THE ART & CULTURE MAGAZINE
Issue 99 February / March 2021
LAYING THE FOUNDATIONS
UPDATING THE RECORDS
Mapping Auckland’s volcanic networks with light detection and ranging lasers
Creating a platform for women street photographers all around the world
Architects provide design solutions through locale-responsive projects
MoMA expands the art canon with groundbreaking Modernist images
UK £5.95 Europe €11.95 USA $15.49
Welcome Editor’s Note
On the Cover Evan Sheehan's photographs – which seem at once spontaneous and deeply choreographed – call upon eye-popping primary colours and dynamic environments. Sheehan's portraits are mechanisms for storytelling, inviting viewers into worlds of transformation, obscurity and intrigue (p. 58).
Cover Image: Evan Sheehan, Peek, 2017. Model: Caroline Woodford. Location: Los Angeles, CA. Courtesy of the artist.
Have you ever had a song stuck in your head for days, weeks, even months? Throughout this time period there have been a few that have stuck with me, In My Life by The Beatles, Sinnerman by Nina Simone and Take Me Home, Country Roads by John Denver. All of these songs must be 50+ years old, but they resonate with me, perhaps because they are all about memories, time and place. We’re coming up to one year living in a pandemic. The global experiences of Covid are near immeasurable. For those of us who have never had the virus, or those who have had it and recovered, there must be a moment of reflection to appreciate just how very lucky we are. To all the families grieving for lost loved ones: I can’t even begin to understand your pain. For all the people who have been affected by loss of work, or for businesses that have had to close down: I am so genuinely sorry. This life-changing virus has altered everything about the way we live and interact, think and engage. I am a glass-half-full kind of person; I guess I was born that way. I know that our lives will be marked by this forever, but when we come out the other side, we will be stronger and more resilient. This issue features the work of several pioneers, innovators and trailblazers. We speak with Gulnara Samoilova about Women Street Photographers, a new book published by Prestel. We start off by looking at the canon of street photographers and notice how women are missing from this list, or those only added posthumously. Samoilova is using social media to propagate a new narrative. We also look at Fotoclubismo: Brazilian Modernist Photography, 1946–1964, opening at MoMA in New York. It is the first major exhibition of its kind outside of Brazil, looking at São Paulo’s Foto-Cine Clube Bandeirante. Yet again, this show asks us to question the canon and really probe who is included and why. We are also fortunate to feature inspiring photographers exploring isolation, identity and the future. The Last Words go to Anna Dannemann about the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize. Cherie Federico
Art 14 News Coverage includes Lindy Lee at MCA Australia, Not Vital at Museum der Moderne Salzburg and a landmark show of Yayoi Kusama at Tate Modern.
20 10 to See A round-up of virtual and live exhibitions from V&A's Epic Iran to an online presentation of 100 lockdown images with National Portrait Gallery.
24 Concealed Topographies Chirag Jindal explores Auckland's subterranean volcanic networks using the latest innovations in light detection and ranging technology,
30 Under Moonlight Alexis Pichot draws on the dominance of nature. Ethereal images revel in stillness, with milkwhite rockfaces commanding viewer attention.
42 Playful Variations Laura Bonnefous experiments with visual codes, where the colour blue can be a varies source of abstraction, inspiration and calm simultaneously.
52 Building Communities The Beazley Designs of the Year shortlist includes architects using locale-responsive techniques to tackle key social and environmental issues.
58 Images with Intent Evan Sheehan has a background in video and design. He calls upon both these mediums in the planning and production of bold still images.
68 Laying the Foundations Gulnara Samoilova celebrates the work of women street photographers, moving from an Instagram account to a groundbreaking publication.
74 Evocative Storytelling Malick Kebe shows an established understanding of shape, colour and concept, shooting eyecatching portraits, using only an iPhone lens.
86 Visual Harmony Salva López's scintillating landscapes feature closely cropped structures, satisfying angles and large, open bodies of water stretching outwards.
96 Moments of Uneasiness Brooke DiDonato returns to Aesthetica with a new series that uncovers the subconscious in domestic spaces that are both familiar and unsettling.
110 Updating the Records MoMA expands the art canon, recognising the significant contributions of Modernist Brazilian photographers from the heart of São Paulo.
120 Gallery Reviews We visit a Sheila Hicks exhibition at MAK Vienna, Mary Ellen Mark at NMWA, Washington DC, and Mark Ruwedel at Large Glass Gallery, London.
124 Freedom of Movement A love story between an African immigrant and a French waitress set in Brexit-torn Britain, The Drifters arrives when polarisation is at its peak.
126 Identity and Togetherness Urban Village has the impressive distinction of being the first South African band to sign with respected French label Nø Førmat!
128 Towards the Sun If there’s anything that remedy our current state of cabin fever, frustration and claustrophobia, it’s Stefi Orazi’s visually arresting Modernist Escapes.
140 Inside this Issue This edition's artists are using colour, light and texture in new ways – describing, expressing and exploring a rapidly changing world.
146 Anna Dannemann The Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize presents four artists whose wide-ranging projects cover both local and global stories.
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Lindy Lee, Listening to the Moon, 2018, installation view, Lindy Lee: Moon in a Dew Drop, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney, 2020, stainless steel, image courtesy the artist and Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney, © the artist, photograph: Anna Kučera.
In the Present Moment LINDY LEE: MOON IN A DEW DROP Daoism has existed for more than 2,000 years, as one of the two largest philosophical systems of China, associated with naturalistic or mystical religion. Traditionally, it deals with two areas: metaphysics and ethics. In its broadest sense, Daoist attitudes to life are ones of acceptance and joy. Meanwhile, Ch’an (Zen) Buddhism developed at the beginning of the sixth century CE. “Chan” transliterates as “meditation” – so the practice of this thought is loosely centred on awakening and consciousness, nullifying the roots of human suffering. Lindy Lee (b. 1954) calls upon both of these philosophies, exploring the connections between humanity, nature and the cosmos. To do this, she utilises a spectacular array of energetic and transformative processes in her practice. She flings molten bronze, burns paper and allows rain to transform surfaces. Beyond this dynamic, ephemeral engagement with mixed media, Lee is also known for investigating heritage, authenticity and identity. MCA Director Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE, notes: “Lindy’s articulation of living between two cultures [Australia and China] whilst feeling alienated from both is a familiar immigrant story which resonates with many Australians. Her inclusion of family albums, of flung ink and Buddhist images make very clear reference to her cultural background which many will recognise.” Macgregor is discussing Moon in a Dew Drop, which spans four decades of extraordinary work, named after a collec-
tion of writings by 13th century monk and Zen philosopher, Dōgen, who considered the moon as a representation of infinity, held inside a small phenomenon – a water droplet. Secret World of a Starlight Ember is an exhibition highlight. This oval stainless-steel sculpture, sitting outside the museum, includes over 1000 tiny holes, looking out over the harbour in Sydney. Macgregor expands: “The environment becomes reflected in the work during daytime, and at night, the installation gives off an otherworldly glow. Lindy is fascinated by the notion of time passing – the death of a star is an ember which takes thousands of years to reach us.” Lee is a prominent figure in the industry, searching into the human condition, and pulling at the threads of consciousness and re-connection. As such, Macgregor is confident that the show comes at an important moment in recent history – when panic, frustration and justice are prevalent: “Lindy is one of our most influential senior women artists. This exhibition is especially pertinent today in the context of the Black Lives Matter movement, the rise in racism against Chinese people, the impact of Covid-19 on personal connections, and the relationship between human beings and the universe. The show carries the viewer along on a journey with Lindy, from her fascination with the great European portrait and painters of the 16th and 17th centuries, to working with her Chinese heritage and an increasing interest in Zen Buddhism.”
“Lindy is one of our most influential senior women artists. This exhibition is especially pertinent today in the context of the Black Lives Matter movement, the rise in racism against Chinese people and the impact of Covid-19.”
Lindy Lee: Moon in a Dew Drop MCA Australia, Sydney Until 28 February mca.com.au
Through the Looking Glass YAYOI KUSAMA: INFINITY MIRROR ROOMS Tate’s contribution to the international Kusama tour includes two pieces – Chandelier of Grief and Infinity Mirrored Room - Filled with the Brilliance of Life. Both are encountered as darkened spaces where the only light emanates from the artwork itself. Though both pieces share this concept of illumination from within, they each have their own unique twists and styles: the former has a baroque aesthetic; the latter features a shallow pool of water that further exaggerates a sense of spatial disruption. These works are also presented with a selection of photographs by Harry Shunk and János Kender, who documented some of Kusama’s best-known activations in the United States in the mid-20th century, including a famous performance staged in New York in 1968. Whether the works should be enjoyed for their immense contributions to art history, or simply for the visual purposes of social media is perhaps, arbitrary. After an immensely difficult year – in which many people won’t have even considered setting foot in a gallery – Wan states that Tate is mostly looking forward to “just bringing a bit of joy to people! Hopefully we will also engage new visitors, for whom Kusama’s work might inspire a life-long love of art. We hope that circumstances will allow us to welcome visitors back to Tate Modern very soon to experience something that is uplifting, immersive and completely different to the monotony of the present situation. For Kusama, art is salve.”
“What is it about glittering symmetrical surfaces that so intrigue audiences? Are we looking for real moments of transcendence and self-reflection? Or are we purely looking to produce the perfect Instagram post?”
Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirror Rooms Tate Modern, London Spring 2021, Dates TBC tate.org.uk
Yayoi Kusama, Chandelier of Grief 2016/2018, Tate. Presented by a private collector, New York 2019 © YAYOI KUSAMA.
Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929) needs little introduction, famed the world over for countless works starring hallucinogenic polka dots, or, as she calls them, “Infinity Nets.” Her auction record stands at $7.1 million, a figure achieved in 2014 for a 1960 painting. However, Kusama’s most known works are the more recent Infinity Rooms – large-scale enclosed environments where reflections come in layers upon layers. These hypnotic installations have generated several thousands of selfies, with viewers seeking to document themselves in exhibition spaces for all their aesthetic appeal. Kusama's shows have welcomed between 75,000 people (David Zwirner, 2017, 23-day installation) to 160,000 (Hirshhorn, 2017, 80-day installation). In fact, The Broad, Los Angeles, imposed a 30-second “selfie rule” at their show in 2018, in order to keep people moving through the space (and not cause damage whilst straining for the perfect picture). What is it about glittering symmetrical surfaces that so intrigue audiences? Are we looking for real moments of transcendence and self-reflection? Or are we purely looking to produce the perfect Instagram post? Katy Wan, Assistant Curator at Tate, offers another perspective: one rooted within the tenets of universality and accessibility: “Language barriers and cultural specificity are conquered through the abstract nature of these installations; Kusama creates an experience that can be enjoyed by people from all backgrounds.”
Grajau, Maranhão, September 14, 2018. A deforested area in the southern Maranhão State seen from the helicopter of IBAMA, Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources. From Amazônia, courtesy of Tommaso Protti.
Lungs of the Planet CARMIGNAC PHOTOJOURNALISM AWARD “Scientists say that the Amazon is reaching a crucial tipping indigenous reserve. The guard conducts thorough patrols of point. If deforestation and environmental destruction don’t the vast indigenous reserve each month, destroying loggers’ stop, the forest will begin a slow but unstoppable process of camps and seizing equipment whenever possible. “From this area I then moved onwards to the Altamira desertification with devastating effects on global scale. How do we invert this trend? Who are the drivers of this destruc- city, Pará state, to document the social and environmention? More than anything else, the Amazon’s cruellest con- tal impacts caused by the construction of the Belo Monte tradiction is that its vast natural wealth is enjoyed by so few Hydroelectric Dam, which flooded 400km2 of forest and of its inhabitants who, in the main, are desperately poor. All displaced hundreds of Ribeirinhos – Amazon River People – that make me think that, to a certain extent, we cannot really who were relocated along the banks of Xingu River. The last preserve nature without fighting poverty and inequality.” trip was in August 2019. I came back to Rondônia where ilFrom January to July 2019, Italian photojournalist Tom- legal fires were destroying a number of protected reserves.” maso Protti (b. 1986) travelled thousands of miles across the The resulting images will be on display at Saatchi Gallery, Brazilian Amazon for the 10th Carmignac Photojournalism London, this spring (once this most recent lockdown lifts). Award. From the eastern region of Maranhão to the western These striking monochrome pictures demonstrate the power region of Rondônia and through the states of Pará and Ama- of journalistic investigation to broaden public consciousness. zonas, Protti began shooting modern-day life, where social They are also presented in a momentous year as, this Noand humanitarian crises overlap with the ongoing destruc- vember, the UK hosts the 2021 UN climate summit. Protti hopes that, through this exhibition, viewers will learn tion of the rainforest – the lungs of the planet. Protti explains where the journey began: “In December more about how murder, crime, corruption and poverty con2018, I first visited the south of Pará state, a region where tribute to the destruction of the world’s last great tropical land ownership is extremely concentrated and landless forest as we look ahead to new climate policy. “The aesthetpeasant movements fight for agrarian reform. In January ics and style of the photographs are purely personal, but the 2019, I then travelled to Maranhão – the most deforested issues shown follow important research. The project is based state in the Amazon. Here, I met with the Guajajara forest on documentation; I place myself as a mere observer and a guard and I accompanied them inside the Araribóia witness for one of the biggest stories of our time.
“The Amazon's cruellest contradiction is that its vast natural wealth is enjoyed by so few of its inhabitants. All of that made me think that we cannot preserve nature without fighting poverty and inequality.”
Carmignac Photojournalism Award Saatchi Gallery, London Spring 2021, Dates TBC saatchigallery.com
Photography as Enquiry OUT OF THE SHADOWS
Shi Guorui, The Yangtze River 7-8 May 2013, 2013, camera obscura gelatin silver print, unique. Collection of Fondation INK, Geneva. Promised gift to Los Angeles County Museum of Art. © Shi Guorui.
“Out of the Shadows: Contemporary Chinese Photography Yang expresses enthusiasm toward the dragon as a tradition- “It's an unprecedented takes visitors on a journey through the eyes of contempo- al symbol, as well as sorrow for its changing connotations time for artists rary Chinese practitioners, stretching their understanding of in the modern world. He notes: “In ancient times, dragons working in China. photography as an art form. By continuing to push bounda- would represent literati spirits and integrity. However, in These practitioners ries with new technologies, these individuals are redefining modern day China, they are generalised as prosperity and have almost unlimited good fortune. These changes are indicated in Nine Dragons, access to the outside expressions that remain both Chinese and global.” Tiffany Wai-Ying Beres is an Asian contemporary art spe- which moves from a utopia into a post-civilisation landscape world, yet continue Similarly, Yang Fudong’s (b. 1971) single-channel film, to innovate in a way cialist and historian. She has worked as a curator with institutions such as the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, the Liu Lan (2003) investigates the dissolution of tradition, fea- that resonates with Hong Kong University Museum and Art Gallery, the Pagoda turing an unlikely love affair between a man from the city their own cultures.” Paris in France, and the Today Art Museum in Beijing. For and a woman from the country. Meanwhile, Hong Lei’s (b. the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego, she brings 1960) Memory of Pomegranate (2005) is a stark still image together nine photographers working across the last three with yellow fruits suspended on threads. The piece quesdecades – names who question traditional aesthetics, local tions pomegranates as symbols of integrity, endurance and beauty, translating them into a clinical still life. Wang and global histories, and the possibilities of the still image. The featured artwork, The Yangtze River 7-8 May 2013, Ningde’s (b. 1972) Form of Light series is an investigation seen below, is a camera obscura gelatin silver print shot by into the essence of the photographic process, building on Shi Guorui (b. 1964). Shi is known for sweeping cityscapes Plato’s Allegory of the Cave; Polarized Cloud No. 3 (2014) is and natural vistas rendered through striking negatives. He a composite sculptural image made from film transparencies. What these artists share is innovation – an unflinching Out of the Shadows spends hours framing each shot in makeshift, on-site darkrooms, a meditative process stemming from the survival of enquiry into a new age of urbanisation and supposed “pro- Museum of Photographic a car crash and wanting to “take a long time for everything” gress.” As Wai-Ying Beres concludes: “It’s an unprecedented Arts, San Diego time for artists working in China. These practitioners have Until 28 March – uniting the body and mind with a slower mode of working. Other key works include a VR film from Yang Yongliang (b. almost unlimited access to the outside world, yet continue 1980), an immersive journey with a flight of Chinese dragons. to innovate in a way that resonates with their own cultures.” mopa.org
Rachel Kneebone, 399 Days, 2012-13, (detail). Courtesy European Collection. Photo © Stephen White, courtesy White Cube.
Movement and Resistance RACHEL KNEEBONE: 399 DAYS Rachel Kneebone’s (b. 1973) monumental sculpture, 399 Days, is aptly named. It references the time it took the London-based artist to complete. It is her most ambitious work to date. The piece reaches a dizzying scale: towering at over five metres high and comprising 63 individual panels. A mass of body parts and vines emerges from a structure reminiscent of Trajan’s Column in the centre of Rome. Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP), Wakefield, is the latest location to showcase the piece, within the 18th century chapel. In recent years, Kneebone's creations have been shown across the world, with solo presentations opening at London’s V&A and the Brooklyn Museum in New York. YSP highlights Kneebone’s interest in the body and life cycles: legs, flowers, orbs and organic forms multiply and cascade from solid blocks. Clay, and its more refined form of porcelain, have been used for thousands of years to make objects for the home and public displays. Kneebone uses porcelain primarily, crafting each object by hand. She does not employ assistants, instead opting to practise alone. This unique process yields complex and delicate creations, but it can be unpredictable. “I am quite reassured when a work explodes because I think that means I am pushing the boundaries of the material,” she explains. “My work moves around metamorphosis, change and simultaneous states, so nothing about it is fixed.” Other pieces include the 2017 sculpture, Roll, which dem-
onstrates ideas of transformation and growth; movement and resistance. White ribbons appear to escape from a porcelain tomb – coiling, bending and intertwining with one another. Roll’s position in YSP is intentional, as the gallery describes: “It resonates with the chapel as a place that historically marked key life events from the cradle to the grave.” Kneebone agrees, labelling it as a space that connects to her projects “from the wooden panels of the interior which echo a panelled structure, to the bucolic exterior and landscape, which accentuate the organic forms.” For this exhibition, she has made new sculptures, where motifs such as tendrils, folds and spheres are fluidly interwoven – producing a plant-like structure which protrudes outwards from the wall. Visitors can also explore a series of drawings. Ovid in Exile (2016) refers to the famous Roman poet Ovid, who was banished from Rome in 8 CE, for reasons that have become shrouded in mystery. Kneebone was drawn to the episode as an insight into the human condition – a recurring theme. Her sketches demonstrate the intrinsic relationship between works on paper and sculpture. A connection is clear: bent legs – rendered in light pencil – extend outwards in a circle. 399 Days is a key addition to YSP’s 2021 programme, spotlighting women creatives. This year includes pieces by Joana Vasconcelos, plus a group show, Breaking the Mould: Sculpture by Women since 1945 from the Arts Council Collection.
“For this exhibition, Kneebone has made new sculptures, where motifs such as tendrils, folds and spheres are fluidly interwoven – producing a plant-like structure which protrudes from the wall.”
399 Days Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield Opens 1 May ysp.org.uk
A Nomadic Practice NOT VITAL
300 Kamelköpfe aus Moskau wurden am 3.3.2005 an die Wand der Kunsthalle Bielefeld geworfen, 2005. Plaster, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist © Not Vital, photo: Eric Gregory Powell.
Not Vital (b. 1948) is driven by exploration, having turn grey … I became accustomed to these nuances in grey “Above all, Not established a number of studios across the globe, working and white and not so much colour. Even now, my favourite Vital is interested for months at a time between Rio de Janeiro, Beijing and Sent. material is plaster, not only because of the colour, but also in craftsmanship. He picks up on He has since been described as an “artist-nomad”– shifting because it dries quickly. You have to work fast.” There is an archaic iconography running through the what exists around between locations, collaborating with local craftspeople and presentation. Outside the museum, viewers discover a large him – fascinated by drawing inspiration from a variety of cultures and traditions. Museum der Moderne Salzburg launches the artist’s first stainless-steel head sitting in the landscape. It’s a mosaic of unusual materials solo exhibition in Austria, titled IR. It takes its name from Not pieces that have broken and stuck together again. Inside is a and techniques – Vital’s native Romansch language, in which ir means to go. “It pile of smashed-up sculptures, stacked against the wall in a creating with artisans speaks to a defining principle of Not Vital’s creative practice,” pyramid. Fragments appear like ruins of ancient civilisations. around the world.” Above all, Not Vital is interested in craftsmanship. He says the gallery. “It is energised by the perpetual tension between departure (leaving) and return (homecoming).” Indeed, “picks up on what exists around him” – fascinated by unusual the artist remains closely connected to his place of origin, materials and techniques – creating with artisans around the world. His partners are wide-reaching, from steel-chasers in Graubünden, Switzerland, to which he regularly returns. This sprawling presentation features 21 sculptures, three Beijing to glass blowers in Murano and silversmiths in Tuareg. expansive installations and over 140 drawings. What’s dis- “I believe that using all these different materials may also have tinctive is the clarity of the pieces, which are known for bright something to do with using different languages,” the artist whites, polished chromes and sharp lines. Plaster, steel, notes, reflecting on his interest in communication and travel. marble and ceramic are the tools of choice here. In one room, “My mother language, Romansch, is only spoken by 36,000 a slimline table and chairs gleam silver. In another room, a people, and there are five different dialects … You grow up in Not Vital a place where, if you go 20 minutes one way, they speak one Museum der smooth, pristine egg sits atop an angular wooden structure. Not Vital links a sparse palette back to memories from language; if you go 18 minutes the other way, they speak Moderne, Salzburg childhood. “If you grow up in surroundings which have snow another… I only communicate in my mother tongue maybe a Until 13 June for six months of the year, your eyes are naturally sensitive tenth of the time.” IR is the culmination of these experiences, to white,” he reflects. “When the snow melts, the mountains presenting minimalism at its most surreal and intriguing. museumdermoderne.at
10 to See RECOMMENDED EXHIBITIONS THIS SEASON
This range of shows spans both narrative and documentary projects tapping into the human condition and the changing climate, as well as history and heritage. Please check all websites for the most up to date information on closures, openings, dates, bookings and times.
Yossi Milo | Online
yossimilo.viewingrooms.com Shikeith (b. 1989) is an interdisciplinary artist and filmmaker who investigates the expansive definitions of race and masculinity. Ceremonies – referencing Essex Hemphill’s 1992 LGBT poetry collection of the same name – is available to viewers through Yossi Milo’s online viewing rooms this spring. This provocative exhibition comprises a series of portraits demonstrating a range of emotions: ecstasy, contemplation, desire, longing and fear. Shikeith explores ritual, reinvention and ancestral healing whilst examining visualisations of black masculinity.
Endurance and the Great White Silence
Atlas Gallery, London | Until 1 April
atlasgallery.com At the beginning of the 20th century, a number of expeditions were launched to explore the South Pole. The most dangerous of these missions was the Terra Nova – led by Captain Scott and accompanied by photographer Herbert Ponting. The last entry in Scott's diary was on 29 March 1912. Atlas Galley presents a brand-new series of platinum-palladium prints, showcasing images that were found with Scott’s body on 12 November 1912. Broken ice, crystal formations and mirror reflections are rendered in stunning monochrome.
Quinn: A Journey Oriel Colwyn, Colwyn Bay | Until 10 April
orielcolwyn.org Aesthetica Art Prize longlisted artist Lottie Davies (b. 1971) recreates the fictional journey of William Henry Quinn – a character deeply affected by the events of WWII. Moving across lush British countryside, muddied footpaths and desolate waterways, Quinn: A Journey asks whether redemption can be found when hope is lost. The large, multimedia project combines nine moving images, 18 large format photographs and an amalgamation of text and ephemera, placed in a linear sequence. Themes of grief and loneliness are central.
Edgar Martins Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry | Until 18 April
theherbert.org For four years, Edgar Martins (b. 1977) visited the inmates of HM Prison in Birmingham – the largest Category B prison in the Midlands – and their families, as well as a myriad of local organisations and individuals in order to explore the tenets of loss, conflict and confinement. He notes: “My work counters the sort of imagery usually associated with incarceration. I went to great lengths to avoid images whose sole purpose, in my opinion, is to confirm the opinions within dominant ideology about crime and punishment. Instead, I look at loss.”
Why Should I Hesitate: Putting Drawings to Work Deichtor Hallen, Hamburg | Until 18 April
deichtorhallen.de World politics are part of William Kentridge’s (b. 1955) expansive biography as a leading visual artist, opera director and animator, having grown up with parents who actively fought apartheid in South Africa. His works draw upon the sociocultural effects of post-colonialism, refuge and segregation, always beginning with drawing as the principle medium. Why Should I Hesitate is a selection from a vast archive of 1,500 prints. Kentridge notes: “There are surprises in the early drawings, to see the urge towards process and disjointed narrative.”
Half and the Whole
V&A, London | Opens 13 February
vam.ac.uk V&A has organised Epic Iran alongside the Iran Heritage Foundation, and in association with The Sarikhani Collection. This show is the first of its kind in 90 years, examining 5,000 years of Iranian art, with over 350 objects from ancient culture to the present-day. Highlights include Shirin Neshat’s two-screen video installation Turbulent – featuring a male singer performing in front of an all-male audience and a female singer performing to an empty auditorium – and Shirin Aliabadi’s striking photograph of a woman blowing up bubblegum.
Jack Shainman Gallery, New York | Until 20 February
jackshainman.com "I saw that the camera could be a weapon against poverty, racism, all sorts of social wrongs.” Gordon Parks (1912-2006) was a humanitarian with a commitment to social justice. Born into poverty and segregation in Fort Scott, Kansas, Parks was drawn to photography as a young man. He is now recognised as a visionary artist who continues to influence American culture to this day, especially in the context of the Black Lives Matter movement. Jack Shainman celebrates his legacy, making visible the triumphs and struggles of African American life.
Self Flowers Gallery, Hong Kong | Until 27 February
flowersgallery.com Shen Wei (b. 1977) produces rich self-portraits and landscapes, examining identity, memory and sexuality through high contrast palettes. Self draws upon tradition and Wei’s personal process of self-discovery. One of the featured series is Broken Sleeve, in which Wei takes on the roles of iconic Chinese characters from popular culture. The Between Blossoms series includes an interplay of darkness and light representative of fear, attraction, joy, loneliness and absence, seen most clearly in Peach Tree – where rich pink flowers emerge from a void.
Hold Still National Portrait Gallery | Online
npg.org.uk There are over 19 million images that can be found with the hashtag #covid_19 on Instagram (at time of publication). There are over 16 million with #lockdown. How has our experience of the pandemic been shaped by images? By the dissemination of data? How has 21st century culture meant that we internalise our understanding of the global crisis? National Portrait Gallery, London, presents a collective portrait of the UK during lockdown as part of Hold Still – an ambitious online project with 100 images taken from 31,000 submissions.
Intermediaries Pace Gallery, London | Until 6 March
pacegallery.com “I tend to think of scale like modernist painting; an infinite field of activity is only delimited by the frame. However, in my case, the frame is the architectural particulars. I adapt the volume of material and scale of each project for a given space.” Tara Donovan (b. 1969) produces large-scale installations, sculptures, drawings and prints, exploring the transformative effects of accumulation and mass-production. Her latest show plays with the “white cube” space at Pace; pieces like Stacked Grid (shown here) refract light and distort the surrounding space.
1. Shikeith (American, b. 1989), The Adoration (never knew love like this before), 2020, from the series Ceremonies. Archival Inkjet Print on Canson Infinity Plantine. 36" x 30" (91.5 x 76 cm). Edition of 5 + 2 Artist’s Proofs. © Shikeith, Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York. 2. HERBERT G. PONTING, Beautiful, broken ice, reflections and Terra Nova, January 7th 1911. © The Scott Polar Research Institute/ Courtesy Atlas Gallery. 3. Lottie Davies, Untitled (Snowdon, Wales) from Quinn (2014-2020) © Lottie Davies. 4. What Photography And Incarceration Have In Common With An Empty Vase © Edgar Martins. 5. William Kentridge, Why Should I Hesitate: Putting Drawings to Work. Installation view, Notes Towards a Model Opera, 2015 (3-Chanal-Video projection, 11:22 Min.). Photo: Henning Rogge © Deichtorhallen Hamburg. 6. Shirin Aliabadi, Miss Hybrid #3, 2008. Photograph © Estate of Shirin Aliabadi. 7. Untitled, Chicago, Illinois, 1957. Copyright The Gordon Parks Foundation. Courtesy The Gordon Parks Foundation and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. 8. Shen Wei, Plum Tree, 2014, Chromogenic print (c) Shen Wei, courtesy of Flowers Gallery. 9. Lockdown Wedding, Donna Duke Llande. 10. Tara Donovan, Stacked Grid, 2020, plastic, 9’ x 9’ x 13’ (274.3 cm x 274.3 cm x 396.2 cm). © Tara Donovan, courtesy Pace Gallery.
Concealed Topographies Chirag Jindal AUCKLAND SITS ON AN ACTIVE VOLCANIC FIELD; ANCIENT NETWORKS HAVE BEEN FORMED BY LAVA. JINDAL'S IMAGES EXAMINE THESE HIDDEN LANDSCAPES AND CAVES.
LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) or 3D laser scanning, church in downtown Auckland. The School of Architecture was conceived in the 1960s for high-resolution topography had just acquired an old LiDAR scanner from the Department mapping. The involves firing pulses of laser light at a sur- of Anthropology, and wanted to test out a new approach to face, some at up to two million pulses per second. A sensor document the city’s heritage. I remember being captivated measures the amount of time it takes for each pulse to echo by the process, seeing the rooms – walls, floors, ornaments, back, creating a virtual “point” accurate to less than 1mm. By paintings, textures – digitised in detail into RGB and XYZ repeating this process in quick succession, the instrument points. Through the lens of the scanner, the world was rebuilds up a “point cloud” – a precise, digital replica of reality. duced to Cartesian coordinates, visualised in a three-dimenChirag Jindal (b. 1993) is an artist and surveyor working at sional space. It offered novel readings of space; to look back the intersection of documentary journalism, new media art from impossible angles, through walls and surfaces, and flatand contemporary cartography. Jindal began exploring the ten entire spaces into a single collapsed image. When the role of terrestrial LiDAR as an emerging medium for pho- project was completed, I had some free reign to experiment tographic documentation, after graduating with a Master’s further – mapping objects, buildings and landscapes that I Degree in Architecture in 2016. Into the Underworld / Ngā found interesting. Back then, the instruments weighed over Mahi Rarowhenua, employs this technique to document 15kg and needed a main power source, so it was laborious to hidden lava caves under the city of Auckland. The caves set up and (funnily) limited by the longest extension cord I are unique to the volcanic region and are considered wāhi could afford. There weren't many resources to train from, so tapu (sacred) to local Māori groups. Jindal's practice focuses there were a few long days and nights researching and selfon humanity's relationship to marginalised landscapes, ex- learning. That was almost six years ago, and the technology ploring heritage, narrative and collective memory through has already come a long way since those early experiences. mapping and archiving. This ongoing series has won multiple awards, including the 2020 Royal Photographic Society A: What are the practical uses of this equipment, and how Under 30s Award and the Bialystok Interphoto Grand Prix. have these changed over the years? Jindal was also longlisted for the Aesthetica Art Prize in 2020. CJ: One of the first recorded uses was in 1971 during the Apollo 17 mission, where LiDAR was used to map the surA: How did you come across LiDAR technology, and face of the moon. Since then, its development really has been driven by the need to quantify space and represent it when did you begin learning how to use it? CJ: In our final thesis year, there was a call for students to get digitally, beginning with large-scale topographical mapping involved in a summer project to “scan” a historic neo-gothic from the air, to detailed land and building surveys from the
Chirag Jindal, no.02 Ngātiawa Street, 3500mm x 1220mm (crop). 2018.
“The artistic merit of this medium lies in a wide possibilities of questions and answers. Point clouds are inherently realistic, and yet otherworldly. They are at once geometrically exact, but also vaporous.”
Previous Page: Chirag Jindal, no.01 Shackleton Road, 6500mm x 1220mm (crop). 2018. Left: Chirag Jindal, no.07 Anā Kōiwi (Cave of Bones), 2500mm x 1500mm (crop). 2018.
ground. Whilst the medium has become almost ubiquitous in many forms (aerial, mobile, solid-state), the most common form today is terrestrial (ground-based) LiDAR – a technique now applied in documenting archaeological ruins, criminal forensics, computer vision, film location mapping, heritage and site analysis. Many of these applications have only emerged over the past decade. Beyond measuring space, LiDAR is increasingly taking on a documentary role in new applications; an empirical approach to index reality, to archive it and revisit it in posterity. In the near future, I wouldn’t be surprised if everyone had powerful scanners in our pockets. The latest iPads already feature basic sensors, used to measure space for AR/MR apps. Eventually, LiDAR may be the way most machines “sense” the world; we're seeing this in autonomous vehicles. A: When did you start to think of LiDAR as a potential artistic process – something immersive and conceptual as opposed to purely technological or solution-based? CJ: Part of this was realising that LiDAR could be an investigative technique. On the one hand it furnished evidence of something – to index it. Analogous to the early era of photography, it still has the innocence of an unfalsifiable medium, providing certainty of the subject with a scientific underpinning. Each of the millions of points in a single image is a kind of spatial fact – a scientific certitude. However, there is also a second moment of creation. In the real world there's the recording of the subject using LiDAR, translating it into digital data – a process that feels empirical, scientific and linear. The other is in the virtual world, looking back at the resulting point cloud. This process is
more rigorous and artistic, akin to a photographer framing the subject. The data can be viewed from any angle, at any distance, at any focal length, at any crop. What can the data reveal that wasn't previously visible? What is the right visual approach for this issue? What is shown and not shown? From what angle is it best represented? Is it best described through moving images, orthographic sections, fabricated models, virtual reality, or web-based experiences? If it is a particular section, where does the section line lie? A: How do these questions inform your vision? CJ: For me, the artistic merit of this medium lies in a wide possibility of questions and answers. Point clouds are inherently realistic, and yet otherworldly. They are at once geometrically exact, but also vaporous, at the overlap of reality and fiction. One of the first artistic explorations of this was in the music video for Radiohead's House of Cards, which layered kinetic scans of Thom Yorke against falsecolour backdrops of wide, urban point clouds. The video is a contradiction really, because on the one hand you are looking at a distorted representation of reality but underpinning this is scientific data. You're made to question the nature of the subject, all the while coming to terms with the reality of it. It's the uncanny, but made to be accepted. A: What did you want to uncover in Into the Underworld? CJ: Into the Underworld / Ngā Mahi Rarowhenua began with me posing the following provocations: how do you make the invisible visible? How do you foster stewardship for a landscape that can't be seen, or publicly accessed? Can we archive the landscape for posterity? How do we learn
Chirag Jindal, no.09 Landscape Road, 3500mm x 1220mm (crop). 2018.
A: How important is the aesthetic? How do you feel that the ghost-like outlines are representative of a heritage that’s being lost to urban development? CJ: Auckland is in the middle of a housing crisis. It has been for the last decade or so, and the result of this is large swaths of land converted from farmland and wilderness to repetitive, homogenised tract housing. The city is built A: This particular series investigates an ancient network amongst 53 unique volcanic cones, and yet half of these of caves beneath suburban streets. What is it about this have been quarried away. We are surrounded by heritage and identity, and yet we still end up with these cookie-cutsubterranean landscape that sparked your interest? CJ: Auckland sits on top of an active volcanic field. So, ter streets. In my work, the caves take precedence, magnifythese sites aren't at all like limestone caves – they were ing the detail and textures of ancient, fossilised lava flows. formed by the region’s ancient lava flows. This is one of This is in subtle contrast to the surface – distant and temthe few places in the world where they exist. When inside, porary. The landscape below is tens of thousands of years it's powerful to witness the fossilised flows along the walls, old, whilst the built environment above has an expiry. In floors and roof where the lava cooled into rock. Despite this, reality, many of these old brick and tile dwellings will soon the caves are not at all common knowledge and exist out- be replaced by two or three-storey townhouses. It’s likely side the public realm. Auckland is a young city, and over that, when this happens, the caves may become totally dethe past two centuries of urban sprawl there hasn't been stroyed or inaccessible. The tree at the backyard of Shackany legal framework protecting the sites. So, the majority leton Road has already been removed – the site was subof these caves have become polluted or filled with road divided not long after the scan was done, and the entrance and construction debris. Their relationship to the urban to the cave has been sealed. I ask: how do we want to relate environment is extraordinary, stretching underneath sub- to these sites in the future? What is Auckland’s vernacular? urban homes, tree-lined streets, local parks, gas stations and private schools, thresholded by manholes, backyard A: How will the series develop moving forward? grottoes and street front garages. They lie underneath the CJ: The project has gained attention. Recently, I've received legal boundaries of private property, limiting entry to tres- enough funding to document a further 10 sites in 2021. passers and spurring vague understandings of ownership Through the legitimacy built over the past five years, we’ve and kaitiaki (stewardship). Any new discoveries continue to also been invited to work more closely with local iwi groups, be filled by developers without any policing, and at this including sites that are tapu and require formal protocol. rate most caves will likely be lost by the end of the century. The project will likely be ongoing for several more years. about the location of the sites? How do you gain the trust of landowners, local Māori, council and the wider community? Finally, if the issues warrant didacticism, to what extent does it lean on a museological approach? Given much of the landscape’s history is unpublished, is it possible to do this without assuming authority over the geography?
Right: Chirag Jindal, no.12 The Uncanny, 1500mm x 1500mm (crop). 2018.
Words Kate Simpson
RPS International Photography Exhibition Touring throughout 2021 rps.org instagram.com/ _chiragchirag
Under Moonlight Alexis Pichot
The moon has been a consistent source of wonder for humanity. As our only permanent satellite, it always shows the same face due to its synchronous rotation with Earth – the same craters greeting us in the night sky. Alexis Pichot (b. 1980) re-establishes viewers with a sense of wonder and curiosity, tapping into the supremacy of the organic world and its astrological cycles. The Séléné series makes reference to Greek mythology, specifically Selene (derived from “selas” meaning “bright”), who was a goddess of the full moon, celebrated with each lunar cycle. These images are hypnotic, with sharp edges, iridescent valleys, vertiginous cliffs and rippling bodies of sand cast under pearly skies. The ethereal locations transport viewers to a world seemingly adjacent to our own: both familiar and foreign. Spectral images revel in a sense of stillness, with milk-white rockfaces commanding viewer attention. alexispichot.com.
Alexis Pichot, from the series Séléné.
Alexis Pichot, from the series Séléné.
Alexis Pichot, from the series Séléné.
Alexis Pichot, from the series Séléné.
Alexis Pichot, from the series Séléné.
Alexis Pichot, from the series Séléné.
Playful Variations Laura Bonnefous
Blue was first used as a pigment for decorative arts around 2,200 BC by the Egyptians, who harnessed the semi-precious stone, Lapis Lazuli, to produce a calcium copper silicate. Blue has since had a rich history in art, culture and design across the world, from Picasso’s “blue period” to Yves Klein’s “International Klein Blue” and beyond. In 2020, Pantone named “Classic Blue” as its Colour of the Year, a shade “evocative of the vast and infinite evening sky, opening a world of possibilities.” Parisian photographer Laura Bonnefous experiments with unique visual codes, where colour can be a source of abstraction, inspiration and calm simultaneously. Rolled paint, spilt ink, socks and curtains are manifestations of play, allure and experimentation. Bonnefous has won numerous awards, including being listed in Artpil’s 30 Women Photographers under 30 in 2015, alongside the likes of Magnum photographer Diana Markosian. laurabonnefous.com.
The Blue Epic. Photographer: Laura Bonnefous. Collaboration: Air Brigitte & Hugo Matha. Stylist: Fernando Damasceno. Make up: Laura Merle. Retouch: Processus. Model: Hawa Magassa. Assistant: Maud Lecompte.
The Blue Epic. Photographer: Laura Bonnefous. Collaboration: Air Brigitte & Hugo Matha. Stylist: Fernando Damasceno. Hair: Nina Olivet. Make up: Laura Merle. Retouch: Processus. Model: Hawa Magassa. Assistant: Maud Lecompte.
The Blue Epic. Photographer: Laura Bonnefous. Collaboration: Air Brigitte & Hugo Matha. Stylist: Fernando Damasceno. Hair: Nina Olivet. Make up: Laura Merle. Retouch: Processus. Model: Gabrielle. Assistant: Maud Lecompte.
The Blue Epic. Photographer: Laura Bonnefous. Collaboration: Air Brigitte & Hugo Matha. Stylist: Fernando Damasceno. Hair: Nina Olivet. Make up: Laura Merle. Retouch: Processus. Models: Hawa Magassa & Bruno Tyzio. Assistant: Maud Lecompte.
Sand Flower. Photographer: Laura Bonnefous. Stylist: Stephanie Brissay. Hair: Nina Olivet. Make up: Laura Merle. Retouch: Processus. Model: Andy Andenok. Assistant: Maud Lecompte & Clara Girbal.
Project Blue Ink. Photographer: Laura Bonnefous. Collaboration: Stylist France. Hair: Nina Olivet. Make up: Mademoiselle Mu. Retouch: OphĂŠlie Bertrand / Granon Digital. Model: Camille. Assistant: Lisa Raio.
The Blue Epic. Photographer: Laura Bonnefous. Collaboration: Air Brigitte & Hugo Matha. Stylist: Fernando Damasceno. Hair: Nina Olivet. Make up: Laura Merle. Retouch: Processus. Model: Kevin Legolan. Assistant: Maud Lecompte.
Sand Flower. Photographer: Laura Bonnefous. Stylist: Stephanie Brissay. Hair: Nina Olivet. Make up: Laura Merle. Retouch: Processus. Model: Andy Andenok. Assistant: Maud Lecompte & Clara Girbal.
Failles. Photographer: Laura Bonnefous. Retouch: OphĂŠlie Bertrand.
Building Communities Beazley Designs of the Year GROUNDBREAKING PROJECTS SHOW HOW ARCHITECTS ARE TURNING TO LOCALERESPONSIVE METHODS TO DEAL WITH THE MAJOR SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES.
L’Arbre Blanc (The White Tree) has the playful quality of a – each year the guest curatorial team asks luminaries from child’s toy or scale model, in spite of its size and sleek white multiple disciplines to put forward the most innovative finish: not so much visually as conceptually. After all, the projects – “but we just thought, let’s end it around the close idea of a giant, inhabitable tree crammed with doorways, of January, and leave the whole Covid situation for another windows and balconies – increasing in size as they stretch day.” This said, the now-famous 3D illustration of the virus, upwards – seems like one from a fairytale rather than the created by Alissa Eckert and Dan Higgins for the US Centers world of contemporary architecture. Visually, the tower is for Disease Control and Prevention, is included amongst the perhaps more suggestive of a coppiced trunk than a tree, entries, and in the Architecture section is the extraordinary with its block-like shape and dense, cross-hatched patterns Leishenshan Hospital in China, built in 12 days by a team of formed from the intersecting lines of windows and balconies, 10,000 construction workers in order to house Covid patients. These were amongst a small number of projects selected in like new growth from a stump that's been pruned back. Created by the firm of Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto, the order to offer a “full stop” on the curatorial narrative. The Leishenshan Hospital, of course, represents a crisis17-storey tower block looms over the Montpellier cityscape in southern France like a giant, sylvan guardian – its form era project. However, in a sense, it also expresses that same inspired by the area’s hot climate and greenery, encouraging attentiveness to local need which is the hallmark of much residents out onto its huge, canopied limbs to socialise in the forward-thinking design. The other two Chinese entries in the sunlight. L’Arbre Blanc is responsive to place in visual and Award’s Architecture section bring the ambition and scale of cultural terms. In this year’s Beazley Design of the Year, at- Leishenshan to projects enmeshed with nearby geologies tention to locale encompasses a wide range of themes, from and environments, as well as wider visual cultures. The UCCA Dune Art Museum, nestling in a sand dune on the the constraints and possibilities of community labour and construction techniques to the reuse of materials and spaces, coast of northern China, was designed by Open Architecture to the design of buildings for wholesale dismantling and re- not only to blend in with the encompassing dunes but to protect them from encroaching real estate developers and construction in response to unstable conditions. Emily King, curator of the 13th edition of the awards, is their bulldozers. Inside, the subterranean structure comprises a trained design historian. This gives her a remarkably a series of dazzling caverns – curvaceous and organic – like panoramic view, making her acutely aware of the need the cave dwellings of hunter-gatherer communities but to bracket off a new phase of design history focused on realised on a grand scale, naturally lit from above by circular the immense challenges posed by Covid. “Most years the skylights. The use of cave walls as humanity’s first canvases Beazley nomination process doesn’t have a strict deadline” gives the gallery spaces a neat metaphorical potency: “it’s
UCCA Dune Art Museum by OPEN Architecture. Image credit: Wu Qingshan.
“Reacting to crises like accommodation shortages and global warming is primarily the responsibility of politicians, but these designs show how creative disciplines can lead the way in protecting the most vulnerable.”
Previous Page: L’Arbre Blanc by Sou Fujimoto Architects, Nicolas Laisné, Dimitri Roussel and OXO Architectes. Left: Housing No. 8 (Laboratorio de Vivienda) by MOS Architects. Photo credit: Jaime Navarro.
really stunning,” King says, “and shows a whole new way of thinking about the idea of a museum and its place in nature.” The Lin’an History Museum, built west of Hangzhou in eastern China, pays more direct and site-specific homage to its surrounding culture, recreating in architectural form the idealised depictions of buildings and landscapes found in regional painting, particularly in the work of the Song era artist Li Tang (ca. 1050-1130). The result is a meandering cluster of low-roofed buildings following the natural contours of the surrounding hills, intersected by paths and set on the edge of a large reservoir, festooned with vegetation. “It’s a really incredibly way of rethinking how to tell stories with objects in a particular space,” King notes. Amateur Architecture Studio, who designed the museum, has created similar projects across the country, such as the Fuyang Cultural Complex, inspired by the paintings of a 14th century Yuan Dynasty artist. In other cases, attention to artistic history and environment means repurposing structures with a site-specific value. The z33 House for Contemporary Art, Design and Architecture, created by Francesca Torzo, uses a group of buildings in Hasselt, Belgium, that previously housed the city’s “beguinage,” a type of communal home for religious laywomen once common in the low countries. The extensions to the site are oriented away from the surrounding streets, opening onto a monastic courtyard, playing on the sanctum-like ambience. Another focal point for this year’s shortlist is the use of local workers' skills. By her own confession, King’s favourite is the ModSkool, conceived by India’s Social Design Collaborative as an educational space for the children of itinerant farming communities in New Delhi. The ModSkool serves a population in perpetual migratory flux, due to flooding
and land ownership issues in the Yamuna River Valley it has historically inhabited. A previous schoolhouse had been destroyed by Delhi Development Authority, so the new design had to allow for the school to be physically dismantled and reassembled in a range of different locations. First assembled by students, school staff, parents and local volunteers in less than three weeks during 2017, the ModSkool blueprint consists of a metal framework that can be easily unbolted, surrounded by replaceable panels of bamboo, dried grass and recycled wood. After the school was dismantled two years later following legal disputes, it was redesigned, at which point a new feature was introduced. Wall panels and pivoted doors were created using weaving techniques employed to make charpoys, multifunctional items of homemade furniture mostly used as daybeds. Turning to artisanal techniques used by local farming families not only made the ModSkool project affordable and less resource-intensive, but also instilled a sense of pride and ownership in a community neglected by the regional political establishment. Perhaps most crucially, the school shows how architecture might use site-specific approaches to respond to crisis. “It’s showing a way around a bad political situation,” King notes, “by allowing a community some degree of self-determination.” Given that flooding and migration are already becoming worldwide issues, the ModSkool approach, with its modular design, might provide a blueprint for civic and public structures. Other projects included in this year’s Beazley shortlist certainly suggest the increasing importance of modular and place-responsive approaches. Housing No. 8, in the Mexican City of Apan, comprises a group of 32 experimental housing
UCCA Dune Art Museum by OPEN Architecture. Image credit: Wu Qingshan.
units. Created under the curatorship of MOS Architects, the created by pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong to slow site offers ground-breaking solutions for low-income inhab- down Chinese police vehicles, known locally as “mini-Stoneitants. All the projects in the extraordinary nine-acre setting henges.” When the arch is struck by a wheel, the top, horizonallow for structural extension by their residents. Each loca- tal brick falls way, leaving the remaining, upright bricks that supported it as a kind of buttress, trapping the wheel of the tion also responds to one of Mexico’s nine climatic zones. Housing poverty, similar to rising sea and river levels, is encroaching vehicle. “We decided to put them in the transan international problem, not confined to the Americas or port category, in that they promoted immobility,” says King, any other location – and there is undoubtedly more of this with a mischievous twinkle, “but we could have put them in to come. Another entry in the awards, Goldsmith Street in architecture, in that they’re structures with a purpose.” The same could be said of the winning entry, Teeter-Totter Norwic city centre, is a social housing development that takes inspiration from a path of terraced housing nearby Wall, installed in the US-Mexico border fence by architecture known as “the golden triangle.” Architects Mikhail Riches studio Rael San Fratello during July 2019. A set of three neon and Cathy Hawley adapted many of the classic motifs of 19th pink see-saws, these structures – also placed in the transport century British vernacular urban architecture – back alleys, section of the awards – respond to a site infused with trauma warm brickwork, individual front doors – to a Dutch-style and the spirit of political bigotry with a subversive gesture design incorporating pastel shades, stylish balconies and of joy and play. These are structures that, like Leishenshan wide streets, which also achieves Passive House standards for Hospital, respond to the needs of a local community in crisis energy efficiency. “In terms of the way it was built, the people using the available nearby materials and labour. Ultimately, it’s the idea of “structure with purpose” that it was built for, the whole funding model, the environmental underpins locale-responsive architecture. And on the basis standards, we just need more building like that,” King says. Reacting to crises like accommodation shortages and of inspiring projects like those in Hong Kong and at the US global warming is primarily the responsibility of politicians border, there’s no reason why this type of thinking can’t form and regulators rather than architects and designers. However, the basis of a much wider range of activities, including grassdesigns like ModSkool, Housing No. 8 and Goldsmith Street roots activism, rather than just professional architecture. show how creative disciplines can lead the way in protecting “From my point of view, design is everything,” King offers in the most vulnerable communities from the vicissitudes of summary: “it’s form put in the world an objective, so it doesn’t political repression and corruption, as well as ecological and have to be a building or object. It can be information, or a economic crisis. And it’s an intense sensitivity to local need, set of dance steps; it can even be a protocol or set of beculture and environment that ensures these projects’ success. haviours.” Design can be activism, protest, play, education. In Across Beazley’s other award categories we find projects short, “design can be the basis of how we deal with many of that speak to these same aims, such as the “brick arches” the urgent issues we have to face as a global culture.”
Right: L’Arbre Blanc by Sou Fujimoto Architects, Nicolas Laisné, Dimitri Roussel and OXO Architectes.
Words Greg Thomas
Beazley Designs of the Year Design Museum, London Until 28 March designmuseum.org
Images with Intent Evan Sheehan
Evan Sheehan has a background in video and design – skills and experience deftly called upon in the planning and production of bold still images. These photographs – which seem at once spontaneous and deeply choreographed – call upon eye-popping primary colours and dynamic environments. Here, portraits are mechanisms for storytelling, inviting viewers into worlds of transformation, obscurity and intrigue. Beyond this, Sheehan achieves visual balance and coherence through centring his subjects in subtle and satisfying ways. A model pulls an asymmetric jumper over his head whilst standing directly in a dipped grass bank. Frosted glass splices an anonymous figure straight down the middle. A yellow stripe cuts diagonally across a concrete frame, a shadow casting a perpendicular line backwards. These are images made, truly, by design. Sheehan has worked with the likes of Apple, Nike and Veuve Clicquot, and has been featured with VSCO and Vogue. evantsheehan.com.
Evan Sheehan, Braids, 2017. Model: Christina John. Location: Chicago, IL.
Evan Sheehan, Legs, 2018. Location: Chicago, IL.
Evan Sheehan, Hands, 2017. Location: Chicago, IL.
Evan Sheehan, Dreaming Of , 2020. Collaboration with Alex Wallbaum. Location: Chicago, IL.
Evan Sheehan, Ghost Boys, 2019. Models: Alex Wallbaum & Cody Guilfoyle. Location: New York.
Evan Sheehan, Stomp Stomp, 2017. Model: Caroline Woodford. Location: Los Angeles, CA.
Evan Sheehan, Kenzie, 2016. Model: Mckenzie Hanson. Location: Chicago, IL.
Evan Sheehan, Peek, 2017. Model: Caroline Woodford. Location: Los Angeles, CA.
Evan Sheehan, Alex, 2018. Model: Alex Wallbaum. Location: New Buffalo, MI.
Laying the Foundations Women Street Photographers GULNARA SAMOILOVA IS DETERMINED TO SPOTLIGHT WOMEN PHOTOGRAPHERS, FROM INSTAGRAM TO THE GALLERY, AND NOW, WITH A GROUNDBREAKING PUBLICATION.
Think of a great street photographer: who springs to mind? Henri Cartier-Bresson and the “decisive moment”, catching a man mid-air as he jumps over a puddle in Paris? Maybe Joel Meyerowitz and his shot of camel-coated passers-by, caught in shafts of sunshine and steam? Garry Winogrand or Bruce Gilden and their depictions of New York? Martin Parr shooting on the beach in Brighton, Brassaï capturing Paris at night in the 1930s or Daidō Moriyama and his raw vision of Tokyo in the 1960s and 1970s? All big names but so far none of them women – even though, as award-winning photographer, curator and wildly-popular Instagram account holder Gulnara Samoilova puts it, “There were, of course, more women street photographers than history admits to.” Some of these lesser-known practitioners are picked out in the introduction to Samoilova’s new book, Women Street Photographers, via a brief history written by Melissa Breyer – also a street photographer whose work has been featured in the likes of National Geographic. Breyer foregrounds the little-known Alice Austin, for example, who was born in New York in 1866 and who took upwards of 7000 images in Staten Island at the turn of the 20th century. Then there’s artists such as Jessie Tarbox Beals, who was born in 1870 in Hamilton, Canada and, after being hired by the Buffalo Enquirer in 1902, became America’s first female news photographer. Breyer also gives a brief overview of other women who documented people on the street and became much better known overall – Berenice Abbott, for example, Helen Levitt, or Diane Arbus, all of whom are part of the established canon and have been for a long time. Then there are the likes
of Vivian Maier, widely celebrated only posthumously, and whose story tantalisingly suggests other great, undiscovered female practitioners. Incidentally, but not surprisingly, Maier is about to have a huge show at the Musée du Luxembourg in Paris. Her work has previously been shown around the world at institutions such as FOAM Amsterdam, Somerset House, London, and the Hasselblad Foundation in Gothenburg. However, Maier was completely unknown in her lifetime, working in Chicago as a nanny in the second half of the 20th century. Pursuing photography for her own satisfaction, she quietly amassed an archive of over 100,000 negatives, which wasn’t discovered until 2007 at an auction house. Breyer makes clear that there are many reasons why fewer women are known for street photography, none of which are to do with actual images. She describes writer George Sand illegally donning trousers without a permit to walk freely around Paris, laying bare the social pressures that bound socalled “respectable women.” However, Samoilova chooses not to dwell on the many negatives. Instead, she celebrates the wealth of contemporary female practitioners currently working on the street – both to inspire others to pick up cameras, and to create a resource for curators and editors. Samoilova has brought together 100 image-makers, from those who are known within curatorial and editorial circles, such as Rebecca Norris Webb and Dimpy Bhalotia, to those who are working in obscurity, such as Nastaran Farjadpezeshk, an electrical engineer based in Mashhad, Iran, who creates images in her spare time. The book also includes many different styles and approaches, from richly coloured
Julia Coddington, Red Shoes, Sydney, Australia, 2018 © Julia Coddington.
“Scrolling through hundreds of feeds and accounts, Samoilova would find lots of men and, once in a blue moon, find a woman. Coming across these names, she'd save the images, and eventually began to ask herself: why not start to post them?”
Previous Page: Betty Goh, The Maze, Singapore, 2018 © Betty Goh (detail). Left: Selnur Okudan, Light Hair, Antalya, Turkey, 2018 © Selnur Okudan.
images by Karolina Trapp, to delicate black-and-white shots by Olga Karlovac. Samoilova features images produced through highly technical kit, as well as those shot on iPhone and other smartphone cameras, purely for Instagram. This groundbreaking publication has clearly been a labour of love; Women Street Photographers has roots in Samoilova’s personal interests and experiences. Born in Ufa, an industrial town in what was then the USSR, she fell in love with photography after tagging along to a printing class with a friend and witnessing “the most magical thing” – the moment when images appear in the dark room. It was the 1980s and times were hard in Ufa, which only had one cinema, let alone a gallery, but Samoilova finished school and quickly found work in a lab, then went on to become a portrait photographer, then a photojournalist – working for a local paper. In 1992 she moved to New York, speaking no English. By the early 2000s, she had become a contributor at Associated Press and won a prestigious World Press Photo award for her coverage of 9/11. Samoilova was in bed five blocks away when the first plane hit but, hearing multiple sirens, realised something terrible must have happened. Turning on the TV, she saw the second plane hit and heard the accompanying explosion. Immediately understanding it was a terrorist attack, she grabbed a camera and headed to the scene. Whilst she was there, a policeman tried to push her away, asking how she could take photographs with so much going on. “I told him I had to document it; this was a momentous historical event,” she told the authors of Woman Journalists at Ground Zero. She has been shooting on the street ever since. Her path hasn’t been easy though. When Samoilova started practising in Ufa she didn’t know a single female practitioner;
coming across a similar dynamic in street photography, she was determined to seek out other women. She decided that there must be others, and that, once found, she’d offer them the opportunity of a group show – which happened in New York in 2018, featuring 75 names. Samoilova found many of the artists via social media. Scrolling through hundreds of feeds and accounts, she’d find lots of men and “once in a blue moon” a woman. Coming across these names, she hit save on the images, and eventually began to start asking herself the pivotal question: “Why not start to post them?” This was the genesis of @womenstreetphotographers. By March 2018, she was posting on the account every day and, at the time of writing, it has well over 100,000 followers. One of the charms of the feed, beyond the curation, is that Samoilova appears in posts and live interviews, as well as writing about the selection of certain images, demonstrating her credentials the nerve to set herself up as a resource. The associated group show in New York is now an annual fixture, fresh from its third outing (Covid notwithstanding); the exhibition has also travelled to Italy, Switzerland, Malaysia and Russia. After deciding to put together a catalogue, Samoilova started to research self-published photobooks when Prestel got in touch. Women Street Photographers is the result, but it’s definitely not a simple catalogue. Organised as a carefully constructed flow of images rather than alphabetically, it features one shot per individual, plus commentary on the inception, production and realisation of each piece. “It’s something I do with all the exhibitions too; I collect the background stories,” she explains. “I like to read why the photographer has taken the picture, why they love pictures and what they feel.” The result is a fascinating insight into the
Karolina Trapp, Squaring the Circle, Los Angeles, USA, 2017 © Karolina Trapp.
images, which also feels empowering because, not only has don’t pretend I’m not taking pictures, but I’m friendly,” she Samoilova given these women a platform to show their work, says. “In fact, what I love about this type of art is that it but she has also literally let them speak. Julia Coddington teaches you how to read people: to be aware and use your describes a day shooting in Sydney, in which she spotted intuition. It teaches patience and how to really look – you a pair of red shoes picked out by the light, chasing after don’t have to see someone’s face to know what’s going on. them over to Brooklyn. Linda Hacker took a totally different “All of those techniques and skills are useful in other areas approach, setting up at an interesting location and waiting of photography too,” she adds. “When I’m teaching people for someone to walk into view. Some works feel gritty, portraiture, I encourage individuals to go out into public documenting a particular time and place, but many others – spaces and gain experience there. You need to use body language – you can talk and smile with your eyes; you need including Hacker’s – have an ethereal, timeless quality. “[With] Betty [Goh] and Linda, I was so impressed that they to think about how you come across to people, whether could go to the streets and create an abstract atmosphere,” you’re nervous or relaxed, and the connotations of this.” It’s not surprising to hear, then, that she’s not fazed by says Samoilova. “I was blown away.” And, in seeking out this type of boundary pushing work, Samoilova is admirably the current pandemic, and the associated lockdowns and unsnobbish. She’s completely unfazed by practitioners who quarantines, though they have made it difficult to go out, make work with their phones and says emphatically that you or find passersby. She’s been making new work by painting don’t need to have training or expensive equipment to have on top of images, boasting a well-established art practice as talent. In fact, she says the growth in camera phones has well. There are always things you can do, she adds, whether helped more women take up the medium because they’re it’s creating collages or really getting to know your camera. “Maybe this is a great time to do something else. Danielle accessible and also discrete; they’ve helped “more and more to get brave”, she comments. Perhaps surprisingly, Goldstein took pictures from her balcony [during the first she doesn’t feel women face more barriers or risk than men lockdown]. If you can go outside, you can train your eye. You when shooting in the street, no matter which part of the world can practice. This is what I do, I stand in one corner and look at they’re based in – and her book is admirably international, the light. You can create abstracts. Anything! Creative people departing from Eurocentric traditions to include slices of life always find an outlet.” It’s a typically positive response, from an inspiring individual and artist – and maybe proof that shot in many different countries and cultures. Samoilova has also personally photographed many in life, as well as in street photography, you can get good different landscapes and locations and says she can only results if you both go with the flow and seize the day. “From my own experience, when you put your mind to remember encountering one angry response. To her, it’s all a question of how you present yourself. “I always approach something and really want it, you can achieve it,” she says. people with a smile and with my camera next to my face – I “When you have a passion, nothing can stop you.”
Right: Linda Hacker, This Way Out, Brooklyn, New York, USA, 2019 © Linda Hacker .
Words Diane Smyth
Women Street Photographers is published by Prestel prestel.com
Evocative Storytelling Malick Kebe
Abidjan is a city on the Côte d’Ivoire in West Africa. It is the fourth most populated city on the continent, with approximately 4.7 million inhabitants, and one of the largest French-speaking locations in Africa. Abidjan is a cultural crossroads, characterised by a high level of urbanisation and industrialisation. Malick Kebe (@from_abidjan) is just one of the city’s rising talents. Kebe has a strong understanding of shape, colour and concept, producing evocative storytelling through minimal subjects and limited production. “Even if I had the means, I would still shoot on iPhone. It pushes me to go further than with a pro camera. I want to show people that it’s not enough to have a great device, but it is enough to have a creative eye.” Photoshop, Lightroom, VSCO and Snapseed are the only other tools used to build “a universe that mixes modernity and African origins.” Apple and Forbes Africa are amongst the industry leaders to support Kebe’s work. fromabidjan.com.
Malick Kebe, Movement (serie 003). Courtesy of the artist.
Malick Kebe, Movement (serie 002). Courtesy of the artist.
Malick Kebe, The Red Light. Courtesy of the artist.
Malick Kebe, Blinded. Courtesy of the artist.
Malick Kebe, Orange is Trendy. Courtesy of the artist.
Malick Kebe, 60s Hair. Courtesy of the artist.
Malick Kebe, Atypical. Courtesy of the artist.
Malick Kebe, Black Don't Crack. Courtesy of the artist.
Malick Kebe, Passion of Water. Courtesy of the artist.
Malick Kebe, Aghien 1. Courtesy of the artist.
Malick Kebe, Dreams. Courtesy of the artist.
Visual Harmony Salva López
Barcelona-based Salva López loves architecture. His images provide a personal take on recognisable buildings, looking for what he defines as “global visual harmony.” These scintillating landscapes feature closely cropped structures, satisfying angles and large, open bodies of water stretching outwards towards the horizon. López plays with abstraction, drawing our eyes to where shadows cut across concrete – where light creates a jigsaw of lines and forms. The results are almost mathematical, with a keen eye for symmetry, perspective and geometric tessellation. Bold oranges, blues, greens and pinks entice the viewer into an everyday dialogue between pipes, chairs, walls, roofing and windows. A selection of Lopez’s images is also published in Ricardo Bofill: Visions of Architecture (Gestalten, 2019) which draws upon the poetic spaces, surreal structures and dramatic visions of the renowned Spanish architect. salvalopez.com | gestalten.com.
Salva López, Ricardo Bofill – Vision of Architecture, Gestalten 2019.
Salva López, Ricardo Bofill – Vision of Architecture, Gestalten 2019.
Salva López, Ricardo Bofill – Vision of Architecture, Gestalten 2019.
Salva López, Ricardo Bofill – Vision of Architecture, Gestalten 2019.
Salva López, Ricardo Bofill – Vision of Architecture, Gestalten 2019.
Salva López, Ricardo Bofill – Vision of Architecture, Gestalten 2019.
Salva López, Ricardo Bofill – Vision of Architecture, Gestalten 2019.
Salva López, Ricardo Bofill – Vision of Architecture, Gestalten 2019.
Salva López, Ricardo Bofill – Vision of Architecture, Gestalten 2019.
Moments of Uneasiness Brooke DiDonato
The first uses of the word “canny” appear in the 1600s in Irish English and Scottish to describe individuals who are knowing, wise, or wary. By the 1800s, the word took on a new definition in northern England as an intensifier, meaning “very” or “considerably.” By 1906, “uncanny” was first used by German psychiatrist Ernst Jentsch in On the Psychology of the Uncanny. The word was referred to in its native German as “unheimlich” (unhomely) pertaining to concepts outside of our understanding or beyond our wider awareness. In 1919, the term was adopted by Sigmund Freud to describe concepts that are both familiar and alien simultaneously. “Unhomely” began to refer to something deep within us – unknown, hidden or repressed emotions. Brooke DiDonato’s work sits within a contemporary reading of The Uncanny in photography: images which are at once unsettling and alluring, set within familiar domestic locations. brookedidonato.com.
Brooke DiDonato, Untitled, 2018. Courtesy of the artist.
Brooke DiDonato, Wake Up Call, 2020. Courtesy of the artist.
Brooke DiDonato, Everything but the Kitchen Sink, 2020. Courtesy of the artist.
Brooke DiDonato, The Weight of a Heavy Mind, 2019. Courtesy of the artist.
Brooke DiDonato, Half and Half, 2016. Courtesy of the artist.
Brooke DiDonato, Untitled, 2018. Courtesy of the artist.
Brooke DiDonato, Act Two, 2020. Courtesy of the artist.
Updating the Records Brazilian Modernist Photography MOMA DISMANTLES THE NARRATIVE OF PHOTOGRAPHIC HISTORY, FOCUSING ON AN UNDERSTUDIED CHAPTER FROM THE HEART OF SÃO PAULO IN THE MID-20TH CENTURY.
Fotoclubismo: Brazilian Modernist Photography, 1946–1964 is the first major museum exhibition of its kind taking place outside of Brazil. On view at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, from 21 March, the show focuses on the unforgettable creative achievements of São Paulo’s Foto-Cine Clube Bandeirante: a group of amateur photographers widely heralded in Brazil, but essentially unknown to European and North American audiences. Sarah Meister, Photography Curator, expands on the exhibition’s key themes and the controversial history of this pioneering collective. A: The Foto-Cine Club Bandeirante was established in São Paulo in 1939. How did the group come together? SM: The founding of the Foto-Cine Clube Bandeirante (FCCB) is a tale rehearsed regularly in the pages of the Boletim, the club’s monthly magazine. A typical account would describe “a small group of idealists” gathering at a photographic materials store in downtown São Paulo. They chose their name because bandeirante “was the name given to the men of São Paulo who explored the backlands of Brazil; for these new Paulistas would be the new bandeirantes [exploring] art photography across Brazil.” Today we recognise how problematic it is to speak in such glowing terms about a group of “standard-bearers” (the literal translation of bandeirante) whose adventurous spirit resulted in the enslavement of Indigenous people, the overwhelming expansion of territory under colonial control and the exploitation of natural resources. Yet the standard FCCB narrative overlooked this reality, aligning their pioneering efforts with these historical figures.
A: Who were the key figures leading the group and how would new members find and approach the collective? SM: Eduardo Salvatore was president of the FCCB from 1943 until 1990. Salvatore’s formidable leadership qualities arguably eclipsed his artistic talent, but he championed important work amongst peers. He fostered an environment in which competition and criticism encouraged innovation, and he made sure that these achievements were celebrated in Brazil and globally. The club’s reputation – encouraged through annual international salons, the Boletim and considerable attention in the local and international press – made it easy for anyone serious about photography to find one another. A: What were the key aesthetic or formal qualities heralded by the group? How did the club respond to the history of the medium and envision its future? SM: In 1951 Salvatore proudly declared: “At FCCB, we are never satisfied with the work we do and always want more; it is progress we are after: new themes, subjects, forms of expression. In fact, we are witnessing a clash between two mindsets: old ‘pictorial’ photography (so called because it imitates static, lifeless, academic painting) and a new, more photographic, more vigorous mentality, replete with life and humanity, bold angles and plays of light, and enjoying the photographic process along with all the characteristics that make it unique and distinctive.” This perspective was not quite as ubiquitous as Salvatore perhaps made it seem, although the 140 photographs in this exhibition (and accompanying book) convincingly capture this sense of spirit and passion.
Julio Agostinelli. Circus (Circense). 1951. Gelatin silver print, 11 7/16 × 15 in. (29 × 38.1 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Acquired through the generosity of Richard O. Rieger. © 2020 Estate of Julio Agostinelli.
“1964 marked the beginning of a brutal military dictatorship that would last more than two decades. By that time, the innovation and creativity associated with amateur photo clubs was already on the wane.”
Previous Page: Thomaz Farkas. Ministry of Education (Ministério da Educação) [Rio de Janeiro]. c. 1945. Gelatin silver print, 12 13/16 × 11 3/4 in. (32.6 × 29.9 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of the artist. Left: Maria Helena Valente da Cruz. The Broken Glass (O vidro partido). c. 1952. Gelatin silver print, 11 7/8 × 11 1/2 in. (30.2 × 29.2 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Acquired through the generosity of Donna Redel. © 2020 Estate of Maria Helena Valente da Cruz.
A: These individuals began working at the beginning of WWII; what were the socio-political contexts of Brazil at this moment? How did this feed into the group’s ideas, and bookend the period presented at MoMA? SM: The dates that bracket the temporal scope of the exhibition correspond to artistic, political and practical realities in Brazil: 1946 was the year the FCCB first published its Boletim; it was also the year in which a new constitution was adopted and democracy restored, following Gétulio Vargas’ repressive Estado Novo regime. On the other end, 1964 marked the beginning of a brutal military dictatorship that would last more than two decades. By that time, the innovation and creativity associated with amateur photo clubs around the world was already on the wane, and the censorship and repression ushered in by the dictatorship marked the end of an extraordinarily fertile era for photography in Brazil. A: When was the FCCB's most creative period? SM: In October 1951 the Boletim references a “new school of art photography,” the beginning of a wildly creative period. By 1955 the term Escola Paulista (Paulista School) appears to have been broadly adopted. In a review of a solo exhibition by Marcel Giró, the Boletim reported: “Giró is undoubtedly one of the leading representatives of this type of photography, which has stood out for its bold angles and compositions, its play of lines, light and shadow.” Although the Escola Paulista is not, by definition, synonymous with the FCCB, there is a perfect overlap between individuals associated with the group and the movement. Alas, almost as soon as FCCB had achieved fame, quotas, import duties and other economic challenges began to take their toll.
A: Who were the photographers most influenced by? Do they cite certain movements or media? How important did the FCCB find artwork made as a cultural response? SM: The group was keenly attuned to artistic developments across various media and borders. The FCCB's work was displayed prominently in the second São Paulo Art Biennial (1953-1954), and they would regularly invite leading practitioners and critical thinkers – from Waldemar Cordeiro and María Freire to Mário Pedrosa and Walter Zanini – to speak at the club’s headquarters as well as commission, translate and reprint articles from a wide variety of newspapers and magazines, both domestic and international. The cities of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and (beginning in 1960) Brasília were filled with buildings by notable architects that were their own source of creative inspiration. Their work resonates convincingly with contemporary achievements in the USA, France, Germany and elsewhere, although I would argue that these were parallel achievements, not influences. A: When did the collective begin to gain recognition, validating modern Brazilian photography in the eyes of many curators, institutions and countries? SM: As early as 1946, the FCCB was invited to join the Photographic Society of America (PSA), rightly taking it as a signal of their arrival on the international scene. In May 1950 they were one of two non-European groups invited to become founding members of FIAP (Fédération Internationale de l’Art Photographique). Photographs by members of the FCCB were awarded prizes in amateur salons across six continents. Despite this widespread recognition at the time, their achievements were all but forgotten outside of Brazil, that is, until now.
André Carneiro. Rails (Trilhos). 1951. Gelatin silver print, 11 5/8 × 15 9/16 in. (29.6 × 39.6 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Acquired through the generosity of José Olympio da Veiga Pereira through the Latin American and Caribbean Fund. © 2020 Estate of André Carneiro.
A: Why do you think these figures have been forgotten or left out of the artistic canon? What critical issues does this raise in terms of representation and recognition in the art world, in the 20th century and beyond? SM: Perhaps the two greatest biases that affected – and apparently continue to affect – the reception of the work were the twin beliefs held, consciously or not, by the cognoscenti of cultural capitals across western Europe and the USA. The first of these ideas was that art produced in the “peripheral” zones of the globe was necessarily derivative or else hopelessly out of step with the aesthetic discourse of the day. Second was the notion that the amateur, whether in Paris or New York or in “peripheral” cities such as Lagos or São Paulo, was likewise condemned at best to produce convincing simulacra of the advanced art of their time or at worst to traffic in the shopworn, whether clumsily or with uncommon technical finesse. The peripheral and amateur, no matter how accomplished, carried the inescapable musk of the second-rate. A: This is the first FCCB show outside of Brazil; how does it fit within MoMA's programming and curatorial plans? SM: From its privileged position in New York, The Museum of Modern Art has long dominated the ways in which the history of modernism is told, a story that has over time been distilled into a neat progression. This narrative is, however, at odds with any close reading of the historical record, and MoMA is now committed to dismantling this widely accepted documentation. This show is an opportunity to highlight extraordinary achievements, and also to reflect on the structural and aesthetic hierarchies that have contributed to their absence from histories of modernism outside of Brazil.
A: How have you brought to light FCCB's key principles? SM: Both the book and the exhibition present the work of six photographers in depth – Gertrudes Altschul, Geraldo de Barros, Thomaz Farkas, Marcel Giró, German Lorca and José Yalenti – offering audiences an opportunity to appreciate a wide spectrum of achievements. However, to experience the full scope of the club’s vibrant heyday, it is essential to share examples of equally compelling work by dozens of other members who toiled in the same darkroom and submitted their prints to the same salons. The images are organised in groups according to the club’s concursos internos (internal contests), but also with focused presentations of individuals.
Right: Roberto Yoshida. Skyscrapers (Arranhacéus). 1959. Gelatin silver print, 14 9/16 × 11 9/16 in. (37 × 29.3 cm). Collection Fernanda Feitosa and Heitor Martins. © 2020 Estate of Roberto Yoshida.
A: The FCCB is just one artistic group classed as “amateur” despite pushing multiple boundaries. Photography is now widely accessible; individuals across the globe can shoot and publish work without professional or academic training. How are the goalposts shifting? SM: The widespread compulsion to articulate and defend what it is that makes a “good” photograph is itself an under-studied thread that connects the artists of the New York- Words based Photo-Secession (who sought to distinguish their work Kate Simpson from the hordes of professionals and Kodak-wielding amateurs at the turn of the 20th century) to the postwar photoclub circuit, and it is close to the heart of MoMA’s history Fotoclubismo: Brazilian and evolving attempts to define what is worthy of being con- Modernist Photography, sidered and recognised as “modern art.” The near-complete 1946–1964 exclusion of these figures to date, in light of their irrefutable MoMA, New York, appeal, should also be understood as a critique of this in- 21 March - 19 June stitution’s – and my own – vexed efforts to make sense of the marvellously sprawling, unruly medium of photography. moma.org
collaboration with La Prairie
Suspended Moments The luxury Swiss skincare brand continues its commitment to the arts world with a collaboration between Nobuhiro Nakanishi and Max Richter, at Art Basel Miami OVR.
“Our audacious spirit – a willingness to break the codes of luxury, to follow untrodden paths that surprise as much as they inspire – is the very same audacious spirit as that of the artist," notes Greg Prodromides, Global Chief Marketing Officer at La Prairie. Beyond skincare, the brand has been inextricably linked to the art world from its inception in 1931 in Montreux, Switzerland. La Prairie explores the union of art and science through artistic collaborations presented at international fairs, including Art Basel as well as West Bund Art & Design. They continue to work with visionary creatives from across the globe, from Swiss-Guinean photographer Namsa Leuba and Spanish installation artist Pablo Valbuena to French designer Paul Coudamy and even pioneers from the Bauhaus school. For Art Basel’s OVR Miami Beach (Virtual edition, 2-6 December 2020), La Prairie commissioned Japanese artist Nobuhiro Nakanishi and British composer Max Richter to explore the realm of timelessness, eternity and dreams. For Eternal Circle, Nakanishi employed a centuries-old Eastern approach to handdrawing that consists of countless vertical lines drawn free-hand by the artist. The resulting piece comprises a 60-piece row of individual stripe drawings. When aligned, the individual pieces total an astounding 24 metres, one for every hour of the day. Installed in an endless loop, they create an eternal image end-to-end – a flowing representation of past, present and future in which the last drawing of the sequence meets the first and blurs beginning and end into a single, eternal whole. The drawings have been incorporated into a film accompanied by Richter’s Platinum score, complementing the flowing loop of lines with an emotional, soaring rhythm. This collaboration builds on La Prairie’s commitment to connecting past and present, coming alongside the launch of their latest skincare product, the Platinum Rare HauteRejuvenation Protocol. This addition to the exclusive Platinum Rare Collection confirms La Prairie is as bold scientifically as they are artistically. We speak with Nakanishi Nobuhiro about the artwork, and how he interpreted the open brief. A: Your artwork moves between installation, sculpture, photography including "stripe drawings" of natural landscapes. How would you describe your practice? NN: For me, sculpture comprises the relationship between time and body. In nature, for example, the light dynamically changes in the sky with the morning and evening sun. I often climb up mountains to document and depict these changes, physically feeling the terrain. Nature isn’t a uniform and stable landscape, but a space to feel the flow of time through the body. For my practice, I transform nature and space into a continuous mass of time through photography, immersing the viewer away from the chaos of everyday life. I draw a lot of inspiration from the traditional Japanese architecture and gardens, spaces that allow for the human body and eyes to wander and move around. This thinking is rooted in the Japanese Buddhist, who believes the world is not external to the body, but the human is part of the layers that make up the world.
A: How important is it that you create multi-disciplinary work, which exists outside of a singular definition, mirroring ephemeral subject matter and phenomena? NN: Academic subjects – such as science and history – continue to develop. Art captures things that human beings have not yet systematically understood. Art makes it possible to instinctively grasp things that mankind cannot yet explain. My work is where emotions are heightened, going beyond tangible art. A: Why is it important that we, as viewers, consumers and individuals, slow down and take time to appreciate a singular moment and become rooted in the present? NN: For me, there is no boundary between a particular moment and eternity. In my work, one moment overlaps another. In many of my installations, I present images in a loop or circle, transitioning from one second to the next allowing the viewer to see the time flow. For me, time does not move at a constant, linear speed, but changes through the given individual and their line of sight. In the everyday, I see time through the clock face, but in my practice, I want to be freed from this concept of time. I create an imaginative experience linked to an extraordinary, looping universe.
A: La Prairie’s commission encapsulates the idea of the “Platinum Moment.” What does it mean to you and how did you begin to interpret the brief? NN: Platinum is a special and rare precious metal – a substance carved from the depths of the universe. When grappling with such a fragment, our imagination is stirred. We begin thinking about the formation of the world, from the origin of creation and beyond the dimensions of what we can physically see. A: You often visit landscapes primarily – taking photographs before translating these into artworks. How did you respond to the Swiss mountain formations? NN: Colours, light and clouds might seem far away, but when I stand on the summit, I feel connected within a continuous, borderless space. I think that landscape is a motif I can capture as a negative sculpture of the entire earth. The Swiss mountains impressed me immensely. They are completely different from the Japanese soil-rich land I am used to. Instead, I found rock mountains of hard minerals that have formed after an enormous amount of time. The range stood out sharply on the horizon, and the clouds surrounded them softly, shape-shifting. The huge accumulation of mountains offered an extreme contrast to the usual, fast-paced speed of time in the built-up world. The scenery wasn't just beautiful; I experienced the mystery of being human in our galaxy. Nature makes us feel part of something bigger. A: Tell us about Eternal Circle, the new work your created? NN: In my practice, I focus on two types of works: Layer Drawings and Stripe Drawings. The Stripe Drawings comprise numerous vertical freehand drawn lines by pencil on paper. The set of lines – drawn at intervals – adjoin without defining a solid figure. The lines cannot exist without the gaps, and the blank spaces cannot exist without the lines; they co-exist in perfect harmony like two sides of a coin. Eternal Circle is a film that includes 60 drawings and music, combining ancient traditions and craftsmanship with new technology, digitised into video. In the film, the first and last images are connected, drawing from ideas from Japanese picture scrolls. A: How did you start planning the collaboration with Max Richter? NN: This is the first time that I have collaborated with a composer. We made the work as a response to my experience in Switzerland and the notion of time inherent to the element of platinum. I was conscious of including soft, subtle transitions in the music and images, replicating what I remembered from the summit. The goal was for Richter's music to depict my experience – where contours, spatial distances and physical boundaries dissolve, leaving a sense of a faraway universe immune to physical touch. More than just a succession of lines, the pencil-drawn lines capture an infinite flow between the artwork and viewer – a bond between representation and reception. This is an endless loop conveying both tactile and eternal beauty. A: La Prairie is a brand that combines science, heritage and art. How did you and Max tap into these connected concepts, using both traditional and contemporary techniques, whilst observing the alpine landscape? NN: Before travelling to Switzerland, I had researched the concept of time in outer space and how this notion could relate to a fixed location like Switzerland. My visit to Switzerland was spent shooting the scenery. Afterwards, whilst drawing the topography, I was transported back to the moment, feeling the air on my skin. I then used digital techniques to recreate these experiential images and sensations. A: How has the pandemic inspired you to work differently; can we see this here? NN: I have re-acknowledged the communion between the body and its environment. Inspired by an ancestral technique, freehand drawing is completely disconnected from the online world, the same way my mind was disconnected from any time restrictions. Seeing the process of these tranquil drawings gaining motion in a digitised movie felt like travelling. This work is a unique opportunity to think about the relationship between digital tools and the human body. La Prairie Platinum Rare Haute-Rejuvenation Protocol is available from 15 February. laprairie.com | nobuhironakanishi.com | maxrichtermusic.com Images: 1. The Platinum Moment: An Artistic Encounter. 2. Platinum Rare Haute-Rejuvenation Protocol. 3. Eternal Circle by Nobuhiro Nakanishi, 2020. 4. Nobuhiro Nakanishi’s creative journey at the Niederhorn peak. 5. Platinum – a rare and desirable metal. 6. Nobuhiro Nakanishi, Niederhorn Peak in the Swiss Alps. 7. Nobuhiro Nakanishi and Max Richter, An Artistic Encounter for La Prairie. 8. Platinum score by Max Richter at London’s Air Studios.
Brief & Drenching NAIMA GREEN
New York is the newest outpost for the internationally renowned, Stockholm-based institution Fotografiska. Its ambitious programme responds to ever-changing societal issues, movements and themes in immersive and innovative ways – a welcome addition to the New York photography scene, which is famous for constantly reinventing itself. No contemporary artist could better represent this new institution than Naima Green. The Brooklyn-based artist and photographer approaches the theme of identity through an incredibly multidisciplinary practice that goes beyond photography to comprise video and furniture. Brief & Drenching complements her solo thesis exhibition at the International Center of Photography last year and includes highlights from her most recent work, somewhere between documentation, multidisciplinary research and stylistic exercises.
At the centre of the exhibition is the Pur·suit series, which features photographs of queer womxn, trans, non-binary and gender-nonconforming individuals – which she also repurposed as a deck of 54 playing cards inspired by Catherine Opie’s Dyke Deck (1995). Green photographed over 100 sitters in nine days, resulting in stunning portraits through which tradition is transformed and reimagined. Selections from the Two Pictures series are also included and wonderfully showcase Green’s unique talent in showing proximity and intimacy with her subjects. She approaches photography as “an actual organism that evolves when people evolve.” The work reveals a commitment to inclusivity and accessibility, making the artist, subject and viewer equal entities. It may not be easy to purge photography of its intrinsic objectification, but Naima Green is willing to try.
Words Louis Soulard
Fotografiska, New York 28 August - 28 February fotografiska.com
Thread, Trees, River SHEILA HICKS
Sheila Hicks (b. 1934) is not only one of the most renowned living artists, but also one of the most universally loved: a sweetheart of the curators, critics and collectors, with innumerable museum shows over the last 50 years. Interpretation of her signature large-scale textile sculptures often oscillates between feminism and craftsmanship. Some radical curators stress that she has elevated the textile production – traditionally associated with domestic women – to the rank of high art, whilst more conservative ones pay attention to the elements of “craftsmanship” which are central to Hicks' artwork. However, Thread, Trees, River seems to have found a way out of this limiting dichotomy. By giving more space to lesser-known artworks alongside ancient artefacts from the museum’s permanent collection, curator Bärbel Vischer has reinterpreted Hicks as an artist entirely consumed by history.
Three spacious rooms – out of the four dedicated to Hicks – showcase dozens of textile fragments almost undistinguishable from Medieval tapestry. Hicks’ footprints on linen remind us of Catholic relics, whilst knitted panneaux are reminiscent of Pharaonic mural paintings. Elsewhere, a carpet depicts the images of gates – think of Babylon’s Ishtar Gate or the Lion Gate in Mycenae. These artworks “cast shadow” on Hicks’ bright, abstract installations displayed in the central exhibition space – so much so that these periphery pieces seem as though they belong to a different artist altogether. Vischer tells the story of two artists living in the same body. Although this radical reading of Hicks’ heritage, style and identity cannot change the decades-old theoretical consensus, for now – at least – we have a dissenting voice and a new reading of her work through the Museum of Applied Arts.
Words Nikita Dmitriev
MAK – Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna 9 December - 18 April mak.at
Girlhood MARY ELLEN MARK
Living on the fringes invites anonymity. However, Mary Ellen Mark (1940-2015) gave a name to the countless outcasts she photographed during an expansive 50-year career. Images culled from a donation of 160 prints by the Photography Buyers Syndicate to NMWA focus on girls and young women. They range from early 1960s work in Turkey to Polaroid photographs from the 2000s. Mark grasped our shared humanity by focusing on people who were “away from mainstream society and toward its more interesting, often troubled fringes.” It’s an affinity she shared with photographers like Eugene Richards and Diane Arbus, though the latter took a much harder turn in that direction. But the comparisons stop there. Where Arbus’ square prints are directly confrontational but distant, Mark sought an emotional connection with subjects that made the figures
more relatable. Documenting a maximum security section of a mental institution – found whilst photographing on the set of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) – Mark produced images like Laurie in the Bathtub, Ward 81, Oregon State Hospital, Salem, Oregon (1976). A woman considered dangerous to herself and others here appears disarmingly naïve and youthful, but also otherworldly, only her head and wet hair peering out from a suds-filled bath. From the start of Life magazine’s “Streetwise” project documenting children living on Seattle’s mean streets in 1983, Mark developed a lasting bond with Erin “Tiny” Blackwell. Mark’s portraits of Tiny follow her journey from teen sex worker to a mother of 10 children, with periods of addiction, recovery and marriage along the way. These are images of hardship and despair, but also levity.
Words Olivia Hampton
NMWA, Washington DC 3 March - 11 July nmwa.org
1. Naima Green, Sara Elise & Amber from Pur·suit, 2018. 2a. MAK Exhibition View, 2020, SHEILA HICKS: Thread, Trees, River. MAK Exhibition Hall, Apprentissages de la Victoire, 2008–2016. © MAK/Georg Mayer. 2b. MAK Exhibition View, 2020, SHEILA HICKS: Thread, Trees, River. MAK Exhibition Hall, La Sentinelle de Safran, 2018 © MAK/Georg Mayer. 3 Mary Ellen Mark, Laurie in the Bathtub, Ward 81, Oregon State Hospital, Salem, Oregon, 1976 (printed later); Gelatin silver print, 20 x 24 in.; NMWA, Gift of Susan and Earl Cohen; © Mary Ellen Mark/The Mary Ellen Mark Foundation.
4. NASA. Images of Change, Three Gorges Dam, central China. September 24, 1993 – August 22, 2016. Courtesy NASA, left photo: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Landsat Missions Gallery, U.S. Department of the Interior / USGS and NASA. 5a. Exhibition views: Daniel Buren – Philippe Parreno « Simultanément, travaux in situ et en mouvement », kamel mennour [5 rue du Pont de Lodi], Paris, 2020 © Daniel Buren, Adagp © Philippe Parreno Photo. archives kamel mennour. Courtesy the artists and kamel mennour, Paris/London. 5b. Exhibition views: Daniel Buren – Philippe Parreno « Simultanément, travaux in situ et en mouvement », kamel mennour [5 rue du Pont de Lodi], Paris, 2020 © Daniel Buren, Adagp © Philippe Parreno Photo. archives kamel mennour. Courtesy the artists and kamel mennour, Paris/London. 6. Mark Ruwedel, Burnt Tree, Tujunga Wash #6, 2018. Photograph; Gelatin silver print mounted on board. Image size: 8 x 10 inch. Board size: 16 x 20 inch. ©Mark Ruwedel.
Broken Nature COLLABORATION WITH TRIENNALE DI MILANO
Broken Nature was originally organised in 2019 as the main group exhibition of Triennale di Milano’s 22nd edition. The exhibition includes new and innovative work that speaks to the designer’s role in creating sustainable objects and products, comprising a variety of media and materials, many of which have been recycled or otherwise repurposed, Highlights include microalgae and sugar-based biopolymer drinkware by Atelier Luma – a project which explores the potential of growing micro and macro biomaterials. Meanwhile, charcoal bowls, cups and plates by Kosuke Araki are the result of two years of work during which Araki collected inedible leftovers, such as vegetable scraps, eggshells and bones, and burned them to create moulds. Perhaps one of the most impressive installations in the exhibition is Alex Goad’s MARS – Modular Artificial Reef Structure (2013). This large-scale module is a lattice system made
using 3D-printed resin moulds that are then cast in ceramic. Before being submerged underwater, coral fragments are attached to the structures. MARS provides a rigid skeleton on which transplanted corals can grow, and its complex geometry acts as a protective habitat for a number of reef species. Though it is focused on design, the show also features additional and highly relevant material, which includes photographs by NASA as well as architectural research projects by Mustafa Faruki, founder of theLab-lab. MoMA offers powerful Words insights into the ability of contemporary design to respond Louis Soulard to key issues surrounding the climate crisis – global heating, acidification, pollution, desertification and species extinction. Works on view further highlight the shared, symbiotic rela- MoMA, New York tionships that exist amongst designers, engineers, artists and 21 November - 15 August scientists, and the ways in which these communities continuously collaborate and influence one another. moma.org
Daniel Buren and Philippe Parreno IN-SITU COLLABORATION
For the inauguration of a new gallery in the sixth arrondissement, Galerie Kamel Mennour offers a free museum-like collaboration between two of French conceptual art’s well-established stars: Daniel Buren (b. 1938) and Philippe Parreno (b. 1964). All museums are closed in Paris right now, so this show is a glittering gift – one that should be celebrated and visited where possible. Find respite in this in-situ installation. Daniel Buren – known for the iconic Les Deux Plateaux at the Palais-Royal and his child-like cubic installations – provides a somewhat Alice-in-Wonderland chamber of mirrorstriped columns and water panels. Walking through the gallery, a sliced version of the viewer disappears and reappears in unexpected places thanks to mirror reflections at opposite sides of the space. Doppelgängers suddenly appear in rooms you’re not even in – a delightfully playful effect. Meanwhile, Philippe Parreno – who made his reputation in video art, text, performance and drawing – leaves tradi-
tional media by the wayside in favour of more high-concept, high-tech art here. However, Parreno always tries to work with in-situ pieces; his installations tend to be site-specific and this current collaboration is no exception. Panels of coloured lights, installed around Buren’s mirrored columns, are constantly dimmed and reignited by a series of touchsensitive shutters directly connected to sensors that capture the movement of the waves in the nearby Seine. Parreno once said in an interview that exhibitions are “like taking a breath” – and that is completely true here. The triggering of the shutters reminds viewers of a pair of inhaling lungs drawing breath in this immersive, almost underwater installation. Featuring fragmented glimpses of your own body, the constantly varying shutters create an almost bewildering visual and sonic atmosphere. Polyphony is the word that comes to mind: it’s like walking through a conceptual orchestra playing on the colours in your memory and imagination.
Words Erik Martiny
Kamel Mennour, Paris 5 December - 27 February kamelmennour.com
Los Angeles: Landscapes of Four Ecologies MARK RUWEDEL
Mark Ruwedel (b. 1954) cares little for LA’s brochurefriendly vistas or its moniker, the City of Angels. More hell or high water, Landscapes of Four Ecologies captures the tragic beauty of a landscaped scarred by warring elements. The exhibition draws from in-progress work funded by the Guggenheim Fellowship since 2014, comprising multiple series of striking black and white photographs. In the Burnt Trees series, Californian wildfires scorch the earth and turn bark to charcoal. Looking towards to the Pacific, Sunken Cities offer little solace. High-contrast images of cliffs off the LA coast give way vertiginously to dust and rubble. The giant ash-like sculptures of Verdugo Mountains Fire appear equally inhospitable, off-world, even alien. Opposite them is the more pedestrian Earthworks Portfolio. Excavations and floodlit plains – commercial spaces – mark human activity which is elsewhere dwarfed or muscled out of shot by the sheer scale of a (post-)apocalyptic landscape.
It’s easy to miss the slither of road in Sepulveda Pass Fire #1, 2018. Squint and a dot becomes a hiker. Ruwedel’s photography condemns us to the Anthropocene epoch. It’s clear who shoulders the blame and fallout of the climate catastrophe. The artist’s hand-printing of the silver gelatin images gives them a tactile, historical quality, jaundiced in colour, similar to the early American photography of Carleton E. Watkins and Timothy H. O’Sullivan in the 19th century. The prints exacerbate the exposure in Burnt Trees expressly, lending a melancholic tone to the blanched leaves Words which disappear against the sky. We begin to ask: is this a Jack Solloway vision of our future or a historical reality today? Overall, Landscapes of Four Ecologies excels in its geometric, categorical approach to framing. The claustrophobic Large Glass, London crops – of mountains and trees in particular – have audi- 11 December - 19 February ences searching for symbols in the roots and fractals of the branches. Some trunks are cruciform, others unyielding. largeglass.co.uk
Ben Bond c/o Starcross Entertainment. Artists: Jonathan Ajayi, Lucie Bourdeu.
Freedom of Movement THE DRIFTERS A love story between an African immigrant and a French wait- the pair’s turbulent companionship, Bond creates a playful “Regardless of the ress set in Brexit-torn Britain, The Drifters arrives when polari- landscape by imbuing the film with lush palettes and familiar reactionary climate sation is at its peak. The film traces a tentative romance be- cinematic cues. “We were trying to use colour to tell a story that it will be received into, The Drifters' tween gentle spirit Koffee (Jonathan Ajayi) and rambunctious with dark themes in an entertaining and romantic way.” Bond cites European influences such as Bernardo Bertoluc- adroit ability to coax Fanny (Lucie Bourdeu), whose paths entwine before leading them to an idyllic (though independence-leaning) coastal ci’s The Conformist and Michelangelo Antonioni’s Red Desert lightness out of a as key visual markers for the film. “On the British side, films dark and divisive town. “Make Britain great again,” reads a street banner. “I’d become interested in the issue of freedom of movement, like A Matter of Life and Death, Black Narcissus and The Red moment in history which, of course, is now tragically relevant for everybody,” Shoes – a lot of early Powell and Pressburger collaborations aspires to endure.” explains filmmaker Ben Bond of his bucolic yet bittersweet – influenced the film,” Bond confirms. “Technicolour also infeature debut. Notable when watching Koffee and Fanny’s ro- formed the vividness we wanted to bring to the screen.” The performances are timeless. Bourdeu – a seasoned mance unfurl are the varying restrictions on their hopes and aspirations. Fanny – a Quentin Tarantino aficionado – holds French television actress – maintains a nimble performance an unwavering and extroverted approach to becoming an ac- reminiscent of 1960s French films. Meanwhile, Bond discovtress in America, something she hopes to pursue after apply- ered Ajayi in a London production of The Brothers Size, writing for citizenship. Koffee is under constant threat of being ten by Moonlight playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney. Yet, in spite of The Drifters’ vibrant homage to the past, it deported, and toggles between petty crime and long shifts at a car wash to try and stay afloat. A botched final job, that he arrives when attitudes towards immigration remain splintered. hoped would secure a passport, sends the pair on the run to Bond, a staunch supporter of the European Union, hopes that the film leaves a poignant message with fellow-minded viewa community who don’t take kindly to stowaways. “I really wanted to shoot somewhere that I knew I could ers, though anticipates a much different reception from Brexi- Words make look beautiful,” Bond explains of the film’s predomi- teers. “It’s a really interesting place that we find ourselves in,” Beth Webb nantly coastal setting. “I grew up where we shot it, so I knew he confirms. Regardless of the reactionary climate that it will the secret places, and how to avoid it looking downtrodden be received into, The Drifters’ adroit ability to coax lightness or bleak.” In spite of the inescapably political positioning of out of a dark and divisive moment in history aspires to endure. starcrossentertainment.com
Harnessing Experiences BABY DONE
Courtesy of Vertigo Releasing.
Pregnancy has manifested in many forms of film. In horror, trapped – belly up – under a broken toilet cubicle door on “I was determined being with child is a source of fear and possession. In comedy, a night out, her growing bump rendering her too wide to to write a portrait those unpredictable nine months draw the parents-to-be into squeeze through the narrow gap. “I was determined to write of a woman who calamity-infused scenarios that test the pair’s compatibility. a portrait of a woman who could be unapologetic, unlikable could be unapologetic, Baby Done is a rare curio that sits firmly at the centre of at times, and make mistakes without righting them straight unlikable at times, the horror-comedy Venn diagram (if you switch out violence away,” Henderson confirms. “It was important to me that Zoe and make mistakes without righting them for an overwhelming sense of dread). In this New Zealand- was relatable because of her weaknesses not despite them.” Negation of pregnancy rarely – if ever – makes its way into straight away. It set caper, auspicious arborist Zoe (comedian Rose Matafeo) discovers that she’s pregnant by her long-term partner Tim storylines, with films and shows spotlighting the impact that was important that (Matthew Lewis) in the wake of a milestone tree-climbing motherhood has on mental health after the birth has hap- Zoe was relatable.” competition. Rather than embracing the development, Zoe pened instead. These stories are invariably gendered, with spirals into denial and grabs onto life with everything she’s the noble responsibility of birth placed solely on the woman. The fact that Henderson has filtered Zoe’s issues through a got, even if it could eventually damage her relationship. “I wrote this story when I was pregnant as a way of working comedy lens only makes it more powerful, and invites new out how a pregnant woman ‘should be,’” explains screenwrit- celebration of the work. “I couldn’t find a film that wasn’t roer Sophie Henderson, who made the film with director, and manticising pregnancy and telling me how delighted I was husband, Curtis Vowell. “I hated being pregnant and I was in supposed to feel about the miracle I was growing,” she says. full denial that there would be a baby at the end of the nine “We often see panic in film from the guy’s point of view. It’s months. I didn’t want to buy a pram, or wear maternity jeans. I supposed to be him running scared, not ready to settle down.” Henderson refers fondly to herself as a “pregnant mess” just wanted to write this film about a badly-behaved woman.” Henderson describes the experience of being pregnant to when reflecting on early motherhood. By harnessing this Words that of a comedy “with a streak of despair” – a bittersweet experience, however, she brings a source of comfort and ca- Beth Webb concoction that floods Zoe’s new world on-screen as she tharsis that doesn’t sacrifice big laughs for the sake of breaktries desperately to keep hold of the fabulous and free- ing new ground. A necessary mess, then, which has paved the ing life she once upheld. One scene in particular finds her way for a new perspective on pregnancy on-screen. vertigoreleasing.com
Photo Credit: Justice Mukheli.
Identity and Togetherness URBAN VILLAGE The music feels surprisingly fulsome given a relatively “Udondolo is a Urban Village has the impressive distinction of being the first South African band to sign with respected French label simple set-up: vocals, bass, percussion and guitar, gilded pleasingly varied Nø Førmat! The Soweto-based foursome was discovered by lightly in places with touches of cello, brass, lap steel, mbira album, ranging from former A&R manager Thibaut Mullings, who took an inter- and flute. That last instrument, played with dexterous el- jubilant, bubbly est in the band after relocating to Johannesburg. “We kept egance by vocalist Tubatsi Mpho Moloi, is an uncommon party-starters to the seeing him [Mullings] at our shows,” explains drummer choice for a modern South African musician. “In the begin- quieter, introspective Xolani Mtshali. Then, one night, during a show in Alexandra, ning, I was really interested in learning to play the saxophone, numbers and a township of Johannesburg, Mullings appeared with label but I had no access to one.” As luck would have it, Urban Vil- evocative odes to lage guitarist Lerato Ntsane Lchiba happened to have a sax rural greetings founder Laurent Bizot – also now Joburg-based – in tow. “The love and excitement Laurent and Thibaut have shown at his disposal, but when Moloi came across a flute six years practiced in cities for our music assures us that they are the best partners to ago, he swiftly changed course. “I’ve been making it part of and villages alike.” release our debut album,” explains Mtshali. “They have given the Urban Village sound ever since that moment.” Udondolo is a pleasingly varied album, ranging from jubius the chance to create an album that can reach a global lant, bubbling party-starters such as Dindi – a standout celaudience, whilst remaining true to our Soweto roots.” Udondolo, a Zulu word meaning “walking stick”, is just so: ebration of Black pride – and Marabi – a joyfully self-aware an album shaped as much by the nation’s often troubled medley of familiar South African standards. Then, there's the past, as it is by a more hopeful present. It’s a nimble, melodic quieter, introspective numbers like Ubaba, a meditation on and culturally conscious offering, a record bound by a belief fatherhood, and Madume, an evocative ode to a rural greetin “ubuntu” or “common humanity” – the same byword that ing practiced in cities and villages alike across Africa. Playing in South Africa is somewhat tricky, says Mtshali. drove anti-apartheid revolutionaries such as Nelson Mandela and Steve Biko. Songs about struggles and joys, identity and “Most of the live music venues we have here are being closed Words togetherness abound, couched in tempos and melodies that down, whilst those remaining do not have the standard back- Charlotte R-A owe as much to the rural, traditional, indigenous Zulu music line which makes it financially difficult.” Besides, says Mtshali, (Isicathamiya) played on the streets of Soweto by their older the band feel most at home with “the backyard sessions – places that enable us to be free from the concrete jungle.” neighbours, as to the more modern, multicultural sounds. urbanvillage.live
Vision and Determination KEMI ADE favourite haunts, but her go-to green space is the woodland “In the UK, we're behind her home; it’s a quiet, isolated spot, one where the [historically] view allows you to watch the sun rise and set, uninterrupted. restricted. The As the UK sits firmly within its third Covid lockdown, many industry's always of us are renewing our love of nature. We’re also turning to pushing a certain the arts for comfort, delving into escapist pleasures. Ade’s mould, one type of used lockdown to read (mostly YA fantasy, always in print voice and sound. format “because I like the smell”), paint (“acrylics are my Anything different go-to”) and sketch. She has also been moonlighting of late, is always met writing songs for fellow fledgling artists such as Rebecca with resistance.” Garton and BSHP. Whilst she dreams of collaborating with the likes of Dua Lipa, she still considers herself something of a lone ranger. Though she’s determined to carve out a place for herself here in the UK, she’s savvy to the limitations Black female artists face when navigating the British music industry. “In the UK, we’re [historically] restricted. The industry’s always pushing a certain mould, one type of voice and sound. Anything different is always met with resistance. The USA gives Black womxn space to freely express their art. It’s so big there that [the industry] has no choice but to be diverse; different states produce different sounds. The UK is Words so small in comparison.” It’s an argument that has parallels Charlotte R-A in the acting world, with recent, high profile debates on the idea that Black British actors often need to move to find success. Would Ade relocate? In a heartbeat, she says. soundcloud.com/kemiade
Photo Credit: Prexa Shrestha.
Kemi Ade was eight years old when she first performed in front of an audience. “I was in Year Four, singing a Christmas carol solo, from Silent Night. I felt a rush that was nothing like I’d ever felt before. That feeling has and will always be my favourite thing.” It has been a hot minute since those school assembly days, of course, but Ade is still chasing that feeling. She’s a promising young voice, a London-born singer of Nigerian descent dealing in mellifluous, neo soulinspired R&B. Ade credits the likes of Musiq Soulchild, Jill Scott and Erykah Badu for helping her to “find some of the things my voice could do.” There’s certainly a strong throwback vibe – lush, rich styling concerned with pleasure and romance – but like any artist worth her salt, Ade’s gazing forward as much as she is backwards. That much is clear. You’d be hard-pressed to guess it from her Americanaccented vocals, but Ade grew up in Croydon. Her parents passed on a love of music and consistently encouraged her artistic vocation, but Ade didn’t begin recording until her time at Bucks New University in High Wycombe, where she studied Music Management and Studio Production. Her latest EP, Drive (Dusk Edition), marks her third release, following O.W.Nesty in 2017 and Drive (Dawn Edition) last October. When it comes to penning her songs, she’s most likely to be found “in a forest,” basking in the space and sounds that these quiet refuges afford. Hampstead Heath is one of her
Hotel Les Cabanettes by Armand Pellier, France. Image: Karolina Kodlubaj.
Towards the Sun MODERNIST ESCAPES Orazi highlights the far-reaching and diverse impact of “The general principles The idea of an architectural escape, nestled away from viruses and national lockdowns, has never seemed more modernism. There’s Brazilian visionary Niemeyer’s geometric of modernism, such appealing with everything that’s going on in the world. For designs for the Hansaviertel neighbourhood in Germany, and as large areas of many of us, the prospect of a prolonged adventure feels like Moscow-based architect Konstantin Melnikov’s eponymous glazing, orientation a pipedream, but if there’s anything that can shake us out of Melnikov House, inspired by American silos and Russian towards the sun, churches. Meanwhile, Ernő Goldfinger’s 2 Willow Road in and a connection our cabin feverish minds, it’s Stefi Orazi’s Modernist Escapes. This new book offers a sleek and insightful guide – as with London is one of the earliest modernist houses in the UK, between the inside Orazi’s previous works including Modernist Estates and The and the Gropius House evokes the efficiency of the Bauhaus. and the outdoors, Some of the structures have survived against the odds, are demonstrated in Barbican Estate – to some of the movement’s most significant structures from across the world, all of which are open to whether it’s “the takeover of the Bauhaus by the Nazis during many of the examples the public. From the works of Alvar Aalto to Charlie Zehnder, the WWII or the seizing of the opulent, Loos-designed Villa featured here.” Oscar Niemeyer to Walter Gropius, each building is unique Müller by the communist government of Czechoslovakia.” in its approach and thrilling to look at, accompanied by in- Others, like Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, characterised formative texts offering insights into structural history. by floating rectangular planes that cantilever out from a cliff “The general principles of modernism, such as large areas face, and the organic forms of George Nakashima’s studio of glazing, orientation towards the sun, and a connection be- and workshop, are individual homes at one with nature. tween the inside and the outdoors, are demonstrated in many “Wright said that ‘The good building makes the landscape of the featured examples featured,” says Orazi, who describes more beautiful than it was before the building was built’, coming up with the concept for the publication after visiting making the two aspects inseparable in any composition. He Le Corbusier’s Convent of La Tourette – a Dominican mon- sought to merge the landscape with the architecture, so it is astery with tiny rooms (or “cells”), each equipped with just both a structure and a form of ornamentation.” Words a desk, single bed and Charlotte Perriand-designed spaceWhether you’re looking for a much-needed respite from Gunseli Yalcinkaya saving cabinet. “When I returned, a friend told me of Marcel the daily slog of pandemic living and working, or you’re Breuer’s Flaine, a jaw-dropping, cliff-hanging ski resort in planning your next (government mandated) holiday experiFrance, and there began the idea to compile the structures.” ence, Modernist Escapes will leave you pining for better days. prestel.com
Subverting the Hierarchy RAISING THE ROOF lined the many freakish architectural mini-movements that emerged on the Vegas Strip in the 1970s. Scott Brown also coined the term “duck” to refer to buildings that act as sculptural, symbolic objects (in reference to a duck-shaped eggstand on Long Island), but her work was largely snubbed in favour of her partner, the late Robert Venturi. In addition to still-active professionals, there are also portraits of late figures like Gae Aulenti, Lina Bo Bardi, Eileen Gray and Zaha Hadid. “Any picture would be incomplete without them,” says Toromanoff. Irish-born Eileen Gray – behind the infamous adjustable E 1027 Table – was one of the first women admitted to the Slade School of Art, before pursuing a career in architecture – a decision spurred on by friend and close collaborator Le Corbusier. Bo Bardi, who worked with the likes of Carlo Pagani and Gio Ponti, was known for radical forms, daring constructions and playful compositions. Change is happening slowly but surely. Last year, Grafton Architects co-founders Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara won the Pritzker Prize, making them the fourth and fifth female recipients in the award’s 41-year history. Feminist collective Rebel Architette has created the Women Architects World Map as a tool to “detox” architecture from its “boys club” mentality, whilst a record number of female deans are opening doors and providing platforms for women. Raising the Roof pulls back the institutionalised curtain.
“Change is happening, slowly but surely. Last year, Grafton Architects co-founders Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara won the Pritzker Prize ... Raising the Roof pulls back the institutionalised curtain.”
Words Gunseli Yalcinkaya
Zaha Hadid, Heydar Aliyev Centre, Baku, Azerbaijan, Photo: Iwan Baan.
Back in 2018, The New York Times published an article titled Where Are All the Female Architects? Nearly half of architecture students are women, it read, yet they only represent 20 percent of licensed architects. “The history of architecture, as in many other disciplines, has been largely written by men. Women have been mostly marginalised or ignored,” says Agata Toromanoff, author of Raising the Roof: Women Architects Who Broke hrough the Glass Ceiling. The book features 50 designers, from practitioners with well-established careers – who run their own studios or are equal partners – to young, emerging professionals. There’s Elizabeth Diller, the mastermind behind New York’s The High Line and a key figure in the redesign of The Museum of Modern Art, and Tatiana Bilbao, who is leading the way in sustainable Mexican architecture; Nigerian “starchitect” Olajumoke Adenowo and Neri&Hu’s Rossana Hu. Whilst “the aim of this book is definitely not to create a parallel, ‘feminine part of the story’,” it spotlights many women that have been erased from architectural discourse. Amongst them is Denise Scott Brown, a postmodern pioneer and the visionary behind the seminal text, Learning From Las Vegas. “The Las Vegas case study is considered a quintessential example of the postmodern way of thinking, which, just as revolutionary in its time, caused many controversies and heated debate,” explains Toromanoff, referring to the essay that out-
Mother KRISTOF BILSEN
A documentary with two very distinct but interrelated storylines, Kristof Bilsen’s Mother is a rich portrait of family, sacrifice and hope. Set in Thailand, in Chiang Mai, it centres on Baan Kamlangchay, a care centre for Alzheimer patients from the west. Each of the patients receives 24/7 attention from three caregivers – whether it’s accompanying them to buy clothing or going on walks. Initially, the focus is Pomm, a young woman who has left her own children in the care of others in rural Thailand, some six hours from Chiang Mai, so she can work and support her family. As painful as this is, she clearly derives huge satisfaction from helping patients; this is not just about nursing but providing emotional nourishment when they’re becoming dependent on others. Bilsen’s observational film switches from hot and clammy Thailand to the crispy, snowy environs of Swit-
zerland, where we meet Maya, a woman in her 50s who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. Her husband and three daughters have made the painful decision to take her to Baan Kamlangchay, where she will spend the remainder of her days in the care of Pomm and others. “Many people don’t understand that we are not disposing of her,” says one of her offspring, inquisitively. Bilsen’s camera follows Maya’s journey to Thailand with her family, as she settles in and they must say their goodbyes. A later Skype call between Maya and her husband, where she vacantly stares at the screen unable to recognise him, shows just how devastating the disease can be. Yet this is more than just a film about the impact of Alzheimer’s. As the title suggests, it’s really about the bond between a mother and her children – unshakable even in the most trying of circumstances.
Words James Mottram
Gunda VICTOR KOSSAKOVSKY
After watching Victor Kossakovsky’s Gunda, director Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights, Magnolia) described the documentary as an example of “pure cinema.” Praise like that can sometimes feel perfunctory but, in this instance, it’s an almost perfect description. There is something “pure” about the way Gunda handles its subject, with its distilled narrative, and a tight focus on a cast of farmyard animals – a pig, chickens and cows. Each shot has a habit of lingering over its subject but each one is necessary; nothing in this film feels extraneous. As we move from animal to animal, very little happens. The film begins to resemble a study or a series of distinctive portraits. We observe these creatures’ movements, their behaviour, and it’s difficult sometimes not to endow the creatures with human traits or qualities. The pace remains patient and steady throughout, which
affords us time to appreciate the lives before us. We spend a lot of time looking at animals looking back. Yet, what’s surprising is just how deeply entrancing Kossakovsky's film is: the longer you watch, the more difficult it becomes to tear yourself away from these characters. And that’s because Gunda turns out to be more than a spectacle: it’s an experience in animal bonding. It forces us to reconsider the ways in which we think about what we refer to as “livestock.” Our greatest attachment is formed with a sow – the eponymous Gunda – and her litter of piglets. We see the intense labour involved in rearing and caring for her offspring: there is endless feeding and constant shepherding, as well as consuming worry, but also a radiating sense of content and joy. But Babe, this is not; slowly, the absence of external realities becomes more conspicuous.
Words Chris Webb
Robin's Wish TYLOR NORWOOD
A documentary about the final, tragic years in the life of one of America’s greatest comic talents, Robin’s Wish is a stark reminder of just who the world lost on 11 August 2014. Robin Williams, who starred in such films as Good Morning, Vietnam and Dead Poets Society, took his own life that day, but this was not just another case of a depressed comedian tipped over the edge. Williams’ ordeal came from Lewy body dementia, a particularly brutal form of the disease that gradually attacks the brain. By the end, Williams was left feeling that he was no longer the person he once was, unable even to remember lines. For a man who spent his entire life entertaining the world – who took joy from bringing laughter to others – it was a cruel way to go. Worse still: Williams’ affliction was only diagnosed after he’d died, meaning his final months before were ones of
confusion and desperation. Director Tylor Norwood talks to many people close to Williams, including his widow Susan Schneider Williams, who bravely faces the cameras to unpick what is obviously a hugely painful subject. Others who contribute include comedian pal Mort Sahl, Lewy Body expert Dr Bruce Miller and Shawn Levy, the director of the Night at the Museum films, who reveals just how disoriented Williams was during the 2014 Vancouver shoot for the third of those movies – something the cast and crew all kept hidden from the press and public. Avoiding the celebrity bio approach – there’s no mention, for example, of Williams’ sitcom breakout Mork & Mindy or his Oscar win for Good Will Hunting – Norwood instead paints a picture of Williams away from the spotlight. Highlighting his work entertaining the US troops, for example, it’s a testament to a generous, gifted soul.
Words James Mottram
Trial & Error AMIRALI
Eclectic Iranian producer Amirali returns with his sophomore release packed with bleeping electronic, transcendent pop, and artisanal soundscapes. Perfected at the legendary Abbey Road studios, each song packs the drama you would expect that comes from such a momentous birthplace. Neo-classical Blade Runner aesthetics meet tinkering piano lines, constantly teetering on the edge emotion-inducing sound design. It's as if we, as listeners, are attendees to a conceptual art exhibition. Moments of bright sparks and ethereal melodic promise raise the record up from seeming too deep, dark and digital, such as the stepping-down minor notes of Dry Cry which are beautifully woven into Amirali’s sparse vocals. Overall, this detailed and painstakingly conceived project suffers the most when it is too laden with pre-set sounds, drums and over processed
synthesizers, taking away from the real and honest warm of the ideas behind it. This is shown harshly on Vertigo, where strong songwriting would have been galvanised by more organic musical attention. The glitchy A Fly In Your Tongue is equal parts the extravagant, floating outros of Kanye West, as it is over-produced drum and bass. The elegance of A Thousand Ways To Die provide Little Dragon tones, meeting industrial jump-up, trippy programming. The waves of off-kilter and at points random electronic sounds give the project as a whole a non-linear and wavily detailed feel. Meanwhile, album highlight Shallow Grief is an affecting and powerful piano and strings-led composition – equal parts glitchy and wholesome. The piece moves in a wild direction. Deep diving into his even more experimental side, it will be exciting to see what Amirali has in store next.
Words Kyle Bryony
All the Unknown GRANDBROTHERS
From the outset, All the Unknown is an exploration of compositional possibilities for pianist Erol Sarp and producer/electronic engineer Lukas Vogel, who met almost a decade ago whilst studying audio and video engineering in Düsseldorf. Their debut album Dilation, released in 2015, was followed by the majestic Open in 2017, a contorted hybrid of electronica and classical piano. These days, with the pair no longer both residing in Düsseldorf, they have discovered a new remote way of working that lends itself to greater experimentation and a metamorphosis into techno and hip-hop influenced beats, building layer upon layer of electronic sounds. Album opener Howth and the compelling title track each begin with emotive piano, which subsequently gives way to rich, intense electronica and digital percussion. Elsewhere, What We See moves freely with a buoyant
fluidity and Four Rivers rushes by in seemingly no time at all before succumbing to melancholic piano, fading into reverb as it closes. The high-octane Organism is a more straightforward track referencing early 1990s clubs. On the hip-hop-flavoured Mourning Express, the duo used a tape recorder to create vintage sounds. It is these tiny aural fragments that make this track particularly affecting. All of the samples are collected using mechanics built by Vogel, then extracted, processed and shaped beyond their original identity. Melding this with organic piano gives Grandbrothers its distinct sound. All The Unknown frequently moves between bright and inspired highs to melancholic and reflective lows. Continually driven forward by electronic beats and ambient sounds that encourage movement, the album is diverse ultimately bound by a sense of positivity and hope.
Words Matt Swain
Try Harder AERIAL EAST
West Texas-raised and New York-residing, Aerial East someone from a bygone era. The notably titled I Love delivers an extremely intimate new album documenting Dick is in-fact sombre and close, tear-inducing and floaty a transient lifestyle filled with all of the expected, and – something akin to the Jon Brion original film score for annoyingly inevitable, obstacles. Littered with beautifully Michel Gondry's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. melancholic references to heartbreak – both literal Placed in the middle of this fantastic album is the and more spaciously metaphorical – this delicately folky San Angelo, in which the artist poetically describes orchestrated project is a meditative experience to behold. her story through distant wails. On Blue she speaks of Performing in a piercing Kate Bush pitch, East reaches the hardships of moving on from old love when it still the former’s charisma and charm, feeling at points more echoes and haunts one’s heart. It is impossible to not to like Lana del Rey but less over-produced. clutch your chest and feel deeply empathetic from the Entirely non-manufactured, but still country twanged tragic nature of how East sings, with each song picking sad pop, on The Things We Build East croons through up where the previous Tom Waits style heart string pullintrospection and throws narratives over minimal ing left off. The creeping slow chords of the closer Be southern-inspired tones. Calm and peaceful, it is easy to Leavin underscore Aerial East’s flittering emotive state have the album on repeat without realising. Meandering and end what is without a doubt a luxurious and thorballads such as Ryan is a low mood ode to missing oughly fulfilling ride through the depths of sadness.
Words Kyle Bryony
Think Like a Street Photographer MATT STUART
Photographer Matt Stuart (b. 1974) is always on the lookout for pictures. Never leaving the house without a camera, he is drawn to remarkable scenes – conjuring a strange and alluring world of giant peacocks, kerbside red devils and aliens on the London Underground. Whilst these subjects seem surreal – the stuff of manipulation, editing or montage – Stuart is very much a street photographer. Time and again, he finds intriguing compositions and juxtapositions within the everyday. “Some things that life offers are far more interesting or revealing than anything you can make up,” he explains in Think Like a Street Photographer. The images are a testament to how fascinating the world can be when we stop and look. Stuart’s volume is more than a photobook; it is an essential guide to the genre, laying out tips and tricks for budding image-makers to get the most out of the city.
Alongside informative chapters on ethics, approach and mindset, Stuart offers a handful of key pointers to try when out and about. Advice ranges from the value of saying “yes” to observing the world from a child’s perspective. “Be open to everything when you’re out shooting,” he says. “If your eye is ‘on’, the pictures will come and the little curiosities that life throws up will suddenly appear everywhere for the taking.” Readers will, amongst other things, learn about Stuart’s most memorable shots and happiest accidents – where spontaneity reigns. Most of all, Think Like a Street Photographer is an accessible read: bright, bold and concise with minimal focus on the technicalities. Instead, emphasis is placed on ways to see, observe and document our surroundings. To this end, Stuart quotes Elliott Erwitt: “All the technique in the world doesn’t compensate for the inability to notice.”
Words Eleanor Sutherland
Cherry Hill: A Childhood Reimagined JONA FRANK
Jona Frank, a photographer celebrated for capturing youth culture, turns the lens on herself in Cherry Hill. Part memoir, part photographic reconstruction, Frank’s book reads like a coming-of-age film in New Jersey. The writing is dramatised in playful, sometimes surreal, mise en scènes of the Frank family from 1952 until Jona leaves home in 1990. It’s a familiar but true story, almost out of Hollywood: a Catholic schoolgirl conforms then rebels. There’s disapproval, drugs and schizophrenia. Frank’s staged photographs draw on old images and moments from the artist’s life. They boast elaborately awful wallpaper, recreated sets that should never have left the 1970s, and a credits page to make your eyes pop. Highlights include two “house explosion” specialists, a “toile wallpaper” consultant, and Oscar-winning actor Laura Dern, who steals the show as Rose Frank,
Jona’s mother: a depressive housewife with a penchant for the silent treatment. Dern’s casting is a masterstroke and no doubt a nod to her role in Blue Velvet (1986), David Lynch’s suburban horror. When Rose isn’t wearing rose-patterned dresses, she matches the wallpaper. The implication is clear: she is the household. Her dead-eyed smile will have you checking the lawn for body parts. As an art object, Cherry Hill is unsubtle and gawky. Frank mashes the scrawling Crayola of a child’s scrapbook (think Tim Burton or The Stepford Wives) of a half-remembered family album. There’s a disturbing, air-brushed quality to the images that signals we’re operating with a plastic, fictionalised reality. The production is repulsive, confused and often ugly – like growing pains for the eyes, or puberty. But for all its clichés about “flowering”, this is indeed the road to adulthood.
Words Jack Solloway
Keith Haring SIMON DOONAN
Simon Doonan (Creative Director at Barneys New York) provides a whistle-stop biography of Keith Haring (1958-1990), celebrating an artist who embraced radical queer joy, pop culture glamour and psychedelic fantasy in the face of the unfolding AIDS tragedy. Haring’s small-town origins might explain the unfettered glee with which he took to Manhattan party life on his relocation to New York at the end of the 1970s. Meanwhile, a Warhol-esque ability for self-publicity was clear, as was an aversion to conventional fine-art career trajectories. Buoyed by the splash he was making through events and exhibitions at Club 57 – an anarchic art-space in the East Village – he dropped out of school and began creating street art in through the nowrecognisable bold, cartoonish idiom. Gyrating bodies interlock with spaceships, babies, dogs and pseudo-
written symbols. Soon, Haring was plugged into New York’s burgeoning graffiti art scene, connecting its raw, garish energy to early artistic influences: Warhol, Jean Dubuffet and colourful shapes from TV cartoons. It was when Haring started creating murals on the black panels of the Manhattan subway system that he began to blossom into what Doonan calls “a thing.” Within a stunningly short period of time Haring had graduated from iconic underground shows to prestigious international commissions and a dazzling celebrity lifestyle. Warhol stood by – a mentor and friend. Doonan doesn’t downplay Haring’s love of celebrity. By contrast, he makes it seem heroic, an embrace of life in defiance of the virus that killed him in 1990. Today, Haring’s influence can still be felt everywhere: he remains, as Doonan concludes, unquestionably “groovy.”
Words Greg Thomas
The Destination for Art and Culture
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Nicoletta Cerasomma is an Italian pop surrealist photographer. In her series Mind Pop, she aims to “dig into the loneliness of being in a relationship, mostly when it is essentially at an endpoint. The burden she bears, like a suitcase full of happy memories, prevents her leaving. She stays, hidden under a surface of normality, where everything appears full of life and joy.”
Martin Veigl is an award-winning Austrian artist. His numerous compositions offer collaged portraits with an intuitive blend of colours and forms; a complementary palette draws attention to anonymous figures as they are caught in states of transition. Veigl has exhibited widely and his current solo show is at Schnitzler Lindsberger Galerie, Graz until 5 March.
nicolettacerasomma.it I Instagram: @nicolettacerasomma
www.martinveigl.at I Instagram: @martin_veigl
NATALYA BURGOS Miroslavo is a Czech painter based in Barcelona. A varied background drives him to explore new techniques, colour combinations and tools in the creation of highly expressive canvasses, each offering a bold point of view, such as the self-portrait presented here. The abstract paintings channel a vision that revolves primarily around human nature and innovation.
Natalya Burgos is based in the Texas countryside, where she is inspired by the surrounding fields, trees and a distant horizon of land and sea. Her abstract paintings often feature blue as the predominant colour, as aptly demonstrated in the latest series Sky and Waves. Here the use of oil on canvas allows freedom for further experimentation with texture and light. These compositions display deeply personal portrayals of nature, moving us to confront the inner shackles that bind us to one another.
www.miroslavo.com | Instagram: @miroslavocom
www.natalyaburgos.com I Instagram: @natalyaburgos_art
Brendon Marczan is a painter and illustrator based in London. Many of his artworks feature a tipi symbol – a nod to the traditional dwellings of some Indigenous Canadians and Native Americans. These triangular shapes represent shelter, safety and home. The tight patterns throughout Marczan’s work further reinforce a sense of community in fractured times. www.brendonmarczan.com I Instagram: @brendonmarczan
Chromakane is a London-based print studio founded in 2020 by Jessie Cohen, who has expanded her illustration ideas into the worlds of print, textile and tattoo art. Inspired by myths and the natural world, Cohen merges eastern and western storytelling with an abstract, blackwork aesthetic. Each piece begins as a pen and ink drawing before being reproduced to archival quality. www.chromakane.com I IG: @chromakane
Barcelona-based Diego Rey is an award-winning multidisciplinary artist. The series Rizomas en mi taller was created during confinement and "deals with scenes of natural objects from the sea in a space like my workshop, generating an atmosphere that seeks to explore ways in which our lives are transformed." Rey is currently part of the Ferran Adrià team at the elBulliFoundation. www.itinerariaexposiciones.com I IG: @drey_vacios
Gunilla Daga is painter based in Stockholm who produces artworks which, in John Austin’s words, “are connected to each other, each image being born from the previous and forming a series of works where the artist investigates not only the nature of the materials at hand but seems to push each shape to take different forms." Daga has exhibited work throughout Europe and the USA. www.gunilladaga.se I IG: @gunilladaga
Jenny Williams is a UK-based painter with a background in visual merchandising and a love of music and dance. She finds that working primarily with oil paint allows for exploration of vibrant colour, texture and movement, as seen in her figurative works, landscapes and abstracts. In addition to her personal practice, Williams is also Chair of Herefordshire Art and Craft Society (HACS). www.jennywilliams.net
New York-based photographer Judie Long demonstrates a love for her subject matter as well as the action of creation. Scenes are captured with an eye for what she believes the viewer will appeciate seeing every day; the use of vivid colours and bold black and white are key in creating the artworks. Long's images are purchased as museum-quality framed works or ready-to-frame paper prints. www.judielong.com I IG: @ajudieoriginal
For submission enquiries regarding the Artists’ Directory, contact Katherine Smira on (0044) (0)844 568 2001 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Karsten Thormaehlen is a Frankfurt-based photographer whose practice includes reportage and urban architecture, as well as portraiture, for which he has won numerous awards. Thormaehlen's latest project is Not Another Second, in which he creates striking images of LGBT+ seniors. An exhibition is underway at The Watermark at Brooklyn Heights until 31 March. www.karstenthormaehlen.com I IG: @thormaehlen_photography
Kiyora is an award-winning, Tokyo-based artist with a background in architecture. Her intricate paper cutting works aim to depict the changing pockets of energy that make up our universe. Through bold, patterned contradiction, the compositions express light and dark, movement and stillness – using paper as a plane of representation and an outlet for creative expression. http://kiyora888.mods.jp I Instagram: @kiyora888
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. www.vimeo.com/kumioda
Manuel Caicoya is a Spanish architect and artist currently based in London. Extensive travels, living in various countries and interacting with other artists have driven him to the belief that art is a universal language. Caicoya's investigation of new forms and techniques in painting and photography means that any surface or object is a potential new canvas for expression. www.art-caiman.com I Instagram: @art_caiman
Meta Solar is a Slovenia-based painter who explores representations of contemporary young women. She creates images with fluid meanings where portraiture, patterns and spaces play with the idea of the real – where figures mingle with abstraction. Bold lines and colourful brushstrokes show how the body and mind can be revealed in new ways. www.metasolar.si I Instagram: @metapasteta
Misa Sawairi is a New York-based Japanese spatial artist and designer. The ongoing series Ripple Trip utilises urban streets as a canvas where she finds and records materials. Each expression consists of two photographs, taken before and after the artist’s intervention with the site, documenting the results of small actions. The images reflect the whole idea of communication. www.sawairimisa.com I Instagram: @sawairimisa
Nico Pedestru Nico Pedestru's latest series sparks a dialogue between light, form and ephemerality. “During lockdown, I have found myself in hyper-rectangular spaces: boxes, rooms and the home in general. I am exploring new ways to view spaces as well as what is considered ‘home." What happens when sculpture becomes conditioned by its architectural context and vice versa? www.nicoletapedestru.co.uk I Instagram: @nicoleta_pedestru
Photo credit: Sven Bergelt.
MODKA BY Monah Maucouvert Monah Maucouvert is based in Paris, where she studied Art History at La Sorbonne. The ocean and its rich, blue hues are a powerful draw for the artist, a former competitive swimmer who feels a connection with her Brazilian culture and mythology, including goddesses such as Yemanja, the ocean queen. Maucouvert is represented by Alessandro Berni Gallery, Perugia. https://modka.fr I www.alessandrobernigallery.com
ole Gahms Henriksen
The work of German artist Nikos Probst is created using various 3D software on his smartphone, whose limitations he uses to generate a new visual language. Based upon selected interiors of scientific collections, he transforms analogue archives into new spatial concepts through digital processes and presents them in two- and three-dimensional works. www.nikosprobst852479513.wordpress.com I IG: @der_probst
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 monochome artworks. www.olegahms.eu
Photographer Peter Searight creates uplifting abstract images of the English countryside at a time when he believes beauty is indispensable. Representations of the Impressionists are a longtime source of inspiration; Searight offers an opportunity for the viewer to connect with the natural world. His work has been widely exhibited and awards include a BIPP Fine Art Fellowship and an RHS Chelsea Gold medal. www.petersearight.com
Phil Davis's unique style of stencilism is at the heart of his art practice. The process begins with an initial colour or mood, followed by a dynamic application of paint to canvas. He then uses stencils for certain subjects such as buildings and figures. In this layered approach, Davis blurs distinctions between painting and printmaking. Recent works explore a "new reality" of living in cities during lockdown. www.phildavisfineartist.com
For submission enquiries regarding the Artists’ Directory, contact Katherine Smira on (0044) (0)844 568 2001 or email@example.com
Photo credit: Matthew Booth.
Ricky White is a UK-based photographic artist whose work aims to visualise his experience of mental illness. The use of self-portraiture to bring enigmatic emotions into a visual form allows him to bypass stigmas that surround mental illness and explore his inner psyche. As such, the Toska series is a long-term project which consumes the entirety of his reading, writing and practice. www.rickywhite.co.uk
UK-based Roberta Mason has a background in science and holds an MA in Ceramics & Glass from the Royal College of Art. Her practice is driven by a deep understanding of the sea and a commitment to environmental issues. The Old Ice collection is inspired by evocative aerial images of Greenland. www.robertamasonartglass.com I IG: @robertamasonartglass
Stefanie Schmid Rincon
Teresa Wells MRSS
Berlin-based Stefanie Schmid Rincon, who specialises in documentary and music photography, has found a way to challenge herself during lockdown; in the Quarantine Habitat series, Facetime is harnessed to portray female musicians from around the world. Rincon notes that remote work is possible and can indeed thrive in the current global climate. www.stefanie-schmid-rincon.format.com I IG: @stefschmidrincon
Sculptor Teresa Wells possesses an ethical consciousness with a fascination for the question “How do humans behave?” She explores the tenuous relationship between humans and society to illustrate a strong belief that when we are alone and vulnerable, our true humanity shines through. We survive despite our flaws and it is our whole selves that make us beautiful. www.teresawells.co.uk I IG: @teresa_wells_sculptor
London-based artist Tina Leslie’s practice explores both impressionistic cityscapes and the natural world, where bird's-eye views contrast with perspectives from deep within the tangle of nature itself. The mixed media paintings celebrate the patterns and energy found in urban spaces and landscapes. Upcoming exhibitions in 2022 include Hampstead School of Art and Highgate Gallery, London. www.tinaleslie.com I IG: @tinaleslie103
Vasilios Papaioannu is a filmmaker, photographer and mixed media artist based in Washington, DC. His practice investigates the fleeting dreamscapes of reality using noise, movement and disturbance; he hybridises different modes of filmmaking, unifying variegated media. Papaioannu is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Media, Journalism and Film at Howard University. www.vasiliospapaioannu.com
Product UX designer and illustrator Anish Talwar is based in Montréal. In his personal work, a playful and minimalist style is combined with rich colours to create a peaceful, positive aura. Scenes of everyday life provide inspiration for his illustration work: “There is some perfection in every imperfection.” In addition to project work, Talwar is a mentor at designed.org. www.anishtalwar.design Instagram: @anishtalwar.studio
Astra Papachristodoulou is a UKbased experimental poet and artist. She fuses natural materials with text to create interdisciplinary sculptures, mainly using ecologically friendly materials to respond to urgent environmental challenges. The works often have an interactive element, offering alternative ways for poetry to be presented and understood beyond the page. www.astranaut.co.uk Instagram: @heyastranaut
Brett Dyer is an award-winning artist and professor based near Dallas. His latest series combines abstract figures with evocative colours, patterns and textures, revealing the complexity of the human spirit. The acrylic on canvas piece shown here is entitled Color is Light, 2020. Dyer’s work has been shown in numerous exhibitions throughout the USA. www.brettdyerart.com Instagram: @brettleedyer
Brazilian-Dutch painter Claudia Pombo offers an adapted view of nature and human situations. Her creative expressions include detailed illustrations of Amazonian mythology, metaphysical art, as well as colour-rich landscapes. The piece shown here, entitled Without Choice, reflects the artist's ruminations on current world events. www.clpombo.wordpress.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Eleanor Bartlett is an award-winning UK-based artist for whom material is paramount – she specialises in the use of tar and metal paint. "When you see a great lump of tar, it’s like looking at a fundamental building block of the universe." Textures and colours in solid forms inhabit both installations and paintings. Bartlett’s most recent solo show Tar and Wax: A Homage was at Three Works, Scarborough. www.eleanorbartlett.com
Hannah Debson is a London-based fine art photographer who utilises light and colour to create evocative and stylised imagery. Portraiture, nude studies and still lifes are vehicles for exploration – Debson works to demystify the emotional and visual boundaries of beauty. Limited-edition, exhibition-quality prints are available to purchase directly from the artist. www.hannahdebson.com Instagram: @hannahdebson
Ori Gerard Frances
Josh Hollingshead is an awardwinning artist whose work covers social, environmental, political and religious themes, as well as the occasional memento mori. His large-scale paintings demonstrate a vivid use of colour and precise details to elucidate a narrative. Hollingshead's works have been exhibited in London and Cambridge, and are on show at his UK studio gallery in Swanage, Dorset. www.joshhollingshead.net
Ori Gerard Frances is a photographer and digital artist whose work has been widely exhibited. He believes the language of poetry and art is the only way to express certain aspects of our experience of reality in subtle and complex ways. Frances’s recent awards and honourable mentions include the Fine Art Photography Awards, Tokyo International Foto Awards and the IPA’s International Photography Awards. www.origerard.myportfolio.com
For submission enquiries regarding the Artists’ Directory, contact Katherine Smira on (0044) (0)844 568 2001 or email@example.com
Cao Fei, Nova, 2019.© Cao Fei. Courtesy of artist, Vitamin Creative Space and Sprüth Magers.
Anna Dannemann Curator, The Photographers' Gallery
What is the role of photography in our present time? What contributions can it make to wider political and social discourse, and who are the artists pushing the medium forward? Some answers may be found by looking at this year’s shortlist for the annual Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize. The four nominated bodies of work take a reflexive approach, with diverse and expansive subjects. These individuals use photography as a means of challenging political realities whilst depicting universal themes of identity, mobility, gender and the environment. Chinese artist Cao Fei (featured above) considers how rapid digital developments have radically altered the way we understand and navigate reality. The exhibition will open at The Photographers’ Gallery in summer 2021. thephotographersgallery.org.uk.