion Ridge, Aosta Valley, Italy, in 2018. of the tides and winds around the lonely summerhouse, or Teetering on a mountain ledge more than 3000 metres above the tiny shoots and mosses that grip onto the barren rocks. sea level, it’s a simple shelter commissioned to popularise The pair become so delicately attuned to the ecosystem that forgotten climbing routes – robust enough to withstand the landscape becomes another character entirely. “Moss is temperatures as low as -20°C, winds up to 200km per hour, terribly frail,” reads one section. “Step on it once and it rises driving rain and hail, and snow. Even so, it’s constructed the next time it rains. The second time, it doesn’t rise back around a metal basement and held in place by guy ropes, up. And the third time you step on moss, it dies. Eider ducks which means it can be removed without leaving a trace. Luciano Giorgi’s Casa Falk, 2008, in Stromboli, Aeolian are the same way – the third time you frighten them up from Islands, has a similar sense of organic luxury, though it’s set their nests, they never come back.” It’s expected, then, to see a Swedish cabin in Phaidon’s in the most uncompromising of places. Wedged between latest title Living in Nature – Johan Sundberg Arkitektur’s dark volcanic cliffs and the Sciara del Fuocco, a blackened Summerhouse Solviken, which was completed in 2018 in lava scar caused by volcanic eruptions down the northern Mölle, Sweden, and described by editors as having “simplicity, flank of Mount Stromboli – one of the world’s most active modesty and wholehearted empathy with its surroundings.” volcanos – it draws on both the environment and the In fact, Living in Nature even includes a series of whimsical existing architecture, quite literally. Casa Falk is modelled triangular cabins inspired by the Moominhouse, set on stilts on the typical, white stucco of local homes. However, it also in the woods in Gjesåsen, Norway, by Espen Surnevik in 2018. once belonged to Swiss artist Hans Falk; when Giorgi was
Luciano Giorgi, Casa Falk, 2008, Stromboli, Aeolian Islands, Italy. Picture credit: Tommaso Sartori.
“In the future, buildings must be able to handle extreme conditions; designs will need to work in cities as well as beautiful and remote locations, unless mutations of Covid push us to flee city centres.”
Previous Page: Roberto Dini and Stefano Girodo, Bivouac Luca Pasqualetti, 2018, Morion Ridge, Aosta Valley, Italy. Picture credit: Stefano Girodo. Left: Luciano Giorgi, Casa Falk, 2008, Stromboli, Aeolian Islands, Italy. Picture credit: Tommaso Sartori.
commissioned to update the building, he restored a fireplace Falk had hewed from concrete and lava stone. Other locally sourced materials are abundant, with black lava-stone from Mount Etna making up the flooring, and other raw ingredients including chestnut wood from Sicilian forests and marble from nearby Carrara. These materials may be local but they’re also magnificent, and the colour scheme is as rich. The upper floors of Casa Falk look out over the sea and the volcano. Dark bronze window frames are designed to interact with the environment, naturally oxidising with time to change colour. The elements here are undeniably powerful, and the architect has given them space. Vandkunsten Architects took a similarly sensitive approach to materials with the Modern Seaweed House in Læsø, Denmark, in 2013. The building is on an island in the sea bay of Kattegat, which is famous for its eelgrass-thatched roofs. Unlike wood, seaweed has always been plentiful there, and it also needs no farming because it simply washes up on the shore. In addition, it’s intrinsically waterproof – a great insulator – and durable, lasting about 150 years. First used by the Vikings, eelgrass is attracting renewed interest amongst architects today. Vandkunsten maximised on this innovative – yet age-old – material by stuffing the eelgrass into string-net bags to create bolsters, which they attached in lengths to the façades and roof of the building. They also packed it into timber crates, placed behind walls and under floors for insulation. Since the house accommodates two families, seaweed’s soundproofing properties were an added bonus. By working in this way, the architects helped ensure the house has a negative carbon impact – that’s to say, the almost exclusive use of organic building
materials, causes the amount of CO2 accumulated within the house to exceed that which was emitted during the production and transportation of those materials. Brazil’s Catuçaba House, designed by Studio MK27 and completed 2016, also uses local resources, in this case partly for practical reasons – the house is built on a steep hillside in a remote corner of São Luíz do Paraitinga, making transportation a little difficult. Instead, the architects excavated soil to create adobe walls and clay tiles for the interiors, keeping the house cool in summer; the side walls made from rammed earth. The bulk of the structure was prefabricated using FSC-certified cross-laminated timber, which was easy to assemble in this tricky location. Catuçaba House also features solar panels, a wind turbine and a rain-collection system – though this means that, like three other projects presented in the book, it’s completely off-grid. In this, the project hints at another, compelling theme in Living with Nature – the need to create houses capable of withstanding extreme conditions. When Rob Mills first designed Ocean House in Lorne, Australia, he wanted to build with timber, for example, but a period of bush fires and changes in planning laws meant he had to use concrete. Meanwhile, the Peruvian Casa Patios, 2018, by Rama Estudio, looks more like the archetypal eco-village – quite literally built into nature, dug into the earth with a greenroof garden on top. The walls are made of bahareque, a material similar to adobe, with straw and soil from the site packed into wood and metal-mesh frames; outer flanking walls supporting the roof are made of heavy stone. “Solid, sheltered, and grounded, Casa Patios is totally in tune with the surrounding landscape,” state Phaidon’s editors.
Roberto Dini and Stefano Girodo, Bivouac Luca Pasqualetti, 2018, Morion Ridge, Aosta Valley, Italy. Picture credit: Adele Muscolino.
These houses have a self-sufficient edge that suggests of its tributaries, the River Loddon. Narula House, completed something a little more radical about design and our in 2020 by John Pardey Architects, sits on a flood plain but conception of nature – Covid has taught us that the future (like the Moomin-inspired cabins) raised on stilts; when the is always uncertain, but the effects of the climate emergency Thames swells, the house remains well above the waters. Though Living in Nature is just as appealing as a coffee table are already with us. Ice is melting everywhere and global sea levels already rising at 3.2mm per year (according to book – filled with glossy pictures – the title quietly proposes National Geographic's current online statistics). Sea levels are a radical new approach to the environment: one that’s built expected to rise between 26cm-82cm by the end of the on mutual respect and sovereignty. It’s an attitude that century, meaning floods will become more likely; hurricanes hasn’t always held sway in the west but, as Jansson’s novel are likely to become stronger and so too are droughts, and suggests, this sentiment has always been there; especially this inevitably means more wildfires. Undoubtedly, everyone in other cultures, with Hinduism (approximately 900 million) will be affected by this destruction, not merely those living and Japanese Shintoism (approximately 90-100 million on the coast (plus knock-on political changes wrought by, individuals) both drawing their deities from the natural world, urging a humble regard for other forms of life. for example, the rapid spike in climate refugees). These beliefs informed the projects of Kazunori Fujimoto, In the future, buildings must be able to handle these conditions; designs will need to work in cities as well as in the architect behind the 2019 House in Ajina in Hiroshima beautiful, remote locations, because – unless new mutations – a place with more reason than most to be wary of human of Covid push us to flee city centres, or depopulate the world hubris. Fujimoto’s house faces the sea but also a torii gate, to an apocalyptic level – more people will be living in towns. a traditional entrance to a Shinto shrine which symbolically In fact, the European Commission expects some 85% of the marks the transition from the mundane to the elevated world’s population to live in urban centres by 2100, meaning sacred. “I thought it was a courtesy to the shrine to face each that the urban population will increase from less than one other with a proper posture,” he says. “I think you need an billion in 1950 to nine billion by the turn of the century. “The attitude of gratitude for being kept in nature – architecture human race has become a species of town and city dwellers, should rationally intervene in the minimum.” Fujimoto’s words echo the titles of both Living in Nature existing in a landscape of paved streets and structures that and The Summer Book, all three suggesting the only route keep the natural world at bay rather than belong to it.” In the next few years, the relationship between humans forward being a decentralisation of humanity. Nature is and local ecosystems won’t be – and can no longer be – an defined as all living things both human and non-human, and afterthought. It’s therefore fitting (even reassuring) that Living it has become evident that, much as we may fight to separate in Nature ends with a project based in Wargrave – a village ourselves from the other, we must integrate into ecosystems near London built around both the River Thames and one in a more responsible way, or they will continue without us.
Right: Kazunori Fujimoto Architect & Associates, House in Ajina, 2019, Hiroshima, Japan. Picture credit: Kazunori Fujimoto.
Words Diane Smyth
Living in Nature: Contemporary Houses in the Natural World is published by Phaidon phaidon.com
Playful Geometry Michael Oliver Love
Shapes have huge cultural value, and are some of the first bits of knowledge we acquire as human beings – helping us to identity and organise visual information. They are defined in broad categories depending on the number and length of edges, from triangles, quadrilaterals and pentagons to more complex sphere-shaped objects like cylinders and cones. Michael Oliver Love lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa. His style is centred on an interest in organic lines and fluidity in nature, tapping into the intriguing flow between forms and the physical connection between landscapes and bodies. Ridged lines mark the slip faces of sand dunes, figures play within concentric circles, and rippling, asymmetrical pools of yellow are painted on walls. Love is also the founder of Pansy Magazine – a publication that dismantles the preconceived categories of masculinity and femininity. pansymag.com | michaeloliverlove.com.
Michael Oliver Love, Rock Solid. Styling: Peter Georgiades Grooming: Sarah Whiteside. Models: Collins Blaise, Seid Mahamat, Aza Mhlana, Avies Newton & Osei Clinton. Courtesy of the artist.
Michael Oliver Love, Shapes in Nature 01. Courtesy of the artist.
Michael Oliver Love, Lemonade. Models: Tobi Oloko & Lebu Mlumkisi. Courtesy of the artist.
Michael Oliver Love, Red Flesh. Model: Anilton Cabral. Courtesy of the artist.
Michael Oliver Love, Send To. Models: Pivot & Osei. Courtesy of the artist.
Michael Oliver Love, Maroon in Motion. Model: Oliver Roslee. Courtesy of the artist.
Michael Oliver Love, Smile. Model: Toudry Wangi. Courtesy of the artist.
Michael Oliver Love, Embodiment. Beauty: Michelle-Lee Collins. Models: Kitso Kgori & Lebu Mlumkisi. Courtesy of the artist.
Michael Oliver Love, Bananarama. Beauty: Sarah Whiteside. Model: Sethu Matanga. Courtesy of the artist.
Spatial Minimalism Nendo JAPANESE DESIGN STUDIO, NENDO, IS KNOWN FOR A PROLIFIC OUTPUT AND PLAYFUL STYLE. WE UNPACK ITS APPEAL IN AN AGE OF PARED-BACK, MONOCHROME AESTHETICS.
When the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, planned approach to exhibition design asserts the preeminence of the to stage a major exhibition of work by MC Escher in 2018, gallery or museum as a site for unique physical encounters. Nendo’s relationship with NGV dates back to 2016, when the cutting-edge Japanese design studio Nendo, with its pared-back but playful aesthetic, proved the perfect match Ellwood came across the studio’s installation 50 Manga for the Dutch graphic artist, known for mathematical tricks of Chairs at Friedman Benda, New York, and snapped up all the eye. However, the resulting collaboration, titled Escher X 50 for the gallery’s collection. With a mirrored finish, each nendo | Between Two Worlds, went far beyond what the cura- Manga chair was inspired by graphic elements taken from tors had imagined. Nendo’s founder Oki Sato (b. 1977) took the iconic Japanese comics, from speech bubbles to lines indicating characters’ movements, sweat and tears. Sato has the simple form of a house and repeated it in myriad ways. It was there when visitors entered, a dramatic interlocking described Escher’s work as residing somewhere "between the pattern on monochrome wallpaper. It followed in the shape possible and the impossible" and the same could be said of of a tunnel through which audiences moved from one sec- these chairs. Like optical illusions, the pieces toy with pertion of the show to another, and a seating area from which spectives, conflate dimensions and subvert our preconcepto contemplate artworks on the walls. Other houses existed tions about how objects or materials behave. This, in turn, informs a number of the studio’s other designs. as fragmented black frames, which, only at certain angles, appeared to merge into a whole. Finally, a chandelier made In the installation Into Marble, produced for Marsotto Edizioof 55,000 tiny houses threw geometric shadows into every ni during 2018 Milan Design Week, marble appears like a liquid substance into which tables seem to dissolve. Another edge of the room, expanding the definition of the gallery. “Sato understood from the outset that a ‘collaboration’ with collection of chairs, Watercolour, takes its cue from painting. MC Escher could allow a move outward – beyond the paper The metal chairs have been painted matte white then daubed and the frame, beyond the wall and the floor – to manifest with blue ink; their surface recalls the texture of paper, which the thematic concerns and inspirations encountered within has been cut and folded – like an expansive blank page. Oki Sato founded Nendo in 2002 when he was just 25 – Escher’s work – sensorial, spatial and architectural,” writes NGV’s director, Tony Ellwood, in the foreword to a new fresh from a degree in architecture at Waseda University. monograph of the studio’s work since 2016, published by Based between Tokyo and Milan, Nendo has since then Phaidon. “Sato looped iconography and spatial experience established a reputation as a multi-award-winning, groundin order to subtly question traditional notions of the relation- breaking, global design studio, with a prodigious, multidisship between art and design.” At a time when many artworks ciplinary output that ranges from furniture to retail spaces, are visible in digital reproduction at a mere click, Nendo’s branding, stationary, toys, a portable toilet, pet accessories,
Escher X nendo / Between Two Worlds, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 2018. Exhibition featuring the work of Dutch graphic artist MC Escher. Picture credit: Takumi Ota
“Ironically, perhaps, given its widely prolific output, Nendo's approach is minimalist at its core, tending towards clean, continuous forms constructed using few materials with a restricted colour palette of black and white.”
Previous Page: Gaku, Flos, 2017. © nendo Left: Flow, 2017. © nendo
multi-way zippers, cheesecakes, vases, in-flight tableware out. Meji, for example, reimagines a bulky umbrella stand for Japan Airlines, rugby team uniforms, keys and jewellery. as a sleek grey cuboid structure, with subtle grooves that The roughly 30-strong team works on several hundred de- are only noticeable when used to insert an umbrella. By reducing visual and spatial clutter, minimalism ensigns at once – and Sato is personally involved in each one. “The more ideas I think of, the more ideas I come up with. courages us to slow down and to focus on the minutiae: the It is like breathing or eating," he told Dezeen in 2015. “If I rich complexity of life that might otherwise go unnoticed, focus on only one or two projects, I guess I can only think whether it's shadows dancing across a wall, or the view of about one or two projects. When I start thinking about work- falling leaves through a window. Minimalism grounds us ing on close to 400 projects, it relaxes me. It's like a top; in the physicality of the present, and, the argument goes, when it is spinning very fast it is stable and when it starts to opens a space for our minds to fill up with imagination spin slowly it starts to get wobbly.” The dazzling breadth of rather than being overloaded with information. That’s why Sato’s work is revealed in the Phaidon publication. Nearly Montessori educational children’s toys are simple and 500 pages lay bare the evolution of the studio’s practice, functional. It’s why Steve Jobs had a wardrobe full of hundreds of identical black turtlenecks – courtesy of Japanese steered by Sato’s consistently trailblazing vision. Ironically perhaps, given its wildly prolific output, Nen- fashion designer Issey Miyake, whom Sato cites as an abiddo’s approach is minimalist at its core, tending towards ing influence. The repetition of this uniform, Jobs believed, clean, continuous forms constructed using few materi- was liberating. By eliminating the choice of what to wear, he als with a restricted colour palette of black and white, or could direct limited time and energy elsewhere. Sato agrees: “I don’t think that special moments create calming hues such as greys, blues and pastels. Japanese minimalism advocates using only what is essential, favour- special ideas,” he told Domus in an interview during Salone ing unfussy shapes, neutral tones and unadorned, natural del Mobile 2019. “I think that boring moments do: the everyday routine – like waking up, brushing your teeth materials that give light and space room to breathe. Its principles are embodied in the concepts of “Wabi- – it really resets my mind, I can stay blank and be censabi” and “Ma” – with roots in Zen and Mahayana Bud- tred. When you work on so many projects you might lose dhism, Wabi-sabi recognises impermanence and imperfec- yourself. By doing the same everyday things I am able to tion. Aesthetically, this means that simplicity, asymmetry, become zero again and have a fresh mind always.” These ideas have become incredibly popular in recent weathering and careful craftsmanship are prized. “Ma”, meanwhile, translates as “gap” or “pause”, and emphasises years, not only as design choices but as lifestyles. Perhaps the importance of negative space. In Nendo’s work, these it’s a reaction to capitalist excesses, rampant consumerism, tenets can be seen in a form of subtraction; often the crux digital dissemination, economic crises and climate catasof the project is found in what’s removed, reduced or sliced trophe. The simple life holds great appeal. A rising appe-
Light-Fragments, Ymer&Malta and the Noguchi Museum, Queens, New York, 2018. Picture credit: Kenichi Sonehara .
tite for stripped-back aesthetics underpins much of 21st well as folding phones, sliceable trophies and a magnetic century lifestyle trends – from Scandi Hygge practices to desk lamp that can be broken down into its constituent digital detoxes; the market in vintage mid-century modern parts and recomposed in multiple ways. If any one thing furniture, to the tiny house movement. Decluttering guru can define contemporary culture, it’s heterogeneity. IndiMarie Kondo, whose 2014 book, The Life-Changing Magic viduals want to assert their own identities, customise items of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organ- and carve out a world that responds to and works for them. Where once British teens gathered around the TV on a izing, urges us to “keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy” – a con- Thursday evening to watch Top of the Pops and compare temporary take on that William Morris adage “have nothing notes the next day, they now discover new music through in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe the algorithms of Spotify recommendations. In Nendo’s to be beautiful.” Indeed, after selling more than 11 mil- world, this translates as giving agency to those who interact lion copies of her book, Kondo launched the Netflix reality with their projects. In their curation for Inspiration or Inforshow Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, which is now available to mation? A 2018 exhibition of traditional Japanese art at Tokyo’s Suntory Museum of Art, individuals were offered the view in nearly 200 countries over the world. The idea of “joy” is important here, because, without it, choice of two routes through, one of which showed the artminimalism can sound a tad austere – another self-help works together with contextual details, the other left them stick with which to beat ourselves. Nendo takes its name to have a purely intuitive, emotional response. Ultimately, this is what “good design” is about – not from the Japanese word for “modelling clay” or “Play-Doh” and there’s a ludic, sometimes almost mischievous spirit things or even ideas, but people. Tenri Station Plaza CoFuthat runs throughout their designs, often tapping into tradi- Fun is an early example of everything that makes Nendo tion or nostalgia around Japanese culture. The Coen Car is distinctive. A multi-use development containing bike hire, a a fleet of mobile children’s playground equipment which, cafe, a stage, meeting spaces and more, its unembellished though in trademark monochrome, draws on the visual white, saucer-like curved structures are a nod to the ancient trend of Kawaii or “cuteness” that has become a mainstay tombs or “cofun” of Tenri, a city in the Nara Basin. At every of the “Cool Japan'' brand, whilst Grid-Bonsai is a 3D- turn are flights of steps. Or perhaps they’re benches. Or printed bonsai tree that can be trimmed to a shape of the shelves. The point is they’re all of these things and none of individual’s liking. Here, function and fun go hand-in-hand. them. They're design tinder. Really, what Nendo produces Also like Play-Doh, Nendo’s projects are often intended isn’t objects and buildings, rather personal experiences: to be flexible, allowing users to reshape or adapt pieces to opportunities to pause and wonder at what’s hidden in the their own unique tastes or changing needs – from modular everyday. After all, as MC Escher once put it, he, she or they sofas to whiteboards that double up as office dividers, as “who wonders, discovers that this, in itself, is wonder.”
Right: Breeze of Light, Daikin, 2019 Picture credit: Takumi Ota.
Words Rachel Segal Hamilton
Nendo: 2016-2020 is published by Phaidon phaidon.com
Obscure Portraiture Alma Haser
The term “collage” was first coined by Cubist Georges Braque (1882-1963) and Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), from the French word “coller” or “to glue.” From here, a movement emerged – one based upon avant-garde assemblages, fractured forms and deconstructed subject matter. Since then, many practitioners across the globe have been inspired to dismantle visuals, literally “piecing” new pictures together whilst drawing attention to the fragile materiality of images. Alma Haser’s (b. 1989) puzzle-piece portraits negotiate the boundaries between the real and the manufactured. These intriguing and unsettling images are disruptions of the human form as we know it today, asking intriguing questions about the manipulation, construction and obfuscation of the self in the 21st century. In an age of hyper-self-awareness, increased video connectivity and social media profiles, these photographs reflect upon the shape-shifting nature of identity today. haser.org.
Alma Haser, Hands Pixelated from the series I Always Have To Repeat Myself . Courtesy of the artist.
Alma Haser, Wexin, commissioned by Infringe magazine. Courtesy of the artist.
Alma Haser, Wife, from the series Husband and Wife. Courtesy of the artist.
Alma Haser, Alina, commissioned by Infringe magazine. Courtesy of the artist.
Alma Haser, Will and Amy, Private commission. Courtesy of the artist.
Alma Haser, Lee and Clinton (1) from the series Within 15 Minutes. Courtesy of the artist.
Alma Haser, Tia, a coder from the Annie Connons organisation, a collaboration with Maria de Rio for Wired US. Courtesy of the artist.
Alma Haser, Mayflower, a coder from the Annie Connons organisation, a collaboration with Maria de Rio for Wired US. Courtesy of the artist.
Alma Haser, Hermon and Heroda (2) from the series Within 15 Minutes. Courtesy of the artist.
Forging New Pathways Beauty and the East CHINA’S MOST FORWARD-THINKING ARCHITECTS ARE REPURPOSING STRUCTURES TO OFFER A NEW LANDSCAPE THAT IS BOTH CULTURALLY RESONANT AND SUSTAINABLE.
The kaleidoscope of stairwells and doorways that crowd the owned mega design institutes dominated.” As the country interiors of the Other Place guest house, on the banks of became rapidly urbanised “these institutes were drawn into the Li River in Guilin, serves as a metaphor for the period of a whirlpool of large-scale developments – the number of tumult and opportunity amongst China’s architectural com- projects was giddying, and the requests relentless ... It was munity: it’s not clear where the route forwards lies, but the almost impossible to produce good quality architecture.” Although the number of private firms has multiplied over state of confusion is somehow enticing. The Maze and Dream guest house suites (pictured here) were modelled on MC Es- the last two decades, the legacy of that first, dizzying, “experimental” era of Chinese architecture is evident in the imcher’s impossible landscapes – designed to trick the eye. The scale of recent and projected building work in China is possibly truncated planning and construction schedules still jaw-dropping, as the China editor of Wallpaper*, Yoko Choy foisted on most firms. Wang Shu points out that a proposal Wai-Ching, relays in her introduction to Beauty and the East. “conventionally takes half a year.” But Chinese clients “will “In the last 70 years, the number of cities in China has risen only allow two months, so things proceed in feverish haste. from less than 60 to 672. By some estimates, almost half of Very often, drawings are rendered without a thoroughgoing the world’s construction will take place in China in the coming design proposal. In truth, most constructions in China start decade.” And that’s in a country which already “builds 22 before the completion of the drawings.” Roughcast spaces, billion square feet of new floor space each year – if it was misplaced switches and sockets, irregular rows of windows – laid out flat, that would be 1.3 times the size of the entire in short, “bad” architecture – are all symptomatic of the fact footprint of London.” Infrastructural development on this that “everything was designed and constructed in a hurry.” Against this backdrop, however, an alternative paradigm scale brings obvious challenges. China’s ongoing reliance on energy-intensive materials such as steel and concrete has has emerged, powered by the rise of private firms of varying grim implications in an era of climate crisis. More practically sizes and types, albeit in a space still mediated by the speaking, as Choy notes pithily in interview, “it doesn’t make demands of the state. Wang Shu’s Amateur Architecture Studio is the great pioneering force here. Responsible for sense any more to build shoddy stuff in China.” In other words, there are also questions about the quality some of the most iconic recent Chinese building designs, of construction that takes place when the pace of expansion such as the Ningbo Historic Museum and the Fuyang is so fast, as summarised by the head of iconic firm Amateur Cultural Complex, the studio has forged an aesthetic based Architecture Studio Wang Shu in his foreword to the Gestalt- on repurposing materials and structures, as well as a reliance en book. “Until the end of the 1990s there were essentially on traditional construction methods, and forging links with no independent architectural practices in China as the state- local historical and environmental heritage. What’s more,
Studio 10, Photo Chao Zhang, Beauty and the East, gestalten 2021.
“The only common contextual factor to the projects in Beauty and the East is interdependence with the state, which is still relied upon for conceptual validation as well as legal and economic gate keeping.”
Previous Page: Studio 10, Photo Chao Zhang, Beauty and the East, gestalten 2021. Left: Studio 10, Photo Chao Zhang, Beauty and the East, gestalten 2021.
when Wang Shu became the first Chinese architect to win ences, she clearly has a point. Perhaps the only common the prestigious Pritzker Prize – the so-called “Nobel Prize of contextual factor to the projects in Beauty and the East is Architecture” – in 2012, he placed not just Amateur Studio awkward interdependence with the state, which is still relied but the country’s broader design achievements under the upon for conceptual validation, as well as legal and ecoglobal spotlight for the first time. “From Wang Shu I see nomic gate keeping. As Choy puts it, “to execute new cona new start,” Choy muses positively, “a starting point for cepts, you need to get local government on board.” The country’s built environment is a subject upon which people to look at Chinese architecture overall, and city the authorities continue to weigh in heavily. In 2015, the planning; he has also inspired a lot of new generations.” Pressed on the other most significant firms of the still- national State Council issued a decree on the desirable blossoming independent era, Choy mentions practices qualities of urban architecture: “suitable, economic, green with a mixture of western and national influences. MAD and pleasing to the eye,” in contrast to the “xenocentric, Architects, whose founder Ma Yansong is Yale-educated, peculiar” developments of the previous decades. The prois one of the first Chinese firms to secure major European jects in the state’s crosshairs might have included Beijing’s commissions, and is now designing the FENIX Museum of China Central Television headquarters (known as the “Giant Migration in Rotterdam. “He is the first to be entrusted with Underpants”), designed by the Dutch firm OMA in 2012. a public cultural building on the continent. It’s a huge mile- The year before the directive was issued, State Premier Xi stone.” By contrast, the founder of LUO Studio, Luo Yujie, Jinping had famously called for an end to “weird architecstudied in China and has specialised in rejuvenating rural ture,” with such extravagant foreign projects surely in mind. This level of government control has undeniable up-sides villages. “From his work you see something authentically and organically Chinese.” Choy is referring to works such too. For example, it has allowed funding to be channelled as LUO’s Party and Public Service Center in Yuanheguan away from sprawling megalopolis developments such as Village, Hubei Province, a beautifully spare functional along the Pearl River Delta, ensuring – as far as possible structure created by repurposing the abandoned steel- – that regional towns and villages also remain lively ecoand-concrete foundations of a half-finished residential nomic and cultural centres. The achievements of Amateur Architecture Studios, whose many projects have encourproject – adding a timber-framed upper storey. Choy’s selection of two such different visions is not ac- aged a sense of pride amongst depleted rural communicidental. She pushes back against the idea of any common ties, are unavoidably entwined with this narrative. So too are thread underpinning contemporary Chinese architectural the fortunes of other firms such as DnA, whose renovation philosophy: and given the sheer size and diversity of the of ancient villages in Songyang County – funded by the country’s population, its diffuse geographies and social local government – involved planting a cluster of brand milieux, and an increasing openness to international influ- new industrial structures across the region, produced on
Studio 10, Photo Chao Zhang, Beauty and the East, gestalten 2021.
time-honoured construction principles: a process referred to in this publication as “architectural acupuncture.” This brings us round to the dazzling portfolio of projects in Beauty and the East, an encyclopaedic survey compiled by inhouse editors at Gestalten with Choy’s advisement, in which the reuse of existing materials and structures and reliance on traditional methods are recurring motifs. Think of Atelier tao+c’s Capsule Hotel and Bookstore in Qinglongwu Village, Zhejiang Province, built into a traditional rural structure with mud walls and a timber-framed shell, with inner spaces remodelled and a glass-panelled gable-end added to create a gorgeous, sun-flooded chapel for browsing and reading. Or take Studio Zhu-Pei’s Imperial Kiln Museum in Jingdezhen, which incorporates a set of long, low arched vaults mirroring the structures of the abandoned kilns on whose sites they sit, using bricks reclaimed from the old ovens. Then there’s anySCALE’s Wuyuan Skywells Hotel, a renovated 300-year-old mansion with a modern penthouse and original wooden decorations restored by a local artisan. In another breath HyperSity Architects’ refashioned cave dwellings (yaodong), in the Loess Plateau region, are created using rammed-earth; whilst O-office Architects’ Lianzhou Museum of Photography is built on the site of an old sugar warehouse. In other cases, modern structures are inserted into spaces between older buildings, like PAO Studio’s “plug in” steel capsules, that slot into the central courtyards of antique urban siheyuan dwellings; or their Shangwei Village PlugIn House, designed to rejuvenate dilapidated dwellings in villages engulfed by the expansion of Shenzhen on the Pearl River Delta. The examples are myriad, and the outcomes of this impulse to “make new” are often remarkably scintillating.
Again, for Choy, we shouldn’t take this as evidence of a “national style” so much as common limits on resources and time. Like LUO Studio’s community centre, many of the designs reflect the scant materials, technology and workforces available to deliver a brief on a tight schedule. “In villages like Qinglongwu, where the Capsule Bookstore was built, architects face a lot of constraint in terms of availability of materials, building technologies and so on. The reality is that often the clients aspire to good design in these areas, but they offer little time and budgets.” It’s overcoming these restrictions – not an interest in combining the traditional and the modern, or eastern and western influences – that will define the eventual look and feel of a building: “for me meaningful architecture just has to solve problems.” All of the examples listed above might prompt readers to risk a definition of contemporary Chinese architecture as ecologically driven, sensitive to cultural imagination and memory, and mindful of the need to reuse rather than tear down and start from scratch. China continues to consolidate its position as the central player in the global economy, and there is cause for cautious optimism about the broader implications of this, not least for international progress on environmental sustainability and social planning. “You can see that the government is jumping on the opportunity for leadership created by the absence of the US in these discussions,” Choy notes, alluding to the Trump presidency. “But for a lot of creative people I talk to in China, it’s not about power and control: they genuinely think that they can share the experiences, knowledge and insights that they have gained from this crazy period of urbanisation to reach out to a global audience, to help everyone.”
Right: Studio 10, Photo Chao Zhang, Beauty and the East, gestalten 2021.
Words Greg Thomas
Beauty and the East is published by Gestalten uk.gestalten.com
Fleeting Moments Alex Mitchell
Alex Mitchell (b. 1992) is a photographer from Toronto, whose work explores the spectrum of Surrealism using an everyday lens. He transforms the mundane, applying a mix of strategic artificial light, rich colours, and a singular point of focus. Close cropping draws attention to material details. Puddle edges resemble waves lapping the shore, blurring the distinctions between up and down. Non-linear shadows create unexpected textures. Against a variety of seemingly quotidian objects, Mitchell calls upon fantastical colour schemes and skylines, resembling rare and unique sunsets – when the light has further to travel and blue rays scatters before they reach us. Pink and purple atmospheres pull the viewer into phenomenological scenarios, where each moment is unpredictable: ephemeral and temperamental. These images revel in opportunity – in aesthetically stimulating moments – and are presented like snapshots from a lucid dream. instagram.com/alexandormitch.
Alex Mitchell, Midnight Light (2020). Courtesy of the artist.
Alex Mitchell, Framing (2020). Courtesy of the artist.
Alex Mitchell, Mellow (2020). Courtesy of the artist.
Alex Mitchell, Recess (2020). Courtesy of the artist.
Alex Mitchell, Dusk (2020). Courtesy of the artist.
Alex Mitchell, Untitled 1 (2020). Courtesy of the artist.
Alex Mitchell, Untitled 2 (2020). Courtesy of the artist.
Alex Mitchell, Emerald City (2020). Courtesy of the artist.
Alex Mitchell, Sodium (2020). Courtesy of the artist.
Breaking New Ground Changing the Way We See the World
Aesthetica Magazine is renowned for curation and for talent spotting. There is a certain visual aesthetic that defines what we do. We look for images that change the way we see the world – inviting viewers to explore a new set of possibilities. How do you take a photograph in an original way? How far can you push the concepts in order to create something that contributes to wider discourse on image-making? Find out more with some of our favourite photographers from over the years. First up is Cig Harvey, here with the image Sadie & the Moon (2013). Harvey has a way of telling complex human stories through a minimal but impacting style. The images are full of stark contrasts; vivid colours stand out against bleak backdrops; hands intersect with nature and shadows dance across domestic scenery. Although the works are dreamlike, the recognisable subjects keep them grounded in real life, reflecting on the surrounding wonder instead of trying to enhance it. cigharvey.com.
Cig Harvey, Sadie & The Moon (2013). Courtesy of the artist.
Thomas Wrede, The Luminous Screen (2015) If there is an image that draws you in, it’s this one – from the nostalgia surrounding the image of the “drive-in” to the way this experience has been transformed in 2021. Thomas Wrede's photographs traverse the lines between simulation and reality, manufacturing the colossal through the miniature. He uses commonplace objects for the staging of the images: toy cars, model trees and mountains. As a result, Wrede's analogue images depict something that is both monumental and sublime, but it is – ultimately – a replica. The event never took place in "real life." These are scenes that seem familiar, but they are transformed through miniature re-creation. thomas-wrede.de.
Thomas Wrede, The Luminous Screen, 2015, 95 x 130 cm / 140 x 200 cm, from the series: Real Landscapes.. Courtesy of the artist.
Ellie Davies, Stars 8, 2014 – 2015. 80cm x 120cm. Source material credit: STScI/Hubble and NASA. Courtesy Ellie Davies/Crane Kalman Brighton Gallery UK.
Ellie Davies, Stars 8 (2014-2015) Stars 8 does so much in one space. Innately, we are drawn to nature and the enormity of the universe – we have an intrinsic inability to comprehend space and time on such a macrolevel. Davies developed something spectacular here, not just compositionally, but conceptually. These images are beautiful of course – but these are also expertly made collages with real information. The stars came from the Hubble space telescope, bringing a sense of inter-connectivity that is simply not achieved in many other ways. If there is one thing that binds humanity together, it is our time on planet Earth. These images remind us of our fleeting existence on a grand scale. elliedavies.co.uk.
Ben Zank, VTL (2015) Using the body as a muse is common, but it’s how Ben Zank does it that is particularly transformative. It’s the colour, styling and composition that takes this kind of photography just one step further. The yellows of the slide and jumpsuit blend together in a kind of fluid and anthropomorphic play. Every manmade structure, whether recreational or functional, is harnessed to project the human persona: an intangible concept which, through a singular instance, comes to life through curious investigation and reflective interpretation of surrounding topographies. The shape of the body is so compelling – even humorous – that you can’t help but want to try this at home. benzank.com.
Ben Zank, VTL, 2015.. Courtesy of the artist.
:Ryan Schude, Halloween, 2014.. Courtesy of the artist.
Ryan Schude, Halloween (2014) Americana is ever-present in contemporary visual culture. It seemed to reach new audiences about a decade ago – the saturation of gas stations, highways and wooden houses was immense. Ryan Schude cut through the noise and did something different. He introduced an element of the imaginary fused with Gothic fairy-tale. This brought Americana back into the fold but in a hyperreal way infused with technicolour. Halloween harks back to a golden age of advertising; its pervasive nostalgia is enriched by humorous detail, and choreographed tension throughout. This version of culture isn’t about what’s in front of you, but what lies under the surface. ryanschude.com.
Kevin Cooley, Wind River Canyon Wyoming (2009) Not many photographers ignite the imagination like Kevin Cooley. His projects are all different, and there is something remarkable about that. You cannot predict what he will do next, which is why we are always looking. The images in the series At Light’s Edge provide desolate views of American landscapes illuminated by eerie distress signals – messages coming from above or vice-versa. Lightning that shoots or falls through the sky highlights the vulnerability of the land. In many ways, this photography was very much ahead of its time in terms of ecological dialogues. The message is loud and clear: we need the natural and the manmade to co-exist. kevincooley.net.
Kevin Cooley, Wind River Canyon Wyoming, 2009, chromogenic print, singular edition of 7+1ap, 30x38.5 and 48.5x60”. Courtesy of the artist.
Alexis Pichot, Marche Céleste # 11. Courtesy of the artist.
Alexis Pichot, Marche Céleste #11 (2017) Light installations will always be bewitching to the eye. From the “skyspaces” of James Turrell to the neon tubes of Dan Flavin, we are consistently drawn to fluorescent light fixtures, especially when they intervene with natural landscapes. Alexis Pichot worked as an interior designer in Paris for more than 10 years, during which he became sensitive to the use and manipulation of space. Later, Pichot moved his attention away from the bustle of the city into the welcoming mystery of the landscape. Marche Céleste is utterly captivating – shot in the forest of Fontainebleau, France. Deeply mystical and ritualistic, the intimate photographs re-establish us with the supremacy of nature. alexispichot.com.
James Casebere, Yellow Overhang with Patio (2016) For almost 40 years, James Casebere has devised illusory tabletop models, creating thought-provoking and visually deceptive photographs. Closely associated with the Pictures Generation, the artist’s early practice was characteristic of Postmodern cultural appropriation. Moving into recent years, Casebere’s illusionistic landscapes have been meticulously assembled by hand, inspired by a variety of spatial and architectural realities, from the subprime mortgage crisis of 2008 to the works of Mexican architect Luis Barragán. The structures are carefully lit, photographed in the artist’s studio, and are endlessly intriguing – playing with light in constructed worlds. jamescasebere.com.
James Casebere, Yellow Overhang with Patio, 2016. © James Casebere, courtesy: Sean Kelly, New York.
Brooke DiDonato, Closure, 2016. Courtesy of the artist.
Brooke DiDonato, Closure (2016) “Uncanny” photography has swept the globe in recent years – images set within domestic locations, teetering on a sharp line between something familiar and deeply unsettling. Obscured identities, repressed emotions and precarious – even dangerous – situations presented to curious onlookers. Brooke DiDonato is a master of the surreal, offering images filled with palpable tension. Closure is one such example: a figure bends over, neck held downwards by the edge of a garage door. DiDonato’s oeuvre follows as such: windows, staircases and pavements are part of bizarre scenarios that call into question a sense of tantalising unease with is nonetheless mesmerising. brookedidonato.com.
Reginald Van de Velde, Seventies Extravaganza (2012) Finding beauty in decay became a popular theme in photography over the past decade. People started seeking out places that had been reclaimed by nature, sneaking into Chernobyl to capture abandoned rooms. There is something compelling about these images because you start to think about what life would be like if humanity was gone – the world starts a rewilding process. These images question the value that we place on certain locations. If there is one photographer who gets it right every time it is Reginald Van de Velde. His work takes you back to forgotten places – the details live in your mind and you can’t escape the bewilderment of deserted spaces. suspiciousminds.com.
Reginald Van de Velde, Seventies Extravaganza. The view inside the lobby of a former Japanese hotel. Named the Kuroshio Inn this hotel is located on the island of Awaji. Neatly built atop a hill it allowed guests to enjoy the most spectacular vistas on the Pacific coastline. Its remote location contributed to a decline in visitors, and it went out of business in the early 1980s. Courtesy of the artist.
Pivotal Illumination Electrifying Design SEMINAL DESIGNS CHART THE EVOLUTION OF INTERNATIONAL LIGHTING AS A CATALYST FOR GLOBAL TECHNOLOGICAL, FUNCTIONAL AND ARTISTIC EXPRESSION.
In 21st Century Lighting Design (Bloomsbury, 2014), writer Alyn Griffiths states: “The 21st century has witnessed an unprecedented upheaval in the field of lighting design, with legislation banning the sale of the iconic incandescent light bulb, forcing designers and manufacturers to re-evaluate every aspect of lighting. The sudden extinction of a light source that has been fundamental to the design of lighting products for over 130 years – along with the introduction of energy-efficient alternatives with distinctly different physical dimensions and luminescent properties – has rocked the industry and provoked an ongoing process of creative transformation that will shape our future relationship with light.” But how did we get to this point? From the invention of the first electric light by British chemist Humphry Davy in 1808 to Philips’ development of the “ultra-efficient” lightbulb in 2011 (which Griffiths refers to above), lighting technology has fascinated engineers, scientists, architects and designers worldwide. Electrifying Design: A Century of Lighting is the first large-scale exhibition in the USA to examine international lighting, surveying major avant-garde design movements whilst tapping into light's innate ability to delight and inspire. This exhibition presents 85 rare or limited-production examples by the world’s leading innovators, including Achille Castiglioni, Christian Dell, Greta Magnusson-Grossman, Poul Henningsen, Ingo Maurer, Verner Panton, Gino Sarfatti, Ettore Sottsass and Wilhelm Wagenfeld. Electrifying Design is co-organised by Cindi Strauss, Curator of Decorative Arts, Crafts and Design at Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and Sarah Schleuning, Senior Curator of Decorative Arts and Design at
the Dallas Museum of Art. In conversation, Strauss (CS) and Schleuning (SS) discuss the balance between aesthetics and functionality in some of the world's most boundary pushing projects, realised and produced over the last 100 years. A: Where and when did you begin planning for this seminal exhibition? Had you worked together before? CS: I first had the idea for an exhibition on lighting design in 2001, but apart from a general outline, I did not begin fleshing it out until about 2008. For many reasons too long to enumerate, work in earnest did not begin for a number of years. I invited Sarah, who was then at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, to join me as co-curator in 2016. At that point, we started from scratch from an organisational and thematic perspective, though my years of research on specific designers and manufacturers proved very useful when we started putting the ideas down. I had also built a collection of lighting at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, 23 pieces from our collection ultimately became the basis for the exhibition. SS: As we developed the themes of the show, we wanted to amplify lighting as progenitor of design, leading through creativity and ingenuity. Whilst we highlight key designers, advances and the earliest version of ideas, we thought about dividing the exhibitions into sections based around the notions of typologies, the bulb as a source of creative inspiration, and the quality of light implemented through various techniques and materials. Since I joined Dallas Museum of Art, I have been building our modern and contemporary lighting collection, including works featured in the show by
Richard Sapper, manufactured by Artemide, Tizio Table Lamp, designed 1971, made 1972, ABS plastic, aluminum, metal, bulb. © Richard Sapper Archives.
“In the early to mid1900s, designers were influenced by increased domestic demands so they created new adjustable lamps that would allow people to better read, work, and undertake hobbies after dark.”
Previous Page: Vico Magistretti, manufactured by Artemide, Eclisse Table Lamp, designed 1966, made c. 1970, lacquered aluminum and bulb, private collection. © Archivio / Studio Magistretti— Fondazione Vico Magistretti.
Left: Ron Arad, Ge-Off Sphere Hanging Light, 2000, polyamide, stainless steel, and bulb. © 2000. Ron Arad / Photo © tomvackphotographer.
new typology, with its arms adjustable on many levels as well as movable shades that directed light. These were arguably part of the most important leap forward in lighting A: The show is split into three key sections: Typologies, – responding to shifts in the way people lived and worked. Lightbulb and Quality of Light. How did you decide upon In the contemporary period, those functional needs were althese conceptual or stylistic tenets, and were there any ready met, so artists began to look at architectural spaces and the activities taking place within them differently, so they other thematic sections you considered? CS: Initially, we looked at about a thousand lighting de- produced works to meet expanded definitions of light in the vices designed from the late 19th century to the present. We private and public spheres. Both of these responses altered knew that we did not want to organise the show as a survey global living in exciting, pivotal and experimental ways. or chronologically, as those methodologies could not be thoroughly realised due to space and loan considerations. A: Lightbulb studies the functionality of the bulb itself, Ultimately, numerous ideas that touched on key design- or the manifestation of “capturing light in a bottle” as ers, countries of origin, specific brackets of time, and design German Designer Ingo Maurer suggested. How have demovements came forth as we recognised stylistic, techno- signers played with the presentation of bulbs, both for logical and material threads across the century. We work- its utilitarian purpose and unexpected aesthetic appeal? shopped them all, determining which overlapped, which were SS: Whilst the bulb has played a tremendous functional role, central, and which yielded the clearest understanding of the it is also the creative driver for many works over the years, evolution of lighting design, finally distilling them to three including Ingo Maurer’s incredible Bulb Light (1966). The idea of enshrining the bulb in a larger bulb-shaped casing overarching ideas that had many layers to explore. amplifies its role in a whimsical way. Other designers mass A: The first section, Typologies, looks at the placement of bulbs together like Rody Graumans 85 Lamps uses “light lighting for both domestic and public uses, considering lines” drawing in space such as with Eileen Gray ‘s Tube Lamp. direction and adjustability. How have designers consid- Here, we can see that the sum is greater than its parts. ered placement over the years, and in what ways has this A: As the first large-scale exhibition of its kind in the USA, influenced our ways of living – across the globe? CS: In the early to mid-1900s, designers were influenced this show provides a huge survey of important pieces or by increased domestic demands so they created new adjust- concepts. How important was it for you to show the genable lamps that would allow people to better read, work, and esis of seminal designs, and mark their inception? SS: The narrative is the three sections: typologies, the naked undertake hobbies after dark. The Anglepoise – produced in 1932 by British designer George Carwardine – defined this bulb and quality of light. In each section, we take a look at Marianne Brandt’s Button Lamp, Marc Newson’s Super Guppy, and Gino Sarfatti 600/p Table Lamp.
Poul Henningsen, manufactured by Louis Poulsen & Co., PH 2/2 Piano Lamp, 1931, patinated brass, glass, and bulb, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum purchase funded by the Mary Kathryn Lynch Kurtz Charitable Lead Trust Fund; the American Institute of Architects Design Collection Fund; the Decorative Art Endowment Fund; and the GRITS Foundation.
key pieces, the earliest examples of innovation, as well as the alchemy of the work. For instance, Carwardine’s early Anglepoise delves into the early versions of the task lamp, whilst Gaetano Pesce’s Moloch Floor Lamp is in the “wonder” portion of the same section. The show is not focused on chronology, design movement, or national identity, though you can see these ideas and elements reflected in individual works or groupings, like Post-War Italian design. A: Beyond the historical interest in design – light is inherently playful, and blockbuster exhibitions including luminescent installations or colour blocking are certainly bringing in more and more audiences for their interactive, “Instagrammable” presentation. How will the curation provoke a sense of curiosity or play, and what are some of the key products that instil this sense of wonder? CS: There are so many "wow" moments throughout the gallery – both big and small. Certainly, the immersive works draw attention due to their own scale and interactivity. Moooi Works’ Mega Chandelier is made of over 40 individual descending chandeliers; Studio Drift’s Flylight comprises individual hand-blown glass tubes that light up based on the movement of the viewer; Isamu Noguchi’s ethereal Akari lamps – characterised by traditional Japanese Gifu lanterns – offer users the experience of lighting as an environment. A: What are your favourite pieces? CS: I am partial to some of the quieter but revolutionary projects in the show – Wilhelm Wagenfeld's adjustable early Floor Lamp; Gino Sarfatti's Wall Lamp with its rhythm of coloured shades; Jacques le Chevallier's Desk Lamp’s industrial
aesthetic of exposed rivets and sheet metal; Toyo Ito's Floor Lamp with its globes within globes; and Johanna Grawunder's Giolight 1’s LED floating planes. I also have a deep-seeded love for the Italian works (Post-War and Radical). SS: It depends on the moment, but I am always finding something new and exciting about all the works. Inevitably, what draws me to the subject is the field itself. In this moment, I love the purity of Noguchi’s Akari, with the simplicity of the delicate paper globe hovering around a naked bulb, and the intimacy of Artemide’s bright orange Eclisse lamp, with its half-domed sphere that can rotate to revel or hide the bulb behind it enacting your own private eclipse. Truthfully, I could point out something I love about each one.
Right: Willem Hendrik Gispen, manufactured by W. H. Gispen & Co., Giso No. 23 Hanging Lamp, designed 1926, made 1930–36, chrome-plated brass, opal glass, and bulb, Collection VAN DEN BRUINHORST Gallery. © 1926 Willem Hendrik Gispen.
A: Lighting has developed so much over the last century, even in the last couple of years. What do you think is the future of light in the next 50 years? Where can technology go on from this point in time? Does it need to? CS: Who can predict how we will live and work in the future? Much of the next few years are, of course, uncertain. All I know is that lighting design as a discipline will continue to Words stylistically and technologically lead the way in responding Kate Simpson to future needs and desires. Sustainability will certainly be major considerations for all future products. SS: My hope is it that we continue to push the boundaries Electrifying Design: by finding new opportunities for exploration, innovation and A Century of Lighting, engagement in a rapidly changing world. With the current Museum of Fine shift to voice and app-driven interfaces – with AI and algo- Arts, Houston rithm-based functionality in the home – will the physicality Until 16 May of turning things on and adjusting reflectors be lost, or will we find new ways to have and experience human interaction? mfah.org
Identities Transposed Kriss Munsya
Kriss Munsya was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and raised in Brussels. Here, nestled within a Euro-centric community, he was confronted with his “differences” early on. Discrimination and violence – experienced in early childhood – left a mark upon the artist, shrouding the construction of an authentic identity, and leaving Munsya distanced from a sense of self. The Eraser series translates this experience of detachment and disassociation, providing a critical reflection upon internalised structures. It is a story of change and transformation. Munsya notes: “It is a combination of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Dark Side of The Moon, Thom Yorke’s 2006 album The Eraser, and my own experiences. I was always curious about how it would feel to erase someone from your memory – the sensation of putting yourself in danger. The characters here are trying to erase white dominance by transposing Blackness.” krissmunsya.com.
Kriss Munsya, from The Eraser (2020). Courtesy of the artist.
Kriss Munsya, from The Eraser (2020). Courtesy of the artist.
Kriss Munsya, from The Eraser (2020). Courtesy of the artist.
Kriss Munsya, from The Eraser (2020). Courtesy of the artist.
Kriss Munsya, from The Eraser (2020). Courtesy of the artist.
Kriss Munsya, from The Eraser (2020). Courtesy of the artist.
Kriss Munsya, from The Eraser (2020). Courtesy of the artist.
Kriss Munsya, from The Eraser (2020). Courtesy of the artist.
Kriss Munsya, from The Eraser (2020). Courtesy of the artist.
The Story of Aesthetica Marking 100 Editions AESTHETICA IS ONE OF THE KEY VOICES FOR CONTEMPORARY VISUAL CULTURE. HEAR FROM ONE OF THE FOUNDERS, CHERIE FEDERICO, ABOUT SETTING UP THIS PUBLICATION.
This is the story of Aesthetica. We are 100 issues old. It all started on a Sunday in November 2002. I was in the UK studying for my Master’s Degree. I’d won a scholarship to study in Spain and that’s how eventually I made my way to England. But that part of the story comes much later. I grew up in the Catskill Mountains – a tiny town about two hours directly north of NYC. I wanted to work in publishing from a very early age, and I was fortunate enough to undertake an internship at a magazine in New York in the early 2000s. It was a small literary journal, but it was so fascinating; I got involved with everything that I possibly could. I was hungry for knowledge and experience. I did a study abroad term in York as part of my undergraduate degree, and I knew I should come back to continue my studies, so I did. I’d had such a great experience with the internship, and I was keen to continue learning. However, at that time in York there wasn’t a magazine to intern with; it didn’t even occur to me to commute to another city. I said to Dale Donley (the reason why I was in the UK in the first place), “let’s start a magazine today.” How on Earth do you do this without social media? The old school way – you make posters (designed on Word) and get on your bike to hang them up around the city. We did this on a Sunday in late November, having set up an email account (firstname.lastname@example.org). The posters said “Do you write? Do you draw? If so send us your work. We are starting a new magazine and want to hear from you.” When I think back to that very basic poster, it makes me so sentimental. I wouldn’t have thought that an idea like that would turn into the magazine that you are reading today. It was all very
innocent. We were doing this to promote “equality, creativity and diversity.” That was our mission and still is today. We were just two people passionate about arts and culture. We cycled around York and hung up posters everywhere. I didn’t realise that this was against the law. I got an email from the City of York council about it. By the time I got home after an energetic day flyering, we had three emails with people’s work. I couldn’t believe it. It was such an amazing feeling. I was starting a magazine. However, there were a few things we forgot to do – cost up production, think about distribution, obtain some sort of funds. We didn’t have any money to do this and I didn’t realise that you could apply for grants. I am from the USA – there is no one there to support you. If you want to do something, you have to do it yourself. In many ways, this upbringing made me resourceful and resilient. We got a quote from a printer and it was really expensive. By this point it was February 2003 and I was starting to feel concerned that we wouldn’t be able to print the magazine. A digital magazine was unheard of, and there wouldn’t be a way to disseminate it anyway. Eventually, I found a printers that was much more affordable. The next problem was lack of finance altogether, so we got an Egg credit card. This decision was the one that turned the magazine into a business. We had a debt and we had to pay it back, so the magazine had to succeed. Our big break came by obtaining distribution nationwide in Borders from Issue One. I just asked my local Borders how to get the magazine stocked and the manager of the magazine section gave me the number of the buyer in London. I called him and he asked me to send
Sebastian Weiss, Waves. Location: La Teste-de-Buch, France .
“We decided to leave our jobs to give it one year. We got our first office later that year. It was small – two metres wide by four metres long. That little room was our world. We worked every day apart from Christmas and New Year's – 363 days.”
Previous Page: Amy Harrity, Feelings – Shelbie, 2013. Left: Massimo Colonna, from the series (Non) Gravità. Courtesy of the artist.
him a sample, and call him in a week. I lovingly packed up the magazine and waited. When I called him, my heart was in my stomach. I was so nervous. He said, “Yes, we’ll stock this magazine. I think there really is a market for it.” Just like that, we went to having a distribution chain. I couldn’t really believe it. Both Dale and I were still students at the time. We launched the first issue in March 2003 at a local pub with readings and live music. There were queues on the street to get in. Someone asked: “when is Issue Two coming out?” Dale and I were so wrapped up in publishing the first issue, we didn’t even think further ahead, so on the spot the magazine became quarterly. I said that the next edition would be out in May. Just like that we had a production schedule. However, we still needed to finish our degrees. We had to think about finding jobs and our future. By the time we graduated the magazine was on Issue Three, and things were going well. We both got jobs at a local college and worked on the magazine on nights and weekends for a few years. It was incredibly demanding, and I suppose at many points, we could have given up. But I couldn’t give up. I just couldn’t let Aesthetica go. I loved it too much. I was encouraged by the dream of it becoming something much bigger. In June 2005, both Dale and I took a week off of work to focus exclusively on the magazine. I was surprised by how much work we got through. I started to think about what we could do if we had more time to work on the publication. In July 2005, we decided to leave our jobs to give it one year. We got our first office later that year. It was kitted out with desks, chairs and computers that came from freecycle. It was small – two metres wide by four metres long. That little room was our world. That first year, we worked every day apart
from Christmas Day and New Year’s Day – 363 days in total. Each day brought a mini victory and a new lesson. The amount of self-determination and belief required was incomprehensible. At that time, we were too “northern” for anyone in London, and in the north we “weren’t focused enough on the north” to be northern. It was hard for people to comprehend that we wanted to be a national and international art magazine that was not based in a capital city. The world was a lot smaller then, and it was hard for someone to imagine you as national, yet based in Yorkshire. It would take at least another five years for us to transcend these labels. A big change came in November 2006 when I won the Young Business Entrepreneur of the Year Award. It was good timing because – prior to winning – we were seriously considering relocating to the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane. We thought we had to be in London to be national, and that we needed to attend every opening at every gallery that we possibly could. It was a notion, not the reality. From the award we attracted a lot of attention from people outside the sector and were offered Grade A office accommodation in York at a fraction of the cost. We hired our first employee in January 2007 and then things really started moving. We were still working long hours (60 per week) and not taking many holidays, but we were building something. We were excited and this enthusiasm kept us going. We obtained national distribution through WH Smith in 2007 and that was a real game-changer. The magazine was truly national, and this meant that we could push advertising and subscriptions. A further key moment was gaining international distribution in 2009 to 20 countries. It was amazing to have people saying they can get the magazine in Stock-
Astrid Verhoef, from Urbanite series, 2014. Model: Astrid Verhoef.
holm, Seoul, Auckland, Los Angeles, Austin, New York and many places in between. It was incredible to think of something we produced being stocked around the world. As the magazine’s readership was growing, our editorial focus was changing. We needed to represent progression. For me, the magazine had to be a catalyst of debate, discussion and change. We needed to look at artists who were discussing the world’s most pressing issues through the lens of culture. In doing so, there wasn’t a huge amount of space for new talent, and that didn’t sit right with us. We started with this in mind, and it was in my blood, so we launched the Aesthetica Art Prize and the Aesthetica Creative Writing Award. Initially, the winning works were published in one anthology in December each year – a showcase of new talent – but then in 2012 we split them into two books, an exhibition and different awards. I was pleased that we were able to become the home of new talent through these awards and that we still provided opportunities and entry points into the sector. I know first-hand how hard it is to get into this world and part of our wider goals are to ensure that we are a platform for new voices. These two awards have gone on to become springboards for some of the world’s most innovative practitioners and I’m proud of the role that we have played in developing numerous careers in the creative sector. Another big moment for us was launching the Aesthetica Film Festival. There is so much to unpack here, I could write another article (or even a book) on how it came into being. In December 2010, we published a DVD of short films with the Christmas edition of the magazine. This was transformational. We had an open call for new films and received just under 1,000 films. However, a DVD was only two hours long,
so pretty much everyone was rejected. It was awful. I felt like I had let all of these talented people down. In January 2011, I was invited to BAFTA Piccadilly to give a talk with filmmakers about Aesthetica Magazine, but at the end of the talk there were at least 40 people waiting to speak with me and they had all been rejected from the DVD. I realised then and there that I had a bigger responsibility and that if I was going to do this, I would have to find a different output entirely. In the two hours it takes to get from London to York, I mapped out what a festival would look like in the city; it was about taking in everything that York has to offer – all the history and culture merged with cutting-edge contemporary cinema. There had never been a film festival here before, so on a local level, it was difficult to explain the idea. This was also the year that the UK Film Council was disbanding, and the world was still gripped by the 2008 financial crisis. I was advised not to do this. I didn’t listen. We had the first festival in November 2011, and it nearly killed us. We’d never worked so hard. It was something else entirely – a whole new level of busy. We had so much to learn. Fast-forward to 2020, the festival celebrated its 10th anniversary and is now considered one of key British festivals for new talent. We are making a valuable contribution towards sector growth. In many ways, that summarises everything that we do at Aesthetica – daring to do something different, being your own person and pushing yourself hard. Celebrating 100 issues is a huge milestone for us. I was just 23 when we started this adventure. It has been 18 years and I am still enthusiastic about every day and what we will do next on this journey. Thank you to everyone who has been involved over the years. In many ways, we have grown up together.
Right: Water from the Co-Existe series. Imagery and 3D Development by Six N. Five. Photography by Cody Cobb. Concept by Willett.
Words Cherie Federico
Celebrate the launch of Aesthetica Issue 100 at the virtual Future Now Symposium, 28 April - 1 May. aestheticamagazine. com/future-nowsymposium-2021/
Aesthetica Art Prize 2021 20 SHORTLISTED ARTISTS
This year’s shortlisted artists are dealing with themes that are ever-present in today’s world. There are works that are looking at social bias in 21st century algorithms, the climate crisis, the pandemic and beyond, as well as projects that are dealing with the European colonial past. The exhibition opens 28 May and continues until 28 September 2021 at York Art Gallery, UK. yorkartgallery.org.uk.
Arthur Kleinjan Above Us Only Sky, Three-Channel Video | Netherlands
arthurkleinjan.nl A narrator leads us into a magical-realist history that is bereft of fabrication. His story begins with an investigation into a plane crash in communist Czechoslovakia, which one woman survived after an unlikely fall from the air. This event becomes the point of entry to a dense web of seemingly unrelated events that appear to be deeply entangled – questioning the logic of chance and synchronicity. Kleinjan explores layered and evocative stories.
Almost Heaven, Artists' Film | Germany
gabrielhensche.com Gabriel Hensche’s performance, moving image and installation pieces deal with the question of how the internet and new digital technologies affect the way we coexist and "perform" for each other. In Almost Heaven, the artist asked people to perform or dance to a song that they didn’t like. The result is both surprising and unnerving; the connection between the viewer and performer is demonstrative of how we engage with videos on the internet.
Reflections V2, Installation | USA
paramedia.net Reflections V2 comprises over a decade of research into the nature of visual perception. The formal representation of the work is strongly tied to the aesthetic of Minimal Art. The tradition of colour field painting is combined with slow, seasonal changes found in nature. The custom software uses generative algorithms and random processes to create a stream of colour sequences, reframing the relationship between fine art and digital media.
Carlos David Personae II, Artists' Film | USA
carlosdavid.org Personae II is an exploration of how the human spirit – as expressed through dreams, fantasy and imagination – can endure and transcend to provide perspectives on lived experiences. For this instalment, David collaborated with a diverse group of people connected through the overarching experiences of conflict and trauma. Working with stigmatised and marginalised groups, he opened up a new dialogue between the spectator and the subject.
The Black Man in The Cosmos, Artists' Film | UK
kitokodiva.com The Black Man in The Cosmos is a poetic and experimental art film created as a part of a video installation mixing new form of Afrofuturism, cyberspace imagery and poetry. Aiming to be both social and political by addressing the contemporary identity crisis issue amongst European Afro-descendants, this short film is revisiting Space Is the Place, the science fiction film, released in 1974, directed by John Coney, written by Sun Ra and Joshua Smith.
The Will of the People, Multimedia | UK
christianezschommler.co.uk The images in The Will of the People are based on spectrograms of speeches by the British government, headlines in the media and the artist’s own writing where she reflects on the impact of the 2016 UK / EU referendum. Distorted facts and invented statistics – coupled with hate speech – make impossible promises to the nation, helping to create a climate of fear towards immigrants. The voices of Europeans currently living in Britain are missing.
Vivarium, Photography | Netherlands
dirkhardy.com Vivarium was started in 2018 as a crafted photographic microcosm. The constructed worlds depict confined spaces in which people find themselves all day. Each diorama is a hyperreal tableau: a portal into the inner-worlds of its exposed inhabitants. These deeply personal encounters are reflections of Hardy’s observations and memories – a concert of subjective narrative elements by which the artist creates a conspiracy between himself and the viewer.
365 Days of Plastic, Installation | UK
axisweb.org/p/hennyburnett 365 Days of Plastic is an installation cast in pink dental plaster. It demonstrates one year’s worth of plastic food packaging from a single household, which is both simultaneously beautiful and horrifying. This is a disturbing view of one typical family’s environmental impact. Of course, the plastic was recycled, but the scale of this piece reveals the enormity of the problem. The work plays with the ambiguity of outcome and interpretation: domestic and industrial.
David Brandy Newer Topographics, Photography | Canada
davidbrandy.com Brandy’s passion as an artist is to capture man-altered landscapes with the uncanny – the psychological experience of something strangely familiar. Familiar objects or places evoke a sense of being both beautiful and strange, reflecting a kind of splendour we seldom notice. In Newer Topographics a canvas is created, which emphasises a strong sense of isolation due to the juxtaposition of natural landscape with solitary manmade constructs.
Andrew Leventis Freezer Box and Refrigerator (Vanitas), Painting | USA
andrewleventispainting.com Freezer Box (Vanitas) and Refrigerator (Vanitas) are from a series that considers vanitas in a modern-day circumstance, which really came to light when the pandemic hit in March 2020. The works reflect on the mass panic induced by the Covid-19 pandemic and how the idea of “stocking up” was so crucial and almost primal instinct, in a notion to survive. In the traditional sense, vanitas allude to themes of plague, desperation, dehumanisation and loss today.
Alice Duncan Black Hole (Lake Mungo), Photography | Australia
alicelduncan.com Black Hole was created at Lake Mungo, Australia, on the traditional lands of the Barkandji / Paakantyi, Mutthi Mutthi and Ngiyampaa people. This site represents an important – yet often overlooked – natural landmark within the Australian landscape. Since the discoveries of ancient human remains in the 1960s, Lake Mungo has been the location of an ongoing and often tense dialogue between Aboriginal people and descendants of settlers.
Monica Alcazar-Duarte Second Nature, Photography | UK
monicaalcazarduarte.com Alcazar-Duarte's images are part of an ongoing project considering how algorithms are used – through search engine technology – to support and maintain biased social thinking. Second Nature is an amalgamation of stories on the subject of discrimination gathered through algorithmic search results over the course of a year. The drawings on top of the photographs suggest the structure of the internet and reference invisible structures of power.
Morale is Mandatory, Sculpture | USA
chriscombs.net Facial recognition features in Morale is Mandatory, which uses a camera to detect smiling faces. Referencing the rise of algorithmic surveillance, it incorporates Google’s “AIY Vision Kit”, which teaches children how to use facial recognition, with no mention of ethical responsibilities in its material. Morale is Mandatory alludes to technology’s power for supporting state-sponsored emotional monitoring, such as Bhutan’s “Gross National Happiness.”
Seb Agnew Syncope and Cubes, Photography | Germany
Aura Vale Column, Sculpture | Australia
studio-jt.net The representation of a familiar material – something taken for granted and even considered “ugly” – allows us to re-examine the everyday. The transformation of the material with light (and the display) renders it objectively beautiful. The mere possibility of this transformation enables all aspects of life and our interaction with the environment to be transformed too – the power of light, in this instance, is a phenomenon unto itself.
Niels Lyhne Løkkegaard
Cesar & Lois
Thermal, Installation / Sculpture | Denmark
nielslyhne.com During the first Coronavirus lockdown in March 2020, Lyhne Løkkegaard created a series of works using hand sanitiser on thermal paper. The paper – familiar to all in the form of receipts – has a chemical-covered surface that reacts with hand sanitiser. This chemical reaction was surprising and unnerving to the artist – rendering something invisible, yet visible. This has served as a reciprocal visualisation of the virus throughout the pandemic.
Degenerative Cultures, Installation | Brazil & USA
cesarandlois.org Cesar & Lois is an artist duo probing our relationship with nature. Degenerative Cultures is an interactive artwork in which living organisms, social networks and AI corrupt the human impulse to master nature. Within a glowing dome, micro-organisms grow across a book about humanity’s disruption of nature. Next to this is a computer monitor, in which an intelligent digital fungus searches the internet and corrupts texts with the same predatory intent.
Wild Grass, Artists' Film | USA
seb-agnew.com shan-wu.com Syncope (the medical term for “fainting” or “passing out”) deals with Wild Grass tells an unusual love story that is deceptive yet revealing. A the feeling of “being disoriented.” Time and again we lose track of what woman’s struggle with her inner self plays out as she runs over and over is happening around us – when we concentrate the most, we often find again in an imaginary landscape – where her memory is laid over yellow wild ourselves thinking about nothing at all. This metaphorical temporary loss of grass. The dialogue in the film is communicated through subtitles, which is consciousness has become a daily companion for many people in our fast- reflective of Shan Wu's experiences with North American films and media as a paced society. This series deals with the phenomenon of disconnect. child in Taiwan, a time period before she spoke English fluently.
Metamorphosis, Sculpture | UK
What Does the Water Taste Like?, Artists' Film | UK
cathrynshilling.co.uk julianakasumu.co.uk Human interaction, interplay and movement are at the core of this work, which What Does The Water Taste Like? engages in interpersonal speculation is derived from reality, performance and the infinite nuisances between them. regarding identity production and sentiments of “home.” The film examines Often, the face that we present to the world is a mask – but the language of entanglements of “foreign” identities and the cultural mobility of knowledge the body is very difficult to control. Our true nature is often revealed. Through throughout history. Non-linear narratives – on the subject of displacement this work, Shilling examines the relationship between glass and the human –are part of the generational immigrant experience. Kasumu’s work presents form – how material can reflect our moods and emotional experiences. new perspectives on the exchange of intimacy between kith and kin.
1. Arthur Kleinjan, Above Us Only Sky, video, 3 screens. Sizes variable. 2. Gabriel Hensche, Still from Almost Heaven. 3. Erwin Redl Reflections V2, LEDs, custom electronics, MDF panel, stainless steel frame, 91.4 x 91.4 x 10.2 cm. 4. Carlos David, Personae II, Ink-Jet print on Hahnemühle Photo Rag Metallic Video in 4K. 36" H x 64" W and 44" H x 29" W. 5. Kitoko Diva, Still from The Black Man in The Cosmos. 6. Christiane Zschommler, The Will Of The People 2016-2020, 120 x 120 cm . 7. Dirk Hardy, Vivarium, Sizes vary per work from 202cm x 106cm to 63cm x 83cm (including frame). 8. Henny Burnett, 365 Days of Plastic, cast dental plaster. 9. David Brandy, Newer Topographics, Digital Chromogenic prints mounted on ACP and face mounted to 1/8" plexiglass. 10. Andrew Leventis, Freezer Box (Vanitas), Oil on Linen, 91x121 cm. 11. Alice Duncan, Black Hole (Lake Mungo), Digital C-Type Print, 80 x 80 cm. 12. Monica Alcazar Duarte, Second Nature, FIVE A0 size prints / Rest A2 size prints. Photographic print on Aluminium with metallic ink drawings on top of print and applied electronics. Augmented Reality app included with 3 images. 13. Chris Combs, Morale Is Mandatory, 4x7x4" 2020. 14. Seb Agnew, Syncope, Photography, 75x50 cm or 105x75 cm. 15. Cathryn Schilling, Metamorphosis, Glass and 24 carat gold. 37 high cm x 44 cm wide x 14 deep cm. 16. James Tapscott, Aura Vale Column, 50 x 50 x 200cm. Acrylic and found water. 17. Niels Lyhne Løkkegaard, Thermal, 210 x 197, 2020. 18. Cesar & Lois, Degenerative Cultures, Custom electronics and digital fungus (AI) Refurbished, custom monitor, Plexiglass Dome, Book, Physarum polycephalum (living microorganism), Humidity and lighting system, Thermal printer, WiFi / Twitter. Installation on pedestal totaling: 2 m (w) x 1 m (d) x 1 m (h). 19. Shan Wu, Still from Wild Grass, 1920x1440 pixels, Stereo, 1.3:1. 20. Juliana Kasumu, Still from What Does the Water Taste Like?
Morocco HARRY GRUYAERT
Belgian visual artist Harry Gruyaert (b. 1941) rose to prominence in the early 1970s with his “TV shots.” After documenting his native country, he journeyed off to capture the rich hues of California in the early 1980s, at which point he joined the prestigious list of Magnum photographers. This exhibition's focus on Morocco draws on almost 40 years of trips to the country. The prints are eye-catching, but the slideshow at the back will keep you spellbound for an hour. There isn’t a single boring slide and masterpieces abound. Unlike previous humanist photographers like Henri CartierBresson, Gruyaert explores every aspect of the countries he documents, from populous urban streets to figureless landscapes. One noticeably absent feature in Morocco are indoor scenes: ever discreet, Gruyaert also unobtrusively avoids close-ups. Only very rarely do any of his photographs
seem staged. One noticeable exception is a 1976 shot called Erfoud in which figures seem carved out of the wall face. You can see why Gruyaert discovered the virtues of colour photography in Morocco: his lens depicts the ochre gorgeousness of the light on the granular façades of old buildings, the arresting vividness of North African clothing, the pastel hues of wrinkled mountainous landscapes. There is a clear tendency towards dramatic chiaroscuro: figures engulfed in shadow, faces darkened to the point of obfuscation. Many of Gruyaert’s images push figurativeness in the direction of abstraction. It's sometimes difficult to discern body parts in the hunched human sculptures. The landscapes, too, draw us into reverie by dint of their near-abstract configurations. One render of the Atlas Mountains is dreamily pigmented; the water seems silky, the sand made of velvet.
Words Erik Martiny
Magnum Gallery, Paris 30 January - 2 April magnumphotos.com
But Still, It Turns EIGHT PHOTOGRAPHIC PROJECTS
ICP New York brings together eight diverse projects from and Emanuele Brutti’s collaborative project, Index G, repnine contemporary artists in But Still, It Turns. The images resents the faces and places that give our worlds meaning. span a range of styles and content, unified by the context Richard Choi’s What Remains tackles the subject of memory of the last two decades. The photos are also bound by the in a hybrid of video and still images. Vanessa Winship’s She definition of being “photographs from the world” – offering Dances on Jackson and Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa’s All an alternative to the fast-paced moments of modern living. My Gone Life also pay homage to familiar objects and landscapes, as history is woven into the everyday. Life is captured as it is unfolds in a layered view. But Still, It Turns offers a collection of images which allow Words Curran Hatleberg’s Lost Coast scenes are vivid with nuances that tell communities’ stories. Meanwhile, images quiet moments to transpire, settling into the depths of minu- Jenn Sauer in Gregory Halpern’s road trip ZZYZX and Kristine Potter’s tae and revelling in the puzzle pieces that make up our daily Manifest unveil poignant visuals, combining character-sketch lives. “These are photographers who go out into the world portraiture and landscape views of western locales. In one of and engage with life as it is,” says curator Paul Graham. ICP, New York “There is no Hollywood staging or production crews. The ex- 4 February - 9 May Halpern's images, a hand stretches towards the sun. Cultural examinations are at the centre of RaMell Ross’s hibition revitalises and reminds us of one of things photograSouth County, AL (a Hale County) and Piergiorgio Casotti phy does best – engaging with the flow of life.” icp.org
Field Test JACKIE NICKERSON
More than two decades ago, Jackie Nickerson began her art practice photographing Zimbabwean farm workers, and sharing their remarkable stories. In her latest body of work, Field Test, anonymity is the focus of portrait-esque photos, containing masked and shielded faces, figures and scenes. Inspired by Nickerson's time in Libya during the Ebola epidemic of 2014, the series began in a time that mirrors our current experience of Covid. Nickerson sought to humanise the collective, invisible trauma. Without age, gender or race as markers, these figures become anyone and everyone. Works such as Wrapped and Chimera I offer only the outlines of bodies, whilst other images rely on the subtleties of body language for any kind of emotional expression, such as the head tilt in Red Net or hands raised to cover a veiled face in Paint. The degrees of transparency suggest
complex layers of freedom and authenticity at play – we, as viewers, are looking for markers of feeling and information. As an artist interested in politics, Nickerson feels that these pieces provide an opportunity for societal reflection – looking for a better path and mode of living together. She comments: “I have been very concerned with human rights and the human condition. We have to figure out a new way of thinking. We have to take responsibility for our own actions Words Jenn Sauer and accept our civil duty to step forward.” A meaningful take on Nickerson’s plastic and mesh-encased “made worlds” is through consumerism and technology. The images might speak to a feeling of loss for the more Jack Shainman, New York organic aspects of life as we have previously known it, or the 25 February - 3 April physical detriment of synthetic manufacture. Nickerson decidedly leaves the themes to be chosen by the viewer. jackshainman.com
. 1.Harry Gruyaert, Ouarzazate. 1986 © Harry Gruyaert / Magnum Photos. 2a.Gregory Halpern, Untitled, 2016. © Gregory Halpern. 2b. Gregory Halpern, Untitled, 2016. © Gregory Halpern. 3. Jackie Nickerson, Supermarket Mask (2019). Digital c-print 60 x 48 inches (print) Ed.1,1AP Available..
4. Sonya Clark, Hair Craft Project Hairstyles (Ife), 2014; From series of 11 color photographs, each 28 x 28 in.; On loan from the artist; © Sonya Clark; Photo by Naoko Wowsugi. 5a. Sandaga, from the series Maggic Cube, 2019 © Adji Dieye. Courtesy of the artist. 5b. From the series Maggic Cube, 2019 © Adji Dieye. Courtesy of the artist 6. Leo Villareal, Scramble (2011). Light-emitting diodes, Mac mini, custom software, steel, wood, Plexiglas. 60 x 60 in. The Phillips Collection, The Dreier Fund for Acquisitions, 2012.
Tatter, Bristle and Mend SONYA CLARK
Sonya Clark (b. 1967) created BREATHE in 1994, 20 years before Eric Garner repeatedly uttered “I can’t breathe” whilst being choked by New York police and his last words became intrinsic to the Black Lives Matter movement. Both life and death inhabit this handheld mirror featuring a filling of mica, a reflective substance used in ancient Egypt some 5,000 years ago, and a handle wrapped like a mummy. Found objects abound in this first survey of the 25-year career of an artist who speaks of, or in, what she calls “the language of textiles, the politics of hair.” This celebration of Black culture redresses the injustices and imbalances that have prevailed through the centuries via the dark legacy of slavery. Chief among Clark’s favoured humble materials are ubiquitous US-made black plastic combs, stamped “unbreakable” and yet useless for textured hair. Clark subjects these combs to all sorts of transformations in
intricate sculptures, adorned with thread, serving as support for tapestry portraits of hairdressers, snipped or defanged. In Iterations (2008), what begins as a makeshift family tree fans out on the floor into layers of hundreds of combs, representing how slavery prevents many African Americans from tracing their lineage past several generations. In replacing the traditional white horsehair of a violin bow with a dreadlock, stringing necklaces with “pearls” of hair or stitching cornrows and Bantu knots onto fabrics with black thread, Clark reaffirms a Black presence in realms where it has been omitted. Paradoxes permeate this fraught fragility, but also mirror the greatest contradiction of them all: the ideal of American equality and justice against historic enslavement and subjugation. The artist dubs this duality “the warp and weft of our nation.” After months of delay, the show coincides with global reckoning over endemic racism.
Words Olivia Hampton
NMWA, Washington DC 3 March - 31 May nmwa.org
Foam Talent NEW PHOTOGRAPHIC TALENT
Foam’s yearly open call has been on the radar of international photographers for more than a decade. The 2020 edition gathers 19 young artists from across the world. Their works are now on show in a travelling exhibition and are published in The Talent issue of Foam’s magazine. Also grouped in a brand new digital platform, which represents a new kind of exhibition space, resource material and a meeting point, the diverse series address the role of the portrait in visual culture today. Individuals and communities who are usually invisible or on the fringes of society are in the spotlight here – in a mix of both private and public spheres. Reality, fiction and identity are called into question. Italian-Senegalese photographer Adji Dieye (b. 1991) examines how we look at the so-called “other” – and how we examine someone else’s space, whether literally or metaphorically. Her style is characterised by simplification, condensation and replication, as with branding and advertising, she
reinvents the African tradition of studio portrait photography. The artist reflects on the imaginary narrative of Western Africa, as sold to foreigners, questioning existing artistic models of representation. Has the art market been able to transmit correctly African’s aesthetics, or African artists posed for the market? Whilst challenging the external interpretation, she denounces also inner stereotypes and traditional roles determined by economical superstructures. Dieye uses the popular stock cube by Swiss brand Maggi as metaphor of the impact of global, imperialist trade on con- Words temporary African nations’ identities with the series Maggic Monica de Vidi Cube. The dehydrated broth, invented in Europe, is one of the goods that replaced local ingredients, creating an unnecessary demand and giving shape to a branded landscape. Foam Amsterdam Dieye critiques capitalism and consumerism, mainly through 18 December - 2 June a pantomime of female subjects portrayed as domestic figures, as they are major victims of branding strategies. foam.org
Seeing Differently A CENTENNIAL EXHIBITION
The Phillips Collection was founded by Duncan Phillips as a the pandemic. Take Self Portrait as Henry Box Brown (Proto) memorial to his father, who died in 1917, and to his brother, (2012), part of a project in which Wilmer Wilson IV (b. 1989) who succumbed a year later during the influenza pandemic. covered himself with postage stamps and walked into post The museum has much to teach us in its centennial year, as offices across Washington asking to be mailed to freedom. The formerly enslaved Brown got shipped from Virginia to the world grapples with another health crisis. A narrative of social justice – bridging national, racial and Pennsylvania in a box just over 150 years ago, in 1849. This is a place where Washington native Joseph Holston’s gender divides – unites some 200 works drawn from an everevolving collection 30 times as large. Solo exhibitions de- (b. 1944) Charity (1976), which depicts an elderly Black woman caught mid-thought, holds court with the woodcut, voted to African American artists are also planned. Cast shadows breathe life into a large portrait of a girl com- silkscreen and aquatint trio of portraits Brisk Day (1990) posed of a floating wooden mosaic by Congolese artist Aimé by Alex Katz (b. 1927). The museum’s trailblazing holdings Mpane (b. 1968) dubbed Maman calcule (2013; “Mother allow Bernhard Hildebrandt’s (b. 1954) painterly photoCalculates”) at the centre of a section on the multi-layered graph Peter 4 (2013) to be flanked by its subject – El Greco’s aspects of identity. The narrative, developed by an interdisci- The Repentant St. Peter – and Francisco Goya’s portlier verplinary group of community members whose voices appear sion of the saint who holds the keys to heaven. It’s part of a on wall texts, breaks down the biases highlighted by the healing salve for the gaping societal wounds highlighted by latest wave of racial violence and the inequities laid bare by recent upheavals and tumults experienced across the globe.
Words Olivia Hampton
Phillips Collection, Washington DC 6 March - 12 September phillipscollection.org
Nosa Eke, Something in the Closet. Part of ASFF's 2020 Official Selection, Thriller.
Spotlight on New Talent 5 WOMEN DIRECTORS TO WATCH Over its 10-year life span, the Aesthetica Short Film Festival herself as a visually assertive storyteller. Her ASFF-selected “The strive for (ASFF) has debuted emerging talent across all forms of film- Pampas is about Britain’s legacy of middle class suburban finding equality in making, from virtual reality to short documentaries, com- swingers. In genre filmmaking, Nosa Eke is fast becoming filmmaking may still edies, dance and fashion through to narratives features. In a woman to watch. “I got into filmmaking because I rarely be a concept firmly on the same decade, significant changes have begun stirring in saw any queer black people star in the shows that I liked, the horizon, but with the way that the film industry treats women. Female voices in but there were in web series” Eke explains. “Those web-series this community of film are now more vital than ever before, and are slowly on taught me that you didn’t have to wait for broadcasters to rising voices growing louder and larger by the rise, with women representing 16% of directors working back you in order to make something brilliant.” Eke’s short film Something in the Closet – a thematic horror the day, we may be on the 100 highest-grossing films in 2020 (up from 12% in about a queer teen struggling with her sexuality – played closer than we think.” 2019), and 21% making up roles behind the scenes. Some of the most promising and intuitive of those voices at ASFF’s virtual edition in 2020. “Having Something in the have found a festival home in ASFF, showcasing work that Closet screen at ASFF was an honour, as it’s such a renowned has invariably gone on to reach high praise. British-Iranian film festival. It's a place where industry and filmmakers are filmmaker Maryam Mohajer won the BAFTA for Best Ani- informed about emerging talent and bold storytelling.” The festival’s female spotlight in-part draws its strength mated Short in 2020 for Grandad Was a Romantic after the film played at ASFF, whilst Sasha Rainbow’s touching short from its partners, which are unified in their commitment documentary Kamali – which played as one of two films to parity in the industry. Bird’s Eye View is a longstanding Words from the director in ASFF 2019 – was also nominated. Long- champion of women in film, thanks in part to its Reclaim the Beth Webb standing relationships with female filmmakers have been Frame initiative, which brings audiences to new female films part of ASFF's driving force, like Alice Seabright, who has won and has been integral to ASFF’s curation, not just in films but multiple awards including Best Comedy with Sex Ed. She now the pioneering women such as Andrea Arnold and Sarah Watch work from some of Gavron who have delivered industry masterclasses. works on Netflix’s vastly popular teen show Sex Education. the most auspicious female The strive for equality in filmmaking may still be on the ho- filmmakers today on ASFF’s New names at the festival are also making big strides in terms of bringing new perspectives to the screen. Non-fiction rizon, but with this community of rising voices growing louder Film Library: asff.co.uk/ filmmaker Jessica Bishopp is carving a significant career for and larger by the day, we may be closer than we think. asff-2020-film-library
The Hybrid Festival THE FUTURE OF THE EVENT LANDSCAPE
Emma Tempest, Anthropologie. Part of ASFF's 2020 Official Selection, Fashion.
If the past year has illustrated anything, it’s just how adapt- about this year’s festival as a grand experiment” Festival “Whereas purists will able the film industry can be in the face of a crisis. Theatri- Director Tabitha Jackson notes: “Now we are in the process forever commit to cal releases may be on hold, but for those craving the best of analysing the results – a vital part of informing the ex- the live experience in new filmmaking, festivals have pivoted to new, accessible pression of the Festival in 2022.” London Film Festival (LFF) of festivals, in many online and hybrid formats, and in turn, continue to deliver – which executed a hybrid programme of events in October cases digital editions 2020 – also boasted record attendance of 315,000. have surpassed carefully curated programmes to tide us over. LFF is a fine example of how digital festivals are creating the expectations of The scale of such online and hybrid festivals varies greatly. National festivals such as the Aesthetica Film Festival – which better accessibility on a regional level. Festival partners like organisers, sponsors usually storms the streets of York – Galway Film Fleadh Watershed cinema in Bristol and Glasgow Film Theatre re- and partners alike. and Cardiff’s prestigious LGBT+ Iris Prize festival all cham- ported that the majority of their LFF screenings sold out. “The Maybe it's time to pioned emerging talent with tailored digital programmes. opportunity to be a partner venue reinforced our view that the blur the lines Internationally, Toronto International Festival, Sundance, co-operation is the best way forward for audiences,” CEO of a little more.” and recently the Berlinale, brought their 2020 and 2021 Glasgow Film Allison Gardner told Screen International. Though the environmental impact of streaming films and events to small screens across the world. TIFF, which was forced to make staff cuts due to the pandemic, delivered a events across the internet to these record-breaking quantities slimmed down but influential programme, which included of viewers must be considered, the absence of international awards hopefuls like Chloé Zhao’s Nomadland and Francis travel for delegates and filmmakers, and energy used to Words Lee’s Ammonite. “People needed us to have this event. They power festival venues (not to mention the reduced cost) can Beth Webb wanted a platform for the films,” explained the festival’s co- also only be seen as a positive for the online format. The question now is whether these advantages are enough head Joana Vicente. “They wanted some hope.” The jump to online worked hugely in favour of Sundance, to persuade festivals to continue digitally or in a hybrid The 11th edition which garnered 600,000 audience views, the most in the format. Whereas purists will forever commit to the live ex- of ASFF is open for festival’s four-decade history. It’s VR strand New Frontier en- perience of festivals, in many cases digital editions have sur- entries until 31 May joyed a particularly large bump in popularity, with a jump passed the expectations of organisers, sponsors and partners from 2,000 to 39,869 participants in the event. “We talked alike. Maybe it’s time to blur the lines a little more. asff.co.uk/submit
Credit: Ryan McBride.
American Nostalgia GLÜME Glüme, aka Los Angeles native Molly Keck, describes herself for someone. So, I try not to. But I’m not very successful.” “Keck not only The exquisite inevitability of romance – its charms and its understands the as a “Walmart Marilyn.” She’s not the first female pop artist to reimagine yesteryear Hollywood glamour for the digital age; perils – is a through-line on her debut. The Internet [Italians allure of American Lana Del Rey’s “Gangster Nancy Sinatra” locked that game Do It Better, 30 April] is an electropop fever dream, all nostalgia, but down a decade ago, reconfiguring modern pop landscape candyfloss confections laced with lush, Diazepam-dreamy manages to inhabit forevermore. And like Del Rey, Keck has both the voice and vocals. There’s an artful air of sepia-tinged melancholy on it, artfully, a glitching, songs like Arthur Miller, a familiar wistfulness in the grandeur tap-dancing, out-ofthe vision to match that blonde ambition. Glüme’s carefully curated aesthetic is thrillingly out-of- of the swirling, film score strings on Chemicals. Everything time starlet beaming time; in a sea of spray-tanned, hyper-contoured, Instagram seems suffused, haunted even, with an air of emotional swoon-worthy voice notes over exquisitely hotties, she’s almost spectral in comparison: a pale, doll- precarity, the highs potentially just as volatile as the lows. Keck makes it all sound intoxicating, dynamic, thrilling. modern dance cuts.” eyed, B-movie starlet framed by a halo of peroxide curls, all vintage red lips and peter pan collars. Glüme’s penchant Hers is a world of glitter and grime; of crushed velvet and for satin babydoll dresses and ballet pumps may nod to pills; of tragic trysts with sharp shooters toting blank guns. Courtney Love, but Keck’s no Fender slinger; Glüme trades in “I say what I want/boys do it all the time,” she deadpans on Blossom, a knife-sharp statement of intent delivered e-number loaded electro pop, sweet and corrosive. You’re more likely to find her turning out a nimble Ginger in a Monroe pout. She’s an inventive, searing and aspiring Rodgers-style tap routine, as evidenced in the video for individual with dreams and ambition (“I want it all”), neon in her brilliantly addictive single, Get Low, a pulsing, buzzsaw the veins and a stash of money in her mattress. “Which god electro paean to the restorative powers of the dancefloor. do you pray to?” she asks. “Which song do you break to?” Get Low is about “the high of falling for someone and how it She’s full throttle, Mary Janes pressed to the pedal. This is an accomplished and intriguing debut, from a very Words effects your brain chemistry and nervous system,” says Keck. “With autonomic dysfunction and a heart condition [Keck promising newcomer. Keck not only understands the allure Charlotte R-A suffers from a type of angina, or coronary artery spasm that of American nostalgia, but manages to inhabit it, artfully, a goes by the name of Prinzmetal], it makes the love ride feel glitching, tap-dancing, out-of-time starlet beaming swoonlike a roller coaster. I get down even trying to let myself fall worthy voice notes over exquisitely modern dance cuts. italiansdoitbetter.com/glume
A Transformative Practice NOGA EREZ Erez, however, was quick to state that whilst her music might “A sense of anger was be described as politicised, she’s not a “political artist” per palpable on Off the se. Is that still the case in 2021? “Yes, that’s still true. I don’t Radar, a record that speak about politics – I really know nothing about them. I levelled its lazer talk about people. I’m just Noga – a human and an artist.” gaze on everything It is a surprisingly neutral stance coming from an artist from surveillance who’s been so vocal on the politics in the past. Previous press states and the interviews revealed an Israeli citizen at odds with her govern- media machine to ment, whilst singles like Dance While You Shoot hinted at an rape culture and artist concerned with the violence of occupation. Kids, whilst social media.” sonically ambitious and evolved, feels vague in comparison, even pessimistic in places (“peace is dead now, rest in peace”). If Erez is more cautious with her words four years on, it’s understandable. In 2019, she fell foul of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, who’d mounted a boycott of InDnegev, an Israeli music festival held in the Naqab (Negev) desert. The Naqab is occupied land, home to an indigenous Palestinian Bedouin population who, critics say, hold Israeli citizenship but lack basic rights and protections. Erez remained on the line-up, despite calls to quit. Words Kids doesn’t deign to offer any answers, easy or otherwise. Charlotte R-A Nevertheless, Erez is proud. This new album is the product of growth and experience, she says. “Our vision is bigger, our perspective is wider, but everything goes through a much more precise filter. We are more patient, we listen more.” nogaerez.com
Image Credit: Shai Franco.
Noga Erez’s life changed “completely” with the release of her 2017 debut, Off The Radar. The bold, defiant and politically charged EDM offered up by Erez and her life / musical partner, Ori Rousso, earned her acclaim both at home, in Israel. “Music became my entire life, and things I’ve been dreaming of and working towards since a young age started happening for me,” explains Erez, from her apartment in Tel Aviv. However, it wasn’t all rising-star glory for the Tel Avivbased artist; just as things began to accelerate for the pair, Rousso lost his mother to cancer. It was a loss that saturated the follow-up album the duo had been writing on the road. “I watched [Ori] and his family go through this experience. And at first that was all we wrote about; there was a lot to process, and it helped us to communicate [it all]. Later on, we started writing about other things. But things didn’t really get back to normal. A whole new perspective took place.” Erez found herself confronting her own mortality, and, along with it, the generational bonds that tie progeny to parent. “Kids is an album about humans, and how we were all once somebody’s children. It’s an empathetic and forgiving look at humanity. I needed those things in order to put aside a lot of anger that I had about the world.” This anger was palpable on Off The Radar, a record that levelled its laser gaze at everything from surveillance states and the media machine to rape culture and social media.
Cig Harvey, Stephanie at the Window from Blue Violet. Courtesy of the artist.
A Lavish Compendium BLUE VIOLET Blue Violet is dedicated to Cig Harvey’s friend Mary, who was paper bag; burnt orange curtains illuminate the silhouettes “Blue Violet beckons diagnosed with leukaemia in 2017. Stuck in a sterile room of plants in fiery sunset tones; a bouquet of poppies float us to look at the devoid of all sensory joy, with “all the surfaces Purelled” and idly against a black backdrop. In a surreal, metaphysical beauty around any food “scorched within an inch of its life to kill the germs”, take on objects and their function, a rose bush blooms wildly us. Through lush Harvey would send her friend photographs that she’d taken inside a car as seen through the rear-view mirror, whilst the imagery, Harvey's of the outside world. The result is a vibrant meditation of flora book’s final image, a compost heap topped with colourful compositions are a and sensory abundance, shocks of colour bursting from zin- dahlias, is a sombre yet beautiful contemplation of nature fierce reminder that nias, marigolds, morning glories, and sunflowers that jump and its life cycle. Harvey agrees: “It tugs at my heart, it’s there's joy to be found in the small details out of the screen, bringing life into her aseptic surroundings. hauntingly beautiful though it feels like a grave.” The book invites the reader to pause, laugh, create, and surrounding us: blink The Maine-based photographer’s fourth book is her first foray into the lively world of botanicals, which Harvey uses become more aware of the organic world through a series of and you'll miss them.” as a way to interrogate themes of life and death. “There is prose, poetry, recipes and illustrations, as with her previous a precedence for being drawn to colour and nature when three titles – You Look At Me Like An Emergency, Gardening at dying or surrounded by death,” she says. Like a sensory feast, Night, and You an Orchestra You a Bomb. Instructions on how the images come at you full bleed (as opposed to square to make dandelion sandwiches are interspersed with fun facts format), a high-resolution amalgamation of colours and on how “angel trumpets smell like sex” or that the Ottoman textures made to elicit strong tactile responses in the viewer. Turks invented floriography, the secret language of flowers. “I’m using the frame in a different way,” she explains. “These Diary entries and poems are punctuated with strange, whim- Words images have been about a cacophony of nature, colour, sical orders like, “Go out and cram a fist full of wildflowers Gunseli Yalcinkaya smell, taste. So, I’m filling the frame, having images coming into your mouth” – giving the book playful immediacy. During this challenging time, where lives are lost and moout at the viewer in a more energetic way, in a more feverish way, which is how I felt at the time: this desperate feeling to notony reigns supreme, Blue Violet beckons us to look at the Blue Violet is beauty around us. Through lush imagery, Harvey’s composi- published by Monacelli live, to feel and experience through all of the senses.” There’s a tension between the organic and artificial in many tions are a fierce reminder that there’s joy to be found in the of the works. Bright red flowers poke their heads out a brown small details surrounding us, blink and you’ll miss them. monacellipress.com
Function and Aesthetics CONNECTION: CCY ARCHITECTS
CCY Architects, Gammel Damm. Photo: Draper White.
Aspen-based CCY Architects are known for bringing fresh of that,” adds Alex Klumb, another of the principles. “All the houses in Castle Creek takes a similarly unorthodox approach. Nes- the book are united and creative ideas to built environments, from buildings in an avalanche path to a house wrapped in music. The award- tled into a high alpine meadow surrounded, the site falls on by a respect for the winning firm takes a holistic approach when considering each a minor avalanche path, prompting CCY Architects to build environment and the new project, combining an area’s natural surroundings – its large steel columns and thick structural walls for protection, desire to forge new whilst a butterfly roof expands the space for ample light. dialogues. By asking topography – to boundary-pushing results. For its debut monograph, the firm looks back on half a Elsewhere, the stunning Bridge House is located in a lush what a changing century of work through a series of 10 recently completed forest. A challenge was presented with the need to accom- habitat should feel residential projects located through the Rocky Mountain modate gable roofs, whilst protecting the trees and creating like – look like – region that showcase a tried and tested method. “Producing a “steel and glass pavilion” to house the owner’s extensive CCY highlights the this publication highlighted some of the through-lines that art collection. To accomplish this, CCY architects situated the importance of making exist in our body of work, including the connectedness be- living and dining areas in a transparent bridge spanning be- a house a home.” tween architecture and environment. It also illustrated a pro- tween two anchoring masses, preserving the natural drainage gression of ideas that might have otherwise gone unnoticed,” patterns and allowing the forest floor to flow underneath. Despite differences in scale, location and intention, all the explains John Cottle, principal at CCY Architects. The Chopin-inspired Music Box (2018), for example, is houses in the book are united by a respect for the environa modern guesthouse that sits next to an 1880s Victorian ment and the desire to forge new dialogues. By asking what a home in Aspen. Designed to accommodate music recitals, changing habitat should feel like – look like – CCY Architects Words the project features a perforated scrim that wraps three faces highlights the importance of experiencing a space through Gunseli Yalcinkaya of the structure like sheet music. The pattern is derived from the senses and making a house a home. “Connecting buildChopin’s Nocturne in E-Flat Major, Op. 9, No. 2, a favourite ings to their site is one of our core values and an approach piece of the client – an aesthetically pleasing design that that threads its way through all our work,” explains Klumb. Connection: CCY Architects doubles as a practical means to filter out unwanted alley “By approaching architecture this way, buildings can perform is published by Monacelli views and harsh, piercing light. “The building is a direct re- better as a function of sustainable design, they better reflect sponse to our client’s way of living, and aesthetics are a part cultural context, and be profoundly more meaningful.” monacellipress.com
The Reason I Jump JERRY ROTHWELL
Jerry Rothwell’s prize-winning documentary is less an outsider account of autism than it is an attempt to place the viewer inside the minds of those born this way. The title is taken from Naoki Higashida’s book, written when he was just 13. The young autistic Japanese author was able to communicate what it was like to have the condition, bringing a unique perspective to his readers. Narrated by Jordan O’Donegan, extracts are used as a skeleton for the film to be built around, as Rothwell travels across the globe, and meets five subjects in four countries. Higashida’s passages unerringly explain what it’s like to be autistic: frustrations with communication, repetition, memory and time. “Inside my head,” we learn, “there isn’t really such a big difference between what I was told just now and what I heard a long, long time ago.” Amongst the subjects are Amrit in India, who demon-
strates huge artistic talent; best friends Ben and Emma in America, who have learnt to punch out sentences one letter at a time by gesturing to a letterboard; and Jestina, whose parents in Sierra Leone are looking to establish the country’s first school for autistic children. British lad Joss, whose mother and father (Jeremy Dear and Stevie Lee, the film’s producers) reluctantly, painfully, place him in the confines of a residential school. Cloud Atlas novelist David Mitchell – who co-translated Higashida’s The Reason I Jump and has an autistic son – also appears on camera, and like so many in this caring and compassionate film, conveys with great dignity the pain he feels. As Dear says of Joss: “One of the things I would love to be is just inside his head, just for 10 seconds, to understand how he sees the world.” This film will surely help so many others to achieve just that.
Words James Mottram
White Colour Black JOSEPH A. ADESUNLOYE
The long-delayed feature debut from Joseph A. Adesunloye is quiet and contemplative. It follows a young man of mixed heritage reconnecting with his family, reconciling modern sensibilities with long-standing traditions. Leke, who is played by boxer-turned-actor Dudley O’Shaughnessy, is a successful photographer living in London – on the cusp of a big career break. Just before this, he is called home to Senegal to attend his father’s funeral. From the little information available, it’s apparent that Leke’s relationship with his father – also a photographer – is distant at best; he refuses to answer calls, instead listening to brief answerphone messages, until the news of the death finally pushes him to return home. Once in Senegal, Leke begins to physically and mentally reconnect with the land, through rituals of labour and remembrance. Much of the early disentanglement of
a complex past comes through images; Leke’s preference for digital photographs clashes with his father’s analogue techniques, however, in developing each piece, he has left something physical behind for Leke to dismantle and study. That the two have a disparate approach to the same art form is no surprise, and this highlights Leke’s feelings of alienation and distance to the home country – he has nothing concrete with which to connect. The often-oblique nature of White Colour Black could be interpreted as subjective commentary on the failings of male stoicism – the societal expectation for men to hide vulnerability creates distance between father and son. However, the film’s insistence on silence mostly feels alienating, and whilst O’Shaughnessy’s naturalistic approach makes him an intriguing presence, the emotional release in his journey can be easily missed.
Words Stephanie Watts
After Love ALEEM KHAN
After Love is a striking debut from British-born director Aleem Khan. It begins as Mary Hussein (Joanna Scanlan) returns with her husband, Ahmed, to their home in Dover. Moments later, he collapses and dies. Yet this is just the first shock that Mary must endure. After burying Ahmed, she discovers that he had a French mistress, Genevieve (Nathalie Richard), who lives in Calais. Compelled to meet her, Mary journeys over the English Channel. Genevieve, who is in the process of moving to another house, confuses her for a cleaner and, before long, Mary begins working for her late husband’s lover in a sinister twist. It’s a contrivance but a forgivable one, given that it allows the grief-stricken widow to discover more about the double life which her spouse led. Having converted to Islam to marry Ahmed, Mary never had children – so it comes as an even bigger jolt
to discover he had a son, Solomon (Talid Ariss), with Genevieve. Khan ensures other characters harbour secrets too – the teenage Solomon, who desperately yearns for a father-figure in his life, has issues of his own. Khan teeters the film away from realism just the right amount. At one point, Mary visualises the white cliffs of Dover land-sliding; in another scene, as she’s lying on a bed, the ceiling cracks and plaster specks land on her pillow. The message is clear: her world is collapsing. Scanlan, best known for BBC political satire The Thick of It, is superb throughout a draining and exposing role. Probing cultural assimilation, After Love is an unusual addition to the canon of recent films exploring the British-Muslim experience (see Mogul Mowgli, Blinded by the Light). Pregnant with rich ideas, it remains absorbing, right up until the final catharsis-laden scenes.
Words James Mottram
Self-Titled STURLE DAGSLAND
Norwegian genre-bending artist Sturle Dagsland violently launches his debut album at every single one of our senses, and genuinely shocks the listener into submission from the get-go. Highly creepy and intimately testing, the on-the-nose titled Album is one that demands your attention and doesn't let go for one second. The record feels like an art project heading headfirst into a blender – with horror core and screamo there is a lot going on here. The strange and beautiful pitchedup vocals would be jarring if they weren’t juxtaposed carefully with such beautifully composed music. In many ways, it feels like a brutal soundscape for a demented Zack Snyder action flick, forcefully melded together with a pitched and chopped-up Björk. By no means is this a uniformly enjoyable listen, but it is equally an interesting and perplexing one. When Waif arrives in the middle of
the album opening with angelic vocals like a tonic amidst the intensity, it is a welcome break. On cue, serene vocals reverse and contort beyond recognition into a nightmarish landscape of unexpected textures. And a feverish bad dream is what continues throughout, one softened by rich instrumentation that even becomes poppy at points, as on Hulter Smulter, which feels almost like it could be an Enter Shikari record. Followed closely by Frenzy which is nothing short of an intricately detailed audio assault, deeply unsettling and captivating in equal measure. Wandering Minstrel drops in healing chords with truly emotive and meandering moments of self-reflection, which make the return of the screams even more unsettling. It is undoubtedly a unique listening and viewing experience, and a deep dive into originality – albeit at times, hair-raising one.
Words Kyle Bryony
I Am The Prophet LADY DAN
I Am The Prophet is the debut album from Lady Dan, the project of Austin-based singer-songwriter Tyler Dozier. Framed in biblical imagery and country flavoured melodies, the record feels like the mid-point of sorrow and joy. Dozier grew up in a strictly religious environment, having been born in Dothan, Alabama, and moved to Birmingham in her early 20s during which time she began to question the role of the church whilst dealing with the recent death of her father and its emotional ramifications. Album opener Paradox is confidently melodic with Dozier’s velvet vocal sheen setting down a marker for what is to follow. On the rugged Dogs, her voice glides and climbs anthemically before giving way to a descending bassline that takes the track in a sonically altered direction. Of the more reflective tracks, the plaintive Plagiarist’s Blues is stripped down to its finest,
allowing a pristine vocal to rise above the strummed acoustic backdrop. The sprawling title track reflects on the resentment that comes with the modern dating era: getting to know someone and the other party backing out just when things are about to progress. After this dissociative sense of hypnotic reflection, the listener continues to be met with the same sense of rebirth and renewal with Dozier’s voice moving between hushed and spoken to dynamic and bold. Album closer Left Handed Lover has an aura of happiness in its instrumentation yet the vocal melancholy posits that “time keeps on slipping into the future.” It begins gently and ends with a slow fade to silence, perfectly closing the circle of the song and indeed the entire album. Overall, this is a collection of songs that is lush and cinematic, the perfect marriage of plaintive and longing.
Words Matt Swain
Earth Libraries ladydanmusic.com
From the opening fast-paced drums it is clear that the latest offering from German singer-songwriter Marius Lauber – better known as Roosevelt – is going to be a powerful one. Huge power pop ballads mix with swaths of big choruses and feel-good energy. Every song feels like a caffeinated hit. Feels Right echoes of classic Jungle with a ricketing bassline and deep, rich synth lines all paired with Lauber’s understated but emotive vocal delivery. There is a pervading sense of nostalgia underneath the positive vibes which makes the whole sound pulse with authenticity and originality – with a wavy, Balearic pace. Analogue stabs and big drop moments are worthy of evoking festival madness – Disclosure-esque – despite feeling also like a bygone era. Strangers opens with rattles of piano chord sounds of Baby D but with the beautiful additional vintage sounding, pained lyrics
you’d expect from high-strung and saturated pop. The Blade Runner-esque Montjuic is a twisted stand out despite it appearing only momentarily and completely without vocals. However, the textural journey of this dance-pop album still somehow manages to have a very cinematic narrative. Forget is a tense guitar bop with similar chords to Thriller, something which is very welcome. Echoes hits all the right notes of a disco George Michael club remix, belonging firmly and confidently in the late 1980s on a dance floor complete with twinkling lights and big hair. Meanwhile, the more sombre album-closer Sign still repeats the four-to-the-floor drum beat albeit in a more reflective head-nodding fashion. At 10 songs deep, this euphoric – and at times deliriously produced – album is a wild ride, but ultimately, it is one worth the adventure for the listener.
Words Kyle Bryony
The Art Museum in Modern Times CHARLES SAUMAREZ SMITH
“When I enter a museum, I want a cup of tea.” Louis Kahn, architect of the Kimbell Art Museum, knew that designing a museum meant getting one’s priorities straight. Charles Saumarez Smith acknowledges it wasn’t always this way. Like a museum, Smith’s new title marches us along a timeline of case studies. Drastically transformed from the 19th century, Smith argues that museum architecture has been shaped for the tastes and appetites of modern audiences. Out with the porticos, the colonnades, the temple-like shrines to the past. In with the baristas, the school groups and the art spaces of the future. Of course, not everyone agrees on the way forward. Smith, a former Director of the National Portrait Gallery, understands better than most the tug of war between the “high priests of art” who commission, design and fund museums. (He opened the new Ondatjee Wing to critical
acclaim in 2013.) The jibe instead is Dillon Ripley’s at art mogul and fellow trustee Paul Mellon at the National Gallery, Washington, in the late 1960s. Smith is less concerned than Ripley by rich and powerful gatekeepers (“it is inescapable”). He argues that philanthropists like Paul Sachs, of Goldman Sachs, helped usher in the avant-garde. Moreover, that he needn’t make a moral judgement of the “robber barons” who want to use art “to buy their way into heaven” to respect their contribution to public collections. Smith’s conclusion cautioning us against intensified suspicion of museum donors’ private wealth is unconvincing. Perhaps he’s not so far off former V&A Director Eric Maclagan, who he quotes describing the public “as a noun of three letters beginning with A and ending with S.” If people want tea with their Bruegel, give them the tea.
Words Jack Solloway
Talk Art RUSSELL TOVEY & ROBERT DIAMENT
Contemporary art is often considered difficult to Tracey Emin, Tyler Mitchell, Sunil Gupta and Catherine understand: a world of sharks in formaldehyde, bananas Opie. Tovey and Diament have also released a book. taped to walls and beds left unmade. What does it all The print edition of Talk Art is an extension of the show mean? In autumn 2018, actor Russell Tovey and gallerist – acting as a launchpad for readers to develop their Robert Diament launched the Talk Art podcast. Brought relationships with visual culture. Across all platforms, together by a shared love of collecting – and the Young the pair remain dedicated to offering a “non-pretentious” British Artists – they started the show as a passion project open conversation that's immediately accessible. What resonates most of all with this new title is the value with a particular goal in mind: “to help make art more accessible, more approachable, and to share a snapshot placed on creativity, and the duo’s eagerness to share of the art world as it is today.” Since then, the duo has it with the world. “We love artists because they create been spending time with an impressive range of creatives, imaginative new worlds and new languages. They stand learning about their life experiences in making, viewing outside mainstream society, looking in, keenly observing, or working with art. In its first year of broadcasting, analysing, criticising, and sometimes even celebrating Talk Art accumulated over one million downloads, with humanity’s eccentricities… Art can transform and make possible the seemingly impossible; it can meaningfully listeners in over 60 countries across the globe. Three years on, and the podcast’s recent guests include contribute to and influence how we treat one another.”
Words Eleanor Sutherland
Mona Kuhn: Works MONA KUHN
“The nude is present in my work … as proof of our being, our presence in time, and ultimately our caring for what will be lost.” In an interview included in this career-spanning monograph, photographer Mona Kuhn (b. 1969) evokes something elemental in her practice, in which the human body seems to convey universal truths. Born in Brazil to a family with German roots, Kuhn’s biography includes key turning points such as the discovery of Expressionism and the Bay Area Figurative Movement, both schools inspired by the emotive and metaphorical potential of the body. The same impetus runs through Kuhn’s creative development, and is evident in the images from 1996-2002, under the title Early Depictions, in which sections of the human form are arranged in positions suggesting prayer, embrace or mourning. Time spent with naturalist communities in Europe in-
spired the more informal, group portraiture of the Evidence series (2000-2008). Nudes in sunlit interiors, surrounded by flowers, chairs, utensils and books, offer the barest threads of personal narrative. The erotic potential of these scenes is implicit in the entwinement of limbs, though it's not overstressed nor at the forefront of the art. In Native (2007-2009) and Private (2012-2014), the reciprocity of human-made and natural habitats appears as a sub-plot to the human drama. The first of these projects returned Kuhn to Brazil after a 20-year absence, where the crumbling interior of a neo-colonial villa and the lush rainforests of Araponga provided contrasting backdrops. The latter explores the desert landscapes around the artist’s southern California home, drawing mesmeric comparisons between the folds of cloth and desiccated paper and the endless ripples of sand dunes.
Words Greg Thomas
Yuko Mizobuchi Yuko Mizobuchi is a “neo-primitive” Japanese artist who believes that the role of art is to revert to a “neutral” state within the human condition. This has led her to open the BrainBrunnGALLERY in Tokyo – a space built around freedom of imagination, where viewers are encouraged to have primitive, innate responses to art, unrestricted by the uniformity of white wall galleries. The current exhibition Brunn! is on view until 4 April.
www.brain-brunn.com Instagram: @brainbrunngallery
MARK FORBES Victoria Wareham is an Australia-based artist. She works across video, print and installation to explore the screen as an unstable, spectral entity that exists between the image, the object and the viewer. In response to the dominance of digital images, Wareham’s practice interrogates the ubiquitous screen as a carrier of radiant images – as demonstrated in Midnight Runners.
Melbourne-based artist Mark Forbes is best known for contemplative and atmospheric, nostalgia-tinged documentary photography. The use of film is an integral part of the creative process in his personal work. Traditional medium format cameras are used to capture the layers of beauty that exist everywhere around us – as shown in his Beautiful Solitude series. Exhibiting widely, Forbes’ work has featured in renowned art prizes, while his limitededition archival prints are held in public and private collections worldwide.
www.victoriawareham.com | Instagram: @victoriawareham
www.markforbes.com.au | Instagram: @_markforbes_
JOAN ANDAL ROMANO
Richard Gowland is a UK-based contemporary artist specialising in paintings imbued with psychological drama. Of particular interest is the depiction of conflict and the devastating consequences of war. In the Psychosis series, the creation of each piece involves carefully researched subject matter, which is then expressed through strong use of colour and numerous layers of luminous oil paint to achieve intensity and realism. Gowland’s aim is to portray people going through traumatic events with dignity and even beauty.
Toronto-based artist J oan Andal Romano questions public and private domains – what to share with the world and what to keep as hers alone. Vulnerability is at the core of her practice. She reads magazines from back to front and also views people in this way; when her mindset is free and heart is open, strangers become friends and indifference to encompassment. For Romano’s series Our Beautiful Flaws, she stitches painted papers amongst her moments typed on vellum. She does not cut threads neatly nor does she hide the flawed seams.
Instagram: @gowland.richard I YouTube: Manoto+Gowland
The practice of multidisciplinary British artist Barry Martin has spanned decades and he is perhaps best known as a pioneer of the Kinetic Art movement. Martin's boundary-pushing work has been exhibited at Tate Britain and Musée d'Art Moderne de Paris, amongst many others; seen here are Spinning, Turning, Flapping, Leaning shown at the RA in 1968 and On the Case shown at the V&A in 2015. www.barrymartin.co.uk
For Ben Vickers, art is where we try to meld our affinity for storytelling with our perception of reality. As such, he embraces montage, juxtaposition, an image-base fed by the media and a range of formats to explore sense-making in even the most mundane situations. His most recent paintings include the Flying to Ibiza series, which explores memory and projection. www.benvickers.co.uk I Instagram: @benvickers100
Bootsy Holler is a Los Angeles-based artist whose new large-format series Without Words: Grounded in Nature chronicles her vivid episodes of depersonalisation. Recreating scenes based on the visions she has in this state, she paints the possibility of an ecofeminist solution, casting women and nature in a powerful union against the social constructs that devalue them both. www.BootsyHoller.com I Instagram: @BootsyHoller
Brendon Marczan is a painter and illustrator based in London. Many of his artworks feature a tipi symbol – a nod to the traditional dwellings of some Indigenous Canadians and Native Americans. These triangular shapes represent shelter, safety and home. The tight patterns throughout Marczan's work further reinforce a sense of community in fractured times. www.brendonmarczan.com I Instagram: @brendonmarczan
The gardens of China and Japan are a decades-long source of inspiration for the thrown porcelain and garden ceramics created by UK-based artist Christine-Ann Richards. Her often-commissioned larger works are greatly influenced by a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship to Japan in which she explored "the way that water is used in landscape and architecture." www.christineannrichards.co.uk
Digital artist David Green explores urban architecture with particular examination of the personal and national identity within the domestic parameters. Of his current Oscar Romero work, he notes: “This is a series of monuments to survival and protection which individually project the values, takes and idiosyncrasies of their inhabitants.” www.davgrun.com I Instagram: @artistdavidgreen
Derek Morris is a Norwich-based artist who combines geometry, light and colour to full effect, creating constructed art pieces that are held in public and private collections. He holds a first class honours degree in Sculpture from Newcastle University and has developed a degree-level sculpture course at the Norwich School of Art. He later became President of the Royal British Society of Sculptors. www.derekmorrissculptor.co.uk
Athens-based Elissavet Sfyri holds an MA in Sculpture from the Royal College of Art and a BA in Fine Art from Goldsmiths. An award-winning multidisciplinary artist, she has participated in several international group exhibitions. Sfyri created Dichotomy – an interactive sound performance and installation – as part of To Camp at the Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève (MAMCO). www.elissavetsfyri.com I www.vimeo.com/286691548
Northern California-based artist Eric Wiles' unique focus on fine art and landscape photography reveals dynamic images of natural beauty and manmade objects. His contemporary photographic creativity has propelled his work into exhibitions around the world and has been shown in numerous mainstream art and design magazines. www.ew-photo.com I Instagram: @eric.wiles.photo
Flor Troconis is a Venezuela-born artist based between Miami, Los Angeles, London and Istanbul. Her extensive travels fuel a curiosity and appetite for experimentation with geometric colour and form. She notes: "Inspiration reveals itself unexpectedly from the abstract beauty of architectural structures; misty evenings in the UK; desert wastelands; lush tropics." www.flortroconisart.com I Instagram: @flortro
York-based artist Gail Fox worked for many years as a ceramicist before turning her attention to abstract collages. Concerned with juxtaposition and composition, her work relies on intuition whilst adjusting and distilling towards a sense of balance and harmony. Fox’s work is held in private collections in Europe, the USA, Australia and New Zealand. www.gailfox.co.uk I Instagram: @gailfox.art
Ira Hoffecker is a German-Canadian artist based in Victoria. Her new painting series explores the perception of depth in organic and geometric forms, where aspects of one informs the other. The colour incursions rouse the picture plane, revealing intimate exchanges within each painting's interiority. Hoffecker holds an MFA from the University of Plymouth and has shown work in exhibitions in Europe and Canada. www.irahoffecker.com
For submission enquiries regarding the Artists’ Directory, contact Katherine Smira on (0044) (0)844 568 2001 or email@example.com
Marc Santos is a fine art photographer based in New York. Long-flowing motion blur with luminous figures is a hallmark of his organic improvisation style. The works reflect reality, as the lines from motion are created and recorded in the moment – there is no compositing of any kind. Santos believes that showing movement in this way allows the viewer to time travel within the image. www.MarcSantosPhotography.com I Instagram: @pixmarc
Molly Harrington is a mixed-media sculptor based in Boston who aims to show the value of the permanence of a moment in time. She draws from personal experience as well as the natural world, philosophy, science, culture and psychology. Harrington notes that although nothing is truly permanent, she longs to portray a sense of history, for the next best thing to forever is a long time. Instagram: @mharringtonstudios
Patrizio Sanguigni regards decoration, in the serial repetition of patterns, including architectonic detail, as a playful activity springing from closeups and concentrating on the particular – leaving the centralisation of the image as merely peripheral. Untitled is a study of decoration in oil and tempera on canvas that highlights the importance of perspective. www.patriziosanguigni.it I Instagram: @patrizio_sanguigni
UK-based artist Paul Butler is obsessed with the circle and its myriad possibilities. Experimentation with colour, texture and materials brings the elegant simplicity of this round plane figure to life. Extensive travels and collaboration with artists have also contributed to his practice. Butler's work is held in private collections and he is preparing for an exhibition at the Crypt Gallery, St Ives in October. www.blue10art.com I IG: @paulbutler64
Phoenix-based artist Robert Palmer graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Fine Art from Arizona State University. He specialises in painting representational landscapes, capturing the varied elements of the natural world through a lively colour palette. Palmer uses his own photographs, sketches and watercolours as inspiration for oil on linen compositions such as Speculum Lacum and Somniare Aquae. Instagram: @robert.palmer.7505
Saccades is an experimental work in photography and storytelling. The project produces one medium-format roll of film per week, primarily black and white, and always undeveloped, numbered and signed: a roll of potential images. The decision to develop and utilise the photographs, or not, is handed over to whoever acquires each roll. Context is added by online soundscapes and diary archives. www.saccades.co.uk I IG: @saccades2
Astra Papachristodoulou is a UKbased experimental poet and artist. She fuses natural materials with text to create interdisciplinary sculptures, mainly using ecologically friendly materials to respond to urgent environmental challenges. The works often have an interactive element, offering alternative ways for poetry to be presented and understood beyond the page. www.astranaut.co.uk Instagram: @heyastranaut
Elvira Lepikhina attends the Moscow State Stroganov Academy of Design and Applied Arts, specialising in Textile Design. She is currently experimenting with plastic and creating new fabrics for a collection of outerwear. An award-winning artist, Lepikhina has participated in Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia as well as in numerous festivals and events throughout Europe and Asia. www.livemaster.ru/elviralepikhina Instagram: @elvira_lepikhina
Brett Dyer is an award-winning artist and professor based near Dallas. His latest series combines abstract figures with evocative colours, patterns and textures, revealing the complexity of the human spirit. The acrylic on canvas piece shown here is entitled Colour is Light, 2020. Dyer’s work has been shown in numerous exhibitions throughout the USA. www.brettdyerart.com Instagram: @brettleedyer
Brazilian-Dutch painter Claudia Pombo offers an adapted view of nature and human situations past and present. Her creative expressions include illustrations of Amazonian mythology, metaphysical art, flora as well as colour-rich landscapes. The piece shown here, entitled Without Choice, reflects the artist's ruminations on current world events. www.clpombo.wordpress.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Dereck Stafford Mangus is a visual artist and writer based in Baltimore. His work is informed by the urban landscape, which he views as a massive work of art composed of complex, moving parts. As no single image adequately represents the ever-changing city, he employs the photomontage technique in series such as Ruins, Constructions and The Square Project. www.dsmangus.com Instagram: @ds_mangus
UK-based photographer Ellie Elliott focuses on fashion-related images. Analogue methods are often used to capture the emotions of her subjects whilst exploring underlying socio-political and environmental issues such as identity, fast fashion, modern industry, marine pollution and animal habitats. www.ellie-elliott.co.uk Instagram: @by_ellieelliott
Ji Eun Lim
South Korean multidisciplinary artist Ji Eun Lim is currently based in New York. Her focus since 2020 has been cardboard art – a material explored in both her MAT thesis and teaching practice. The myriad possibilities of this ubiquitous yet often-ignored material are harnessed by Lim in bold new ways. The creative process itself allows for intense exploration of self-awareness: as a person, artist and educator. www.jieunlim.net Instagram: @jieunjieunlim
Johanne Narayn is a UK-based paint and print artist who is fascinated by the flora and fauna of her father's birthplace, Trinidad. Vibrant colours are used to depict the beauty and elegance of birds such as flamingos and hummingbirds in natural and fantasy habitats. Narayn's Flamingo Arts Emporium sells limited-edition merchandise designed from her paintings as well as unique handpainted products. www.johannenarayn.com
For submission enquiries regarding the Artists’ Directory, contact Katherine Smira on (0044) (0)844 568 2001 or email@example.com
Kirstine Mengel is an award-winning Danish architectural photographer, specialising in creating space and capturing lines of manmade structures. The style of her work is influenced by visual serenity, light and minimalism. The multi-awardwinning Stairs series highlights Mengel's signature emphasis on graphic elements enveloped in a Nordic style. www.kirstinemengel.dk Instagram: @kirstinemengel
Portugal-based Maya Mitten is an internationally-renowned collage artist. Traditional cut and paste techniques are used as a vehicle to explore journeys both real and dreamed. Mitten's work has featured on album covers and in books, and she has inspired others through her classes at a variety of locations including the Saatchi Gallery, London and schools in Hamburg. www.mayamitten.com Instagram: @mayamitten
Canadian sculptor Melanie Furtado explores subtle emotional states through the contemporary figure. Her work often depicts groups of solitary individuals during intimate moments of introspection. Furtado is based in Paris, where she is currently completing Women: States of Being, a series of unconventional female figures. www.melaniefurtado.com Instagram: @melanie.furtado
Nina Valetova explores connections between ancient cultures, fantasy, mythology, metaphysics and philosophy. Searching for new ways of expression, she has established a synthesis painting style in contemporary art – the integration of suprematism, surrealism and cubism with abstract and figurative forms. This is aptly demonstrated in New Ways, a coloured pencil drawing. www.valetova.info IG: @ninatokhtamanvaletova_art
China-born, USA-based Qianwen Yu is an interdisciplinary artist and MFA graduate from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She harnesses both traditional and contemporary techniques, combining them with 20th century modernism in weaving, animation, sound and architecture, to explore new possibilities within the moving-image arena. Yu’s work has been widely exhibited. www.qianwenyuyu.com Instagram: @qianwenyuyu
Hong Kong-based Seema Mathew is a self-taught artist. A key component of her practice is experimentation, as seen in her most recent work with water-soluble graphite on linen paper – this is combined with a philosophical and inward-looking approach. In Nocturne, each painted panel is a window into an inner world. Mathew was selected as one of the Artists in the Spotlight by the 2021 Arte Laguna Prize, Venice. Instagram: @seemamathew_ink
Simay Kislaoglu is a contemporary Turkish artist based in Istanbul. Her practice is influenced by time spent in Florence, where she studied the Italian language as well as a variety of art masters. This has inspired Kislaoglu to explore two avenues: oil paintings that focus primarily on female portraiture, such as Luna, and clothing designs which feature nods to classic, timeless prints. www.simaykislaogludesign.com Instagram: @simaykislaogludesign
Tomasz Susul is a Polish fine art photographer and mixed-media artist specialising in landscapes and urban architecture. In his latest series of works he pursues a unique form of craftsmanship – combining alternative photography techniques, handmade paper and woodworking, including the Japanese Yakisugi technique – to create the Art Objects series. www.tomaszsusul.pl FB: Tomasz.Susul.Photography
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Chip Hooper, Dusk, Bonneville Salt Flats, 1999 ©The Estate of Chip Hooper, Courtesy Robert Mann Gallery.
Robert Mann Director, Robert Mann Gallery
We are pleased to announce the digital exhibition, Celebrating Chip Hooper, a collection of early works commemorating our dear friend and artist, Chip Hooper, who left this planet way too soon. Before Hooper dove into photographing oceans – capturing the delicate and ever-changing horizon where sky and water meet – and before he began incorporating elements of abstract expressionism in large-scale colour seascapes, Hooper spent years documenting the American western wilderness. In these early works – all created prior to 2000 – Hooper channels the influence of f64 artists such as Ansel Adams and Edward Weston, revealing a special relationship between himself and the subject matter. These quiet, sublime images show a contemplative side of the artist that few knew. On view until 30 April. robertmann.com.