THE ART & CULTURE MAGAZINE
Issue 101 June / July 2021
SPHERE OF INFLUENCE
Exploring the social history and heritage behind lowrider culture
Dadaism and Hip Hop are brought together in conceptualised murals
Layered photographs that oscillate between the familiar and unfamiliar
Looking back on the legacy and principles of desert modernism
UK £5.95 Europe €11.95 USA $15.49
FORMS OF RESISTANCE
Welcome Editor’s Note
On the Cover Tekla Evelina Severin (b. 1981) is a Stockholm-based colourist, designer and photographer. She is also the co-founder and Artistic Director of Toniton – a new “colour brand” launched in late 2020, focused on six matching palettes for circulation within the home. (p. 76) Cover Image: Image courtesy Toniton: @toniton_colours (2020). Photography: Tekla Severin and Gabriel Söderbladh. Retouch: Tekla Severin and Retuschor.se.
As I sit down to write this, I have so many things that I want to say. For the moment, it is starting to look up. We are able to see each other again, sit inside and have a meal, go on holiday and to the cinema, but I don’t want to get carried away. I am thrilled that this could be the start of the return back to life as we knew it, albeit the improved version. The only word that comes into my mind when I think of this pandemic is: astonishing. You need distance to even begin to understand the enormity of the situation. Now that 15 months have passed since the first lockdown, I recall moments of fear, anxiety and loss. Inside this issue we look at artists and curators who are initiating change, and bringing important and critical works to light. We’re keen to survey these shows and bring the widest possible points of access to the works. In Underexposed: Women Photographers from the Collection at High Museum of Art, Atlanta, more than 100 images, many which have never been on view, are brought out for audiences to enjoy. The artworks highlight the contributions of women throughout the history of photography, spanning from innovators to present-day practitioners who investigate the intersections of image-making, representation and identity. We speak with South African artist Robin Rhode about his wide-ranging practice. He is best-known for large-scale public wall drawings, in which figures interact with objects, vehicles and architecture, or abstract geometric patterns. Kristin Bedford’s new photo book, Cruise Night, pulls back the curtain on LA’s Mexican American lowrider car culture, tackling misconceptions and celebrating the uniqueness of this community through its modes of expression. In photography, we present the works of Natalie Christensen, Kristina Varaksina, Kelsey McClellan and Mue Studio, as well as the paper art and science of Matthew Shlian, and Tekla Severin on the cover. These works are pushing the boundaries of what photography should and can be. That is beyond exhilarating! Cherie Federico
Art 16 News A selection of six groundbreaking exhibitions that challenge notions of design history, the home, and the development of British surrealism.
22 10 to See For our summer recommendations, the exhibition space is reinvented and otherwise renewed, from growing microcosms to survey-led installations.
26 Sphere of Influence Palm Springs Modernism has played a pivotal role in contemporary culture, from Hockney’s pop pool paintings to open-plan architecture.
32 Poignant Introspection In a sequence of self-portraits, shot throughout the pandemic, Kristina Varaksina sits shrouded by materials, from plastic ruffs to adhesive plasters.
40 Visual Escapism Mue Studio specialises in the creation of digital image design and direction, producing meditative non-places that exist between fantasy and reality.
52 Spatial Recalibration Elements of Hip Hop, Dadaism, street culture, sci-fi and philosophy feed into the imaginary worlds of interdisciplinary artist Robin Rhode.
58 Intuitive Geometries Matthew Shlian is a paper engineer, innovating in the field of contemporary origami through a series of tessellations, compressions and pleats.
70 Cultural Investigation High Museum, Atlanta, has a commendable aim: to address gender imbalance in photography. Underexposed is part of this radical examination.
86 Illusory Architecture Andrea Grützner’s layered compositions deal with the emotional and visual perception of modern spaces, from guest houses to tech universities.
92 Graphic Collaboration Throughout lockdown, three artists embarked on a journey of shared creativity, transforming household ephemera into bold compositions.
102 Forms of Resistance Cut spring coils, hydraulics and colourful paint are integral to lowrider car culture, but there's so much more to the story of vehicle customisation.
108 Visual Archetypes Natalie Christensen’s career as a psychotherapist informs her practice as a photographer, bringing an analytical sensibility to colourful landscapes.
On the Cover
Ones to Watch
76 Colour as Language Tekla Severin offers a smorgasbord of forms and furnishings, with playful tones referencing the work of Ettore Sottsass and The Memphis Group.
118 New and Noteworthy We select 12 emerging artists exploring prescient 21st century themes of isolation and eco-anxiety through fine art, illustration and photography.
124 Gallery Reviews Coverage from top shows at Robert Klein, Boston, Stills, Edinburgh; The Photographers' Gallery, London; and Tropenmuseum Amsterdam.
129 Film, Music and Books The latest independent releases include books containing 140 responses to the climate crisis, euphoric pop, and Jack London adaptation.
140 Featured Practitioners This edition’s artists are using a variety of colours, materials, shapes and forms to offer varied and complex perspectives on an ever-changing world.
146 Tracy Marshall-Grant Bristol Photo Festival's new director shares insight into the 2021 theme, A Sense of Place, defining the frontier between nature, culture and history.
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Nam June Paik, TV Garden, 1974–77/2002 (installation view, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam); Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf; © Estate of Nam June Paik; photo: Deter Tijhuis.
Realms of Discovery NAM JUNE PAIK This summer, SFMOMA presents the first large-scale retro- the show. Distinct binaries are broken and questions asked. “Understanding a Frieling continues: “Rudyard Kipling famously said that work of art becomes a spective of Paik since the artist’s death, organised by Rudolf Frieling, Curator of Media Arts. He notes: “Nam June Paik’s ‘East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,’ complex intersection (1932-2006) reception has changed dramatically over the to which Paik responded with a satellite programme titled of sights and sounds. decades, shaped by our comfort level with technology in the Bye Bye Kipling (1986). That, in essence, is Paik’s agenda, This is wild, noisy, arts. Today, living as we do in such a private / public screen stating again and again that they do meet, although they irreverent – a timely culture, everybody can connect easily to the sheer complex- might not understand each other. In response to his insertion show precisely ity and layered collage of Paik’s signature style. That said, we of original Japanese Pepsi commercials in an early TV ex- because a whole recognise ourselves and our past in the multiplicity of mass periment, one could ask why an American audience should new generation has media references, especially with the way that he incorpo- be exposed to that. At this point, Paik would say, why not? grown up to deal rated pop culture, but that’s not why we love him. I would Although you might not understand Japanese, you do get with the mash ups argue that feeling is reserved for the humanity he brings – the message and you realise that we do live in a world where of Internet culture .” charm and humour, and oftentimes a surprising simplicity in images are distributed globally 24/7. Understanding a work iconic and Zen-inspired sculptures like TV Buddha or Candle of art ultimately becomes a complex intersection of sights Projection. His contemporary significance is also due to his and sounds, of recognising and misremembering.” To some degree, with galleries re-opening worldwide, viewtransnational work and life – a mind constantly at work creating bridges between the east and west, being a role model for ers are spoilt for choice with where to go first. This is one of the most exciting shows on offer in the USA, with the opporartists who reflect the complexities of the 21st century.” SFMOMA delivers on the promise to display the artist's tunity to see Paik’s ambitious 360-degree video environment full career, including some of the most iconic video and Sistine Chapel, which was only shown once in the context of participatory works from the 1960s and 1970s, including TV the German pavilion of the Venice Biennale in 1993, and Nam June Paik Garden (1974-1977) – an installation that imagines a future resonates to audiences in brand new ways in the age of Ins- SFMOMA, San Francisco landscape in which electronics and nature are irreparably tagram. Frieling concludes: "This is wild, noisy, irreverent – a Until 3 October intertwined. This sense of amalgamation – of culture and timely show because a whole new generation has grown up nature conversing – comes through in many works across to deal with the rotations and mash ups of internet culture.” sfmoma.org
Decentralised Perspectives THIS WORLD IS WHITE NO LONGER
Danica Dakić, El Dorado. Gießbergstraße, 2006–07 Color slide, light box, courtesy of the artist, © Danica Dakić / Bildrecht, Vienna 2021, photo: Danica Dakić.
The final sentence of James Baldwin’s 1953 essay Stranger brutality against Rodney King in 1991 – and the reaction of “What we want to do in The Village reads: “This world is white no longer, and it will the George Bush administration against protests by people with the exhibition never be white again.” In this pivotal work, Baldwin addressed of colour – which was repeated by Trump’s presidency and is to question the centuries of racism and systematic discrimination against the Black Lives Matter marches connected to the killing of naturalised white Black people – in America and Europe – having created a George Floyd. Running adjacent to this piece, with equal European view that view of the world based on white privilege. Baldwin argues impetus, is Forensic Architecture’s investigations on the desires to ignore that white Americans have tried to separate their history from illegal and violent pushbacks of refugees at the Greek / its privileges, and Turkish border along the Evros / Meriç river. Tabor continues: its latent racist Black citizens, but this, of course, is completely impossible. This line provides the title for Museum der Moderne’s show, “These racist, anonymous, state-governed pushbacks violate structures of thinking This World is White No Longer: Views of a Decentered World. basic human rights. This is officially denied, but it can be and behaviour.” Curator Jürgen Tabor expands: “What we want to do with proved with evidence analysed by Forensic Architecture.” Danica Dakić’s (b. 1962) El Dorado. Gießbergstraße the exhibition is to question the naturalised white European view that desires to ignore its privileges, and its latent racist (2006/2007) is an exhibition highlight – a multi-media structures of thinking and behaviour. On the one hand, we collaboration placing young unaccompanied refugees in focus on works and practices that examine white structural Germany in front of the lens. For this project, Dakić asked racism, and on the other hand, we intensely try to practice a individuals to expand on their stories against a panoramic change of perspectives, to propose a multi-layered view of tapestry referencing the legend of El Dorado, a fictional the world. Here, empathy plays a central role: what does it location imagined to exist in the middle of a dense jungle mean to be affected by racism? What can we learn from works in South America. El Dorado became a symbol of the This World is that are examining and focusing on Black identities in all quest for paradise, but it also stands, in present-day, for White No Longer their complexities (Black African, American, Asian, European, the colonialisation of South America by Spanish and Museum der feminist, queer)? How can we engage with the project of Black Portuguese conquistadors, who hoped to find great treasures Moderne, Salzburg upon entering the country. Opulant vegetation and utopian Until 10 October freedom – a life free from racist discrimination?” A centrepiece is Adrian Piper's (b. 1948) Black Box / White structures are held in sharp contrast with the unrelenting gaze Box (1992), which offers two perspectives on the racist of youths in transition between childhood and adulthood. museumdermoderne.at
Sheila Legge as Surrealist ‘Phantom’, Trafalgar Square, London, 11 June 1936. Photograph attributed to Claude Cahun Courtesy Jersey Heritage Collections.
An Enduring Legacy PHANTOMS OF SURREALISM On a hot June day in 1936, a haunting figure was seen walking around Trafalgar Square, adorned by pigeons, with arms outstretched in a kind of pantomime. Performance artist Sheila Legge (1911-1949) had taken to the streets as the “Surrealist Phantom of Sex Appeal.” Her head was obscured with red flowers – a look inspired by Dalí’s Woman with a Head of Roses (1935). She wore a white wedding dress, subverting the role of the bride with connotations of reclamation and sovereignty, whilst drawing attention to herself as a spectacle. Passers-by were puzzled by the anonymous spectre – compelling, beautiful, ghostly – and the story quickly made its way into newspaper headlines. The phantom, it seemed, had a purpose: to announce the coming of a groundbreaking show at New Burlington Galleries, Mayfair, which ran from 11 June to 4 July 1936. The London International Surrealist Exhibition heralded a new wave of artists focused on the uncanny and fantastical. The image and enduring legacy of Legge as the “Surreal Phantom” (pictured above) provides the cornerstone of Whitechapel Gallery’s archive show, which calls upon the vital contributions of women surrealists in Britain. Co-curators Nayia Yiakoumaki and Cameron Foote expand: “Legge’s performance, captured by photographer Claude Cahun (1894-1954), has become one of the most recognisable images of surrealism – and this wasn’t an accident. Working
on this project, we were surprised to discover the extent of “Whitechapel's the strategy and planning that went into making the London rendition, as a whole, International Surrealist Exhibition a public sensation. There is is a refreshing shift an enormous album of over 200 press cuttings, now held in narrative, and in the National Galleries of Scotland archive. This attests to a new take on the the success of the publicity around the exhibition, which was canon of surrealism attended by around 1,000 visitors each day. Legge’s move as it came into was both a remarkably early example of performance art, being. These historic and a central part of a well-thought-out press campaign.” displays provide Whitechapel’s rendition, as a whole, is a refreshing shift in a space for longnarrative, and a new take on the canon of surrealism as it overdue recognition.” came into being. Yiakoumaki and Foote continue: “It’s true that many men of the movement cast women as assistants, muses, or eroticised subjects. Nevertheless, at least 15 women represented at the 1936 show, and there was a fairly even balance of men and women contributors to the surrealist section of the Artists International Association held at Whitechapel in 1939. Many of these works have been lost in the intervening years and, whilst this is slowly changing, they are under-represented in public museum collections.” Phantoms of Surrealism This exhibition brings together now well-recognised prac- Whitechapel titioners such as Ithell Colquhoun and Grace Pailthorpe, Gallery, London with lesser-known figures Ruth Adams and Elizabeth Raikes. Until 12 December These historic displays provide a space for long-overdue recognition: a manifesto for the feminine creative subconscious. whitechapelgallery.org
Pioneering Functionality CHARLOTTE PERRIAND: THE MODERN LIFE
“There are no unusable materials – what matters is how they are used. I would often go to the mountains, seeing shepherds make small seats from odd bits of wood, anything that came to hand.”
Charlotte Perriand: The Modern Life Design Museum, London 19 June - 5 September designmuseum.org
Charlotte Perriand on the chaise longue basculante B306, 1929. © AChP/ © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2021.
In 1984, Architectural Review interviewed Charlotte Perriand aluminium and glass furniture for the masses. Most notable (1903-1999), one of the most influential 20th century French was a series of iconic tubular steel chairs – the LC2 Grand designers. She stated, amongst early anecdotes of making Confort armchair, the B301 reclining chair and B306 chaise necklaces with ball-bearings and cocktail bars in sheet alu- longue – the likes of which have been copied and emulated minium: “There are no unusable materials – what matters for decades, from Barker & Stonehouse to Etsy. The most is how they are used. I would often to go the mountains, revered design was the B306 prototype (1929), a chair [seeing] shepherds make small seats from odd bits of wood, constructed with functionality at the forefront, which could anything that came to hand.” This was the most important “adopt any position, always balanced on its own without meguiding principle for Perriand – and for design as we know chanical intervention.” The chaise longue encapsulated what it today – to consider our material and ecological realities the studio considered to be “good design” as “a docile servand create in ways that are both imaginative and responsible. ant that is self-effacing in order to leave its master free.” Design Museum, London, dedicates an extensive proPerriand famously started her career knocking on the door of Le Corbusier, offering him her services as a furni- gramme to Perriand, reflecting on an esteemed career often ture designer. In the monograph Une vie de création (1998), overshadowed by her male contemporaries. Exhibition highshe writes: “Clutching a portfolio of drawings, I found myself lights include archive imagery of Perriand reclining on the face-to-face one October afternoon in 1927 with Corbusier's B306 chair, alongside a presentation of Bibliothèque de la horn-rimmed spectacles. The austere office was somewhat in- Maison du Mexique (1952), a cubist shelving unit boasting timidating, and his greeting rather frosty. 'What do you want?' block colour reds, yellows, whites and blacks, like the interhe asked, his eyes hooded by his glasses. 'To work with you.’ secting lines of a Piet Mondrian painting. A wealth of other He glanced quickly through my drawings. 'We don't embroi- pieces demonstrate the designer’s interest in architecture that meets human needs, from ski resorts to open-plan inder cushions here,' he replied, and showed me the door." A few months later, Corbusier apologised, and invited Per- teriors intended so women didn’t feel “trapped” in the home. This is a vital retrospective honouring an often-overlooked riand to join his studio with Pierre Jeanneret. Thus began a journey of creative experimentation, with the trio eventually practitioner, who, ahead of her time, knew that “dwellings being credited for “machine age” aesthetics, making steel, should create conditions that foster harmonious balance.”
Andreas Mühe, Egon vorm Haus, 2007. aus der Serie / from the series Egon Krenz. Courtesy the artist © Andreas Mühe/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, 2021.
Examining the Domestic SWEET HOME, ALONE The concept of home has been radically redefined throughout the pandemic. Rooms once associated with restoration and revitalisation have been drastically altered through continued restrictions, transforming living rooms and bedrooms into shared working spaces, home gyms and schools. Multiple lockdowns have altered everything from increased electricity bills to an altered design aesthetic, with growing sales in furnishings with antimicrobial properties, made from copper, brass and bronze. Change is inevitable with people spending significantly more time inside than ever before. Of course, the home has always reflected developments in health, culture and wider society, cradling our inner lives, concerns and desires. As Forbes noted in September 2020: “Home design changes and improvements have long been linked to pandemics. In fact, the design of the modern bathroom is largely due to infectious diseases. A cholera outbreak in London served as a catalyst to replace thick carpet and heavy drapes in bathrooms with tile and smooth materials that are easier to clean. It was during the 1918 flu pandemic that homeowners started installing small bathrooms on the main levels of their homes so guests could wash up without traipsing through the entire house. Powder rooms or main level guest bathrooms are a common design practice today.” It's unsurprising, then, that artists and curators are interested in interpretations of the home as we begin to look, again,
beyond the front door. This summer, Schloss Kummerow “The flip side of opens a season of exhibitions with Sweet Home, Alone, a lead private comfort show that subverts the idiom of “home sweet home,” and its sheltered from incurred premise of happiness, comfort and safety. Curator the world at Kristina Schrei notes: “The flip side of private comfort shel- large is isolation tered from the world is isolation and distancing. Withdrawal and distancing. into the domestic sphere means staying away from public Withdrawal into life. A rejection of political participation has historically been the domestic sphere most evident in times of wider social and political unrest.” means staying away Andreas Mühe’s work, for example, recalls the darker in- from public life.” tersections between East and West Germany. In a portrait of Egon Krenz, we gaze upon a major player of the German Democratic Republic, who lives in complete seclusion. Cast against an inky blue sky, this pivotal historical political figure takes centre stage as someone who willingly – or perhaps by force – no longer has a place in public life. He prunes hedges at night, a manicured garden surrounding him. The image plays with perceived domestic bliss and alienation. In a similar way, Henrike Naumann invites questions about the much-invoked GDR nostalgia as well as dreams and ideals of Sweet Home, Alone people before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Schloss Kummerow This is a momentous exhibition providing a critical reflec- Photography Collection tion of the home and the dangers we face in existing in a Until 31 October prolonged state of isolation – both psychologically and politically. Here, viewers are asked to look inwards once again. schloss-kummerow.de
Art as Counterpoints THE FINAL FEAST
Vibha Galhotra The Final Feast (Staged Photographs), 2019–20. Archival prints on Hahnemühle Photo Rag paper, book Courtesy of the artist; Nature Morte, New Delhi; and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York Photograph courtesy of the artist.
The featured image references Leonardo da Vinci’s The “Leaping across According to an article published in The Guardian in January 2021, almost a quarter of all household wealth in the UK is Last Supper (1495-1498) with silk-clad characters rendered geography and held by the richest one per cent of the population. Further in dripping jewel tones. In Galhotra’s constructed world, this history, the projects afield, it’s thought that roughly 0.6 per cent of the world’s fictional group of bourgeois individuals are aware, and per- in this Triennial population, or the 42 million richest people, hold 40 per haps solely responsible for, ecological damage caused by resist the condition cent of global wealth. Financial distribution is continuing to experiments and advancements – be it nuclear, technologi- of dreaming alone, polarise, an issue only exacerbated in the race to reach herd cal or bio tech. She continues: “In my version of the supper, and attest to the immunity, with the world’s wealthiest countries vaccinating at an elite hostess has invited a few others to celebrate their day power of art to resist. of departure by cutting a cake, resembling the blue marble We hope that this approximately 25 times the rate of other nations. exhibition will serve Vibha Galhotra (b. 1978) is a New Dehli-based concep- we call home, which they all gather round to devour.” The Final Feast is on view as part of the 2021 Asia Society as a counterpoint tual artist exploring shifting ecologies and topographies, addressing a world ravaged by globalisation, homegenisa- Triennial, New York. This year’s theme is inspired by Yoko Ono, to xenophobia.” tion and capitalism. The Final Feast (2019-2020) is the most who, in 1964, wrote: “A dream you dream alone may be a recent example of this – staged photographs in which the dream, but a dream two people dream together is a reality.” Triennial Director Michelle Yun expands: “Within the modern wealthy are placed as part of rich, satirical allegories. Galhotra expands on the project: “We, as a human society, nation-state, tribalism and rising authoritarianism have are facing endless issues, and often find ourselves standing frayed historical ties. This fracturing is mirrored within the in the theatre of the absurd, which is directed by a few modern state, with citizens increasingly clustering around elites who have overtaken the parameters of the traditional religious, gender, sexual, ethnic and class identities. Leaping nation states and whose actions subsequently dictate the across geography and history, the projects in this Triennial Asia Society Triennial socio-political fate of the masses and the existence of the resist the condition of dreaming alone and attest to the Asia Society Museum, planet itself. The Final Feast is a play on the suggested world power of art to resist. During this unprecedented time of New York order that creates this [in]visible waste to solve the constant racism and discrimination against Asian Americans, we hope Until 27 June question of “Existantia” without realising that we are dancing that this exhibition will serve as a wider counterpoint to the directly on top of the coloniser’s utopian manifesto/s.” xenophobia that is occurring across the USA and beyond.” asiasociety.org/triennial
10 to See RECOMMENDED EXHIBITIONS THIS SEASON
For our summer suggestions, as the world reckons with newly vaccinated populations and opening public spaces, the gallery is invented anew and we embrace a redefinition of “normal.” Be inspired by thriving microcosms, interactive installations and QR-led engagement.
Olafur Eliasson: Life Fondation Beyeler, Riehen | Until 31 July
fondationbeyeler.ch “I work to create a space of coexistence among those involved in and affected by the exhibition, the art institution, my artwork, the visitors and other beings that join in. Through collectively exploring the world we share, we can, I hope, make it liveable for all.” Fondation Beyeler opens a landmark exhibition of Danish-Icelandic Olafur Eliasson (b. 1967), open any time of day to the public, and without doors or windows. Viewers are offered an artificially vivid pond and an overflowing microcosm, where the gallery space is indiscernible from a greenhouse.
We Change the World NGV Melbourne | Until 19 September
ngv.vic.gov.au Continuing with a proven track record of diverse programming and inquisitive cultural engagement as a leading institution, NGV Melbourne considers how art can inspire tangible change, with a show focused on four key thematic sections: The Environment, Activism, The Everyday and The Future. The exhibition includes an innovative and specially designed QRcode voting system and microsite that encourages visitors to be an active part of a discussion – reflecting upon entrenched inequalities, humanitarian injustices, culture and identity.
The Picture Library The Photographers' Gallery, London | 25 June - 26 September
thephotographersgallery.org.uk The Guardian News & Media Archive holds a wealth of photographs documenting photojournalism in the 20th century. The archive contains over 1800 boxes of photographs and negatives chronicling historical events, political and social subjects, and captures the faces of many individuals through the decades. The Photographers’ Gallery, London, explores these seminal archives, reflecting on feminism, nationalism, post-colonialism, racism, industrial relations, immigration, class and the climate crisis. Works are organised non-hierarchically.
Summer of Sound Kew Gardens, London | 9 July - 12 September
kew.org There’s a reason why natural sounds have a restorative effect on our psyche: physically altering the connections in our brain and reducing our body’s fight-or-flight instinct. As public spaces re-open, Kew Gardens is an antidote to mounting stress due to enclosure. Summer of Sound invites audiences to stop, pause and listen – to heal. The featured work here, by Estonian artist Birgit Õigus, is formed of three giant wooden megaphones, amplifying the natural sounds that often go unnoticed deep within the surrounding woodlands.
Wellcome Collection, London | 15 July - 27 February
wellcomecollection.org How do we define happiness? How can we seek it out, or does it come from within? Can its levels or variations be quantified or explained? These questions have, perhaps, been at the forefront of our minds over the last year, during a period of immense instability, ecological nihilism and illness, where a fear of social contact, against all our instincts, reigns supreme. From serenity to ecstasy, awe to simple comfort, Wellcome Collection examines what happiness means, and how we might look to preserve it in the years to come.
The Measuring of Time Muzeum Susch | 5 June - 31 December
muzeumsusch.ch Laura Grisi (1939-2017) was well-known for exploring the tension between the macro and micro, between data and potential; the universal and the particular. So vast was her career, that no institution has provided an extensive retrospective to date. From neon and plexiglass to fog, wind and rain, Grisi utilised a breadth of materials, moving fluidly between conceptual and diagrammatic art. The defining thread in Grisi’s portfolio, as Muzeum Susch states, is “between choices and lack of choices.” This is an essential, genre-bending and inspiring show.
Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh | Until 22 August
cmoa.org "Instead of attempting to untangle the ties between my gender identity, kink, sexuality, and ideas of pleasure and pain, I navigate these complexities.” Elle Pérez’s subjects alternate between gazing straight at the camera and out at the viewer, candidly participating in the moment being captured. The artist provides vignettes as intimate moments – with a radical reclamation and refined understanding of the lens. Agency, vulnerability, intimacy and complexity prevail as themes across the images – as well an embrace of queerness.
The Yanomami Struggle Barbican, London | 17 June - 29 August
barbican.org.uk Claudia Andujar (b. 1931) first met the Yanomami in 1971 on a commission in the Amazon for Realidad, and quickly became fascinated by their culture. She applied for – and won – a Guggenheim grant, which allowed her to pursue an interest in the Yanomami through a more experimental approach. This sparked a life-long interest in, and devotion to, the Yanomami people. The Barbican is the latest venue for this touring show, highlighting Andujar’s commitment to both art and activism, with over 200 photographs and audio-visual installations.
London Design Biennale Somerset House, London | 1-27 June
somersethouse.org.uk "We live in an age of hyper-resonance, the consequences of which are both exhilarating and devastating. Everything we produce resonates." Eyes turn towards Somerset House as Es Devlin OBE takes the mantle, leading London Design Biennale as the 2021 Artistic Director. This year, the event is focused on the theme of Resonance – from Design in the Age of Crisis to world-class thinking on the ways we heal and work. 500 projects, hailing from over 50 countries and six continents – present brand new ideas on the future of 21st century design.
Light Upon Light Noor Riyadh Festival, Riyadh | Until 12 June
noorriyadh.sa We spend our lives immersed in ever-changing environments, where no two moments are ever quite the same. Whether it’s a cloud acting as a gauze over the sun, a glorious sunset or a total eclipse, we tend only to notice the most pronounced effects of light, and ignore the constant flux of conditions that plays out in our everyday existence. This summer, Saudi Arabia is home to a groundbreaking festival of light art, curated by representatives from the Guggenheim and Desert X, on themes from Perceiving and Projecting, Experiencing to Environmental.
1. Olafur Eliasson, LIFE, 2021. Installation view: Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel, 2021. Courtesy of the artist; neugerriemschneider, Berlin; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles © 2021 Olafur Eliasson. Photo: Pati Grabowicz. 2. Pascale Martine Tayou, Coloured stones (Pavés colorés) 2015. Granite, synthetic polymer paint on granite 121.5 x 230.0 x 191.5 cm. National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne © Suzanne Dawbarn Bequest, 2018. 3. National Front demonstration against Asian immigrants, 1970. Courtesy Guardian News & Media Archive and The Photographers' Gallery. 4. Forest Megaphones by Birgit Oigus © Tonu Tunnel. 5. University of Maryland, November 1971, Steve Budman © Steve Budman. 6. Laura Grisi, Antinebbia, 1968. Installation view outdoors in Rome, 1968. Courtesy Estate Laura Grisi and P420, Bologna 7. Elle Pérez, American, b. 1989. Tomashi and Ally I, 2019/2021, inkjet print. Courtesy of the artist and 47 Canal, Forum.084.01 frame: H: 60 x W: 46 1/2 in. (152.40 x 118.11 cm). 8. Claudia Andujar, Susi Korihana thëri swimming, Catrimani, 1972-1974. Infrared film. © Claudia Andujar 9. Cold Flux, Ben Cullen Williams. Antarctica Pavilion, London Design Biennale 2021. 10. Yayoi Kusama, Infinity Mirror Room - Brilliance of Souls, 2014. Mirror, wooden panel, LED, metal, acrylic panel, water 287 x 415 x 415 cm. Courtesy of Royal Commission for AlUla. Photo © Riyadh Art 2021.
Sphere of Influence Master of the Midcentury PALM SPRINGS MODERNISM HAS INFLUENCED CULTURE FROM THE 1940S TO THE PRESENT-DAY, FROM HOCKNEY’S PAINTINGS TO THE RISE OF OPEN-PLAN ARCHITECTURE.
Architectural modernism has evolved across the globe largely since the post-war period – design concepts in favour of functionality and social community. Stark, neutral colours, and an absence of ornamentation, swaps maximalist decoration for simplification. There are, of course, many variations of modernism and its “clean line” aesthetic across the world, from the cantilevers of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater (1936) and Philip Johnson’s Glass House (1949) to the multi-coloured housing project Cité Radieuse (1952) offering, as Le Corbusier proposed, “a machine for living in.” The Coachella Valley region in southern California, from Indian Wells to Rancho Mirage, has its own particular branch of modernism referred to as “Palm Springs Modernism” – a style that has cast an elegant shadow over the contemporary spheres of art, music, cinema and architecture over the years. Here, glass, steel and stone sit in sharp contrast against cacti and entrancing blue skylines. Palm Springs’ Modernism Week (held over 10 days each February) is said to be the most popular modern architecture event in the USA, featuring more than 350 events from home and garden tours to lectures, exhibitions, music performances and fashion shows. This is a world that architect William F. Cody (1916-1978) helped to create. Born in Dayton, Ohio, he moved to California and became a licensed architect in 1946. Soon after, Cody’s CV began to expand, including a string of internationally acclaimed designs for esteemed clientele, from the Del Marcos Apartment Hotel in Palm Springs (1947) to the Haines Studio and Office in Beverly Hills (1949) and the Thunderbird Country Club complex at Rancho Mirage
(1951). Perhaps most prominent was The Eldorado Country Club in Indian Wells (1957), with the low-slung grandeur and well-proportioned grace of a Greek temple, sloped upwards to the ragged spectacle of the Santa Rosa Mountains. These early structures exhibit recurring features: uncluttered façades of brick, glass or stone spreading outwards rather than upwards from succulent-speckled desert terrain. Angular or zig-zagging lines, introduced on the vertical or horizontal plane, add an extra element of expressionism to an otherwise minimalist style rooted in international modernism. Cody’s work speaks largely to the construction of “desert modernism” – a wider mid-century paradigm that took hold in different ways across the globe during the post-war decades: from the British brutalism of Alison and Peter Smithson to the organic curvature of Oscar Niemeyer’s Brasília and the Seagram Building, New York. Architectural historian Don Choi outlines some of the key features of the Palm Springs variant in a pivotal new title, celebrating Cody’s career, published by Monacelli. In Master of the Midcentury: The Architecture of William F. Cody, Choi states: “The Coachella Valley encouraged certain kinds of developments. The climate was very friendly to indoor / outdoor living, and encouraged an emphasis on leisure. After all, Palm Springs developed after WWII as a getaway destination for Los Angeles residents, who took advantage of the warm winters to golf, swim and play tennis. Many of Cody’s interiors were open and informal, with kitchens and dining rooms opening onto living rooms. He also designed buildings in which the interior and exterior were visually and spatially connected. Sliding glass doors
Jennings B. and Anna Shamel Residence, Indian Wells, California, 1963.
“The Palm Springs aesthetic, as a whole, projected a lifestyle of ease and play, combatting the age of austerity following WWII. It is perhaps for these reasons that it continues to captivate us – in a consumer and image-led culture.”
Previous Page: Desert Bel Air Estates, Indian Wells, California, 1961–64. Left: Palm Springs Spa Hotel, Palm Springs, California, 1963.
allowed parties to spill out from living room to pool patio.” There was also an emphasis on light and transparency in Cody’s plans, often involving large quantities of glass, made possible by forgiving weather, which was both quintessentially modernist and realised with unique success in Palm Springs. One might say that Cody helped to create the idea of open-plan living as we think of it today – a concept for the home built around maximising light and communal areas, debunking the desire for “rooms” both public and private. Although open-plan living had been a hallmark of domestic architecture at least since Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959), the idea of the home as a flowing, unfolding space, where all sections were visible from all others, came into its own in the early 1950s in the sunnier corners of North America, developing across the world. In the UK, on 11 May 1964, Terence Conran launched the first Habitat store on Fulham Road, built on the idea of affordable modern furniture and “multifunctional zones” becoming the new normal. Even today, images of slick white homes, adorned with monochrome furniture, flood Pinterest and Instagram pages. Social media perpetuates ideals that hark back to Conran and Cody. The Palm Springs aesthetic, as a whole, projected a lifestyle of ease and play, combatting the austerity and rationale that followed WWII. It is perhaps for these reasons that it continues to captivate us – in a consumer and image-led culture built on ideals and appearances. In the art world, Slim Aarons’ Poolside Gossip (1970) is one of the most sought-after images in the whole of the Getty Archive – an iconic photograph gazing over two women – a fashion model and the wife of an art dealer – as they converse next to a shimmering body of water. In the background is a desert house designed
by Cody’s contemporary Richard Neutra (1892-1970). Meanwhile, David Hockney’s wildly popular west coast poolside paintings, such as A Bigger Splash (1967), encapsulate a fascination with 1960s Californian living, depicting a built environment that is pure “desert modernism.” Two palm trees extend in the background of a block blue sky – a yellow diving board protruding from the corner – as we look out over a low-slung, glass-clad house. Splashing out on the original would set you back just under $30 million. Similarly, the dazzling architectural photography of Julius Shulman (1910-2009) offered a glimpse into mass culture across the late 20th century, so much so that pool side and fairway living has seemed a tangible if not attainable ideal for generations of Americans and a global audience. A 2008 film about Shulman, titled Visual Acoustics, celebrated his ability to capture a play of natural and built elements. Both blockbuster and independent cinema also have key modernist references, perhaps unsurprisingly given their historic connections to Palm Springs and similar resort towns. David Lynch’s suite of LA films, such as Lost Highway (1997) and Mullholland Drive (2001), evoke the dreamy opulence of California’s deserts by day and night, whilst foregrounding the sleek planes and angles that pioneers like Cody defined. As the example of Lynch might suggest, the American dream that Palm Springs epitomises has also been seen as a mirage. These ideas extend to more recent streaming culture, from the black comedy Ingrid Goes West (2017), which lampoons the influencer culture associated with selfies on Route 66 and weekend homes at Joshua Tree, to the 2020 sci-fi Palm Springs, directed by Max Barbakow, in which two strangers find themselves stuck in a Groundhog Day-like scenario,
Desert Bel Air Estates, Indian Wells, California, 1961–64.
desperately trying to claw their way out of a desert time loop. However, the designs of Cody and his contemporaries have a value that carries beyond these contexts. “My students at Cal Poly seem to find California modernism more engaging than the US work of Walter Gropius and Mies van der Rohe,” Choi offers, with reference to the USA’s most famous Europeanborn 20th century architects: “perhaps because Cody’s work is more connected to the way they would like to live.” Choi highlights an important point here: the root of the Palm Springs appeal is, perhaps, in domestic spaces centred around an optimistic post-war lifestyle. The modernist movement, after all, is connected to social interaction, favouring communal environments and multi-functional spaces. In this way, the Palm Springs school adapted modernism to express a belief system that had become more ubiquitous internationally. Cody, like so many architects working today, placed the needs of the client front and centre. As Choi continues in the introduction to Master of the Midcentury: “Modernist designers in California generally showed little interest in crafting broader, theoretical arguments for architecture, preferring to deal with the circumstances at hand.” In myriad ways, “desert modernism," and Cody’s work in particular, offered a simplistic design vision that still seduces us, countering postmodernism's critique on formal excess. Cody's style is also connected to classic cars and the idealism of the Kerouac-inspired road trip, predicting many of the tastes and habits of 21st century getaway culture to remote minimal estates. This, of course, has its flipsides. Choi adds that “when Cody was working, energy was cheap, and most architects were revelling in the ability of technology to make the desert habitable.” The use of steel and other energy-
intensive materials, of cooling systems to master inhospita- Palm Springs Spa, Palm Springs, California, 1959. ble climates like the Californian desert, and the creation of homes around the needs of motorists, are aspects of Palm Springs housing that 21st century students seek to address. On the other hand, the Palm Springs school was, in some ways, all about honouring the natural world – which explains Cody’s love of low-storied structures, often shaped to the contours of the land. Given the rise of environmentalism in the 1970s, particularly in California, and Cody’s progressive instincts, he might well have considered issues of sustainability had his career continued into today. Cody was notably interested in the experimental town of Arcosanti in Arizona, where the concept of “arcology,” combining architecture and ecology, was developed. Choi, for his part, believes that Cody “might have taken up the environmental challenge with aplomb, given his creativity and desire for constant evolution.” Indeed, Cody may well have found some intersection between elegance and ethical responsibility in 2021, combining open spaces with respect for the natural world. In any case, the use of architecture to complement natural vistas rather than dominate them seems, in retrospect, the most delightful and farsighted aspect of “desert modernism.” We can sense this from the contemporary US design Words firms, such as Walker Warner, Marmol Radziner and Richard Greg Thomas Beard, who speak of their debt to mid-century Californian design, with its emphasis on bringing greenery and the living world to the doorstep. In the same way, Choi notes, Cody liked nothing better than “seeing his buildings standing out Master of the Midcentury is against the backdrop of sky and mountain.” Beyond ideal- published by Monacelli ism, there’s lessons to be learnt in these low-slung white structures, working with, rather than against, the landscape. monacellipress.com
Poignant Introspection Kristina Varaksina
In a sequence of self-portraits, shot throughout the pandemic, Russian-born Kristina Varaksina (b. 1981) sits against stark white backdrops, shrouded by materials – with subtle variations suggestive of time passing. In one image, plastic packaging obscures the artist’s face. In another, painted words sit sharply on the skin, manifestations of doubt. The series is claustrophobic – a 21st century take on classical painting – with Varaksina holding the viewer’s gaze unquestionably and unrelentingly. These works are an extension of the photographer’s guiding principle: to explore “the vulnerabilities, insecurities and self-searching of a woman and artist.” She places a strong focus on emotion – a desire to reflect inner worlds and empathic psychologies. It’s an approach which, in 2020, led her to be recognised by several major competitions: Portrait of Britain, LensCulture Portrait Awards and British Journal of Photography’s Portrait of Humanity. kristinavaraksina.com.
Kristina Varaksina, Self-Portrait #7 (2020). Courtesy of the artist.
Kristina Varaksina, Self-Portrait #2 (2019). CCourtesy of the artist.
Kristina Varaksina, Selt Talk (2020). Courtesy of the artist.
Kristina Varaksina, What Body Can Tell #1 (2020). Courtesy of the artist.
Kristina Varaksina, What Body Can Tell #2 (2020). Courtesy of the artist.
Kristina Varaksina, Self-Portrait. Queen (2021). Courtesy of the artist.
Kristina Varaksina, Self-Portrait. Bubble Wrap (2020). Courtesy of the artist.
Visual Escapism Mue Studio
Bodies of water are undeniably restorative, with their cognitive effects revered the world over. “Blue Mind” science has proven the health benefits – both physically and psychologically – of being close to oceans, rivers or even artificial beaches – being on, in, under, or simply near to water. In an age of media proliferation, can “Blue Health” be maintained through imagery alone? In lieu of “real-life” visits, is there a visual antidote to be found in the digital realm? And if so, what does it mean to pine after a world that doesn't exist? Mue Studio (Minjin Kang and Mijoo Kim) specialises in “visual escapism” – through three-dimensional image design, art direction and photography. The studio creates digital non-places that exist between fantasy and reality, exploring how artificial places might still offer refuge and solace. These serene compositions quiet the mind through rippling pools and soothing sunsets. themuestudio.com.
Mue Studio, Sentimental Vacation (2020).
Mue Studio, Somwhere in the World (2020).
Mue Studio, The Pantone Colour of the Year 2021 (2021).
Mue Studio, Visual Ecapism (2021).
Mue Studio, The Pantone Colour of the Year 2021 (2021).
Mue Studio, Somwhere in the World (2020).
Spatial Recalibration Robin Rhode ELEMENTS OF HIP HOP, DADA AND STREET CULTURE CAN BE FOUND IN THE WORK OF ROBIN RHODE, A MULTI-DISCIPLINARY PRACTITIONER DEMOCRATISING CITY SPACES.
Robin Rhode (b. 1976) is a South African artist based in Berlin. His works are inspired by myriad sources: from antiApartheid poetry to science fiction novels, youth street culture to Duchamp. Rhode is perhaps best-known for images that turn the lens on painted murals and democratised spaces, blending a range of forms and genres with pop-colour triangles and circles, step ladders and ropes. Rhode has exhibited across the world at renowned institutions such as Haus der Kunst, Munich; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; MoMA, New York; and the Venice Biennale. His most recent show at Lehmann Maupin, London, is a departure from streetbased aesthetics into more personal realms, reflecting on the emotional and spatial restrictions enforced by the pandemic.
various sources, whether it be the Bauhaus-Archiv, or even the Gutai Art Manifesto. I might come from a geography that could seem peripheral, but my sources are global.
A: Beyond a strong sense of history and social imperative, your work also uncovers a plethora of cultural references, from Sol LeWitt’s kaleidoscopic wall drawings to Jean-Michel Basquiat’s neo-expressionist figures. What are some of your favourite artists today? Where else do you find your wider inspiration and idea generation? RR: One of my favourite artists is Francis Alÿs. I love the poetic urban interventionist nature of his practice, as well as his ability to draw animations and produce paintings that seem almost like sleight of hand. I find the work of A: One of the guiding principles behind your practice is to Kerry James Marshall to be absolutely masterful, especialconsider the landscape of a democratic post-Apartheid ly in terms of technique and studio practice. This takes an South Africa, and to examine the tangible presence and enormous amount of dedication and commitment to one’s legacy of segregation. How do you translate these early craft. The concept of depicting a body – overlooked by hisexperiences into your day-to-day practice, and how do tory – is a poignant step in re-writing the canon. I have also you think they affected your formative years as an artist? been hugely influenced by the surrealist movement, and RR: My artistic practice was formed many years ago because adore the work of Max Ernst. Marcel Duchamp, too, remains of my early childhood experiences growing up in South influential for me as an artist that rejected and questioned Africa – not that these experiences were overly traumatic. aspects of labour in the production of the art object / image. These were also lived experiences filled with humour and in- This I find completely fascinating, especially now as we live nocence. I believe that one’s personal history is intrinsically in an art market completely saturated with two-dimensional linked to the creative spirit and productive output. I do not imagery. Over the last year, I have been inspired by literary overthink it, nor do I want to be the flag-bearer for a post- sources, from South African anti-Apartheid poetry to Black apartheid South Africa. I am just really focused on making consciousness poetry in Germany by May Ayim. In many work that allows me to free my soul. My ideas jump from ways, poems are like drawings: fluid, organic and rhythmic.
Robin Rhode, Principle of Hope, 2017 (detail). C-print. 10 parts, each: 22.05 x 27.56 inches / 56 x 70 cm; overall: 48 x 150.5 x 1.5 inches / 121.9 x 382.3 x 3.8 cm. Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, Seoul, and London.
“I find it quite intriguing that African artists must always be community orientated in their work in order to achieve credibility. In Johannesburg, I have no option but to be inclusive as many people require social support.”
Previous Page: Robin Rhode, Paradise, 2016 (detail). C-print. 8 parts, each: 23.07 x 28.58 x 1.5 inches / 58.6 x 72.6 x 3.8 cm; overall: 48.11 x 120.24 x 1.5 inches / 122.2 x 305.4 x 3.8. cm. Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, Seoul, and London.
Left: Robin Rhode, RYB, 2016 (detail). C-print. 3 parts, each: 21.69 x 28.58 inches / 55.1 x 72.6 cm; overall: 21.69 x 89.76 inches / 55.1 x 228 cm. Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, Seoul, and London.
A: In many of your series, such as Principle of Hope, RR: There is a phrase “Low-fi Hi-def” that I subscribe to. I’m lone individuals take the role of “the artist” – propped interested in “low fidelity” in terms of production and proagainst murals, holding paint-rollers or performing in cess, versus high definitions in terms of meaning, criticality front of the geometric shapes. How important is this and engagement. Even when the outcome isn’t completely sense of detachment – from yourself as the artist – and realised, the attempt is also what counts. I try to explore the impact fiction has on reality and vice versa – with real in offering this role to someone else entirely? RR: Principle of Hope takes its aesthetic inspiration from a performers acting as barometers to which the audience can public sculpture by swiss architect and designer Max Bill, relate on both physical and emotional levels. titled Endlose Treppe (Endless Steps, 1991) situated in Ludwigshafen, Germany. The sculpture, comprising 19 winding A: Your work has been defined by Lehmann Maupin as steps of granite at nearly 10 metres, represents Ernst Bloch's “strategic interventions, transforming landscapes into imphilosophy, the "principle of hope." The sky-blue painted aginary worlds.” How far do you diverge from realism? walls heighten this sense of freedom as the spiral painting RR: Living in the African diaspora creates a platform to evolves upwards towards a yet undiscovered utopia in the interrogate western vs non-western worlds. I embrace the background in suburban Johannesburg. Offering the work mystical elements set in a concretised reality, in order to to performance collaborators allows me to shift the owner- question truths and belief systems. These systems are ship of the artwork from one of exclusivity to one of com- predicated on philosophical foundations rooted in western munal inclusivity and connection. However, not all my work modernity. I create fantastical scenographies, partly inspired is community-related. I find it quite intriguing that African by the Venezuelan intellectual Arturo Uslar-Pietri, who artists must always be community-orientated in their work described "man as a mystery surrounded by realistic facts." in order to achieve credibility and criticality. Regarding my working process in Johannesburg, I have no option but to be A: Though the characters are often alone, they exist in an inclusive there as many people require social support. I have inherently social realm, visible to the outside world on tried (and failed) to support where possible. And if that aid street corners, pavements and outside buildings. What is the significance of harnessing public locations – city comes through my artwork, then by all means. environments and “free” spaces? To what extent do you A: A signature street-based aesthetic – pop colour murals build up locations to subvert their connotations? realised through concrete, graffiti, chalk and paint – RR: I try to democratise the public environment in which I pairs with wider socio-political and conceptual concerns work, but in a sense we are never free. We’re governed by and philosophies surrounding the lived experience. To our ideas. In terms of my photographic approach, I see the what degree is your practice inherently interdisciplinary? walls as my canvas, baked in autonomy. For example, with
Robin Rhode, Paradise, 2016 (detail). C-print. 8 parts, each: 23.07 x 28.58 x 1.5 inches / 58.6 x 72.6 x 3.8 cm; overall: 48.11 x 120.24 x 1.5 inches / 122.2 x 305.4 x 3.8. cm. Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, Seoul, and London.
the work Frustum (2017), I envisage geometrical forms as inhibiting a soul or wider spirituality, with my point of inspiration coming from the literature of Polish science fiction and author Stanislaw Lem, notably the fairytale novel The Cyberiad (1965), which is about a mechanical universe inhabited by robots. In my work, the geometric form – a frustum embodying an emotional urgency – and a desire to be completed, or fulfilled, can also apply to the human condition and our emotional status within the world we inhabit. A: Your new show at Lehmann Maupin, The Backyard is My World, moves into the private, domestic space, with yards, jumpsuit-clad characters and snaking cables, mostly cast against muted concrete. These pieces are more stripped back than your brighter, graphic installations. How did the method for this new series begin? RR: Working with restriction means that you must be more inventive, more intuitive, with the materials at hand. I’ve been creating in domestic spaces for many years, transforming the backyards of my neighbours and friends into sites for artistic production. It’s more about working in a safe, comfortable environment, and then trying to transform the mundane into something magical. It’s amazing what one can encounter in a backyard. With my latest work, Proteus (2020), I wanted to test myself by going back to a location I started producing in almost 20 years ago. It is a space filled with childhood memories; innocence of the imagination is a powerful tool to probe. The process in the backyard is also a form of measurement, exercising restraint with materials and embracing restrictions. Here, I also play with Greek mythology, with Proteus, the God of elusive sea change and water bodies.
From the name Proteus comes the adjective “protean,” meaning “versatile” or the capability to “assume many forms.” The adjective “protean” has many positive connotations and can relate to one who is exceedingly variable, prone to mutability and adaptability. These are all traits that we require to navigate and make sense of living in a Covid-19 world. A: These images are also more personalised, calling less upon found objects or other protagonists, but looking inwards, and evoking a sense of play, security, repetition, and at times, an intriguing banality. How did the images take on a new resonance during the pandemic, as we contemplated the concept of “home” with renewed curiosity? Do you feel there’s been a shift in your focus? RR: Recently, the shift has been on the reductive – to simplify and streamline ideas since we are all closer to the domestic with months of lockdowns and quarantines. I have been unable to travel and really explore locations as I used to, so the safer option is home – whether it be in my studio in Berlin or a backyard in Johannesburg. This has allowed a deeper focus on what it is that defines the “personal.” A: How will your schedule change with lockdowns lifting? RR: My solo exhibition at Lehmann Maupin is being followed by a mid-career exhibition that opens at Museum Voorlinden in the Netherlands in the first week of June. Other than that, I generally have a quiet rest of the year ahead. I’m in the process of selling my studio space in Berlin, which will be a massive change for me personally. Just when I thought I would settle down, build, and root myself to one space almost eight years ago, I find myself having to recalibrate entirely.
Right: Robin Rhode, Lavender Hills, 2016 (detail). C-print. 3 parts, each: 21.69 x 28.58 inches / 55.1 x 72.6 cm; overall: 21.69 x 89.76 inches / 55.1 x 228 cm. Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, Seoul, and London.
Words Kate Simpson
Exhibitions on view at Lehmann Maupin, London, and Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar lehmannmaupin.com voorlinden.nl
Intuitive Geometries Matthew Shlian
“Some magic is a trick; hold a card this way to palm it and it disappears. You practice and get good at it. Other magic is a long game; the needle does go through the hand, you bury a card and wait 10 years. This is the long game.” Matthew Shlian is an artist and paper engineer, innovating in the field of contemporary origami through folds, compressions and extrapolations. His work extends from drawings and large-scale installations to collaborations with leading researchers and scientists, including macro level paper-folding structures, which are then translated to the nanoscale. These intriguing works – boasting complex diagrams and cut patterns – vary massively from piece to piece, with pleats constructed through acid-free archival paper, needle points and PVA glue. Unfolding brings together a decade of work, lessons in curiosity and geometry, published by Thames & Hudson. mattshlian.com | thamesandhudson.com.
Ara 312, (40.5 × 40.5 × 1.25 cm), 98 lb (160 gsm) blue Canson paper (2019). © Matthew Shlian.
Omoplata, 63.5 × 76 × 2.5 cm, indigo paper (2019). © Matthew Shlian.
Omoplata, 63.5 × 76 × 2.5 cm, indigo paper (2019). © Matthew Shlian.
Unholy 62 (detail), 122 × 122 × 10 cm, 80 lb text (120 gsm) iridescent sapphire paper (2018) © Matthew Shlian.
Unholy (Stagger), 152.5 × 152.5 × 10 cm, 98 lb (160 gsm) indigo Canson paper, (2017) © Matthew Shlian.
Omoplata 11, 45.5 × 45.5 × 2.5 cm, turquoise paper (2019) © Matthew Shlian.
P16 Unholy 92 (Open your eyes and close your hands) (detail), 122 × 122 × 10 cm, gouache on 100 lb text (150 gsm) white paper (2018) © Matthew Shlian.
Omoplata 5 (detail) 42 × 24 × 2 in (106.5 × 61 × 5 cm), lithography gradient on Somerset paper (2019) © Matthew Shlian.
Omoplata 5 (detail) 42 × 24 × 2 in (106.5 × 61 × 5 cm), lithography gradient on Somerset paper (2019) © Matthew Shlian.
Omoplata, 66 × 66 × 2.5 cm, 100 lb text (150 gsm) white paper (2019) © Matthew Shlian.
Omoplata 1, 66 × 101.5 × 5 cm, 80 lb cover (215 gsm) white paper (2018) ©Matthew Shlian.
Cultural Investigation Underexposed HIGH MUSEUM, ATLANTA, HAS A LAUDABLE AIM: TO CONFRONT GENDER IMBALANCE IN PHOTOGRAPHY. THIS IS A RADICAL EXAMINATION OF INSTITUTIONAL PROGRAMMING.
“When I arrived at the High in 2015, the Museum faced a difficult truth: our exceptional collection and world-class architecture could not exclusively make us essential within the diverse and growing city that we call home. That realisation forced us to change. We embraced inclusivity as a value and as a measurable objective.” So writes Rand Suffolk, Director of the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia, in his introduction to the Museum’s recent report into Art and Inclusion. Putting the years 2015-2020 under the microscope, the report outlines the High’s efforts to ensure its collections, programming, audience and staff are fully representative. The fact the document exists is progress, as are initiatives such as a comprehensive rehang of the permanent collection in 2018, which embraced “growth and diversity through storytelling.” However, as Suffolk also writes: “we’re aware that we’ve not achieved the full measure of change to which we aspire.” The Metro Atlanta area’s population is made up of 49 per cent white individuals and 51 per cent Black, Indigenous citizens or people of colour, yet 80 per cent of the permanent collection on display is by white artists; just nine per cent of that permanent show is by women. It’s against this backdrop that the High’s new exhibition is taking place – the largest of its kind at the institution, with more than 100 pieces from the museum’s holdings, all by women, some never shown before. Underexposed includes established greats such as Ilse Bing, an innovator and “New Woman” of the 1930s, whose practice was defined by flat planes and strong shadows in the inter-war period, characteristic of Frankfurt’s growing avantgarde scene. Alongside Bing are the likes of Magnum Photos
members Susan Meiselas, who shot to fame making pictures of carnival strippers in Pennsylvania, with bare bodies and questions of performance, vulnerability and reclamation rising to the surface. She went on to work in 1970s Nicaragua, with powerful depictions of the revolution and the Somoza regime. Her images of resistance, insurrection, and a climactic farewell to autocracy feels relevant once more. Amongst those setting the groundwork are less familiar (but nonetheless noteworthy) names, such as Sheila Pree Bright, Mickalene Thomas and Jill Frank. And whilst this radical exhibition stands as a well-needed correction, what emerges isn’t the worthy sense of a museum dutifully “fulfilling its quota.” Instead, it’s a vibrant re-imagining of photography, with an intense investigation of identity. Jill Frank notes: “I was struck by the way this show simply reveals a history without a male perspective altogether. Photography, more than other artistic media, was historically relegated to those with access, means and privilege. The art world is characterised by institutional misogyny, but this show avoids a reductive critique. The way it is curated offers an alternative version of the past, taking viewers from the 1800s to our present moment without the canonised conventional perspective of the white male.” Underexposed was conceived by Sarah Kennel, the Donald and Marilyn Keough Family Curator of Photography, and Maria L. Kelly, Curatorial Assistant of Photography, and both were keen to show that women have been involved with images from their inception – not just rewriting the narrative retrospectively or “filling in the gaps.” Such examples include Anna Atkins, who created groundbreaking botanical
Jill Frank, everyone who woke up at the yellow house, 2016. Courtesy of the artist.
“The art world is characterised by institutional misogyny, but this exhibition avoids a reductive critique. The way it is curated offers an alternative version of the past, without the canonised perspective of the white male.”
Previous Page: Jill Frank, everyone who woke up at the yellow house, 2016. Courtesy of the artist. Left: Jill Frank, everyone who woke up at the yellow house, 2016. Courtesy of the artist.
There is also a broad section on portraiture and self-porcyanotypes way back in 1843. Light and simple chemical processes resulted in impressively detailed blueprints of traiture, subverting the prevailing masculine and heterospecimens, from algae to ferns, and pushed the connec- sexual perspective of women’s bodies in the art world. “That section focuses on images of girls and women, made by tions between art and science in considered ways. In its bulk, however, Underexposed is divided into two girls and women, from photojournalism and civil rights to halves. The first half includes a section which runs from portraiture and conceptual works,” says Kelly. “It does pose 1920 to the 1950s, and features Margaret Bourke-White, the question if there is a ‘female gaze’ present, but we leave Dorothea Lange and Imogen Cunningham, who broke that up to the viewer to decide. Rather than dictate who is through when advancements in photography, media and a suitable model or keep with established norms of women feminism meant they had a fighting chance to do so. This as models, we instead invite you to consider how the conhalf also includes a section on the technical and concep- ditions of making a work, including the gender identity of tual innovations made by women artists from the 1970s to artist and subject, shape and condition what you see.” This includes photojournalist Kael Alford, for example, the present-day, and includes practitioners such as Barbara Kasten and Sheila Pinkel alongside innovative contempo- who was in Iraq at the start of the war in 2003, and often depicted women; her access was very different to that of raries such as Meghann Riepenhoff and Elizabeth Turk. The second half takes a slightly different approach, her male counterparts, simply by virtue of her assigned pinpointing personal, social and cultural dimensions of sex. This section also includes Doris Derby’s Grass Roots gender and identity in the last 50 years. There’s a mini sec- Organizer, Mississippi (1968), however, an image showing tion on domesticity and feminine ideals, for example, which a woman actively involved in the Civil Rights Movement, emerged as Kelly and Kennel looked through the High’s which has an important history in Atlanta. The subject is collection and found that the home recurred as a subject politically active in the moment, very far from the archefor women photographers – a reflection of the ongoing type of an objectified model presented for (male) titillation. This section also includes a piece by Mickalene Thomas gender imbalance in domestic work, and on the ideologies surrounding the home’s interiors as a distinctly feminine titled Les Trois Femmes Deux (2018) however, which referspace. Julie Moos’ 2001 Domestic (Betty and Toni) shows ences Édouard Manet’s The Luncheon on the Grass (1863) two women side-by-side, one Black and the other white; it’s but replaces the two (clothed) white men and (naked) white left to the viewer to consider their relationship. Sheila Pree women with three glamorously dressed, confidently posing Bright’s Suburbia series (2008) shows interiors of Black- Black women. It’s part of a wider project in which Thomas owned homes around the Atlanta area, giving a platform takes icons of art history and destabilises them, quite literto the multi-ethnic middle class, and African American sub- ally putting Black femininity and sexuality into the picture. Jill Frank, meanwhile, launches a very different converurbia – a landscape traditionally excluded from the media.
Jill Frank, everyone who woke up at the yellow house, 2016. Courtesy of the artist.
sation on photography and power, one that questions re- ferent takes, and neither one has compositional authority. ceived conventions of both portraiture and societal values. At the same time, their sheer scale valorises the moments. Frank makes important assertions on democracy and the Frank focuses on adolescents – subjects she finds compelling precisely because they haven’t yet found fixed identi- ethics of documentation through imagery. “Big fancy porties. “As we grow older, we learn to close up a bit, but youth- traits are usually made of established professionals, but I ful people are more open – more in flux. From childhood think lives of everyday youth are equally important. I am to adulthood, through hormonal and physical challenges drawn to under-celebrated moments of social victory and and mood shifts, there are so many ‘firsts’ and so many defeat. I purposefully interact with subjects that could be surprises in youth. It seems like your body and mind are considered superficial or culturally recognisable, banal always in motion and open to change. Photography has or clichéd. I think photographs can contradict, loosen, or the ability to reveal the nuance, beauty and unease of ado- challenge the preconceived notions about different people, lescence. Conventional portraits are so fixed, so authorita- places and activities. I am taking ‘serious’ portraits of a tive – I like the idea of using that formality to document a scenes that are, quite often, viewed as trivial.” It’s a deceptively simple premise with far-reaching imdemographic in a constant state of change.” Frank has two portraits in Underexposed, both of the same plications – Frank’s piece is informed by Pierre Bourdieu’s young woman, and both shot in Athens, under 100 miles concept of habitus and 1950s American sociology of defrom Atlanta. The portraits come from her 2016 series, viance, both of which consider social status, who has the everyone who woke up at the yellow house, which shows 20 power to decide what’s important, and why. These are portraits of 10 young people starting their day after a night questions intimately related to Underexposed, and to the of drinking and partying, two pictures per individual. The ongoing work at both the High and at other pivotal cultural youngsters are tired from their exertions, too tired to strike institutions in 2021, as they – in timely fashion – seek to a pose, yet at the same time their expressions are constant- question their conventions and collections anew. High Museum's Sarah Kennel continues: “Recent events ly on the move. A young woman picked out by the High is visibly upset in one image, for example, more stoic in the – the US election of 2016, women’s marches, the rapid growth of the Black Lives Matter movement – have made other. Distress, pain, anguish and uncertainty reign. Frank shows these two images, and the other pairs in the all institutions recognise that we can’t keep kicking the can series, as large-scale, double-sided portraits – canonising down the road and that incremental progress is not enough. scenes which might otherwise be considered unimportant, But beyond acknowledging that institutions must change, but at the same time, suggesting that traditional, one-shot there’s no consensus yet on how to do that exactly. Creatportraits convey a fake monumentality. In her installations, ing programming that centres voices that have been tradiyou have to walk around the whole frame to see the two dif- tionally marginalised is only one small piece within this.”
Right: Jill Frank, everyone who woke up at the yellow house, 2016. Courtesy of the artist.
Words Diane Smyth
Underexposed High Museum of Art, Atlanta Until 1 August high.org
Colour as Language Tekla Evelina Severin
Tekla Evelina Severin (b. 1981) is a Stockholm-based colourist, designer and photographer. She is also the co-founder and Artistic Director of Toniton – a new “colour brand” launched in late 2020, focused on the creation of six matching palettes for circulation within the home. Here you will find a smorgasbord of colours and forms, with a range of playful tones spread across walls, counter tops and furnishings. Dusky pinks, forest greens and pale yellows reflect a new interpretation of space, co-ordination and composition – presenting a radical redefinition of the home reminiscent of The Memphis Group and its legacy, from Ettore Sottsass (1917-2007) to Martine Bedin (b. 1957). Severin was recently listed in Dezeen’s top 10 architectural photographers. Her clients include Vogue, NCS Colour Institute, Ikea, Sight Unseen, Adobe Photoshop, Levi’s, Another Magazine, Elle and Institut Kunst Basel, amongst others. teklaevelinaseverin.com | toniton.com.
Untitled (2020). Image courtesy Toniton: @toniton_colours. Photography: Tekla Severin and Gabriel Söderbladh. Retouch: Tekla Severin and Retuschor.se.
Untitled (2020). Image courtesy Toniton: @toniton_colours. Photography: Tekla Severin and Gabriel Söderbladh. Retouch: Tekla Severin and Retuschor.se.
Untitled (2020). Image courtesy Toniton: @toniton_colours. Photography: Tekla Severin and Gabriel Söderbladh. Retouch: Tekla Severin and Retuschor.se.
Untitled (2020). Image courtesy Toniton: @toniton_colours. Photography: Tekla Severin and Gabriel Söderbladh. Retouch: Tekla Severin and Retuschor.se.
Untitled (2020). Image courtesy Toniton: @toniton_colours. Photography: Tekla Severin and Gabriel Söderbladh. Retouch: Tekla Severin and Retuschor.se.
Illusory Architecture Andrea Grützner WHAT IS THE PERFORMATIVE POWER OF ARCHITECTURE? BERLIN-BASED ANDREA GRÜTNZER ASKS SUCH QUESTIONS, HOVERING BETWEEN THE FAMILIAR AND UNFAMILIAR.
Andrea Grützner’s (b. 1984) compositions deal with the AG: I often depict space in a fragmentary way, focusing on emotional and visual perception of spaces. These images details and certain elements instead of showing the ideal seek both familiar and disconnected subject matters, and ask (descriptive) perspective of a building or room to give a dequestions about the memory of places and our orientation of sired spatial idea. My gaze cuts through the space – that’s designed interiors. Grützner finds and creates photographs where the description of “anti-architectural” comes from. that oscillate between image-making and painting, exploring “Emotive” could also be added to the definition of my pracideas of documentary, surrealism, abstraction and visual tice, as, ultimately, I’m translating my subjective perception irritation. Eclectic interiors draw links to retro computer and sensation of the space onto the production of images. games and traditional guest houses from the former German Democractic Republic, casting a diverse history of human A: Houses and interior domestic spaces have provided a behaviour against an intriguing interplay of colour and creative wellspring for artists over the years, with memoform. Bold lines and shadows ruminate in these compelling ries embedded in rooms and histories told through the labyrinthine images, transforming the everyday and altering walls. What might we find in the “nooks” and “crannies” interior landscapes with gels, flash lights and motif-mapping. of your images, in the histories or stories exist there? Grützner won the 2017 ING Unseen Talent Award, with the How important is it that these stories remain invisible, Hive series, developing work alongside Nadav Kander, and with the structures devoid of their inhabitants? has exhibited with Foam Amsterdam, Photo London and AG: Individual stories, memories and emotions are not important for understanding my work or its effects on the Paris Photo, amongst many other fairs and galleries. viewer. The images speak more about my personal encounA: The term “emotional architecture,” was attributed ter with that specific space, which seems to be full of proto Mexican architect Luis Barragán (1902-1988) and jections and secrets. I’m trying to avoid the more obvious sculptor-painter Mathias Goéritz (1915-1990), who, to- details of houses or structures, as they would immediately gether, published a manifesto in search of spiritually spark a more stereotypical imagination and narrative. It is uplifting buildings that subverted the minimal, “sterility” more about slowly discovering familiar elements within the of modernism. The document was built on the premise abstract image construction, which might recall own memothat spaces engender a tangible psychological response ries of the viewer. My work is, essentially, quite open-ended. in individuals. Though your photographs dwell within architectural structures, how do you feel that they are, A: Your images share many similar colour palettes of Barragán, with blush pinks, bold oranges and luminous inherently, “anti-architectural” or resist this definition?
Andrea Grützner, Detail of Hive, The Lawn, 2019, framed digital collage, 60 x 45 cm. Courtesy of the artist.
“I often strive for tilting moments and reversing perspectives. It's a visual game with the perception of space, time and surface structures, an optical charade. I ask myself: how can I make the familiar and obvious strange?”
Previous Page: Andrea Grützner, Hive, Showcase, 2019, framed digital collage, 133 x 100 cm. Courtesy of the artist. Left: Andrea Grützner, Erbgericht, untitled 18, 2018, framed photograph, 149 x 100 cm (81 x 60 cm). Courtesy of the artist.
yellows taking centre stage, amongst a variety of patterns, shapes, slats and oblongs. What interests you about the colour palettes of interior structures? AG: Colour is intriguing, it can be challenging and seducing, abstract and so real. It triggers certain memories. The original interior of the Erbgericht has nostalgic palettes of cream-brownish hues and elements in pastel tones. The vivid glowing shadows stems from experimentation with colourful gels in front of flashlights. So I'm adding my own colour palette to the building. My colours are kind of coexisting with(in) the house. For me, they work like a placeholder for memories and emotions from all people who have been attached to, or visited, that building. The luminous shades are pulling the beholder into the image-space and leave them to their own imagination and interpretation. In general, I try to exaggerate artificial characters, playfulness and an overarching sense of eeriness. This is also the case in Hive, where I used the poppy bold colours of the given educational design. A: There’s also an MC Escher-like quality to your compositions. Staircases disappear into hovering cabinets and reflections merge spaces into a kind of labyrinth. Why is removal, distortion or complication important? AG: I often strive for tilting moments and reversing perspectives. It’s a visual game with the perception of space, time and surface structures – an optical charade. I regularly ask myself: how can I make the familiar and obvious strange, and vice versa, the strange curiously familiar? All these processes are playfully challenging our looking habits and slowing down the way of deciphering. They are also speaking, in a general sense, about another possible reading of systems.
A: In Erbgericht, you utilise a bright flash to achieve a sense of collage and transformation – creating pronounced lines, shadows and artificial planes, with stark contrasts playing out across the compositions. Can you expand on the technical aspect of your work? AG: I set up flashlights, scattered throughout spaces. These are all connected up and fired in the same moment. I then scan the negatives and just do smaller adjustments in brightness and colour hues. To set up the lighting can take between four and eight hours, depending on the number of variations that I’m doing. Additionally, around one to three days go into pre-studies and light experiments for each motif. My sketchbook is essential here. Sometimes, though, images won’t work at the end, and the process starts all over again. A: You often respond intuitively to locations. The Hive series, for example, draws from retro computer games, shot in Melbourne’s RMIT University, filled with angular metals and maze-like spaces. In what capacity are you exaggerating a sense of “play” or development in the space – where individuals are required to “advance” from one level to the next, much like in education? AG: The contemporary infrastructure at RMIT is already built towards being photographed – to be shared via social media platforms. It is strongly influenced by science fiction films, pop culture and “fun houses.” For me, these maze-like rooms work as a metaphor for orientation, “gamification” and alienation in our modern society – themes that proliferate and only continue to grow. I ask: how can we deal with the seduction and ambiguity of such spaces, which already have ideas of a global neoliberal society – like flexibility, mobility,
Andrea Grützner, Detail of Erbgericht, untitled 19, framed photograph, 2018, 149 x 100 cm (81 x 60 cm). Courtesy of the artist.
mixing work and leisure time, networking – build into them? position was passed on to the next generation. Even in GerMy attempt is to amplify the design through a roster of digi- many, almost nobody knows the etymology, but the words tal collage techniques, also to point towards the blending “Erb-” and “Gericht” are so familiar. It’s just their combination which makes it strange and unfamiliar. This is the reason why of virtuality and reality in these performative environments. I kept the name of the building for my work. The Erbgericht A: The das ECK series (The Corner) considers the frame- is an intriguing collage of historical layers – patterns, materiwork of urban spaces, and the graphic nature of our en- als, furniture, and my family still celebrates important events vironments today. To what extent was this series a depar- in its rooms. Yet, many memories of the village and its inhabitants, including those of my family, seem inaccessible to me. ture – with less collage or double exposure? AG: I was invited to Koblenz as a city photographer in It’s a constant shift between being familiar and unfamiliar, 2015/2016, shortly after publishing my first 16 images of with a lot of secrets. My photographs work like a translation Erbgericht. For me, it was important to not copy-paste my of my relationship to my former homeland. style with the colourful lighting, but rather find a related way of seeing space and translating it into an image of some- A: How do you choose your locations? thing new entirely. The mundane post-war architecture is AG: Part of my motivation is certainly a preoccupation with very present in the city, so I decided to mainly focus on its my origins: an early childhood socialisation in the GDR and elements, still with a fragmentary, surreal and graphic touch. our move to the west after the fall of the Wall with still close contact to our relatives near Dresden. So, the Erbgericht is A: Works from the ongoing Erbgericht series are currently still a favourite place to work. I am currently also obsessed on show at Robert Morat Galerie, Berlin, a project which with a building block set for kids from GDR times, a project plays on the loose translation of inheritance. How does I’ve started working with a Bauhaus residency. I'm still trying to figure out my fascination with “built” things. Spaces and the title relate to the images, and where they were shot? AG: My work Erbgericht (or "Guest house") stems from a de- atmospheres can attract and repel me – and definitely trigvotion to a traditional country inn located in a former GDR ger me. It's incredible what influence architecture can have village, where I’m originally from. As an important cultural on people and what social roles it imbibes. Ideologies and centre for the rural community, the Erbgericht managed to power structures are conveyed through it, and spatial polisurvive five political systems (the German Empire, the Weimar cies are contested with it. Architecture plays a fundamental Republic, the Nazi era, the Communist era, and today’s reuni- role in cultural memory and the function of society in space. fied Germany.) The cultural history goes back to medieval ages, when these houses were the seat of the local judge, A: What else do you have planned for 2021? who also often got the rights to brew and slaughter. This AG: Diving into the pictorial adventures I’ve sketched above.
Right: Andrea Grützner, Hive, The Hive, 2019, framed digital collage, 60 x 45 cm. Courtesy of the artist.
Words Kate Simpson
Erbgericht – Neue Räume Robert Morat Galerie, Berlin Until 31 July robertmorat.de
Graphic Collaboration Kelsey McClellan
New Color in the Times of Slow Coffee is a series from stylist Michelle Maguire, painter Kristin Texeira and photographer Kelsey McClellan. To begin, Texeira put oil to canvas, summoning intuitive shapes and distinctly contemporary forms in a fresh take on abstraction. These colourful works were then transformed into digital images – with Maguire shipping props to McClellan’s home in a form of remote replication. The project became a kind of “visual challenge” across weeks, with experimentation as a source of endless inspiration – images shared between California, Ohio and upstate New York. Each composition is an artistic response in its own right, upholding a cyclical conversation between practitioners. The results are beguiling: with utilitarian objects held in states of diversion and interpretation. Foam, rope, vases, light bulbs and string are transformed and redefined in the process. kelseymcclellan.com | michelle-maguire.com | kristintexeira.com.
Kelsey McClellan,and Michelle Maguire, Quinacridone Magenta 2, from the series New Color in the Time of Slow Coffee (2021).
Kelsey McClellan and Michelle Maguire, Cobalt Teal 2, from the series New Color in the Time of Slow Coffee (2021).
Kelsey McClellan and Michelle Maguire Pyrrole Red 2, from the series New Color in the Time of Slow Coffee (2021).
Kelsey McClellan and Michelle Maguire, Light Bulb 1 from the series New Color in the Time of Slow Coffee (2021).
Kelsey McClellan and Michelle Maguire,Cobalt Green 2 from the series New Color in the Time of Slow Coffee (2021).
Kelsey McClellan and Michelle Maguire, Rope 1 from the series New Color in the Time of Slow Coffee (2021).
Kelsey McClellan and Michelle Maguire, Foam 1 from the series New Color in the Time of Slow Coffee (2021).
Kelsey McClellan and Michelle Maguire,Vase 1 from the series New Color in the Time of Slow Coffee (2021).
Kelsey McClellan and Michelle Maguire,Freckle Rock 1 from the series New Color in the Time of Slow Coffee (2021).
Forms of Resistance Cruise Night LOWRIDER CAR CULTURE IS AN INTRICATE ART FORM, ONE THAT OFFERS A SENSE OF BELONGING AND RESILIENCE WITH SPRING COILS, HYDRAULICS AND DROPPED SPINDLES.
Kristin Bedford can’t pinpoint the exact moment she first saw resilience in the face of oppression – that first interested a lowrider. In Los Angeles, they’re everywhere. Driven close Bedford as a photographer. She remembered, growing up the ground, immaculately restored and creatively custom- in Washington DC, her father telling her about Los Angeles ised, with their distinctive rims and glistening candy paint Times journalist activist Ruben Salazar. He was the first Mexijobs, these eye-catching classic cars are “part of the fabric can American reporter to write about his community for a of the city,” says the photographer, whose new book, Cruise mainstream news outlet, and was killed by a tear gas proNight, provides a uniquely meditative and reverent take on jectile fired by sheriff's deputy Tom Wilson whilst covering lowriding culture amongst Mexican Americans in LA. Unlike the National Chicano Moratorium March against the Vietnam other portrayals of the scene, which tend to highlight the War in 1970. When Bedford moved to LA, one of the first style and swagger of young, male lowriders, Bedford’s pre- things she did was to visit the Silver Dollar Cafe where Sasents lowriding as a community – multigenerational, female lazar had been taking a break from his work when he died. as well as male – and a fine art practice, alternating intimate “I asked myself: where can you find Salazar’s voice today? The answer is multifaceted.” This thinking led her to followportraits with close-up compositions of car bodies. Lowriding is a global phenomenon, popularised through ing “a curiosity about how the customisation of a car is about 1990s Hip Hop videos and, more recently, Instagram. You’ll having a voice politically, culturally and creatively.” Bedford attended her first “cruise night” on 27 December find lowriders – a term which refers both to the vehicle and the driver – in Brazil, Indonesia and Japan. But lowriding’s 2014 – an evening meet-up where lowriders from different birthplace is LA, where it originated after WWII in the 1940s car clubs, as well as some solo riders, drive around slowly and 1950s when young Mexican Americans started modify- so they can flaunt their craft and admire each other’s. She ing their cars by lowering the suspension and embellishing spent the next five years shooting the project on and off – the exteriors with colourful designs, cruising around to dis- spending most of her time listening, learning and getting to play their handiwork. 1958 saw the government crack down, know people and a lesser amount actually taking pictures. banning vehicles with any parts lower than their wheel rims, In so doing, she discovered that this is an identity as much but the well-known lowrider Ron Aguirre responded the fol- as a practice, “passed down between generations. Children lowing year with his X-Sonic car, containing a pioneering hy- are born into it,” she explains. “Lowriding is part of rites of draulic system allowing the front of the vehicle to be raised passages, baptisms, quinceañeras, weddings, funerals, it's and lowered in a bouncing motion – a technology that has completely woven into these events. It’s not a hobby for since become a defining feature of all 21st century lowriders. people, it’s a way of life, it’s in their DNA.” Archive images in It was this side of the lowriding story – of creativity and the book – comprising photo albums or piles of vintage po-
Kristin Bedford, Samantha, At It Again Car Club, May 7, 2017. Courtesy of the artist.
“We don't get a sense of the roaring engines, the smell of petrol and the blazing California sun. People gaze beyond the frame, invoking speculation about their deepest thoughts, dreams, hopes, their inner lives beyond the brief seconds here.”
Previous Page: Kristin Bedford, Impala Drive-In, August 14, 2015 (detail). Courtesy of the artist. Left: Kristin Bedford, Gypsy Rose, Imperials Car Club, July 12, 2015 (detail). Courtesy of the artist.
laroids showing lowriders from the 1970s – attest to this fact. sun. People gaze beyond the frame, invoking speculation That unrushed and respectful approach contrasts with the about their deepest thoughts, dreams, hopes, their inner short term, “drive by” method used by other photographers lives beyond the brief seconds captured here. That hushed who have documented this world. Juan Ramirez, co-founder atmosphere is a hallmark of Bedford’s practice, whatever the Los Angeles Lowrider Community and President of Just subject matter. “When I make images, it’s like when you're Memories Car Club Los Angeles, says: “We are always being at the beach. There are all these people around, playing, stereotyped, but by riding with us, she understands what we making noise, listening to music, and then you go under the are really about and what we do.” Many more quotes are in- water. Then, all of a sudden, your reality transforms and it's terspersed amongst Bedford’s images. She stresses: “I felt it completely quiet. Your spatial proximity to those people is was important to not have text from outside the community, the same but somehow your landscape has changed.” This sensibility feels particularly pronounced in the images written by supposed experts. The true experts are those who have lived it. I chose quotes that felt like magical vignettes of women, perhaps because they tend to feature with less that give you a glimpse into the experience of lowriding. I frequency in other representations of lowrider culture. Whilst it’s undeniably a male-dominated tradition, there are a growsee them as a kind of poetry that's paired with the photos.” Not only was this ethos respectful from a social and ethi- ing number of women lowriders and all-women car clubs. cal standpoint, it also translates into more powerful, authen- “Media coverage usually focuses on men and the role of tic photographs. Unposed, her portraits feel refreshingly women is reduced to sexual accessories, posing next to cars,” natural, no mean feat in an age of hyper-image awareness. says Bedford. “Throughout my entire career, I've considered Throughout the project, Bedford used only available light myself a photographer, but during this project I realised for and a fixed lens. “The distance I appear to be is true. So, if the first time that I was a woman photographer specifically,” you see a photograph from inside the car, it exists because she continues. “When I saw the kind of photographs I’d made I was invited to be there,” she says. However, beyond this of women lowriders, I discerned that it was a woman working working method, she didn’t set out to capture the world in a amongst her peers. I also reflected on why I had not seen particular way. “I have no agenda at all. Intellectual interest images like this before, and it became clear to me that the is what brings me to the door. But once I walk through and visual narrative of lowriding and automotive cultures of all begin making photographs, I completely turn myself over to types, has been entirely shaped by men.” Another revelation was in the images of details. “Before the unknown. My work is grounded in mystery, and I let the doing this project, I had primarily shot people, not objects. It photos reveal what the story is about for themselves.” There’s a stillness to these shots that might seem surprising was a journey to find my voice, with the cars – the metal, the given the subject matter. We don’t get a sense of the roar- reflections, the paint jobs. [In the edit] I organically found ing engines, the smell of petrol and the blazing California myself being drawn to the pictures that were really intimate
Kristin Bedford, Anthony “Too Tall”, Ordinary Life Car Club, December 27, 2014. Courtesy of the artist.
and close. Those details are a form of personal expression.” In their minimalist attention to the most intricate elements of lowrider design, from the sparkle of light on metal, bold colours, curving shapes, velvet interiors, patterns and pictures, they’re almost abstracted from their environment. Bedford talks about working “at the intersection of aesthetics and social realism.” Nowhere is this clearer than in these images. They don’t simply document the cars' visual appeal, but embrace, participate in and further enhance that visual allure for the viewer – a tribute to the vehicles as fine art objects. The same can be said of the publication’s design more broadly. Bedford was encouraged by many people to give the book a “street vibe, to use a typeface associated with street art or tattooing” but she strongly resisted this in favour of an elegant and understated look that gives the images space to breathe. “I wanted the cover to be blue cloth to represent the experience of night, and I was clear from the beginning that I wanted it to have a Modernist typeface. The visual language of Modernism is prevalent and important in LA. It was another way of bringing in our landscape into the book,” she says. “With the title printed on the cover in blue metallic ink, you can never really look at the words straight on. This is what it's like at night when you see the reflections of cars as they cruise slowly down the street. But it also references what it’s like looking at paint jobs. When you stand at different angles, they appear to be different colours.” The USA is a country defined by vehicles, with its vast highways, drive-in movies and sprawling suburbs designed for commuting. Throughout culture, from film to literature, music and art, the car is romanticised as a symbol of individuality and of freedom. “There was nowhere to go but
everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars,” as Jack Kerouac wrote in On The Road (1957). Yet, as Bedford points out, “the automotive, visual narrative of America has primarily been around white people. This is a narrative, focusing on the Mexican American community, which shows that their tradition is an integral part of American culture at large. I don’t see lowriding as a subculture. It is culture.” Looking back, Ford Motor Company transformed the economy and society of the early 20th century, setting the wheels in motion for homogenisation, over-consumption and waste, with new models brought out every year. In 2020 alone, Ford sold just over four million cars to dealers worldwide. And, since Ford's first model was produced in 1903, the ratio of people to cars has grown to be approximately 18 to one. Lowriding is an interesting counterpoint to this mass production taking place worldwide. As elucidated in oral testimonies in the book, lowriders invest time, energy, money and thought into putting their individual stamp on a vintage car. Care, love and nostalgia go into their creations, a concept which is at odds with the in-built obsolescence of so many consumer products offered in today’s throwaway culture. “A lowrider finds a car that's in bad repair and they see something, they have a personal vision of what this car can be, and then they realise that vision. Lowriding is an expression of oneself and one's imagination. Often times cars have themes, they make a political or social point, or reference your cultural heritage. And then when you're cruising down the boulevard, it's a mobile canvas. The world is witnessing your artwork.” In a sense, Cruise Night isn’t just about cars, but about a sense of belonging and beauty. The car is a vehicle for something else that transcends the sum of its parts.
Right: Kristin Bedford, Los Angeles, Los Angeles Car Club, July 8, 2018 (detail). Courtesy of the artist.
Words Rachel Segal Hamilton
Kristin Bedford: Cruise Night is published by Damiani damianieditore.com
Visual Archetypes Natalie Christensen
“It is our nature to ignore what is unpleasant, but sometimes I get a glimpse of the sublime in ordinary places. When I find it, it feels like I have discovered gold.” Natalie Christensen (b. 1966) is a photographer based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is known for minimalist abstractions of the American Southwest. Christensen’s 25-year career as a psychotherapist informs her artistic practice, blending an analytical sensibility with colourful aesthetics. She has been influenced by the theories of Carl Jung (1875-1961), particularly the three interacting systems of the ego, the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious. Each image, whilst seemingly unassuming, reflects deeper thoughts about the city and its structures. Here, angular buildings and their shadows can be interpreted as archetypal phenomena, and the city-dweller – hinted at through the camera lens – makes reference to the Jungian notion of the communal experience. nataliechristensenphoto.com.
Natalie Christensen, New Mexico Light Play (2018).
Natalie Christensen, Open Door (2017).
Natalie Christensen, There's a Key (2019).
Natalie Christensen, Surveillance (2017).
Natalie Christensen, Fissures (2017).
Natalie Christensen, A Good Day (2017).
Natalie Christensen, Suspended Animation #6 (2020).
Ones to Watch NEW AND NOTEWORTHY
This year's York St John University graduates explore the human condition beyond what the eye can see, through innovative digital images and "aura photography" to spatial installation. Emotions of isolation, disconnect and ecological anxiety are prevalent, as well as modes of visual activism, healing and a renewed awareness with familiar surroundings. Explore more from the Class of 2021 online, with 50 recent graduates: aestheticamagazine.com/ysju2021.
Jack Bowman Seeing Auras
@bomwanphotography In 1939, Semyon and Valentina Kirlian, a Russian electrical engineer and his biologist wife, discovered coronal discharge photography and dubbed it “Kirlian photography” – believing that these photos could provide psychic insights. “Aura photography” – as it’s now widely known – is a specific type of photography and printing linking instant-film camera to charged metal plates containing biofeedback sensors. Jack Bowman is a studio portrait photographer interested in the revealing properties of aura imagery – at once visually compelling and conceptually ambiguous, with greens denoting healing and blues connected with empathy. Bowman references new age subcultures, with an air of the ethereal and immaterial.
Evie Webb Synthetic Nature
@evie.taylor25 Evie Webb is a photographer interested in socio-political realities and pressing issues in a rapidly changing world – especially those which are often overlooked on the large-scale. For example, her recent work has negotiated the damaging effects plastic has on the planet – as a material now entering the geological record due to its life span lasting between 450 and 5,000 years. Webb draws attention to humanity’s complacency and growing acclimatisation to destruction. In the featured image, she offers a kind of visual antidote: depicting beauty in decay and decline – focusing on the inevitability of life cycles. She exemplifies the innate merit and necessity of mortality and the ageing process, paying homage to Dutch Vanitas.
Amy Majed Circles of Light
@made_by_amyy_ Many artists today are embracing the desire to harness the present moment: revelling in an experimentation of space, light and sensory material. Manipulating light is Amy Majed’s primary aesthetic, with both artificial and natural light coming together in an amalgamation of forms, shadows and geometries. She is inspired by items in the domestic space, often using sheets and other found materials, alluding to a sense of safety paired with the restraints of being a social carer. This produces a captivating and psychedelic atmosphere for the installations. In the featured work, fabric installations are cut and burned, creating a cluster of compelling patterns on the surface, referencing artists such as Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929).
Jay Villacci Project Alienation
@j_villacci The Alienation series conveys a sense of abandonment and entrapment prevalent within British identity and landscapes. Never before has there been a time in which disconnect is a defining emotion – a feeling which continues to damage and dominate through the continued restrictions of the pandemic – with constant and perpetuated distance from normality. Further to this, Villacci’s images communicate a sense of tension between geographic bodies, with the UK’s landscape sprawling, conceptually, outwards and away from the EU. He notes: “Our future is uncertain, but our present is well known. This project considers the relationship between the island we call home and us as inhabitants: how we have alienated ourselves.”
Ellie Greensmith It's Important to Talk about Mental Health
@wombonthe3rdfloor The past 18 months have been filled with anxiety, disassociation and fearfulness. The pandemic spreading across the globe has been mixed with civil and social unrest, continued violence and systemic racism. On top of this, developing echo chambers and persistent digital activity has resulted in increased concerns of mental health worldwide. A landmark study conducted in February 2021 showed that, even though pandemic-related anxiety has fallen from 62 per cent to 42 per cent (since March 2020), loneliness has risen. Ellie Greensmith’s work reflects these widespread emotions, exploring crucial conversations about mental health and its continued stigmatisation. Her method includes repetitive sequences, lines, dots and words, fulfilling the experience of “spiralling” thoughts and intrusive negative emotions. These feelings increase over large-scale installations, both conceptually and materially.
Alexandra Ene Untitled #4
@alexene15 The interplay of contemporary architecture and the landscape provides the inspiration for Alexandra Ene, who often highlights the relationship between the natural environment and manmade structures. She finds the combination of the two fascinating – the organic and the artificial – especially seeing how they adapt and evolve around each other, as well as the various histories constructed along the way. Her images often present a fusion of worlds, where plants “take over” spaces and begin their acts of assimilation or rewilding amongst concrete – gripping to crevices or attaching themselves to built spaces. The featured photographs include a multitude of textures – with ivy leaves, vines or shifting gradients of rock taking centre stage. Ene places viewers at the precipice of organic formations, provoking us to consider their immense presence, with dramatic lighting and an attention to focus.
Sarah Dallow Floral Bodies
@sarahdallow.art Sarah Dallow’s work is centred on the portrayal of the female body, highlighting the areas that women have been encouraged to dislike about themselves. She frames the body from a different perspective; one that has not been clouded by Photoshopped pictures or influenced from mainstream media. Dallow’s imagery challenges the narrative around stereotypes, beauty and body standards. She experiments with fine liner to produce black and white stippled illustrations that offer an anonymous representation of women’s bodies from a range of backgrounds, shapes and sizes. The Floral Bodies series combines flesh with unfurling petals, framing limbs with a delicate touch. The collection includes a range of forms that are different sizes, and with various ethnicities and disabilities, to create an inclusive space for all women.
Ashlee Hallas Reflections & Ruminations
@ashlee_hallas_art Method and media are inextricably interconnected and influenced by one another in Ashlee Hallas’ portfolio. Her approach often consists of deconstruction, collage and re-assemblage, juxtaposing multiple layers of paper infused with varying colours and contexts. Here, the page is a place of examination, reinterpretation and reimagination – where histories are laid on top of one another and the presence of the artist is illuminated through the acts of tearing or decoration. The featured works are an intriguing take on stratification – where no texture is superior – and process is interwoven with completion. Hallas notes: “I tend to be drawn to techniques that allow for an aspect of ‘chance’ as the multi-papers and paints evolve. I make frequent visits to a specific location as it’s important for me to remain visual. I believe investigation and journey are as much part of the work as the end result.”
1a & 1b. Jack Bowman, Seeing Auras. (2020) 2. Evie Webb, Synthentic Nature (2020). 3. Amy Majed, Circles of Light (2021). Projection sizes variable. 4. Jay Villacci, Project Alienation, Untitled (2020). 5. Ellie Greensmith, It's Important to Talk about Mental Health (2021). White Acrylic on Black A1 (594x841mm). 6a Alexandra Ene, Untitled #1 (2019). Photographic prints. 6b. Alexandra Ene, Untitled #4 (2019). Photographic prints. 7. Sarah Dallow, Floral Bodies (2021). 210mm x 297mm. Stippled fine liner illustration on 300 gsm card stock. 8. Ashlee Hallas, Reflections & Ruminations series: Monochrome. Detail of collage painting.
@sophierothwellphotography Photo archives have long been essential tools for research in the humanities – in the movement and development of culture, and in the memories that define life as it is today. The British Library holds over one million public domain images; whilst Seattle-based photo giant Getty Images boasts over 350 million licenced photographs. Will these archives become obsolete, or take new forms altogether with the rise of digital technology, the evolution of storage systems, cloud sets and data banks? Sophie Rothwell touches on these issues with street photography that manipulates street view. Her process uses empirical methods, exploring the degradation of city streets, as well as juxtapositions and comparisons between history and the present moment. The Archives, pictured adjacent here, superimposes one moment in time on top of another. The image highlights and critiques its own construction and borders.
Sophie Cown Noughts & Crosses
@sophiecownphotography “A photographer can make a building look completely different to what it is in reality. Her viewpoint transforms existing buildings into new forms, changing the perception of the audience to appreciate our landscape as a living sculpture.” Sophie Cown is an architectural photographer whose work is built upon capturing and altering the perception of modern buildings. She is interested in the creative potential of futuristic architecture – how residential or commercial spaces might shape emotional and physical realities in years to come. Her approach focuses on minimal lines and isolating structural curvature. Here, Cown taps into the transformative potential of photography, and the visual “truths” laid out through the composition of an image. She draws attention to built topographies, asymmetries and visual balance and coherence, tapping into a growing cultural curiosity for structural photography.
3.34 AM & 2.27AM
@setini From neon-bathed cities to remote woodlands, nocturnal photographs are filled with mystery and stories waiting to be told. Luca Roys is invested in “night studies” as a genre that delights and inspires, as familiar places are cast as underworlds of play and potential. In the Curfew series, Roys uncovers elements of the nocturnal through three key concepts: time, emotion and the environment. These overlapping elements are the focal point for Roys' projects, investigating the temporal changes of night-fall and how a landscape can be completely altered in the viewer’s mind – both conceptually and visually – through a cast of shadows and isolation. To create the photographs, Roys uses 35mm film to shoot fragmented spaces. Each image was captured between 12am and 4am, often in surrounding industrial estates. A surreal green glow reflects off corrugated iron; closed blinds diffuse pink light.
53.7996° N, 1.5471° W
@jake_stephenson_art Jake Stephenson roams the Yorkshire landscape, producing square format monochrome photographs, which are dictated by their own restrictions and limitations. Stephenson’s work is about the tensions and contrasts between Brutalist architecture and 21st century aesthetics. Through rigid and structured images, he offers a utopian landscape devoid of wider context or geographic specificity, where glass, concrete and pipes are rendered as ghostly presences stretching upwards into the clouds. The 53.7996° N, 1.5471° W series showcases the similarities and differences between low-cost post-war brutalist buildings and investments in modern developments. These images critique the construction industry, as Stephensen comments: "I render modern buildings in grey mid-tones, which, inevitably, recall the poured concrete of brutalist buildings, thus blurring the lines between past and present."
9. Sophie Rothwell, Winter Show. 10. Sophie Cown, Noughts & Crosses (2021). Digital image, semi-matte finish. 11a. Luca Roys, 3:34AM (2021). 11b. Luca Roys, 2:27AM (2021). 12. Jake Stephenson, 53.7996° N, 1.5471° W (2021). Photographic print, dimensions variable.
Capturing Life VIVIAN MAIER & STEPHAN VANFLETEREN
The story of Vivian Maier is fascinating. She worked most of her adult life as a nanny, secretly roaming the streets of New York and Chicago with a camera on her days off. Between the 1950s and 1990s, she amassed a collection of over 100,000 negatives – primarily of people and cityscapes. These were hidden from the eyes of others, with the archive only coming to light in 2007 when it was discovered at a Chicago auction house. At the time, hardly anyone knew of her interest in photography. Even today, much of her life remains a mystery, and many of the gaps are left unfilled. In 2014, the documentary Finding Vivian Maier was nominated for an Academy Award, bringing her body of work to a wider audience. She’s now regarded as one of the 20th century’s greatest photographers – admired for a pioneering use of colour and intriguing camera angles. Maier turned her
lens to often humorous subject matter, capturing snippets of daily life whilst out and about: piles of newspapers, pink and yellow balloons, reflections in shop windows. The shots have since been widely exhibited and published, becoming ever more popular in the age of social media and digital shows. Antwerp’s Gallery Fifty One presents Maier’s images in an entirely new way – alongside striking black and white works by Belgium-born former press photographer Stephan Vanfleteren (b. 1969). His high contrast portraits are raw, human and, at times, confrontational. Grainy cityscapes and blurred buildings create a sense of movement. Despite working in different places and time periods, Vanfleteren and Maier used Rolleiflexes, cameras with waist level viewfinders, perfect for under-the-radar street photography. The results are compelling – with moments of humour and curiosity.
Words Eleanor Sutherland
Gallery Fifty One, Antwerp 11 May - 10 July gallery51.com
The Indelible Spirit CHESTER HIGGINS
Chester Higgins (b. 1946) first bought a camera in 1968, just as the Civil Rights Movement was peaking. He humanised African American protestors, depicting their struggle for dignity, in direct opposition to the prevailing narrative in his native Alabama at the time. As Higgins would later put it: “Our media show no positive images of decent Black people. We need images of Black people that reflect the fullness of our lives.” He also documented the African diaspora, travelling to Ghana and Senegal, where he studied the traditions that were “mirror images of the people of my childhood.” Higgins, a New York Times staff photographer from 1975 to 2014, lays a compassionate eye on his subjects. The figures in Five Points, Fort Green Park, Brooklyn (1972) look like elegant shadow puppets, shot into the light, with a couple embracing on a slanted hill as children play
beneath the trees. A woman’s silhouette – leaning against a frame – partially obstructs a seascape in The Door of No Return, Gorée Island, Dakar, Senegal (1972). Higgins shot only the shadows of playing children in Monkey Bars (1998), transforming them into an abstract, geometric composition. The camera-wielding anthropologist shoots authentically, presenting subjects as they are, with grace and compassion. He took numerous portraits of his great-uncle March Fourth McGowan, who lived to be 107 years old, depicting the man’s soft gaze in 1981 or his knotted hands in 1995. A woman tilts her head back as she looks hopefully to the sky in Necklace, Atlanta, Georgia (1974), Water spray dancer, Harlem (1969) captures a boy in a moment of utter euphoria, whilst youths strike cool poses in Fashionable teens, Harlem (1974). Yes, indeed, their lives are rich, complex and full.
Words Olivia Hampton
Bruce Silverstein, New York 6 May - 26 June brucesilverstein.com
Healing Power GROUP SHOW
Amsterdam has varied rhythms and cultures, which reflect diversities and controversies in its streets and amongst inhabitants. Because of the Dutch colonial past, the city has a crosscultural identity shaped by confrontation. Founded upon these roots, the ethnographic Tropenmuseum stands out as museum of complex cultures, offering a universal approach to global themes that connect and bind us across the world. Healing Power – Winti, Shamanism, and Witchcraft focuses on centuries-old traditions, from winti to ayahuasca. It opens with an impressive installation by artist Luke Jerram, a moon seven metres in diameter dominating the hall of the museum. It appears as a kind of conceptual mirror, asking broader questions about the spiritual influence of the moon and how it’s perceived differently across the world. Further into the space, objects proliferate such as amulets from Greenland
to Pakistan; Mexico to Tibet, or magical pouches full of medicinal substances, jewellery or shamans’ coats from the Arctic to South America. These artefacts are presented alongside works from Damien Hirst and Marina Abramović. In lesser-known spheres, photographer Jorge Mañes Rubio shares a selection of images realised in Seoul, South Korea, whilst attending rituals performed by female shamans. In After Heade – Cascade and Hummingbirds, Edouard Duval- Words Carrié depicts a supposedly innocent landscape, related to Monica de Vidi the colonial history of Haiti and the Vodou religion. Meanwhile, photographer Jeroen Toirkens shows the sacred reindeer of nomadic communities in northern Mongolia. Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam Healing Power draws a poignant line between ritualistic 1 May - 6 June 2022 practices and the present-day health crisis, in which mindfulness and awareness have, once again, taken centre stage. tropenmuseum.nl
1. Vivian Maier - Chicago, 1976. © Estate of Vivian Maier, Courtesy Maloof Collection and Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York. 2a. Chester Higgins, Early morning coffee, Harlem, 1974 . © Chester Higgins, Courtesy of Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York 2b. Chester Higgins, Looking for Justice, Civil Rights Rally, Montgomery, Alabama, 1968 . © Chester Higgins, Courtesy of Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York. 3. Campagnebeeld - Healing Power Tropenmuseum Amsterdam Foto Hamid Sardar.
4. Kensuke Koike, VS, 2017. Unique cut postcard. 14.8 x 10.4 cm. Courtesy of The Photographers’ Gallery. 5a. Iman Tajik, The Dreamers (2019-2020) ©Iman Tajik. Supported by Deveron Projects . 5b. Iman Tajik, The Dreamers (2019-2020) ©Iman Tajik. Supported by Deveron Projects. 6 .Jeffrey Milstein - LA 07 Park La Brea, 2014. 42 x 56 inch, Archival Pigment Print, Limited Edition of 10. Photo: Courtesy of Robert Klein Gallery © Jeffrey Milstein.
Re-Composed KENSUKE KOIKE
Charity shops provide a treasure trove of idle objects, all with individual histories. For those willing to look, the surprise in bagging something of genuine curiosity separates the listless refuse of past lives from the “vintage” – collector’s slang for salvaging worth from discarded objects. This joy at finding the kilter-point of life’s disarray, the “found-ness” of found images, is the magic of Kensuke Koike (b. 1980). What Koike finds, exactly, is the possibility of new stories. Re-Composed repurposes old postcards and discarded portraits to make novel machines from the material of the original images. In Rocket Man (2018), a holiday snap of Christ the Redeemer features a cut-out of the iconic statue in a spring-loaded mechanism embedded in the Rio sky. When drawn back and released, Christ is fired heavenwards, bringing delightful new meaning to his ascension. It’s huge fun. Sacred and irreverent, the artwork honours the material in-
tegrity and subject of the original image whilst excavating it for a real sense of spontaneity through Koike’s intervention. Some images fall short of instilling this feeling of discovery, the thrill that we, too, have “found” a double meaning, like a good pun. Holidays (2019) sinks a leisure cruiser, Titanic-like, into the water when it folds. This is pop-up book humour. Yet the same techniques, particularly in the still photographs, re- Words arrange the fragments so that the new image games some- Jack Solloway thing essential within the landscape or sitter. Koike only has one chance to rework the original – the more intact the material – the less incidental the resulting artwork. The Photographers' In Mirror (2011), an illusion depicting the portrait of a Gallery, London lady, miraculously reflects its own image. EV.A (2020) reas- 23 April - 27 June sembles a miniature of the entire original portrait from holepunched cut-outs. There’s an inevitability without gimmick. thephotographers Koike’s true talent is to make his discoveries feel like our own. gallery.org.uk
Projects 20 IMAN TAJIK
Writer Jill Magi once said of textiles that “a garment surrounds us, houses us. We absorb the energy of the conditions of its making.” This way of thinking about fabric feels pertinent to Iman Tajik’s new exhibition at Stills, which combines a selection from the series The Dreamers and Calais. In Calais, images and a video projection focus on the textures of garments and tents photographed in the migrant encampment, often creating unexpected shifts in outlook. From the inside of a tent, through the material to the encampment beyond, these intense, saturated images take on abstract qualities, like cocoons or wombs. They emphasise the emotional weight we invest in fabrics and materials: to protect, contain, shield and close off. Other images focus on outfits, including a sweatshirt emblazoned with “Scottsdale, Arizona” and a cable-knit jumper and scarf. Textiles, we get reminded, are porous borders, channels of connection, message boards for some
of the most startling geopolitical inequalities and violences that exist within our complex and varied societies. The second series in the collection, The Dreamers, is represented through performative photographs made during Tajik’s residency at Deveron Arts, Huntly, part of the Bordered Miles project for Glasgow International 2020. These compelling images feature Tajik planting (and interacting with) a gold flag, which looks almost like something from a moon landing – almost like the protective wrapper that marathon runners drape themselves in after a race. This flag Words is also physically included in the exhibition space as an ar- Colin Herd tefact of sorts, activated with a timed gust so that it flurries in the breeze all whilst pasted to the wall. In one image, Tajik is tied to the flag; in another he is almost towing or hoisting it. Stills, Edinburgh Radically irreverent of borders, this series reminds us 18 May - 19 June that all of our bodies are tied up in the current cultural understanding of land ownership, entitlement and migration. stills.org
From the Air JEFFREY MILSTEIN
Jeffrey Milstein’s (b. 1944) photo shoots are nothing short of a hair-raising adventure. The New York-based photographer points a high-resolution, medium-format camera at the sights below, leaning out of open helicopters as they make steep turns. He reaps a true bounty out of the affair – with highly detailed images that offer more than the prosaic bird’s-eye view. Looking down at the world we’ve created, with all its complexities and notions of progress and development, Milstein reveals the height of human aspirations and how they have evolved over time – especially in transport. From thousands of feet in the air, the flattened perspective yields pristine, candy-like compositions. Milstein developed an eye for carefully planned geometry during his past as an architect, part of a multifaceted career in which he also served as a pilot. One of his first series involved an opposite perspective, shooting aircrafts from the ground as they landed (Aircraft: The Jet as Art, 2005-2019). The work serves
both as a typology and what Milstein calls “a meditation on how technology can be a double-edged sword when things go wrong.” Seal Beach Naval Weapons Storage (2017) similarly captures the beauty of something that looks like a sapling’s leafy stems. Still, the image remains ominous due to being shot in the California military facility. In 2019, Milstein obtained rare permission to fly in the restricted air space above Paris. The resulting images, captured from Milstein’s signature straight-down stance, reveal the enduring impact of Georges-Eugène Haussmann’s urban renewal, that turned a crowded medieval city into airy vistas dotted with monuments. In one of the most striking prints, part of a 208-page book Rizzoli published in April, the glass of the Louvre Pyramid glows like liquid gold, casting a long and pointed shadow surrounded by the centuriesold wings of the museum. Here, the old and the new live in perfect harmony and balance, or so it seems, for now at least.
Words Olivia Hampton
Robert Klein, Boston 27 April - 30 June robertkleingallery.com
Martin Eden PIETRO MARCELLO
Jack London is the early 20th century author still best known for The Call of the Wild and White Fang, adventure books set in the Yukon. So, it’s intriguing that Italian director Pietro Marcello has turned his attention entirely to another work from London’s canon altogether, the lesser-known Martin Eden. It’s a picaresque odyssey that explores class, politics, philosophy and love, transposing the action to the centre of working class Naples. Eden is a sailor, played by Luca Marinelli, whose life is changed after a moment of kindness, when he saves a young Neapolitan aristocrat Arturo Orsini (Giustiniano Alpi) from a beating at the docks. Invited back to Orsini’s home, he’s introduced to a world previously beyond him. Soon enough, he’s lodging there, pursuing literary ambitions and the affections of Arturo’s sister Elena (Jessica Cressy), who inspires him to read Charles Baudelaire.
Determined to educate himself, Eden faces rejection for his stories, but continues unabated. The film skips across time, and he morphs into the quintessentially arrogant intellectual – rejecting the idea of socialism and the collective as he spouts his theories of the individual. It’s rare to see a film so rigorously engage with philosophy (in this case the work of Herbert Spencer) as Martin Eden does; it’s to the credit of director Marcello and his cowriter Maurizio Braucci that the film engages us. Marinelli, who won the Volpi Cup for Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival, offers a handsome performance, one that’s carefully nurtured by Marcello. Perhaps what surprises most is the experimental nature of the piece, an aesthetic that recalls the heavyweight auteur cinema of the 1960s. Jack London enthusiasts will surely be fascinated by this radical reinvention of the author.
Words James Mottram
Two of Us FILIPPO MENEGHETTI
Nina (Barbara Sukowa) and Madeleine (Mado, played by Martine Chevallier) have been secretly in love for decades. As far as anyone else knows, they are simply neighbours – two women who live in apartments opposite each other. Filippo Meneghetti’s debut feature Two of Us takes place after the couple have spent more than 20 years in the shadows. Mado – who is struggling to find the right moment to tell her family the truth – promises Nina she will inform her adult children about their life together. However, when Mado suffers a lifealtering stroke, Nina is forced to pretend to be her friend in front of Mado’s relations. The resulting narrative is full of palpable emotions: disconnect, shame, desperation, anger and, perhaps most importantly, unwavering love. Two of Us was shortlisted for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2021 Academy Awards, and rightly so. It’s a piece
of innovative cinema that covers a lot of ground: family tensions, sexuality, loss, and life after experiencing a stroke. Yet it never feels rushed, instead pausing on key moments from the everyday. Meneghetti has crafted a feast for the senses. The camera lingers on closed doors, brushing hands and dark, empty rooms – building a looming sense of tension as elements of thriller, drama and romance collide. Will Mado’s daughter discover the truth? What will be the consequences? Above all, this film is a testament to the power of human connection and its enduring legacy across decades. It feels important to see a story about older LGBTQ+ women unfold on screen, especially one exploring the process of recovery and regeneration. Audiences will find it easy to connect to both Nina and Mado; they are human, flawed, authentic and entirely believable.
Words Eleanor Sutherland
Deerskin QUENTIN DUPIEUX
Not since Nicolas Cage proclaimed his snakeskin jacket in Wild at Heart as a “symbol of my individuality and belief in personal freedom” has a character been so attached to such a piece of apparel than in Deerskin. This rich black comedy is the work of French musician-director Quentin Dupieux. He was first known for electronic music under the name Mr. Oizo, until his absurdist horror movie Rubber (2009), principally about a “killer tyre,” put him on the map as a filmmaker to watch. Deerskin follows Georges (The Artist’s Oscar-winner Jean Dujardin), an unhinged figure whose wife has just left him. We first see him purchasing his prized possession – a deerskin jacket which he’s soon showing off to all and sundry. Taking shelter in a tiny village in the Alps, he reinvents himself, claiming that he’s a film director. Here, bored bartender Denise (Portrait of a Lady on Fire’s Adèle
Haenael), has moviemaking ambitions of her own. From here, Deerskin starts to get even more bizarre, as Georges seems to be on a solo mission to rid the world of all other jackets – so his can reign supreme. There’s murder and mayhem which he films, claiming to Denise that it’s all part of his magnum opus which she’s agreed to help edit. Is she aware of his killing spree? Is her life so desperate that she’ll overlook his crimes? The notion of rebuilding our identities after psychological trauma looms amidst the blood-splattered laughs, carefully constructed by Dupieux, who also shot and edited the film. Aided by a robust turn from the typically suave Dujardin, the actor fully commits to this blackest of comedies – a 76-minute miniature-piece that doesn’t waste a breath or miss a beat in its relentless pursuit of its own idiosyncratic ideals. A compelling watch this season.
Words James Mottram
Spellling THE TURNING WHEEL
SPELLLING, the Bay Area-based project of Chrystia Cabral, pushes the boundaries of her primarily synthbased work, taking on the ambitious task of orchestrating and self-producing an album that features an ensemble of 31 collaborating musicians. In doing so, The Turning Wheel incorporates a range of acoustic sounds that propel SPELLLING’s work into vibrant new dimensions. The double album is split into two halves, Above and Below – drawing on pop, R&B and soul. Lush strings combine with haunting banjo and wandering bassoon leads as the album progresses from the more jubilant and dreamy mood of the Above tracks to the more chilling and gothic tone of the Below tracks. This progression is underpinned by an iconic vocal style which emphasises the theatrical and folkloric heart of SPELLLING’s songwriting, revolving around themes of human unity,
the future, divine love and the enigmatic cycles of life. The record’s sound spirals through clarity and obscurity, drawing heavily from dreams and sleeplore. SPELLLING’s vision is unique, inhabiting a world of its own: a maelstrom of timbres, personalities and stories. Little Deer is one of those intriguing hybrids, how Kate Bush might sound singing a Burt Bacharach song. The vocal harmonies in the title track are joyous, matched only by the classical strings in Emperor with an Egg. The Turning Wheel is a manifestation of the collaborative energy that went into creating it. Whilst Cabral’s eclectic influences, from soul to psych to pop to noise, remain present, she has unearthed a new style with disregard for genre – one that allows her authenticity to shine. Equal parts bewitching, intriguing and elegant, this is an album that repays upon each repeated listening.
Words Matt Swain
Laura Mvula PINK NOISE
The Birmingham native, award-winning singer-songwriter Laura Mvula has long paid her dues with two critically and audience-adored albums, soaked in her own brand of R&B soul. As a classically trained musician, Mvula partnered her bubbling new album ideas with New Zealand producer Dann Hume, and the pair have created some kind of 1980s-drenched epic that sounds like vintage Whitney Houston mixed in a giant pot with every band from the era with a predilection for pop power-ballads. It feels very rooted in the 1980s, and yet genreless, emotional as a vehement call to arms. Opener Safe Passage is a powerhouse of a musical statement, replete with key changes, slap bass and a snare that would sit comfortably on a song by Soft Cell. The piece is littered with musical complexities usually only afforded in music of days gone by, with disparate
and interesting flairs of instrumentation that constantly surprise. To put it bluntly: this record has soul, but not soul in any one-dimensional, simplistic understanding of the term. With each song there is a strand of funk that only comes from a deep and acquired understanding of classic material, as well as new contemporaries. There is an unrelenting speed between the songs leaving you clambering for breath by the end of a modest 10-title set list. A Roger Troutman vibe prevails on songs like Pink Noise; with the wailing screams of synths and locked in bassline it could easily be produced by the aforementioned legend or Dam Funk. The inspired Got Me feels like a future classic, without any of the play by numbers (but banging) funk of Bruno Mars. Each track has endless differing parts. By your 10th listening, you will still be working out how it made you so content.
Words Kyle Bryony
Janette King WHAT WE LOST
What We Lost is the debut album from Montreal’s Janette King, featuring collaborations with DijahSB and Maryze. As the title suggests, it touches upon loss and acceptance, exploring the intersection where pain and sadness serve as the inspiration for artistic ventures. Lyrically thoughtprovoking, the album, which was put together in Toronto against the backdrop of last summer's Black Lives Matter protests, considers loss in some depth, asking what it means, how we tackle it, and what we learn from it. King frequently addresses significant moments of melancholia, documenting lost love and moments of happiness, as well as confrontations with suicide. Musically, the album is an eclectic, funk-infused R&B collection, with pop and house influences prevalent throughout. King, who has previously performed alongside the likes of Sudan Archives and CupcakKe,
ensures there is a counter-balance to sorrowful themes by exploring how we learn from sadness, and progress through its mechanisms. Found A Way is about a close friend who was struggling with addiction – and attempted to take their own life – but the underlying message is about moving forward, using despondency as a weapon against itself. The same learning is echoed in Mirror, a track about King overcoming her depression as well as in Cool Me Down, You Don't Love Me and Right Here. Overall, King has created a series of engaging pop songs with the undoubted highlight being the single Airplane. The lyric about empowerment arising from the ending of relationships, and a pulsating house-driven track, set the thematic tone for the album, shimmering with modernity. King serves up the musical equivalent of a chorus of angels floating across a dancefloor.
Words Matt Swain
140 Artists' Ideas for Planet Earth HANS ULRICH OBRIST & KOSTAS STASINOPOULOS
Art draws important issues into focus, from political terms of whether it strengthens or erodes community.” struggles and global inequalities to human relationships Olafur Eliasson ask readers to “look down and look up.” and new technologies. The climate crisis is one of the Set designer Es Devlin encourages people to compare biggest threats facing our planet today. What can artists the shapes of trees to the structures of their lungs. Elseoffer in response to climate change? This question is at where, filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul wants us the heart of 140 Artists’ Ideas for Planet Earth, a “do-it- to spend time embodying animals, rocks and plants. yourself” guide on how to shape a more ecological and “Practice stillness as a matter of urgency,” says artist Evan equitable future that is both sustainable and responsible. Ifekoya. Other contributors include household names In making the book, Serpentine Artistic Director Hans Yoko Ono, Judy Chicago, David Lynch and Ed Ruscha. These may be small actions, but each one is part of Ulrich Obrist and Kostas Stasinopoulos approached 140 artists, scientists, architects and filmmakers. The result is a wider whole. Individuals can complete tasks in their a compendium of recipes, sketches, photographs, essays, homes, communities, parks and public places. The variepoems and instructions which asks us to engage with ty of entries are short, digestible and thought-provoking. When practiced, they have the power to change percepnature in new, inventive and imaginative ways. There is input from musician Brian Eno, who instructs tions. “We hope that this book will offer alternate visions us to, for one week, “think about everything you do in of our planet, for the next 50, 500, or 5,000 years.”
Words Eleanor Sutherland
Polaroid Now STEVE CRIST
Not many technology companies can boast their own art archive, especially ones containing work created exclusively using their products. But when Steve Crist, co-editor of this new book of photo-art, visited Polaroid’s sprawling headquarters in 2004, that was exactly what he had come to see. The Polaroid Collection was built up over many decades, featuring the finest photographs ever created on Polaroid film, including “museum-grade works that came to be worth a small fortune.” The Polaroid photography process was a phenomenon in its 1970s-1990s heyday, with a quick turnaround time and element of theatrical mystery as people waited for the chemical fog to clear. As Oskar Smolokowski notes: the “white frame, with its unique proportions” became “legendary,” having an “incalculable impact on culture and art.” Pop artists took to the medium with particular
aplomb; the opening and closing sections of Polaroid Now show work by Keith Haring and Andy Warhol. However, the editors’ main aim is to document the renaissance of Polaroid art that has occurred since the 2017 merger between the dormant Polaroid brand and The Impossible Project, a company of millennial enthusiasts that bought up the final Polaroid factory in 2019. Most of this work is shared on social media, the aesthetics of circulation an interesting amalgam of meme culture and analogue nostalgia. The art ranges from moody portraiture to landscapes, street scenes and abstract pattern-making, much of it relying on the washed-out, sun-bleached psychedelic feel of classic Polaroid shots; a closing set of images of Polaroid models shows how much the camera itself continues to appeal – as a work of design, and beyond this, as a broader cultural icon.
Words Greg Thomas
Evergreen Architecture GESTALTEN EDITORS
Sustainable architects love a treehouse. Here, child- turf roof designed by Studio Marco Vermeulen, conceals hood dreams of play, the future, and the intermeshing a museum in the wetlands of Werkendam, Netherlands. of home and plant life prevail, recalling an Edenic land- River water cools underfloor pipes. Its roofscape and scape “before-time” when our sense of self and the out- “biomass stove” conserve heat. Its impressive, naturedoors are closer together. Rosie Flanagan’s introduction spun technology even sanitises drainage into the marsh, to Evergreen Architecture, a compelling coffee table read archived through the mechanisms of a willow filter. Foliage cleft to the side of a San Francisco building and on sustainable architecture, invokes the palatial Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Contrary to the book’s scope, the the rainwater reflecting pool of a Georgian townhouse marvels of ecologically friendly homes are, however, of in London, whilst mesmerising, is urban cosmetics: superficial greening rather true, sustainable transformation. a more modest, and distinctly green, garden variety. Evergreen Architecture is, for the most part, an estate The book’s prototypes of indoor birches, carpets of moss, agent’s tour of luxury “green” properties from Miami and vertical forests – and, indeed, actual houses of trees Beach to Tokyo, although the featured architects – like the one-of-a-kind Bosco Verticale in Milan which ultimately envisage a common vision of public and truncates 323,000 square feet of forest into 22,000, are private spaces that are neither strictly in- nor outdoors. incredible feats of design. However, they all pose quesBiesbosch Museum Island, a hobbit-like structure with a tions of affordability, accessibility and scalability.
Words Jack Solloway
The Destination for Art and Culture
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DAVE HULL Dave Hull is a multiplane photographer. Upon gaining a BSc in Film and Television Production from Montana State University he embarked on an internship at Lucasfilm. Upon his return to Montana, Hull spent a number of years working on PC animated shorts, which led to the development of his multiplane photography. The work is a union of creative and technical challenges: images are made by building objects on layers of glass; using depth of field and sculpting of light, the photographic process can take up to 50 hours to produce an image. Hull sells exhibition-quality prints and also works with numerous organisations to give lectures and undertake commissions.
thedavehull.com I Instagram: @thedavehull
OWEN BROWN Minneapolis-based Owen Brown holds degrees from Yale College and the University of Chicago. He has participated in exhibitions throughout the USA and his work has been covered in numerous publications. The artist's paintings are known for their luminosity, colour range and ebullient geometries. He notes: “Outrage can guide my brush towards the figurative; at other times I am captured by the language and longing of abstraction. Regardless the treatment, art’s goal should be to awaken others, to uncover something new – something that we can then have within the shared range of our humanity.” Brown is represented by Grand Hand and Veronique Wantz.
owenbrownartist.com I Instagram: @owen_artist
LYDS GET UPZ
Agathe Bouton is a French artist based in Philadelphia. Her boundary-pushing printmaking and paper works feature a unique colour palette that appears in different halftones, shades and densities. Particular works draw upon urban architecture and structures – sometimes in detail, sometimes with a broader view – as shown in the Habitat & Urban Matter series. Bouton has exhibited widely and her works are held in numerous public and private collections.
Lydia Harris is a UK-based painter and designer whose art practice is imbued with an eco-conscious approach. Her Lyds Get Upz clothing line features items repurposed as a canvas for her paintings. The wearable artworks help to shine a light on pressing contemporary issues surrounding fast fashion and mass production. Harris notes: “I hope to encourage people to be more conscious of where their clothes come from and who made them.” Photography is by Hannah Furlong @hlfphotos.
agathebouton.com I Instagram: @agathebouton
Instagram & TikTok: @lydsgetupz
TSAI-LING TSENG Tsai-Ling Tseng is an award-winning Taiwanese artist with a studio practice between Taipei and Brooklyn. Her paintings are a fever dream of colour and curiosity. The compositions depict dripping forms, swelling bodies and compelling characters – teapots, rubbish bags and cars sit amongst underworlds and ethereal planes. These are paintings for those interested in the possibilities of the surreal and the innate emotion of colour. Tseng’s works have been exhibited internationally at galleries, exhibitions and art shows.
tsailingtseng.com I Instagram: @tsailingtseng
Rui Sha is an interdisciplinary artist with a focus on sculpture and new media. A background as a furniture designer in her native Beijing and an MFA from the School of Art Institute of Chicago have influenced her art practice. Video and nature soundscapes are combined with objects fabricated in natural materials to become carriers of emotional expressions.
For submission enquiries regarding the Artists’ Directory, contact Katherine Smira on firstname.lastname@example.org
Anastasiou Designs is a Cardiff-based atelier set up by Clio Anastasiou. A background in architecture and applied arts has driven her to explore new ways of using wood, through contemporary homeware products that are handmade and pay respect to natural forms. Anastasiou experiments with scale as well as a combination of wood and resin, to create material hybrids and preserve nature in time. anastasioudesigns.com
Antonia Thompson is an expressive landscape painter based in Brighton. She is influenced by weather extremes and memories of being immersed in nature – as expressed in works such as those depicting textural, volcanic sunsets and icy, metallic mountainscapes. In addition to exhibitions, her work can be seen in the Netflix series After Life as well as on album artwork for Sia. antoniathompson.com I IG: @antoniathom
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. brendonmarczan.com I Instagram: @brendonmarczan
London-based Cho, Hui-Chen has a Taiwanese background and ancestral lineages to Japan, China and the Netherlands; as such the intersections and enigmas of multiculturalism are central to her award-winning art practice. A multidisciplinary approach is used to observe and gather layers of symbolism through metaphorical interpretations of materials. Cho has exhibited work in Europe and Asia. chin.art I IG: @chohuichin
Cinzia Campolese is an award-winning Montréal-based artist. Her practice uses installations and experiences to question concepts of perception and awareness of space; working on different scales, she questions the ubiquity of certain visual elements that are part of our cultural genetics. Campolese has participated in numerous exhibitions and cultural events throughout Canada, Europe and Asia. cinziac.net I IG: @cinziacampolese
Eliska Kovacikova is a Slovakian visual artist based in Stockholm, who explores space analysis in drawing, printmaking, painting and installation. She uses analytical expression by aiming to unfold the definitions of "one" and "several" in philosophical and psychological contexts. The artworks focus on the differences between "space in the image" and "image as space." eliskakovacikova.com I Instagram: @eliska.from.kovacikov
Jeannie Driver is a UK-based artist focusing on themes of perception. Her multidisciplinary practice incorporates drawing, sculpture, installation and film. Driver's works transverse two and three-dimensional realms, where drawings on paper are reinterpreted as spatial installations. She created The Space Between for Dazzle & Disrupt, an exhibition at Quay Arts, Isle of Wight until 13 June. jeanniedriver.com I Instagram: @jeanniedriverartist
Kumi Oda is a Japanese moving image artist and designer; she holds an MA in Information Experience Design from the Royal College of Art. Her works depict the life of insects in contrast with architecture to tell stories of large-scale social and environmental issues. Each film is carefully crafted with dexterity, using aesthetics as a tool to engage the viewer with chosen themes. vimeo.com/kumioda
In his colourful works, Marius Seidlitz addresses the complexity and contradictions of the self, asking: what is beauty? Is there perfection? Using a combination of acrylic paint and spray paint, his compositions feature colour-intensive surfaces, dynamic lines and proportion to illustrate the versatility of imperfection. Seidlitz notes: "Human beings are always in a process of becoming." mseidlitz.com I IG: @marius.seidlitz
Michai Morin’s digital pieces play with the viewer’s perception of reality, offering a door to another dimension of the artist’s creation. Inspired by his study of optics, Morin’s work uses light, refraction, shape, material and contrast; the process entails printing UHD images on acrylic glass panels. He aptly describes the artworks as “digital abstract sculpture” given their supple, 3D appearance. m3fine.art I Instagram: @m3fineart
Ole Gahms Henriksen
Oenone Hammersley draws upon experience in theatre design to present an array of visual stimuli. Known for a distinctive use of colour and light, she uses a method incorporating hand painting with multiple paint pouring. The mixed media technique embraces collage as a means to create texture. Hammersley will exhibit her water paintings at the London Art Biennale, 30 June - 4 July. oenonehammersley.com I londonbiennale.co.uk
Ole Gahms Henriksen is a Danish painter and ceramacist based in Spain. Using oil pastel acrylic on canvas, he plays with light, repetition and layers, although it is colour that is of paramount importance in his latest series of large-scale works. By adhering to minimalism, the artist relies on colour to carry the painting, building numerous layers in the seemingly monochrome artworks. olegahms.eu
For submission enquiries regarding the Artists’ Directory, contact Katherine Smira on email@example.com
Renowned graphic artist and calligrapher Peter Horridge worked for a number of years to create well-known logos and illustrations. He has since moved into painting and limited-edition prints; the works are pure intuitive abstracts, colourist in approach and form. Horridge's work is held in private collections in the UK and USA as well as in the National Art Library at the V&A. horridge.com/shop | IG: @peterhorridgedesigns
Rebecca Jonas is a New York-based fine art photographer. She specialises in black and white compositions, focusing on the juxtaposition of various subjects – finding beauty in the broken and the remarkable within the ordinary. Jonas's Still Life and Nature image series integrate composition and artistry to build a thought-provoking narrative of the everyday. rebeccajonasphotography.com I IG: @rebeccajonasphotography
Japanese artist Ryuhei Matsuo lives and works in Sapporo. His paintings are an examination of the human condition – from portraiture to rooms filled with intriguing characters. These compositions consider the canvas a psychological space, whilst drawing reference to a wealth of artists, from expressionist painter Edvard Munch to conceptual portrait photographer Richard Tuschman. ryumatsuo91.wixsite.com/goodluck
Sherry Trainor is an American artist based in Zurich. Originally working in non-functional clay sculpture, she began to explore new avenues during lockdown. The resulting expressions are acrylic on canvas paintings – bold, abstract pieces full of reflection and movement, with inspiration drawn from nature to human emotion. Trainor hopes the viewer will reflect upon whatever they may see in the work. IG: @shape.shiftercreations
Takashi Seki is a Japanese artist based in Kamakura, where he works as a prop designer and tailor. Principles from portraiture are combined with anatomical drawing techniques to create clothing, costumes, illustrations and patterns. Seki's experimental approach embraces both traditional and contemporary elements to portray a thought-provoking impression. takashiseki.myportfolio.com I Instagram: @sekitakashi1989
Yuneya Nachmetdinova is originally from Kazakhstan and currently based in France. She specialises in fantasy illustrations featuring mystical creatures and fairies as well as contemporary fashion illustrations. Nachmetdinova's numerous adult colouring books, postcards and prints and are at the heart of her commercial art and design business. linktr.ee/JenoviyaArt I Instagram: @jenoviyafineart
Multidisciplinary artist Alex Ewerth holds degrees from Chelsea College of Arts and Central Saint Martins. Her practice includes painting, sculpture and installation; she is strongly influenced by different and unconventional materials. Ewerth has participated in numerous international exhibitions. Based in Hamburg, she is represented by Galerie Holthoff. alex-fine-arts.com Instagram: @alexandraewerth
Penzance-based Ben Reader is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice includes paintings, prints, books as well as the invention and design of board games. For the work shown here, Reader notes: "This is Dublin artist James Kirwan posing as Bacchus in a floral den, with his beard illuminated by a blue delphinium." benreaderart.com Instagram: @readerben
Devan Horton is an American oil painter based in Kentucky who draws attention to the effects of human consumption. Her latest series Penchant confronts the viewer's relationship with domestic refuse in an effort to persuade them of the notion that despite numerous sociopolitical and economic issues, the health of our planet is always of paramount importance. devanhorton.com Instagram: @hortondevan
Inspired by the seemingly infinite possibilities of the internet, Fabian Mosele imbues irony within animation, music and machine learning. Remix and parody are his tools to highlight the beauty and dangers of the digital age. This is aptly illustrated in his current work Smart You, an animated web series that examines the limitations of AI and algorithms. fabianmosele.com Instagram: @smart_you__
Feixue Mei is an artist and assistant professor at Northwest Missouri State University. Her work explores social media, cultural manipulation, language adaptation and identity formation. An active artist, Mei's interdisciplinary practice has been recognised by the Singapore Art Book Fair, the Indigo Design Awards, Graphis, Creative Quarterly, Creative Boom and Art & Education. feixuemei.info Instagram: @feixuefeixue
North Carolina-born, New Yorkbased multidisciplinary artist Hannah Witner holds a BFA from Parsons School of Design. Her prolific work spans from colourful, surrealist and psychological oil paintings to whimsical drawings and commercial design. The largely figurative pieces combine realism with essence, metafiction and comedy – reflecting individualism, transience and the human condition. artbyhannah.me IG: @hannahwitner
Kristín Couch is an Icelandic artist based in Stockholm. Fashion, animals, urbanity and classical references are key inspirations for her photography and digital art; colour, depth and texture are harnessed in an exploratory process resulting in unexpected images. Couch has exhibited widely, and she also undertakes assignments in fashion, food and interior design. kcfotos.se Instagram: @stinacc
Cologne-based photographer Lina Czerny examines contemporary feminist issues, using photography to provide a personal perspective. Her latest series Paradox of Womanhood harnesses analogue photography to celebrate the body in all its beauty and naturalness. Czerny notes that perhaps the subjects have freed themselves from the weight of judgements, glances and misplaced sentences. Instagram: @linamarie_____
For submission enquiries regarding the Artists’ Directory, contact Katherine Smira on firstname.lastname@example.org
Nou Fè Pati, Nou Se, Nou Anvi (We Belong, We be, We Long), 2020 from the series Seremoni Disparisyon (Ritual [Dis]Appearance) © Widline Cadet courtesy Royal Photographic Society from the exhibition IN PROGRESS: Laia Abril - Hoda Afshar - Widline Cadet - Adama Jalloh - Alba Zari until 24 October 2021.
Tracy Marshall-Grant Director, Bristol Photo Festival
“Sense of Place, the theme for the inaugural Bristol Photo Festival, was decided long before the first lockdown, but it resonated more and more as the programming developed throughout 2020. During this time, place became more significant to us – both as a society and as individuals. Our immediate habitat, companions, local community and the notion of security all took on more importance as our lives became closed down. We focused inwards. Some of our photographers have made work about the familiar. Others have journeyed geographically, or even through time, by re-interpreting archives to question long-held assumptions. It is the complexity of our relationships with location which can shape our understanding of the world and define us.” Bristol, UK, various locations, until 31 December. bristolphotofestival.org.