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Tiger, Tiger

Romantic Raconteur

Face Off

A Love Story

Tales of the South

Wild Wood

Editor’s letter

mong all living artists, George Condo has long fascinated me most. His mesmerizing and quixotic images create an alternative view of reality that is by turns beautiful, frightening and absurd. So it was a great joy to open an exhibition of Condo’s works in Baku recently (p98); and a delight to hear art-world authorities declare it one of the best shows ever staged of this brilliant New Yorker. To meld my country’s deep artistic tradition with shows of the world’s great artists fulfls one of my dearest passions, to create an ever more prominent spot for Baku on the global cultural map. Food is an art, as well, of course, and as the nights close in on another autumn, you can lose yourself in the visual beauty of the Russian dishes of the South Caucasus (p106). One of the most exciting forthcoming cultural spectacles is the release of the flm Ali and Nino, based on the classic Azerbaijani novel by Kurban Said – our Romeo and Juliet. The director, Asif Kapadia, and two stars, Adam Bakri and María Valverde, spoke to us for the feature on page 92. In this issue we also celebrate the recent F1 Grand Prix of Europe in Baku, which was hailed as a great triumph by everyone in the F1 frmament; Anar Alakbarov, whose vision was an important part of creating this seminal event for my country, talks about its success – and how he looks forward to the next one – on page 116. There is much more in this issue: from coverage of the recent ‘Live Life’ exhibition in London, supporting wildlife conservation, to a tribute to the great Zaha Hadid, architect of the Heydar Aliyev Centre in Baku, who passed away earlier this year. Please indulge, as the evenings get longer.


Leyla Aliyeva Editor-in-Chief

27 Baku.


Just shepherds and clouds in the village of Qriz.


Open-air art in Pompeii, plus flm, photography, sculpture and more must-see events this autumn.


The latest and quirkiest art-meets-fashion collaborations.




Is it a hotel or an art gallery? Your global guide to the destination accommodation combining the best of both.

The hyperreal work of German Insta-artist Mike Dargas.





As Malawi’s big game animals are hunted into extinction, one art exhibition gives a vital boost to a life-saving charity.


Art and architecture are becoming ever more entwined, plus their union makes the perfect Instagram snap.

The highlights of the recent F1 Grand Prix of Europe in its new location.


The Białowieza Forest in Belarus and Poland is Europe’s oldest primeval wilderness – and it is facing destruction.


Step back into the Belle Époque at a grand hotel set among the pines in Austria, where the devil is in the detail.



A tracksuit is the new LBD when gritty meets couture.



Baku’s cultural barometer of cutting-edge trends on the international art scene.


The rock-solid legacy of the legendary architect Zaha Hadid.


Dmitry Turcan is making his mark on Baku, one foral arrangement at a time.


A hot new nightspot and Parisian bistro? Mais oui!


156 MY ART


These majestic big cats have long been part of human fantasy – and fantasy is all they will be, unless we act now to save them.

Inside Kasia Kulczyk’s collection of Polish contemporary art.


Crystal healing shines on.





Two creative hot spots under the microscope.

Not only does he create dreamy, wearable clothes, London designer Erdem spins seductive stories with each new collection.





Autumn fashion, prairie-girl style.

The award-winning director Asif Kapadia returns to story-telling drama, with an adaptation of the epic novel ‘Ali & Nino’.


We delve into the psychological work of American artist George Condo, whose major retrospective is on show in Baku.


The ultimate comfort food from the South Caucasus via Russia.

Young and talented, Nadir Farajullayev is redefning street art.

The unlikely story of the incredible Palace of Happiness.

164 THE ILLUSTRATOR Woodland Creatures.


People, places and parties around the world.


The names to know in the art world this autumn.


The big problems facing the small Caspian seal.


Food artist Tom Wolfe can’t get enough of Azerbaijan.




Editor-in-Chief Editor-in-Chief, Condé Nast

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Deputy Editor, Russian Baku Magazine Director, Freud Communications Director, Media Land LLC in Baku/Advertising

Co-ordination in Baku

Deputy Managing Director President, Condé Nast International

Leyla Aliyeva Darius Sanai

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BAKU magazine has taken all reasonable eforts to trace the copyright owners of all works and images and obtain permissions for the works and images reproduced in this magazine. In the event that any of the untraceable copyright owners come forward after publication, BAKU magazine will endeavour to rectify the position accordingly. BAKU magazine is distributed globally by COMAG Specialist, Tavistock Works, Tavistock Road, West Drayton, Middlesex, UB7 7QX; tel +44 1895 433800. © 2016 The Condé Nast Publications Ltd, Vogue House, Hanover Square, London W1S 1JU, United Kingdom; tel +44 20 7499 9080; fax +44 20 7493 1469. Colour origination by CLX Europe Media Solutions Ltd. Printed by Pureprint Group. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is strictly prohibited.




is a Londoner by birth, and author of many books, such as Spitfre: The Biography. Favourite metal? Duralumin: the alloy that shaped the Supermarine Spitfre that took on the Nazi German Luftwaffe. Tweed or cashmere? Cashmere tweed – Scotland’s fnest fabric. Best year ever? 1969: Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walk on the moon. What is your defining Zaha Hadid moment (p146)? When she made her theatrical entrance as an avant-garde ‘Queen of the Night’ at the opening of her Guangzhou Opera House in 2010.

is a design and travel journalist, and a contributing editor for Condé Nast Traveller. Favourite metal? I’ve always worn a lot of silver jewellery. Tweed or cashmere? You can’t beat a cashmere jumper in the winter. Best year ever? This year is turning out pretty well so far, with lots of travelling to new places, from Zanzibar to Los Angeles. Austin – first impression (p64)? That it was very laid-back. I was staying on the East Side, which has wide, quiet roads that people cycle along to get to their favourite coffee shop or restaurant.

is a writer, author and wildlife lover, whose latest project is on the Edwardian bird photographer Emma Turner. Favourite metal? Copper. I love the way it oxidises and goes green and blue. Tweed or cashmere? Tweed. Because I’ve always been a closet old fogey. Best year ever? 1983, when I went on my frst trip to Africa and started my love affair with the continent. Favourite obscure tiger fact (p60)? There are more tigers in captivity in the United States alone than wild tigers in the entire world.



is a photographer who has shot the likes of Rihanna, Daniel Craig and Pharrell Williams. Favourite metal? Steel. I like its ‘can do’ attitude, looks and versatility. Tweed or cashmere? Cashmere. Best year ever? Hard to single one out. Not 2016, though. What is the art of portraiture (p92)? The eternal question in portraiture is whether someone’s exterior refects their interior. I still don’t know. When you do a portrait, you get to know the person a bit, then can only hope that the result doesn’t tell a lie and makes them look their best.

is a Swedish illustrator living, working and running in London. Favourite metal? Potassium – because you can’t make crisps out of gold, now, can you? Tweed or cashmere? I’m all about comfortable chic, so cashmere. Best year ever? 1992, because Nickelodeon programmes were in their prime and I got a popcorn machine for Christmas. How did Baku Eye spark your creativity (p137)? I really didn’t have to compromise for this assignment; the topics were more than inspiring and I’m planning a voodoo surfng trip to Haiti as you read this.


32 Baku.

is a London-based photographer who has shot for British GQ and Italian Vogue. Favourite metal? Titanium, as it’s strong. Tweed or cashmere? Defnitely cashmere – lovely and luxurious. Best year ever? 2014: some things fell apart, but even better things came together. How did the desert inspire you for the fashion story (p74)? Interestingly, it reminded me of Scotland – one of my favourite landscapes. I loved the earthiness of the terrain, which worked with our explorer narrative.



Photograph by EMIL KHALILOV

mountain high The village of Qriz, 2,000m above sea level, appears to foat over the mountain valleys of Azerbaijan. Dating back to about 400BCE, the era of the semi-mystical kingdom of Caucasian Albania, it is made up of little stone houses, still home to shepherds, just as they have always been. Visitors have to make the fnal leg of the journey on foot. It’s a simple life. 34 Baku.




35 Baku.

( cultuRe FIx



Where Tate Modern, London What Held in collaboration with MoMA, New York, this major retrospective (the frst since his death in 2008) explores the American artist’s six-decade career. Alongside early collaborations with the likes of John Cage and Jasper Johns, it will feature sculpture, photography, installation and his renowned ‘combines’, including Retroactive II (1963, this page). 37 Baku.


Where Shanghai Himalayas Centre and various venues, Shanghai What Participants from all walks of life will present their view on the state of the world in 2116, such as Liuyi’s Seed Planet (2016, above). This follows a claim that if global warming continues unabated, 76 per cent of Shanghai may be underwater by then.

UNTIL 2 JANUARY 2017 DALE CHIHULY Where Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto What Experience groundbreaking explorations in colour, light and form by Dale Chihuly, one of the world’s foremost artists working in glass today. Famed for his fantastical and innovative forms, his immersive installations seek to combine the properties of ice, water, glass and neon. Here, visitors can walk around – and even under – his intricate, ambitious, large-scale sculptural creations (above).

UNTIL 11 DECEMBER SAITAMA TRIENNALE Where Saitama, Japan What The relatively small city of Saitama is launching itself onto the international art stage with this exciting festival, with exhibits including the installation Happy Happy by Choi Jeong Hwa (above). Serving as a platform for creative dialogue, its theme is ‘Envisioning the Future’.



Where Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris What The highlight of the France-Russia Year of Cultural Tourism, this show features some of the fnest examples of 20th-century art, including Paul Gauguin’s Aha Oé Feii? (1892, below), from the vast collection of Russian art patron Sergei Shchukin (1854– 1936).

Where Archaeological Site of Pompeii What This vast open-air experience features works by the late Polish-French sculptor Igor Mitoraj at locations around the ruined city of Pompeii (above). Although modelled on contemporary people, Mitoraj’s works drew inspiration from the classical era, showing the enduring legacy of classicism.

UNTIL 5 MARCH 2017 THE NEW HUMAN Where Moderna Museet, Stockholm What The New Human is the second chapter of a serial project bringing together flm and video-based works that challenge how we view ourselves. Artists, among them Adel Abdessemed, Daria Martin and Hito Steyerl (above), ask probing questions about new technology and its implications for life beyond humanity.

UNTIL MID-JANUARY 2017 THE RECONSTRUCTION OF THE BEING UNTIL 31 DECEMBER MASTERS OF CINEMA IN TURKEY: LÜTFI AKAD Where Istanbul Modern, Istanbul What The frst of a series celebrating Turkish flm, this event commemorates what would have been the 100th birthday of director Lütf Akad – a pioneer of his time – whose credits include My Prostitute Love (1968, left). Exhibits include rare interview material, stills and scripts.

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Where Heydar Aliyev Centre, Baku What The works of the Mexican sculptor Jorge Marín (above) come to Baku for the frst time for an introspective display that delves into his archive as well as presenting new pieces. The Zaha Hadid-designed white interiors of the Heydar Aliyev Centre provide a stark contrast to the bold bronze sculptures, which show man in various positions of strength, vulnerability and deep emotion.



Where Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg What Korean artist Haegue Yang has installed 17 works, including Sonic Half Moon (2014, below), addressing the way manufacturing affects society. Combining industrial items (such as Venetian blinds) with the handcrafted (sculptures), Yang plays with concepts of ‘folk’ in material culture.

PENCIL IT IN Christophe Chemin's fantastical ink and pencil illustrations adorn pieces throughout Prada’s autumn/ winter men's and womenswear collections, reimagining pop culture and history: think Nina Simone wearing boxing gloves dancing with Joan of Arc holding maracas. It's the French artist's fashion-world debut, and who better to launch off with than doyenne Miuccia Prada.


PRINTS OF POP Not just another art and fashion collaboration: for this season Moschino's flamboyant creative director Jeremy Scott was granted access to the entire archive of controversial British artists Gilbert & George. The result? A crazy, colourful Pop-art delight featuring portraits and trompe l’oeil prints in the form of sharply tailored suits, mini-dresses and hoodies.


Christophe Chemin goes pop with Prada and Marc Quinn meets Lady Dior in our pick of this autumn's most covetable art-fashion fusions.

GOLDEN GLOW Jewellery designer Stephen Webster has transformed artist Tracey Emin’s famous neon signs into pieces of wearable art, in 18ct yellow gold and diamonds. Entitled ‘I Promise to Love You’, the collection between the two friends includes rings and necklaces, as well as charms based on Emin's animal sketches.

MINIMAL EFFORT Homeware brand Iittala and fashion house Issey Miyake have merged their respective Finnish and Japanese design aesthetics to create a perfectly pared-back collection. It includes multifunctional decorative pieces, such as this origamilike table flower (above), plates, vases, cushion covers and tote bags – all in pale hues and some with Miyake's signature pleats.

HOLA, HERMES French graphic designer Laetitia Bianchi pays homage to her Mexican roots with this exotic pattern for Hermès, printed on to a limited collection of silk scarves. The design has also been handpainted on to the mother-of-pearl dial of the Slim d’Hermès 'Mille Fleurs du Mexique' watch, of which only six were made.

BAG LADY Blooms hand-picked by Marc Quinn from the New Covent Garden Market feature on a limited-edition collection of Lady Dior handbags, available only at the House of Dior in New Bond Street, London. The collaboration between the French luxury brand and the British artist – who was inspired by Dutch stilllife paintings – was to mark the opening of the redesigned superstore. 41 Baku.


You don’t have to check in to these luxury hotels to appreciate their worldclass art collections.

6 2 1 4

Illustration by IKER SPOZIO


1 21c Museum Hotel, Louisville, USA Founded by local art collectors, this stylish endeavour, in converted tobacco warehouses, boasts a multimillion-dollar collection of 21st-century works only – the clue’s in the name.

4 El Fenn, Marrakech, Morocco Vanessa Branson, founder of the Marrakech Biennale, turned this crumbling riad into a hotel in 2004. Recently refurbished, it displays works by artists in her collection, such as Hassan Hajjaj and Antony Gormley.


2 The Surrey, New York, USA 5 St James’s Hotel and Club, London, UK As an Upper East Side pied-àAgainst the mostly traditional terre, it prides itself on discreet decor of this Victorian town service. The art, however, is house, the 400-plus European rather bold – Chuck Close’s artworks will delight. Intriguing tapestry of Kate Moss; Jimmie portraits crowd the walls and Martin’s graffti furniture; are the focus of the collection. Imogen Cunningham’s photo of Frida Kahlo.

7 The Bauers, Venice, Italy CEO Francesca Bortolotto Possati inherited her family’s passion for art and applies her eclectic taste to the Bauers’ collection – spanning Old Masters to contemporary works. She particularly favours Flemish paintings.

3 Belmond Hotel Monasterio, 6 The Alpina Gstaad, Cusco, Peru Switzerland The building here is as much Last year Swiss artist Pierre an attraction as its art, which Keller became art adviser at this is largely made up of splendid exclusive, and relatively new, religious paintings in gilt frames. retreat in the Bernese Alps. Its A resident expert offers tours walls feature works by the likes around this converted 16thof Tracey Emin and Alex Israel. century monastery.

8 New Hotel, Athens, Greece On the site of the old Olympic Palace hotel, this ‘new’ hotel from art collector Dakis Joannou includes remnants of the former, such as doors and chairs, which are presented as art. Works by artists such as Barbara Kruger feature, too.


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( maPPed out



7 14 8



13 11 Fairmont Baku, Flame Towers, Azerbaijan Within the city’s iconic modern towers, the hotel’s large collection, by Farmboy Fine Arts, is museum-worthy. Look out for works by such artists as Hadieh Shafe, Claudia Meyer and Sherin Guirguis. 9

9 Ellerman House, 12 XVA Art Hotel, Dubai, UAE Cape Town, South Africa The locally prominent Siddiqui This ocean-view hotel describes family once lived in what is now fne art as its soul. Occupying XVA – one of Dubai’s most the former mansion of a shipping established galleries. It’s all about magnate, with its own gallery, art from the Arab world, including it offers pieces spanning two resident artist Halim Al-Karim. centuries – from Thomas Bowler Plus, art talks are held in the to Lionel Smith. courtyards. 10 Four Seasons, Moscow, 13 Russia This year top local galleries have hosted pop-up shows in the hotel’s Moskovsky Bar, featuring Vogue photographer Slava Filippov and painter Alex Kuznetsov. Plus, it’s hard to miss the Soviet-style mosaics, pool-side.


14 Hotel Eclat Beijing, China 15 The Cullen, Melbourne, Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore The art is not subtle at this Australia The work of the late Adam Cullen A guided tour or a 30-minute pyramid-shaped design hotel. divides opinions but his bright, podcast will explain the 4,200 Colourful sculptures, neon daring brush strokes, of animals artworks at this bay-side hotel. installations and paintings by and fgures such as Ned Kelly, Most pieces were commissioned, Salvador Dalí, Andy Warhol and undoubtedly lend themselves such as a three-tonne suspended Liu Ruowang, among others, are well to this cutting-edge hotel. sculpture in the lobby by Frank displayed in the grand atrium Stella. and corridors.


43 Baku.

on the RAdAR

Mike Dargas with his works Guarded (2016) and Let Me Fly (2016) at Opera Gallery, London. Inset: Golden Thoughts (2015).

Pixel Perfect

From tattoos to canvases, the hyperreal works of German artist Mike Dargas are more than meets the eye, says Abbie Vora. Portrait by Jillian Edelstein

ou’d be forgiven for thinking the kind of infnitesimal detail in a Mike Dargas portrait could only have been captured by a lens. But, look a little closer – a lot closer – and it will become apparent that these large-scale trompe l’oeil images of emotive human faces are, astonishingly, created with teeny-weeny brush strokes of oil paint. Dargas is a self-proclaimed perfectionist, obsessed with precision, which is how his photorealistic works came about. “I started painting as a child and have been developing my style ever since,” says the Cologneborn artist, who has had no formal training in art. “I have always been inspired by the work of the Old Masters, and Michelangelo Caravaggio and Salvador Dalí, and I try to combine modern and traditional painting. The variety of great art is huge, but realism is what thrills and challenges me.” It was through a traineeship as a carpenter that Dargas began to explore sculpture, before turning his painterly hand to tattoos. The hyperreal monochrome portraits he inked into biceps, torsos and shoulder blades were as similarly detailed as the giant canvases he now creates, which were on display at Opera Gallery in Bond Street, London, during the summer – his frst solo exhibition. It was an international launching pad of sorts for Dargas, who was discovered on Instagram by the gallery’s director, Jean-David Malat. Now, Dargas’s intense portraits of models, foreheads dripping with shiny, viscous liquids, like honey or chocolate, and some bearing titles of Metallica songs – “Metallica underlines the emotions in my paintings” – are certain to become familiar faces. With preparations underway for a solo show at C24 Gallery in New York, and the Contemporary Istanbul art fair, this is the work of true passion.

The variety of great art is huge, but realism is what thrills and challenges me.


45 Baku.


Models in a/w 2016 catwalk looks from Vetements, and (below) Caitlin Price.


haute street

hile the default position of fashion is to romance the jeunesse dorée and dress them for ‘friendship’ parties in the Austrian Alps (heiress Eugenie Niarchos hosted one this summer), weddings on the Amalfi coast and other such starry events, designers are now realizing that life is not always a party. A reality check is sweeping through the business as it reckons with outdated show calendars, antiquated presentation schedules and an overriding anxiety about how to be more responsive to the ‘now’. The upshot is a new kind of stylistic love affair – this time it’s with the reality of the ‘street’. How that translates is into cool clothes with cultish undercurrents that can battle these turbulent economic and

It’s goodbye classic LBD and heels, and hello to a new wave of urban style – with added quirk, says Harriet Quick. political times and look as appropriate in Seoul and Silicon Valley as they do in Milan. You could see the roots of it this spring/summer as brands as diverse as Chloé, Chanel and Céline injected a quotidian element into collections. Cue tracksuit pants (Chloé’s striped ones were a trophy item), trench coats, bomber jackets, fancy sweatshirts, shirting, cropped denims and pimped-up Birkenstock sandals for the feet. The cocktail dress-and-stiletto formula suddenly took a back seat. One of the pioneers of the shift from high glamour to the gritty street is Demna Gvasalia of the much-lauded label Vetements, and now the creative director of Balenciaga. “We started the label two-and-a-half years ago from

xx 47 Baku.

nowhere. We proved that it is possible, not just a dream, to build something from scratch that can actually work. I think that is what makes people interested,” says Gvasalia, referring to the close-knit collective behind the brand. “If you have too much strategy, you forget about the essence. What we do is make clothes.” Vetements clothes look generic but what they offer is a built-in perversity, be it in the hunched or thrown-back shoulder lines, those jeans that look as though you’ve sat in a wet patch or the low swagger of a pair of sweat pants. “It’s the attitude,” says the affable designer, who keeps his eye on teenagers and clubwear in the outskirts of Paris. The look as well as the modus operandi is disruptive. The label staged a collection during couture week and collaborated with

Top row (from left): A detail from Balenciaga a/w 2016; Chloé s/s 2016 at Paris Fashion Week; and on Kendall Jenner; Caitlin Price a/w 2016 clubwear; and denim.

VETEMENTS CLOTHES LOOK GENERIC BUT WHAT THEY OFFER IS A BUILT-IN PERVERSITY, BE IT IN THE HUNCHED OR THROWN-BACK SHOULDER LINES, THOSE JEANS THAT 1. LOOK AS THOUGH YOU’VE SAT IN A WET PATCH OR THE LOW SWAGGER OF A PAIR OF SWEAT PANTS. brands as diverse as Brioni and Juicy Couture (yes, that bastion of Wag velour tracksuits) to come up with limited-edition pieces. At Balenciaga, a different mindset was at work. Gvasalia plunged into the history of the fashion house and re-emerged with a new set of codes that harnessed the ladylike couture background as well as the ‘attitude’ of the street. Even everyday items boasted that hauteur. Biker jackets have swing-out backs, tracksuit pants are fashioned in heavy-knit techno wools while gabardine trench coats are proportioned with high-fastening belts and voluminous sleeves. The necklace of choice is a tube with a clasp, inspired by a bicycle lock. What else is there to tempt? Phoebe Philo at Céline decided it was time to create a ‘non-workout’ legging that could be distinguished from its xx Baku.

Bottom row (from left): Rihanna in a Vetements hoodie, February 2016; Off-White a/w 2016; and backstage at the same show; Jourdan Dunn wearing a Vetements tracksuit, New York, May 2016.

brands such as London-based Palace and Paris label Supreme, as well as Russian designer Gosha Rubchinskiy. For his part, Rubchinskiy, who is backed by Comme Des Garçons, is fascinated by youth and the charming ability to get it so wrong/right in the urge to be fashionable. Sweatshirts tucked into shell-suit trousers and football scarves, for example. “People save up their money and come to London on the train from Manchester for a T-shirt or a hoodie,” says Dickon Bowden, vice president of the store with flagships in Beijing, New York and Tokyo. “It’s about a connection and like-minded spirits,” he says. Of course, we cannot live in sweatshirts alone. Yet, ‘haute street’ is fundamentally about agility and individuality. A pair of storm-trooper boots, distinctive jeans, a hoodie and a smile will go a long way this autumn. When it comes to cocktail hour, the dress and stilettos can remain; just add a bomber jacket covered with pins and badges and make sure your Uber drops you at enough of a distance to actually walk down the street.


Nike or Lululemon counterparts by virtue of the superior fabrication and a split at the calf. ‘Haute street’ also means a padded coat that might provide protection from the everyday. Stella McCartney delivered gigantic velvet ones thrown over evening slip dresses; it also means a bomber jacket in leather or sheepskin with a punkish flare, as at Sacai, and patchwork denim jeans and chevronstriped sweats from Off-White. The founder and designer of Off-White, Virgil Abloh, marries sportswear with high-minded aesthetics, and for winter has transplanted graphics from modernist architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. A jewellery collection from Natasha Zinko is all gold barbed wire in asymmetric earrings and chokers with diamonds and pink rubies. Since the heyday of punk, British designers have been enamoured with the language of the street. South London-born, Central Saint Martinstrained Caitlin Price, who debuted as part of the Fashion East collective in February 2015, has her eye on

OF COURSE, WE CANNOT LIVE IN SWEATSHIRTS ALONE. YET THE ‘HAUTE STREET’ MOVEMENT IS FUNDAMENTALLY ABOUT AGILITY AND INDIVIDUALITY. A PAIR OF DISTINCTIVE JEANS, A HOODIE AND A SMILE WILL GO A LONG WAY THIS AUTUMN. clubwear. She mixes high and low fabrics such as polyester, satin and silk, mohair and faux furs in casual-cool pieces such as track pants, bra tops, bomber jackets and sweeping long skirts worn over tiny hip-hop shorts. Price projects the excitement of suburban kids getting dressed up for the night with the savvy of Rihanna’s glamour. “I was imagining a group of revellers ‘holding it together’ for the long journey home,” says the designer, who filtered in neon graphics to mimic road signs into her precisely tailored look. At Dover Street Market in London you can witness the movement in full throttle as boys and girls queue up for cult T-shirts from skatewear 49 Baku.

Lions and rhinos and elephants, oh my! These magnifcent creatures are disappearing fast, thanks to prolifc game poaching in Malawi. But change is afoot, via an art show and one dedicated individual. Anna Wallace-Thompson reports.

Sketches (

land of the giants


Happiness by Leyla Aliyeva at the ‘Live Life’ exhibition, London.

here is no time to lose. “With 10 per cent of elephants, rhinoceroses and lions being obliterated every year, we must secure the survivors now,” says Mark Hiley, the founder of non-proft organization National Park Rescue. “Future generations will look back at the present slaughter in horror, when the world stood by and did nothing.” With the help of celebrity supporters including Michael Palin, Terry Jones and Roger Moore, National Park Rescue has been raising awareness on this urgent issue. In May of this year, a special exhibition organized by Leyla Aliyeva and curated by Hervé Mikaeloff at the Soho Revue Gallery in London successfully raised £126,500 to help further fund National Park Rescue’s activities. The works on show, by Aliyeva and a selection of international artists, were brought together under the theme of nature and the environment. “Our losses are estimated not in years, but in minutes,” says Aliyeva. “This is why organizing ‘Live Life’ was so important to me. I wanted to show the work of these talented artists from around the world, all 51 Baku.

united by our passion for wildlife conservation and real change. To show my work alongside theirs was a great privilege.” To date, National Park Rescue has successfully rehabilitated Liwonde National Park, which is home to all of Malawi’s surviving rhinos as well as 90 per cent of its elephants. Sadly, its lions have been hunted to extinction. Under the auspices of the Ministry of Justice, Hiley, along with co-founders Kamran Mahdavi and Jamie Lorenz, managed to raise the required $96,000 budget to see through their first operation.

Mark Hiley (left) is an explorer and broadcaster who founded National Park Rescue, which seeks to counter the lack of efective law enforcement in Africa’s national parks.

By getting rid of corrupt rangers, replacing them with an elite team and overseeing a dedicated onthe-ground effort to rid the park of snares and arrest poachers, they have been able to hand the park over to long-term management company African Parks. “I believe that humanity, when united, can change and save the world,” says Aliyeva. “Art is what keeps us genuine and present. This exhibition was just one small step forward in the right direction and we must all continue to take action if we are to enforce long-lasting change.”

WHY DID YOU CREATE NATIONAL PARK RESCUE? Working in Africa in the 1990s, I witnessed wildlife being killed in national parks by the very people charged with its protection. I left, disillusioned by the crime, the corruption and well-meaning but ineffective NGOs. In 2013 I returned. Nothing had changed. Walking away was no longer an option; I had to act.








The British-Italian designer, engineer and artist’s visionary works include the internationally lauded Silk Leaf project. Blurring the line between design and science, Silk Leaf has the ability to photosynthesize, with implications such as purifying the air and generating energy.

Baku-born Sultan had her first solo exhibition in the city’s Miniature Centre in 1994. Her art encompasses a variety of media, from tapestry and batik to ceramics and graphics. In ‘Live Life’, she adorned a piece designed by Leyla Aliyeva: Eastern Fairy Tale brings to life Azerbaijani miniature art.

Born in Georgia, Chopurov attended the Azerbaijan State Academy of Arts, with his first major breakout in the 2014 edition of Yarat’s ARTIM. Pomegranate captures the vibrancy of life, and is an awardwinning collaboration between Leyla Aliyeva and himself.

The 11-time winner of the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year shared some of his photographs, such as Lone Desert Wanderer. Specializing in aerial photography, he is also a regular speaker at nature conventions, as a founding member of the International League of Conservation Photographers.

Currently studying at the Higher School of Decorative Arts in Paris, after studies in Baku and Moscow, Alakbarli creates paintings and batiks, such as Yalli, from the ‘Petroglyphs of Gobustan’ series, through which she explores her connection to and love of nature in its myriad manifestations.

Also exhibiting in ‘Live Life’ were artists Nok Currall, Lyaman Hasanova as well as Timur Ozdamirov and the Oz Group.

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WHAT WERE THE CHALLENGES? We had to secure government support – to take control of the problematic ranger teams; to bring in and manage a detachment of Malawi’s national army; to attack corrupt systems; to arrest wildlife criminals; and restructure the country’s main national park. And to avoid the usual NGO exploitation. AFTER REHABILITATING A PARK, WHAT CHECKS ARE PUT IN PLACE? It’s important to note that there are some good charities, rangers and officials in Africa. But with 100,000 elephants butchered in the past

three years alone, it’s crucial that we grasp the harsh reality of the situation. Once we’re done, African Parks, a reputable organization that provides management of protected areas, will take over the park for 20 years. This park, with Malawi’s biggest population of elephants and rhinos, now has a bright future. IS THE TIDE CHANGING, FINALLY? Thanks, in part, to the ‘Cecil the lion’ incident, the internet is abuzz with anger. Young people today are connected and informed. I trust in them that they will eventually shut down the current ineptitude.

WHAT HAS BEEN MOST HEARTBREAKING FOR YOU? The sight of elephants and rhinos butchered by poachers. Most often the animals are still alive after their faces have been chainsawed off to get the ivory or horn. WHAT’S NEXT? National Park Rescue’s science officer and television presenter Dr Niall McCann is creating The Red List: a database of the national parks most in need of assistance. The conservation community must stop being competitive and work together.




Works on display at the ÔLive LifeÕ exhibition included (1) Elephant One, (4) Orange Tree and (6) Live by Leyla Aliyeva; (2) Hand of Thai Angel by Nok Currall; (3) Life Labyrinth by Lyaman Hasanova; and (5) Caravels, from the series ÔPetroglyphs of GobustanÕ, by Maryam Alakbarli.




2. 3.

box oftricks



hen architect Alison Brooks created The Smile for the 2016 London Design Festival, she fashioned a curved, 34m-long, cross-laminated tulipwood sculpture that would generate a thousand hashtags. On show in the grounds of the Chelsea College of Arts, visitors were invited to enter and walk the length of its curve from end to end, from one open balcony to the other. “I wanted to create an architectural form that was completely unexpected in any context,” explains Brooks, whose eponymous practice won a RIBA National Award and RIBA London Award this year. “For the visitor, the interior offers a unique spatial sensation, moving up the curved floors towards a view of the sky. I think these kinds of projects bring architecture and art into the public realm. The Smile is not just an object but also a space.” It is architecture as funhouse. The art-architecture hybrid is something that we’re seeing more frequently. It might be a consequence of the phenomenal popularity of the likes of Tate Modern and the Whitney – hubs of entertainment as much as art institutions. This autumn, international art fair Frieze scheduled its first ‘Architecture for Art’ conference, looking at the relationship between the two. With the increasing popularity of media-generating art projects such as The Smile, and the current tidal wave of new art and design museum architecture (Herzog & de Meuron at the Vitra Campus and Tate Modern,


Topping the cultural day-tripper’s wishlist in 2016, and beyond, are interactive attractions that amalgamate art, architecture and design – and allow for the perfect Instagram snap, says Mark C. O’Flaherty.


1 & 2. John Pawson’s Design Museum, London. 3. The Serpentine Pavilion 2016, designed by Bjarke Ingels Group. 4. A detail from the Vitra Schaudepot by Herzog & de Meuron. 5. The interior of the Whitney Museum, New York with work by Felix GonzalezTorres in the stairwell, and (6) the building viewed from Gansevoort Street.



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John Pawson’s Design Museum in London et al), the timing seems apposite. “There is a fault line between art and architecture that may be narrowing,” says Deyan Sudjic, the director of the Design Museum in London. “Witness the fact that the Turner Prize last year went to Assemble, who are essentially architects, but who see their work in some sense as a chance to engage with people and each other. It’s also significant that they are a collaborative practice, rather than an expression of individual authorship. The fault line is at its most acute when there is a tension between the ego of the artist and that of the architect.” The new John Pawson-designed Design Museum is, as one would expect from its architect’s reputation for minimalism, restrained in style. Many new spaces incorporating museums take an opposite approach. Their form is as sensational as anything inside. Case in point: Zaha Hadid’s dynamic Heydar Aliyev Centre in Baku, which won the London Design Museum Design of the Year award in 2014. “It is an intoxicatingly beautiful building by the most brilliant architect at the height of her office’s powers,” said juror Piers Gough of CZWG Architects. “It is as pure and sexy as Marilyn’s blown skirt.”

In terms of the small-scale ephemeral art-architecture hybrid, the Serpentine Pavilion has been a fixture of the summer season outside the Serpentine Galleries in Hyde Park since 2000, with original works by architects including Zaha Hadid, Oscar Niemeyer and Frank Gehry. At the same time there is the arresting ‘architectural intervention’ model, such as Richard Wilson’s numerous playful mauling of buildings. His Square the Block work on Kingsway in London looks as if a part of the corner of the London School of Economics (LSE) building is either exploding, or coming to life and

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“it is an intoxicatingly beautiful building by the most brilliant architect. it is as pure and sexy as marilyn’s blown skirt.”

rearranging itself. Then there are the Bouroullec brothers with their plush, cocoon-like gallery installations, and Antony Gormley’s ROOM at the Beaumont Hotel in London. At ROOM, Gormley directs the guest to engage with the space: you should disrobe entirely in the marble bathroom before pulling back the thick velvet curtain to the bedroom. Every surface of the latter space is clad in oak, with geometric sculpted aspects that only become apparent as your eyes adjust in the darkness. It’s magical. ROOM is a commercial enterprise accessible only to those willing to pay £1,250 a night for it. It’s a luxury product as well as an artwork. Access to Anish Kapoor’s ArcelorMittal Orbit cost £15 during the Olympics. Almost every art-architecture hybrid project has its price and exists, primarily, as a shop window. The Smile was a project produced with the American Hardwood Export Council. But as anyone who has been to Milan’s Salone del Mobile will know, such subtle collaborations aren’t anywhere near the norm. “Large-scale architecture and design installations are nowadays part and parcel of any design week,” says Johanna Agerman Ross, founder of Disegno. “However, their presence can be troublesome as they often are the result of brand sponsorships. As a result there is always an uneasy balancing act. There are, of course,

1. Interior and (2) exterior of The Smile by Alison Brooks at the London Design Festival 2016.

some good examples, such as Jaime Hayón’s huge chess board in Trafalgar Square in 2009, The Tournament, which engaged many Londoners with the message of the festival.” The public excitement over the art-architecture hybrid is immense, as was demonstrated by the queues for Gelitin’s miniature boating lake on the terrace at the Hayward’s hugely successful ‘Psycho Buildings’ (2008),

3. The giant chess set in Trafalgar Square, London, by Spanish designer Jaime Hayón (2009). 4. The artist Carsten Höller and (5) his slide wrapped around Anish Kapoor’s ArcelorMittal Orbit, London, 2016. 6. Square the Block (2009) by sculptor Richard Wilson, Kingsway, London.

and the frenzied lottery that took place each time A Room for London, the small boat perched on the edge of the roof of the Queen Elizabeth Hall on London’s South Bank, was available for overnight booking. A Room for London falls under the auspices of Alain de Botton’s Living Architecture initiative, which was, as he explains: “established to enable people to immerse themselves in modern architecture, rather than observe it from afar.” But it’s more than that – the artist Grayson Perry famously designed A House for Essex, and when you visit John Pawson’s Life House in Wales, there is a programme of walks around the architecture, curated by the artist Hamish Fulton. The aforementioned ‘Psycho Buildings’ show might have been a turning point for the art-architecture “fault line” to which Sudjic refers. And it was compounded by the Royal Academy’s ‘Sensing Spaces: Architecture Reimagined’ (2014), which invited seven architectural practices from six countries to create distinct environments within the gallery spaces. There were mazes made of hazel, with illuminated floors, and a set of pillars and staircases that led to a viewing platform mere touching distance from the gallery’s ornate ceiling cornices. These were sensational architectural interventions. There was also a third aspect to the ‘Sensing Spaces’ show that was particularly fascinating: the filmmaker Candida Richardson was given her own space to show her film portraits of each architectural practice. They served as explanation, but also as artworks in their own right. “My films were a response to the architects’ built work and their environments around the world,” explains Richardson. “I think ‘Sensing Spaces’ was reacting to the way contemporary architecture is moving away from the corporate, towards a more personal approach. It’s something I saw reflected in Alexandro Aravena’s 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale, which focuses on architecture’s

response to human need. His theme, Reporting from the Front, asks the question, ‘how can architecture, given physical needs and local contexts, improve the quality of peoples’ lives?’” One of the questions that continues to be asked of the “fault line” is, “art or architecture”? Is, for instance, Carsten Höller an artist or architectural designer? His work has been a sensation when exhibited at art institutions worldwide, but it’s also a standout element in the architectural park of Vitra Campus, with his work shown next to Gehry, Ando and Herzog & de Meuron. It might, ultimately, be a moot point. Both architecture and art deal in sensation. And who wouldn’t enjoy hurtling through a beautiful tubular steel slide at what feels like light speed for 40 seconds, as you can do at Höller’s recently opened installation incorporated into Kapoor’s ArcelorMittal Orbit? What’s a fault line without some real drama? All you need to appreciate it is a head for heights. And £17 (it’s gone up).


7 & 9. ROOM by Antony Gormley, the Beaumont Hotel, London. 8. A House For Essex by Grayson Perry. 10. Eduardo Souto de Moura at the ‘Sensing Spaces: Architecture Reimagined’ exhibition, the Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2014, and (11) Blue Pavilion by Pezo von Ellrichshausenat at the same show. 12. The Life House by John Pawson. 13 & 14. A Room for London, Queen Elizabeth Hall, on the city’s South Bank.

and who wouldn’t enjoy hurtling through a slide at what feels like light speed?

Autumn Issue


** ** **

Pale Fire Golden era’s over Got a nickel for the coin-op? Two gentlemen watching eastwards Next generation, near me Turn left at the Absheron

“tigers pay a heavy price for their role in hum Words by JAMES PARRY

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an fantasy; they are a casualty of symbolism.�

The global wild tiger population has fallen from hundreds of thousands to a mere 3,890. Conservationists now face a tough decision: save existing populations or try a reintroduction programme that, while risky, could see the big cats roam Central Asia for the frst time in 50 years.

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globally, there is enough forest habitat rem


owerful, beautiful, mysterious. Is there any creature as compelling as a tiger? British poet William Blake clearly thought not. “Tyger Tyger, burning bright,” he wrote, “In the forests of the night; What immortal hand or eye, could frame thy fearful symmetry?” Blake’s famous poem was published in 1794, when hundreds of thousands of tigers prowled from eastern Turkey through the Caucasus, Persia, India and south-east Asia as far as China and the far east of Russia. Feared and admired in equal measure, these apex predators – bigger even than the lions with which they once shared the western and central parts of their range – historically played

a paramount role in folklore, popular culture and the decorative arts. From the 5,000-year-old rock carvings of tigers in the Helan Mountains of Inner Mongolia to the tiger mosaics adorning the façade of the 17th-century Sher-Dor Madrasah in Samarkand and the tigers that dominate the present-day coat of arms of Malaysia, the king of the cats has exerted a talismanic infuence over mankind. Human leaders have often sought to project the tiger’s qualities as their own. In an inevitably unequal battle of the mighty, tigers were the preferred hunting quarry of kings and other princely rulers, perhaps nowhere more so than in India. Mughal art is

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full of scenes depicting tiger hunts, a tradition adopted with bloodthirsty enthusiasm by the British when they governed India. The record for the most tigers killed in a single hunting trip is held by King George V and his party, who shot 39 tigers in a 10-day expedition to India and Nepal in 1911. The Maharajah of Kotah even had a Rolls Royce specially modifed for tiger hunting, complete with a mounted machine gun and cannon. “Tigers pay a heavy price for their role in human fantasy,” wrote Ruth Padel in her lyrical book Tigers in Red Weather; “They are a casualty of symbolism.” The largest of all the wild cats stood little chance under such an onslaught. Of the nine recognized tiger subspecies, three became extinct during the 20th century thanks to indiscriminate shooting, trapping, poisoning and habitat destruction. The island race of Bali tiger was the frst to go, hunted into oblivion by the late 1930s. The Caspian tiger was next, those from Tajikistan and Iran in 1958–59, and from Azerbaijan in 1964 (a later record from Turkey is usually discounted). The last Javan tigers were seen in the 1970s. A fourth subspecies, the South China tiger, is believed to have gone extinct in the wild within the past 20 years, but thankfully a small number of animals remain in captivity so the genetic strain continues. For wild tigers elsewhere, the situation had become very bleak by the turn of the present century. They had disappeared from 96 per cent of their former range, under intense pressure from illegal hunting. By 2011 the total global population of wild tigers was estimated to have fallen to just 3,200 individuals.

With the hunting of tigers banned in all countries by the 1970s, illegal poaching was the main culprit behind such a dramatic collapse in numbers. Even in supposedly well protected areas, such as the national parks of India, tigers were quietly disappearing. Poacher snares and other types of trap were stripping forests of the big cats, fuelled by demand from China in particular for the use of their body parts in traditional medicine. Tiger bones, claws, teeth, eyeballs and whiskers are all claimed to have healing properties for a range of ailments from insomnia and rheumatism to malaria and meningitis, despite there being no supporting scientifc evidence. During 2000–14, the body parts of more than 1,500 tigers were seized by wildlife law enforcement offcials worldwide. With a fresh mature tiger carcass worth $50,000 or more on the black market, it is not diffcult to see why poachers are so bent on killing them. A possible glimmer of hope came in April this year, when conservation groups announced that the world’s estimated population of wild tigers was assessed at 3,890, up 20 per cent in fve years. Although some of this increase can be attributed to better recording methods, more effective anti-poaching

This page, clockwise from top left: Henri Rousseau’s Dream (1997) by Frances Broomfield; The Tyger, plate 43 from Songs of Innocence and of Experience (1802-08) by William Blake; a young Bengal tiger; a Siberian tiger running in snow; The Tiger at Bay from Oriental Field Sports (1807) by Samuel Howett; Tipu’s Tiger (1790) by Indian School; the Malaysian coat of arms; George V, Prince of Wales, front row, third from right, poses with the spoils of a hunt in India, 1906. Background image: Tiger in a Tropical Storm (Surprised!) (1891) by Henri Rousseau.


aining to enable a doubling in tiger numbers. This page, clockwise from top: Ussuru, a Siberian tigress, in the Primorye Safari Park, Shkotovo, Russia; Tiger Necklace (1904) by Lalique; a Bengal tiger crosses a dirt track in Bandhavgarh National Park, India; Ussuru, as before; a Bengal tiger at Bandhavgarh National Park; the Tipu’s Tiger Head Sword, used in India during the Battle of Seringapatam, 1799, on display at the Clive Museum, Powis Castle, Wales; The Political Conference of the SPD in Crisis (1931) by John Heartfield.

policies are also helping. These have been particularly successful in the Far East of Russia, where the population of Siberian (or Amur) tigers is now estimated to be in excess of 500 individuals. Organizations such as the Phoenix Fund are working to protect the animals from poaching, as well as reduce other pressures on them and their habitat, such as roadbuilding and illegal logging. Antipoaching patrols are undertaken with military-style planning and equipment, the tigers – so

elusive that they are hardly ever seen in the fesh – monitored by the use of camera traps and GPS tracking. “It’s not just about technology,” explains Sergei Bereznuk, the Fund’s director, “but also education. We need to explain to local people that having tigers in our forests is a source of celebration and pride, so that they will want to look after them for future generations.” Meanwhile, plans are afoot to return the tiger to Central Asia, where the Caspian (or Turanian) tiger was driven to extinction more than half a century ago. DNA analysis of museum specimens from Russia, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan has revealed that the Caspian population was virtually identical genetically to the Siberian tigers further east and that rather than two separate sub-species these were in fact one; their once contiguous range possibly ruptured by climate changes or human activity. Now conservationists are discussing the possibility of reintroducing tigers (using Siberian animals) to Kazakhstan, where a feasibility study by the Worldwide Fund for Nature has identifed the presence of adequate habitat in the basin of the River Ily and along the southern shores of Lake Balkhash. “The critical question is whether the area can support adequate numbers of the tigers’ preferred prey of wild boar and red deer,” says Dale Miquelle, director of the Russia Programme at the Wildlife Conservation Society. “With limited funds available for tiger conservation, should we be diverting money to save existing populations for a

reintroduction experiment that may or may not succeed?” Lack of suitable prey is one of the biggest problems for wild tigers. In situations where their natural food sources are in thin supply, tigers will turn to other options. Domestic livestock can make for easy pickings, which naturally brings tigers into immediate confict with farmers. Attacks on humans are rare, but do occur, usually when tigers are injured or starving. The presence of a plentiful and healthy prey base is therefore paramount to their survival. Globally, it is estimated that there is enough intact forest habitat remaining to enable at least a doubling in overall tiger numbers. More reintroductions are being planned, both within countries such as India, which still have tigers but where some populations have become isolated, and those – such as Cambodia – where tigers have died out. Despite such positive proposals, poaching remains a constant

threat and there is also the alarming proliferation of tiger farms, centres in which tigers are bred for supposedly educational or tourism purposes. “Numbers of tiger farms have increased at an astounding rate across Asia,” says Heather Sohl, WWF-UK’s chief adviser on wildlife. “These undermine efforts to halt the illegal trade and protect wild tigers by complicating enforcement efforts and boosting the demand for products and parts. It is vital tiger farms are closed.” The future of tigers is therefore far from secure, but with more anti-poaching efforts, better education and the right sort of political will, it is just possible that the dazzling object of William Blake’s poetic eye may once again stalk forests from which it had long since disappeared.


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Austin 64 Baku.

Music may have put Austin on the map but the Lone Star capital has evolved into a magnet for the cool kids of design. The Danish capital, meanwhile, with its vibrant gallery districts and new international fair, has emerged as the hip heart of Nordic art. Emma Love in Austin and Clint McLean in Copenhagen report.

Copenhagen 65 Baku.

THE INSIDE TRACK AUSTIN: The urban-bohemian

lifestyle on offer in Austin – the fastest-growing big city in the US – is attracting hordes of new residents, especially people from liberal, techsavvy cities on the West Coast. With its roots firmly in music, the Lone Star capital and once sleepy college town had, by the 1960s, a reputation for helping talented rising-star blues, rock and country singers such as Janis Joplin find their voice. Next, the entrepreneurial tech startups, creatives and film production companies arrived (including legendary indie-film director Richard Linklater, whose Detour Filmproduction is based here). And, in recent years, the SXSW music festival, which launched in 1987, has upped its game to add comedy, film and interactive segments to the line-up. There’s also a thriving design scene, as evidenced everywhere from the curated fashion boutiques to the bars in clapboard bungalows. “Austin definitely has a specific design vibe, which comes from attracting folk from New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco,” says Callie Jenschke, co-founder of Supply Showroom, a boutique that represents more than 35 international interiors brands. “There’s a modern, yet natural aesthetic; it’s laid-back elegance with a twist.”

COPENHAGEN: Cool, compact

and creative, this is a city that lives up to the hype. Trine Ross, an art critic and captain on the television show Kunst Quiz (Art Quiz), dates the ripples of today’s buzz back to the mid-1980s – a time when Denmark had its own “Young Wild Artists”, who transformed painting and arranged their own exhibitions. “Then in the early 1990s,” Ross says, “a very young Nicolai Wallner introduced the concept of the gallery, as opposed to art dealers, and this was the beginning of a whole new era.” A thriving gallery scene developed along with the country’s financial bubble, which was a blessing and a “Copenhagen Curse”, to borrow a phrase from Danish curator Lars Bang Larsen. The meatpacking district, Kødbyen, underwent a revitalization and became a significant dot on the city’s art map. Another significant dot was added in 2011, when the Faurschou Foundation opened, showing art by Ai Weiwei, Yoko Ono and Shirin Neshat, among others. In 2016, when Art Copenhagen celebrated its 20th anniversary, it was reborn as the host of two fairs – Select and Code – creating a new stop on the global art-fair circuit.

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Previous spread (from left): pedestrians in 6th Street during the Pecan Street Festival, Austin; Copenhagen waterfront. This spread: 1. Elizabeth Street Cafe. 2. Friends & Neighbors. 3. Trine Ross (right). 4. Laura Uhlir of Olive. 5. The SXSW festival 2016. 6. Austin Motel. 7. Paul Qui. 8. Nicolai Wallner. 9. Elektra (2015) by Evren Tekinoktay, Chart Art Fair. 10. The Continental Club. 11. AB-#48 (2015) by Peter Mohall, the Code Art Fair. 12. Per Kirkeby. 13. Untitled (2014) by Mikkel-Carl, ‘Calculated Optimism’ exhibition, Last Resort Gallery. 14. The Kødbyen area of Copenhagen. 15. Josephine House.





AUSTIN: Liz Lambert, founder of

AUSTIN: What’s hot and what’s not

AUSTIN: Keep Austin Weird.

the Bunkhouse group of hotels, transformed a former motel into the Hotel San José long before South Congress was the hip hangout it is today (that was in 2000: in 2008, she opened Hotel Saint Cecilia, San José’s younger, more rock’n’ roll sibling). Her latest revamp is the Austin Motel, set to open this autumn. While there are big names behind some of the city’s bestloved hotels and restaurants, no one figure dominates, however. Restaurateur Larry McGuire’s empire includes French-Vietnamese bakery and restaurant Elizabeth Street Cafe, chic Clarksville brunch spot Josephine House, and justopened June’s. The lifestyle boutiques are all independent one-offs: Deeyn Rhodes and Lonzo Jackson own Nannie Inez, which stocks interior brands such as Hay and Jointed + Jointed; Michelle Teague’s JM Drygoods is inspired by Mexican homewares; and Jill Bradshaw co-owns concept store Friends & Neighbors. Laura Uhlir, stylist, photographer and owner of fashion boutique Olive, says: “Austin feels in flux. We’re standing somewhere between our scrappy DIY past and our big-city future, embracing clean-lined design but still loving a little grit, too.”

COPENHAGEN: In this famed land of equality, there’s a community of contributors helping to evolve the art scene. Artists such as Olafur Eliasson, who enchanted New York with his waterfalls, and painter/sculptor Per Kirkeby, whose reputation was elevated by his 2009 Tate Modern exhibition, are putting Danish art in the headlines. Peter Ibsen, known for his tightly curated collection of minimal, black and white artworks, is also the man behind the well read sites and This year Ibsen opened Sunday-S Gallery as a brickand-mortar space as well as joining Mikkel Carl in curating the new Code Art Fair. Christian Andersen is a leader in producing consistently challenging shows, which he does at his namesake gallery, as well as offering a strong stable of established Danish and German artists at his second space, Andersen’s Contemporary. Lastly, and not to be underestimated, is the effect of the Danish Arts Foundation. Among the top public funders per capita in the world, it earmarked 80 million kroner in 2015 for working grants to artists. That is out of a budget of 500 million kroner spent on programmes to artists, institutions and other cultural agents.

can change in the blink of an eye in Austin. Once residential Rainey Street is currently one of the buzziest nightlife spots in the city; head for cocktail bars such as Half Step and the new Lustre Pearl, owned by bar maven Bridget Dunlap. For dinner, options include Filipino fare at celebrity chef Paul Qui’s slick flagship restaurant Qui; and pastrami at new opening Launderette, steered by chefs Rene Ortiz and Laura Sawicki, where wooden slab tables on cast iron legs are teamed with plush leather wall benches and an aqua-coloured floor.

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COPENHAGEN: After visiting the galleries in Kødbyen, pull up a bench at Warpigs brewpub and attempt to finish a giant Texas Smørrebrød – a meaty play on the traditional Danish open-faced sandwich. Wash it down with one of the house brews such as Tongue Worshipper or an excellent Mikkeller beer. If you don’t mind a little smoke in your eyes, Bo-Bi Bar in Indre By is a great place to strike up a conversation with some of the artists, writers and students that frequent the historic establishment. If it’s live music you’re after, Vega is the spot for great sound and cool bands.




AUSTIN: The annual three

heavyweight hitters – Austin City Limits music festival at the beginning of October, The Texas Book Festival in November, which was set up by Laura Bush in 1995, and SXSW in March – all attract huge international crowds. Quirkier celebrations include August’s Bat Fest, based on the 1.5 million bats living under Congress Avenue Bridge, which fly out at dusk, and Trucklandia in October, where food comes courtesy of some of the best food trailers in the city.

COPENHAGEN: Art Copenhagen and the Nordicthemed Chart Art Fair, both of which take place in August, are the summer highlights on the contemporary art calendar. For something a little different, check out the International Performance Art Festival at Warehouse 9 in April or the alternative art fair Alt_Cph in September for a look at some innovative artist-run initiatives. For a fun way to explore the city, visit the many locations involved in the Copenhagen Photo Festival in June.

The phrase that launched a thousand bumper stickers was first coined 16 years ago by librarian Red Wassenich when he phoned into a local radio station – but now it just sounds naff. The city has moved on.

COPENHAGEN: Are you really the happiest people? It is well reported that the Danes have been rated the happiest people in the world a number of times but it is really getting tired. Now a mention of such surveys is prone to make Danes, who relished the attention initially, well, rather unhappy.

DO SAY AUSTIN: “Have you got your

ticket to this month’s Camp Contemporary?” The one-ofa-kind, back-to-nature overnight arts festival is held at Laguna Gloria, The Contemporary Austin’s 14-acre site that encompasses an outdoor sculpture park and the Italianate-style Driscoll Villa and historic gardens. 15-16 October;

COPENHAGEN: “Hey, isn’t Lars von Trier Danish?” Danes know the name of every famous Danish person and are fiercely proud. Brush up on the big ones, like Helena Christensen, Viggo Mortensen and current chart topper Lukas Graham, and see if you can drop them into conversation before an eager Dane does. 14.



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Romantic R

Words by HARRIET QUICK Illustrations by ANDREW ARCHER

He creates detailed, delightfully dreamy yet wearable pieces, which have earned him a legion of highproďŹ le fans. But what makes the London-based designer du jour Erdem such a master of his art is his ability to weave seductive narratives through his collections, transporting us away from our overstimulated lives to a world of fashion fantasy.

Raconteur 69 Baku.

magine the scene: in a cavernous warehouse space that once was the Old Selfridges Hotel, the stage is arranged with vintage theatrical backdrops depicting bucolic country scenes and giant silk lamps that might have appeared in a Noël Coward play, while wardrobes, pillars, doorways, arches, trunks and antiques dot the serpentine runway creating a beguiling ‘prop warehouse’ setting for Erdem’s most compelling collection to date. The models appear like leading ladies in a play, emerging in a series of tantalizingly beautiful dresses that shimmer in lamé and seduce in embroidered lace and sequins. The idea of the fashion show as a performance – and the gown as a display of character and aspiration – is elegantly encapsulated in the choreographed presentation. “I never think of things in terms of an evolution; it is always more of a narrative that directs my work. I conceive of my woman in terms of her story and where she is going, and she changes every season. It has much to do with knowing how to move forward and what to leave behind. As a designer you become more confident in your voice. There is something about practising what you do that makes you more assured the longer you do it,” says Erdem, who, with his glossy black Eton crop, spectacles and boyish good looks, appears in the bloom of youth. Erdem Moralioglu was born in Montreal to a Turkish father and British mother (both now deceased). He has been doing ‘it’ for 11 years, gradually building a repertoire of design that includes poetic, romanticized and highly crafted evening dresses, delightful blouses and print skirts, with an ageless appeal that resonates from Sydney to Los Angeles. “She is local and international, from South America, Japan, the Middle East, Sweden, London,” says Erdem of the broad range of customers who while away time in the Mayfair boutique that he opened in South Audley Street last year. The 186sq m space, arranged over two floors, complete with a Victorian fern garden, Alvar Aalto seating, art by David Hockney, Andy Warhol and Jean Cocteau, and a harlequinpatterned Belgian marble floor, is emblematic of the success of a generation of London designers. “I wanted the feel of a pied-àterre – somewhere that is comfortable and private,” says Erdem of the space that he realized with his architect-designer partner Philip Joseph of P Joseph, whom he met as a student at the Royal College of Art. Erdem, now aged 38, joins Roksanda, Simone Rocha, Christopher Kane and shoe designer Nicholas Kirkwood as retail proprietors, all with stores in Mayfair. This generation has come of age, proving that there is much more to London than a sensational frock and punkish provocation. Indeed, Erdem’s highly cultured perspective on fashion and his subtle interpretations of art, literature and cinematic history, could not be further removed from the brash swagger that was once associated with the capital’s talent. He is a photography and film buff (he knows the Hitchcock oeuvre inside out) and was raised on a diet of period dramas in suburban Montreal. His mother used to read to him from monographs on Manet and the Impressionists as a bedtime treat and he developed an eye for colour and texture early on, as well as a predilection for enigmatic female characters. “London is full of strong individual voices and that is what makes it so special, and so much of that is to do with the education system. There’s a sense of fearlessness and I felt that 10 years ago,” says Erdem, who picked up the Establishment Award at the annual British Fashion Awards in November 2015. Erdem’s studio is located in an unprepossessing modernist redbrick building in busy Bethnal Green Road, East London, and is within walking distance of his Hackney home, which he is currently renovating. As CEO and creative director of 70 Baku.

1. Poppy Delevingne after attending the Erdem s/s 2016 show, London. 2. The designer with Samantha Cameron at the British Fashion Awards 2012. 3. Actresses Anne Hathaway and (5) Keira Knightley opt for Erdem gowns on the red carpet. 4, 6, 7 & 8. Erdem creations as seen on the a/w 2016 catwalk at London Fashion Week.



"I never think of things in terms of an evolution; it is always more of a narrative that directs my work. I conceive of my woman in terms of her story and where she is going." 71 Baku.

High-profile fan Alexa Chung (1) with the designer at the Elle Style Awards 2015, and (2) at the label's a/w 2016 show at the Old Selfridges Hotel, both in London. 3, 4 & 5. Details from the Erdem a/w 2016 show at London Fashion Week. 6. The Erdem store in South Audley Street, Mayfair.


"erdem allows me to be feminine without feeling trussed up." a self-financed business, Erdem is both a successful entrepreneur and a leading tastemaker. The brand, which remains completely independent, turned over £10m in 2015 and he now employs a 50-strong team, including a managing director and a CFO to keep the cash flow and strategy on track in this notoriously fragile business. It was given a boost when Erdem was awarded the inaugural British Fashion Council/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund in 2008, worth £200,000 plus a year of mentorship. “Any independent label has its own challenges and opening a store is very difficult to do in London and not necessarily straightforward,” he says. “I think I have been fortunate that it has grown in a controlled way. It’s a wonderfully bumpy journey that keeps me on my toes continually.” He now designs four collections a year and has introduced shoes: think quirky printed fabric pumps and Mary Janes with tiny pearl buttons. Blessed with a sanguine outlook and a wickedly dry sense of humour, Erdem is equipped to ride through the storms that periodically crash through the business exacerbated by difficult economic times and rapidly changing tastes. Yet Erdem’s romantic, escapist aesthetic, which emerges from a deep love and expertise in exquisite fabrics and patterns (he trained in textiles at the Royal College of Art), is proving a long stayer. His graduate collection featured vintage textile ‘seconds’, including lengths of brocade and toile du jouy fabrics that he found in Paris flea markets mixed with African batiks truffled out in London’s peripheries, and laid the ground for the future brand. He was the beneficiary of the Chevening Scholarship, awarded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Institute. To note, Erdem was the first fine arts or fashion student to receive the bursary. Women tend to ‘collect’ his gowns, adding pieces seasonally and for special occasions. “The shape is just so good and he is brilliant with fabrics,” says Melanie Clore, the former chairman of Sotheby’s Europe. Clore, who has been wearing Erdem since the early years of the brand, is one of a clutch of high-profile devotees, including First Lady Michelle Obama, Samantha Cameron, model Poppy Delevingne, and actresses Keira Knightley and Anne Hathaway. Emma Elwick-Bates, fashion news editor of US Vogue and a close friend of Erdem’s, chose a lace and ivory satin 1960s-inspired dress for her nuptials in Oxfordshire. Her collection now includes “a long pink dress with sequinned polka dots – it’s fluid, flower-fairy and has saved numerous summer social situations," she says. "I have a navy and white butterfly sleeved sheath dress from spring 2007 that I cherish. And autumn 2012 was one of my glory seasons: I have several pieces that are the perfect combination of Deneuve subversion and prettiness with PVC, latex and lace details, and trench-style belts. I find it ironic that he’s my go-to designer as my natural propensity is towards tomboyish neutrals, but Erdem allows me to be feminine without feeling trussed up.” But what makes a modern romantic? Look closely at Erdem’s designs (they always reward close and intimate inspection) and you will find subtle details that deliver a sense of now. It is present in the sense of déshabillé delivered through tiny covered buttons, frayed edges and semi-sheer découpé fabrics; and the colourways that might feature a flash of a toxic hue or a metallic against a harmonious painterly palette; or in the playful erotic forms of Erdem’s distinctive botanical prints and jacquards. His artful hand avoids the twee, the ‘heavy’ and any sense of costume creating an image of femininity that is poetic yet ‘present’ in the here and now. His twin sister, Sara, has remained a constant influence. The first gown he made was a strapless blue number for her Barbie.

“Erdem is a designer who has an enduring bond with a very loyal customer,” says Jeannie Lee, Selfridges’ designer-wear buying manager. “With his shows and his collections, Erdem creates a narrative. Women aspire to emulate his characters and want to be part of his story of modern romance and femininity, retold in new and wearable ways each season. That his idea of romance so often plays with the light and the dark creates a tension and dynamism in the way his aesthetic evolves. His references to historical notions of womanhood are made with his muse of the past, present and future in mind.” As the debate around the show system continues (when, where and why), Erdem remains in the traditional pro-show camp. Indeed, the theatrical presentations are part and parcel of his creative process, a culmination of months of research. A year previously, for autumn/winter 2015, he transformed the same location into room sets decorated with 1950s vintage furniture, frayed and decayed furnishings and personal artefacts that appeared like a sequence of apartments. Erdem masterminds these sets with the show producer Robin Brown, who he discovered at Frieze art fair. Brown had created an installation of an imaginary collectors’ studio in Paris in the 1960s, entitled The Collector. The models, reimagined as Romy Schneider or Claudia Cardinale, played ingénue artists, camping out in these romantic spaces. The collection, featuring fray-edged brocade party dresses in an intricate patchwork of fabrics, suggested a down-atheel aristocrat forced to make do and mend from a dressing-up box of heirloom gowns. For spring/summer 2016 Erdem switched location to an old railway hoarding in King's Cross in London and used the working tracks to deliver his cast of prairie girls – wearing flounced cotton voile and spriggy flower-print silk dresses – onto the runway. The undone covered buttons that traced down from the shoulder line to the torso and the slender sleeves, pin-tucks and smocking suggested the dressmaking skills of a bygone era. His inspirations included the novels of American authors Willa Cather (O Pioneers!, 1913) and Dorothy Scarborough (The Wind, 1925), as well as the phenomenon of ‘prairie madness’, that was said to afflict turnof-the-century female migrants who found themselves without husbands and isolated in the Midwest in the late 19th century. The reference to deranged pioneers chimed brilliantly with a generation of stress-laden women seeking ‘escape’. The collection resonated deeply and was one of the most widely photographed during the season, with Alexa Chung proving the ideal pin-up. The creative imaginings behind the collection resonate through the clothes themselves, inviting the wearer to embark on a personal journey. “Quality is everlasting and you feel it immediately when you touch it,” says Erdem. “Luxury for me is the idea that you might be the only person to own something.” In this era of hyperventilated trends and rapid turnover, Erdem is a rare gem.


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74 Baku.

Left. Dress by Etro, Necklace, worn throughout, from a selection at Grays Antiques, London W1 Below. Dress by Sea NY

A semi-desert landscape sets the scene for a season of high fashion drama. Pair vintage prairie pieces with new takes on this period trend in embroidered silk, billowy cotton and crochet. Photography by LUCIA O’CONNOR-MCCARTHY Styling by NIKKI BREWSTER

This page. Dress, from a selection, at Rellik, London W10, boots, worn throughout, from a selection at 282 Portobello, London W10 Opposite. Dress by Erdem

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This page. Shirt by Y’s by Yohji Yamamoto, waistcoat by Tara Jarmon, skirt by Simone Rocha Opposite. Dress by Temperley

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80 Baku.

Opposite. Top by Rejina Pyo, skirt, from a selection, at Su Mason This page. Blouse, from a selection, at Annie’s, London N1, skirt by Malene Oddershede Bach

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This page. Dress by Temperley Opposite. Dress by Vilshenko

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This page. Top by Sea NY, skirt by Bora Aksu Opposite. Top by Talitha, skirt by Emilio de la Morena

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This page. Blouse and skirt by Tara Jarmon Opposite. Blouse by Talitha, skirt by Su Mason, petticoat, from a selection, at Annie’s, London N1

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This page. Dress, from a selection, at Annie’s, London N1 Opposite. Blouse by Sea NY, skirt by Escada

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Opposite. Dress by Bora Aksu This page. Blouse by Sea NY, petticoat from a selection, at Annie’s, London N1 Hair Jose Quijano using Revlon Professional Make-up Karina Constantine using Mac Cosmetics Model Stephanie Hall at Models1 Fashion assistant Grace Joel Creative director Kate Law Producer Maria Webster Location Shirvan National Park, Azerbaijan



n the Old Town in Azerbaijan’s capital, it does feel as if you have stepped back in time. As long as you don’t look up. Outside of these few blocks you can see a sharp tower piercing the sky. One of the visual effects team on this film is taking photographs, for reference, so they can work to digitally remove it. Ali and Nino is an early 20th-century novel of longing and loss and rapturous romance. But while Baku retains much of its long-standing charm, the city is more modern than new visitors might expect. The filmmakers have to obscure freshly minted buildings and transport us back in time – though the story’s themes of love transcending race or religion, politics crushing people and, well, vengeance, remain timely. Published in 1937, under the pseudonym Kurban Said (the identity of its true author is disputed), Ali and Nino follows the titular couple as they are united by love and divided by culture and conflict. Ali Khan (Adam Bakri) is an Azerbaijani Muslim determined to marry his childhood sweetheart, the Georgian Christian Nino Kipiani (María Valverde). But as well as tradition, they have politics against them – the First World War and the battle for control of the oil-rich country. There is personal passion but also national duty to consider – the fight for Azerbaijan’s independence. “It’s kind of a cultural treasure,” says producer Kris Thykier, of the novel. “There aren’t many books that you come across where you think, ‘Oh, not only does it have a place in the world literary canon but it also has a particular place in a nation’s heart.’ It’s a very beautiful, evocative book.” Thykier hired Dangerous Liaisons scribe Christopher Hampton to write the screenplay – a tricky process, of 12 drafts, during which the producer searched for the right director to bring the words to life. “I needed to find somebody who was a ‘heart’ director,” says Thykier. “There are a lot of cerebral directors out there but there has been a move away from raw emotion and I needed someone who was rawly emotional.” The search led 92 Baku.

The Oscar-winning director Asif Kapadia grapples with timeless themes of love, religion and war in his first narrative feature in almost 10 years, the epic ‘Ali and Nino’. Nev Pierce went on set in Baku to meet its two stars.

a love story

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him to Asif Kapadia, who frst came to attention for his 2001 adventure The Warrior, but has latterly found success with documentaries Senna and the Oscarwinning Amy. “Kris approached me and I read the book,” recalls Kapadia, “And after the frst 100 pages I remember thinking, ‘Not much is happening here...’ and then in the last 50 to 60 pages huge things started happening. I was moved by it. It’s a love story. It’s a Muslim boy, a Christian girl. It’s East meets West. It’s where Russia meets Persia. It’s a romantic flm. It’s a war movie. It’s an action movie. And it was also interesting to see this big event – the First World War, the Great War – from an Asian perspective, essentially. This idea of religion, mixed relationships, oil, occupation – all this stuff seemed quite relevant to the world we’re living in now.” María Valverde agrees: “I think you realize when you’re doing period flms that they’re not very far away from your reality.” The Exodus: Gods and Kings actress gave – according to Kapadia – the most “moving” audition and immersed herself in

Azerbaijan, to try to capture the spirit of Nino. “As the country didn’t gain independence until just over two decades ago,” she says, “we’re living through change. It’s beautiful.” That change may be beautiful culturally, but – as with the tall buildings near the Old Town – it does present certain practical problems. “I didn’t expect the modern skyscrapers and stuff,” says Kapadia. “It was quite a challenge, because I’d go and see a great location and come back a couple of months later and there’d be a new building there! Baku does have an old part, but a lot of that is being cleaned up to match the really, really ultra modern. But the landscape outside Baku was amazing – I thought, when I saw it, ‘This could be a real epic movie’.” Whether standing in the Old Town witnessing a key bit of action – which we won’t reveal here for fear of spoiling the story – or in the middle of an oil feld on the outskirts of the city, it’s easy to sense the scale of Ali and Nino. The sense of a large canvas – a flm that feels old fashioned, in the best sense. Tonally touchstones were Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago – flms made by that master of epic romance, David Lean. “It’s a big flm, like that – the kind of flm people don’t really do anymore,” says Kapadia. “And when you get the opportunity to do that, you think: it’s gonna be hard work, it’s gonna be a challenge – but you want to challenge yourself.” Not that Kapadia is putting himself in the same bracket as one of Britain’s greatest ever directors. He just loves those flms. And wants people to walk out of the cinema feeling it’s been worthwhile. “You want to affect people so that in a week or two’s time they’re still thinking about it. I don’t think the immediate impression after a flm ends is the most important thing. You want it to resonate. And for the audience to kind of suddenly see the world in a slightly different way, I hope. In the case with Ali and Nino I hope they’ll see a part of the world that people have a preconception of – and realize actually it’s so different. It’s an interesting place and an interesting moment in time. And in some way it was quite ahead of a lot of the world. If you think about the relationships that people used to have and how they lived a hundred years ago. And how, sadly, in so much of the world, we haven’t actually made much progress…”


NINO María Valverde on playing an outsider and an equal.

Previous spread: Adam Bakri (left) and María Valverde (right). This spread and next: Valverde and Bakri in stills from Ali and Nino, as well as shooting on location in Baku.

How would you describe Nino? The thing that I like the most about Nino is that she’s very active as a woman; she’s not passive. For a character it’s amazing to have this. Often, as a woman, I prefer the masculine roles, but in this case, for me, Nino is one of my heroes. She’s an equal? Yeah. Very active. That’s why the story is called Ali and Nino. It’s very powerful, the story between the two of them. And you can understand their love. But it is not only their love, but how they have to fght just to be together and all that it involves. Your character is Georgian – how much research did you have to do to play her? I put my own life into my characters, so it helps so much to be from outside and to be from Europe

95 Baku.

and to be from Spain; trying to understand how Nino would feel in Baku. Because we’re trying to make them understand that my family, the Kipianis, we are in Baku for four years. We came from outside. So we are from Europe and you have to see that this changes. It’s beautiful to see how Nino loves Ali and also Ali’s culture and Ali’s point of view. What is Adam like as a partner in your scenes? So good. I remember the frst time we met, in an audition. I remember the way he was looking at me – he helped me so much in that audition. He was very kind. We have to be a very strong couple.

ALI Adam Bakri on honour and Azerbaijan. You’re one of the leads in an adaptation of Azerbaijan’s national novel – is that a big responsibility? Absolutely. Yeah. It’s a big responsibility, but I enjoy it. I love it. You were cast frst and then met some potential Ninos – what was that like? It’s not easy, but for me it’s immediate: chemistry is immediate. Especially with an actress. What kind of a man is Ali? He’s a desert boy. He loves adventure, he loves horses and loves mountain climbing and travelling. He went to military school. He’s a tough guy. He has a sensitive soul, but he’s wild. He’s a wild horse. That’s how I see him. But with a sense of duty? Yes. And honour. We think of honour now as something less important. But they looked at it as something that is really like food and drink: honour and family tradition. There was no question about it. ‘Of course I would die for my country. Of course I would die in war!’ What’s been your experience in Azerbaijan in general? I’ve been everywhere. I did a tour. I went around Baku, did my research at all the museums. This place is interesting. I prefer the Old Town – because that’s where I feel him. Did Asif reference any flms that are similar in terms of tone, as you prepared and flmed? Doctor Zhivago for sure. When I watched that flm, I was like, ‘Wow! That’s our movie.’ Visually and the tone of it.

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xx Baku.

FACE OFF Beguiling yet frightening, the many faces of George Condo’s psychological works are now part of a major retrospective in Baku. We ask why the great American artist has such a magnetic pull. Words by ANNA WALLACE-THOMPSON 98 Baku.

he looks deep into the human brain, squeezing emotions into each other so that they slip and slide and merge uneasily.

Opposite page: The Tailor (2008) by George Condo, and (above) the artist in his Upper East Side studio in New York.


he girl – youthful, cheerful – beams at somebody just out of your line of sight, her eyes drawn to a point outside of the small, neat canvas in which she resides. Her delicate clavicles are highlighted by a warm light, encased in a simple white collar. Her tidy brown hair is glossy and smooth, swept back with a sort of deftness that implies coolness and restraint. There’s a whiff of the great portrait masters Rembrandt and Rubens in her dark dress and elegant pale neck, yet behind cherry lips there looms a living nightmare – a second face comes into view over the horizon of her cheek, like an invading morass. This other face is a messy, dangerous Cubist explosion of technicolour chimpanzee grin – The Smiling Girl (2007), by George Condo, is half-

dream, half-terror, the revelation of the animal within. But then, this is the way of the American painter – take The Infernal Rage of Rodrigo (2008), where mad eyes and jagged teeth dominate an otherwise stately portrait, or The Opera Singer (2003), in which soft white dress and parasol are topped with purple muppet fur and soulful creature eyes. It is this crashing and gliding around of different worlds that has come to defne the works of the prolifc American artist. For Condo, characters exist at the nexus of a variety of emotions. Describing his technique as “psychological cubism”, he explores the numerous co-existing states of mind within any one individual. He lays them out, fays them, opens up liminal spaces only to smash them together like the Large Hadron Collider. His

eye looks deep into the human brain and jumps across multiple temporal planes, squeezing emotions into each other so that they slip and slide and merge uneasily across a portrait’s face. Born in 1957 in New Hampshire, Condo moved to New York’s East Village in the early 1980s, where he was introduced to the likes of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring (both of whom were to become good friends) and Andy Warhol, working at the latter’s factory for two years on his silk-screen series. However, it was a meeting with famed dealer Barbara Gladstone during a stint in Europe that led to dual exhibitions in New York (at Pat Hearn and Gladstone’s eponymous gallery) that helped put him on the map. His distinctive painterly style has defned him over the decades as 99 Baku.

a master innovator – he fearlessly and seamlessly melds together different elements to create works that move beyond pastiche and derivation into new territories. A keen musician, he has also crossed over into mainstream celebrity through collaboration with the likes of Kanye West (illustrating the cover of Kanye’s 2010 album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy), and even received a shout-out in Jay-Z’s 2013 song ‘Picasso Baby’. “Condo’s main strength, frst and foremost, is his technique, he’s a brilliant technician,” explains longtime friend and dealer, Swiss-based Andrea Caratsch. “He handles oil like Manet or Velasquez would have done, however, what sets him apart is that he comes from an American background, yet spent his formative years in Europe. He was exposed to art techniques here; not only old and modern masters but contemporary visionaries, such as Martin Kippenberger. He mixes American infuences with a European touch, and he has invented something completely new – he cannot be attributed to any particular school.” Indeed, Condo’s iconic roster of characters is, to many, as familiar as the style in which they are painted. However, ‘George Condo: Selections from a Private Collection’, a major retrospective in Baku at the city’s famous Zaha Hadid-designed Heydar Aliyev Centre (until 6 November 2016) reveals the many facets of his oeuvre by bringing together some 80 works spanning Condo’s career to date. “It was important to us to show aspects of his different activities,” says Simon de Pury, who, along with his wife, Michaela, has curated the exhibition. “He is a painter, a sculptor, but also a silkscreen maker and a draughtsman. We wanted to show some of the fnest examples of each of these categories.” The works were selected by de Pury and Caratsch from the latter’s extensive collection – one of the largest in the world. Held in collaboration with the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, the exhibition is also remarkable for its decision to break away from a more traditional temporal representation to accommodate a thematic approach. Works from the early years through to the early 1990s and beyond are displayed chronologically, but then the viewer is allowed to delve into what Caratsch refers to as the “Goyesque room”, full of 100 Baku.

Clockwise, from bottom left: the artist with Kanye West, New York, 2011; Condo artworks The Duke of Marlborough (2008); The Opera Singer (2003); Big Nude (detail) (1999); (from left) Mrs Faust (2002), Miss Faust (2002), Smiling Woman with Hat (2008), and central sculpture The Trapped Priest (2005); The Virgin Cartwright (1998).


“he mixes american influences with a european touch, and has invented something new. he cannot be attributed to any school.”

101 Baku.

“he is a painter, a sculptor, but also a silk-screen maker and a draughtsman. we wanted to show some of the finest examples of each.”


Clockwise from bottom left: (on wall) Andy Griffith Composition (1998) and (sculpture) Space Ship (2002); Smiling Girl (2007); (from left) The Trapped Hunter (1993), Vanité No.2 (1991); Satyricon (1989); Granny (1998); Condo aficionados include Paloma Faith; and Nick Rhodes (left) and Nefer Suvio.

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‘George Condo: Selections from a Private Collection’ is on view at the Heydar Aliyev Centre until 6 November 2016. 104 Baku.

“for so many artists their strongest work is the work they become famous for and then it ends up repeating itself. george has become stronger and stronger.”


darker works, as well as a group of sculptures entitled ‘The Lost Civilization’, where tortured faces in polished bronze seem to foat in the room. The space of the Heydar Aliyev Centre itself also plays an important role, as de Pury explains, “Zaha’s building is something incredibly beautiful and quite overwhelming. It’s a giant sculpture in itself.” What is most surprising is the sheer variety – not just of medium but of scale and technique. Take A Time to Remember (1984), with its hints of Dalíesque hazy skies, or the imposing Satyricon (1989), with its overtures of royal blue Matisse. Then, in the form of Tom and Jerry No.1 (1986), Condo does a complete 180, presenting a mixed-media and paper collage that seems straight from the annals of the great Pop artists. Turn again, and there he is blowing bubbles in a 1998 self-portrait in the form of a silk screen as bright as an acid trip. There are nuanced graphite on paper works, too, such as Female in State of Temptation (2004), in which realism slides with that now familiar fuidity into cubist machinations. There is Condo’s tell-tale playfulness sprinkled throughout the exhibition as well – keep an eye out for a slightly surprised Bill Gates in the guise of a Renaissance minstrel in another silk screen, The American Renaissance (1999). “Condo’s recent work is, actually, most probably his best work,” muses de Pury. “For so many artists their strongest work is the work they became famous for and then it just ends up repeating itself. George has consistently become stronger and stronger instead.” Indeed, an upcoming exhibition at Berlin’s Museum Berggruen, opening this November, will showcase Condo’s work alongside those of that greatest master of all time, Picasso, whose works are simultaneously on display at the museum. “George Condo is totally unique, and more than that, is an artist’s artist,” says Caratsch. “He has infuenced so many of the younger generation, from John Currin to Lisa Yuskavage, but he is still the most daring. Condo was the frst one to transform people. He is an inventor of images, and completely unconnected to anything or anyone else.”

Left to right: Young Woman with a Pearl Necklace (2005); Female in a State of Temptation (2004); Gil Evans (2002).

Left: The Opera Singer (Rosina) (2006). Right: more of Condo’s fans include (top) Lisa (left) and Joyce Reuben; and (bottom) Guy and Andrea Dellal.

105 Baku.

You may think you know your borsch from your blini, but what about your salo from your syrniki? In the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains these exquisite Russian-style dishes look and taste like the ultimate comfort food. Photography by RICHARD HAUGHTON Styling by TOM WOLFE Words by HELEN GRAVES



tanding in a charming, rustic kitchen, I am with Tatiana Ivanovna Dubrovina, the small yet spirited Russian woman who has invited us into her home for lunch. She chatters rapidly as she bustles about, moving between large steaming pots, wooden spoon in hand. Keen to show us what we’ll be eating, she lifts a cotton cloth to reveal stacks of delicate, lacy blini, before ladling more batter into a hot cast-iron frying pan. Dubrovina lives in the remote village of Ivanovka, a Russian community in the Ismailli district of Azerbaijan, a three-hour drive west from Baku. It is tranquil – exceptionally quiet but for the whisper of tall pines in the breeze and the occasional stutter of Soviet-era vehicles. Established in the 19th century, it is home to members of the Molokan Christian sect, exiled from Russia for failing to conform to rules of the Russian Orthodox Church, particularly those concerning dairy consumption during Christian fasts. “Originally, there were just 11 Russians in the village,” Dubrovina tells me, setting the table for lunch. “The population peaked at 4,500, and now there are about 3,000 of us.” Born in the village, she has lived here her entire life. As she cooks, pausing only to wipe her hands, or pluck crisp pickles from a jar, it is clear that she enjoys the role of hostess – a chance to welcome new people. The kitchen, although covered, is outside, at the rear of her modest home, consisting of an oven, a work surface and a table. Nearby, strings of garlic hang drying in the late summer sun, a dilapidated gate leads to farmland and the snow-tipped Caucasus Mountains beyond. We’re invited to look at the soup Dubrovina is making – a summery green borsch. She sweats onions, peppers and tomatoes, then boils chickpeas and potatoes in water she has used to simmer beef. Once mashed, they’re added to the soup as a thickener, along with sliced cabbage, “just for fve minutes!” plus parsley and dill. Finally, a sprinkle of chopped garlic, added at the end of cooking to preserve pungency. The resulting soup is fantastic, the beef stock giving it rich, savoury depth. “We have to have borsch every day,” she says, laughing, “otherwise the men will be hungry!” She sets it down with a bowl of handmade noodles, or lapsha, again simmered in beef water (“although chicken stock is better”), slippery with butter. “These are served at every event in Russia,” Dubrovina explains, “weddings, funerals, everything.” They’re fantastic – the ultimate comfort food. I tell her I could eat the whole bowl. Next, the lightest blini, piled with thick smetana, or sour cream, honey and berry jam. “These would usually be cooked in a Russian oven,” 107 Baku.

Previous spread: Mari Vanna restaurant, Baku, and (top right) the restaurant’s beetroot borsch served with pampushki, a speciality bread topped with oil and garlic. This spread, clockwise from bottom left: Herring Under a Fur Coat, arranged in perfect layers; ptichye moloko, a layered marshmallow cake; pepper vodka (pertsovka) and cranberry (klyukovka); salo (cured pork fat) served with toast, horseradish, mustard and garlic; okroshka, a cold summer soup.

108 Baku.

xx Baku.

The Holy Myrrhbearers Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Baku. Opposite, from top: baranki, which have been baked until hard, and are perfect for dipping into tea; a stack of delicate blini.

the cooked blini are thin with crisp edges; we layer them up like folded net curtains and eat to the sounds of cows and cockerals.

xx Baku.

Dubrovina says, “but it is easiest on the stove for many people.” She is certainly the expert cook, using a perfectly proportioned ladle to spoon the mixture, fzzing and spitting into the pan. The cooked blini are thin with crisp edges; we layer them up like folded net curtains and eat to the sounds of cows and cockerels, a 1950s fan whirring gently above. I feel lucky to have visited the home of Dubrovina and experienced her warm hospitality, but of course there is Russian food to be found elsewhere, particularly in Baku. At Mari Vanna restaurant, opened 18 months ago with the help of ‘brand chef’ Vladimir Shulyak, we try two more versions of borsch, neither the same as Dubrovina’s. This is a soup that comes in seemingly endless varieties. First, a classic beetroot preparation, thick, sweet and sour with strands of scarlet vegetable. His green borsch is predominantly made with sorrel, a lemon-favoured leaf, added at the end of cooking to retain its fresh favour. “It’s like a garden,” Shulyak explains. “You go into the garden and you chop, chop, chop, then you make this soup.” Okroshka is a cold soup for a sweltering summer day. Radishes, cucumber, potato, dill, parsley, boiled egg and pork arrive diced in a bowl, and the soup is poured over, the smooth liquid favoured with 111 Baku.

kvass, a beverage fermented from rye bread. Savoury and refreshing, the vegetables retain their crunch. I learn that salads, too, are important in Russian cuisine. A plate of mushrooms is exquisite – a mix of white and woodland varieties, it’s the best of the forest foor. They’re cooked and lightly pickled, bathed in a dressing of homemade butter and garlic. There is Herring Under a Fur Coat (selyodka pod shuboy), perfectly layered and served in a rainbow square. Grated carrots and beetroot are stacked with potatoes, eggs and diced, cured herring. The fsh is buried under the vegetables, topped with a fuffy coating of grated hard-boiled egg (the ‘fur coat’). Olivie is another ‘must’ for the Russian table: chopped vegetables such as peas, carrots and potatoes, and sausage, bound in mayonnaise, piled high into a bowl. We move on, through foods that have fortifed people through ferce Russian winters. Salo is cured pork fat, served frst in milky white curls, then whipped – perfect for spreading thickly on garlic-rubbed toast as the nights draw in. A Russian honey cake sends me into a spin with its dreamy layers of rust-coloured cake and cream. “There are many variations,” Shulyak explains as he laughs at me taking forkful after forkful. It’s made using a traditional method of heating sugar with honey until rich, lending the cake a deep caramel favour. The honey in Azerbaijan is exceptional, the roadsides buzzing with hives; it brings a distinct local favour to this classic Russian dessert. I barely have room to try a Napoleon cake, that multilayered extravaganza of pastry and cream, or the hot puffs that are syrniki – impossibly light cottage cheese pancakes served with preserved fruit or, more traditionally, raspberry jam. By the time ptichye moloko, a marshmallow cake, arrives, I’m stuffed, but fnd its light, airy texture easy to eat, the rich chocolate sauce too hard to resist. There is a beautiful simplicity to Russian food. I remember the meal in Ivanovka, and Dubrovina’s kitchen where she made such humble yet excellent dishes, relying on method and quality of produce; the sour cream and butter that tasted so wonderfully of the cow, the fresh vegetables and the dark, fragrant honey – all made possible by Azerbaijan’s fertile terrain. I think of Dubrovina explaining how the population of Ivanovka is declining since the fall of the Soviet Union; young Russians like to explore their roots, heading for Moscow. “It’s a shame,” she says with sadness. “They will miss home cooking!” Spooning another helping of that glorious smetana onto my pancake, I can’t help but agree with her.


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Sliced herring served with potatoes and red onion. Opposite, from top: a table set with a samovar and baranki; a traditional house in the village of Ivanovka.

there is a beautiful simplicity to russian food. these humble yet excellent dishes rely on method and quality of produce. 113 Baku.

xx Baku.

Opposite: interior of the Holy Myrrhbearers Cathedral, Baku. This page, main image: a salad of woodland mushrooms. Right, from top: one of Russia’s many soups, made with chickpeas and smoked pork; a basket of pirozhki – small bread rolls stuffed with fish and dill; green borsch flavoured with sorrel and topped with a boiled quail’s egg. Producer Maria Webster. Special thanks to Mari Vanna restaurant, Baku, and brand chef Vladimir Shulyak.

young russians like to explore their roots, heading for moscow. “it’s a shame,” she says. “they will miss home cooking!” xx Baku.



Many said that it couldn’t be done, but the thrilling city circuit created for the first Grand Prix of Europe in Baku was considered by Formula 1 insiders, drivers and fans around the world to be a success. We look back at the highlights and find out how the event succeeded in defying the skeptics.


ormula 1 people do not pull their punches. They have no time for insincere flattery as they go about the business of taking part in a grand prix and fighting for the FIA F1 World Championship. It is the intensity of this worldwide competition and the rewards associated with it that make the teams and drivers intolerant of anything interrupting the pursuit of excellence. Which is why their place of work – the race track and its environs – will be expected to meet the same high standards the competitors set for themselves. Even though the circuit may be new, it will be required to be as seamless and efficient as other venues, many of which have been hosting grands prix for decades. Allowances will not be made for novice status any more than

excuses will be accepted for the extra difficulty of running a motor race on a city’s streets. Setting up a permanent race track to F1’s exacting standards is one thing; attempting to do the same on public thoroughfares weaving among buildings, many of them of priceless historic importance, is something else again. Therefore, when F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone thanked Baku for doing “an incredible job”, it was praise indeed from one of the most notoriously difficult-to-please rulers in world sport. Ecclestone has been involved in F1 for more than 50 years. Having seen race tracks come and go, the 85-year-old Englishman (86 in October) has experience of many street circuits, ranging from the classic Monaco Grand Prix to more recent additions such as Sochi in Russia and Singapore. 117 Baku.

Along the way, however, he has witnessed street races that have experienced an extremely difficult time when making the conversion from public highways coping with maximum speeds of 50kph to a place suitable for sophisticated racing machinery capable of six times that speed. And, in between, ensuring that the commercial and social life of local inhabitants is disrupted as little as possible. When Detroit attempted to run a grand prix on its downtown streets for the first time in 1982, initial activity on the race track was delayed several times. The safety standards were so unsatisfactory that the concrete walls delineating the circuit had to be moved – not the work of a moment given their size and weight – to ensure escape roads were capable of being exactly that. Further down the scale of priorities, but no less important, steps needed to be taken to pacify commuters outraged with finding their usual drive or walk to work barred by the circuit and its adjoining security facilities. The Detroit Free Press daily newspaper noted that women had not taken

kindly to snagging their tights when asked to step over the cables and sundry paraphernalia necessary for running a sports event stealing 5km of their streets. It was a similar story when F1 went to Phoenix in Arizona, Dallas in Texas and many other tracks temporarily plundering personal space in busy towns and cities. The problem for all street circuits is that Monaco has set the gold standard for making the necessary conversion of superstructure from local commerce to international sport. The Principality on the Mediterranean makes running a motor race look easy. As well it might, having been in the grand prix business since 1929. Life was more straightforward during those early years, unfettered as it was by the rigorous security requirements of today. The streets could be closed by the simple means of barring access roads with a flimsy wooden barrier manned by a solitary policeman. Spectators could more or less roam where they wished, often sitting on walls with their legs and feet dangling free as the cars raced past. By starting from the ground up, Monaco was able to move with the times and cope with an increase in speeds and safety awareness, particularly during the past four or five decades. The entire operation, from erecting grandstands to installing the final bolts in crash barriers, has become a well-oiled machine, so much so, that, if starting from scratch today, the cramped confines and restrictions of the tiny domain would make the holding of

a grand prix a mammoth task that might even be considered impossible. Baku may have had more space available to accommodate a race track but with that came high speeds and the attendant need to cope with a potentially heavy accident should a car go out of control. The meeting of these vital and complex demands, along with the myriad of administrative detail, was clearly signalled when practice commenced exactly on time at 1pm on Friday 17 June. History was made in Baku as F1 cars ventured onto the circuit for the first time. That in itself was a huge achievement as the teams got down to work. There is not a single new race track in the world that has escaped teething problems unforeseen until race cars run in anger. An artificial kerb was found not to have been secured properly at one point and a drain cover came loose in the pit lane. But that was the extent of the snags. “These things happen,” said Ecclestone. “You’ve got to look upon this as a prototype. This is the first race. I’m not worried. If all the places we go to made the effort

Previous spread: the Grand Prix city circuit in Baku. This spread: 1. Daniel Ricciardo of Australia signs autographs, (4) drives alongside the Old Town wall, and (7) prior to the race. 2. The Flame Towers overlook the track. 3. World Champion Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain. 5. Max Verstappen of the Netherlands. 6. Sebastian Vettel of Germany. 8. Team personnel leave the grid during the race.


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that these people have made here, it would be fantastic. They’ve done an incredible job. It’s turned out to be a really good circuit. I wanted to go past the old castle whatever happened, to get all these things in shot, which is what we were lucky enough to do.” The drivers were equally fulsome in their praise. “It’s like a jewel hidden away somewhere that we didn’t know about,” said World Champion Lewis Hamilton. “It’s a very picturesque city. And the track is good because it goes through so many cool areas,” said Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz. “I like the fact that the track goes up and down and we have the fast sections as well as the narrow bits; all of this makes it very exciting.” “This track is one of the most exciting out of them all because you can’t afford to switch off for even one second,” said Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg. “There are some corners where, if you brake five metres too late, you are in the wall head on. It’s pretty exciting!” “It’s awesome,” said Rio Haryanto, the Indonesian driver with the Manor team. “I don’t really know what I was expecting but it has exceeded all of my expectations. The diversity of the city is really striking; the mix of old and new makes it a pretty spectacular setting for a grand prix. I really like it here and I’m sure the fans will, too.” Haryanto is in his first season of grand prix racing but Baku also appealed to more experienced drivers such as Felipe Massa. “I really like the track,” said the Williams driver. “It’s very demanding. It has some

high-speed corners and some twisty, more technical areas, so it’s definitely one of the most challenging tracks on the calendar, but at the same time it’s a lot of fun.” The team personnel were just as pleased with the garage facilities in which they spent 16 hours each day. “I think that Baku is a spectacular track. It’s just what we need in F1 - although I can understand that from the drivers’ perspective it needs to be as safe as possible,” said Toto Wolff, head of the Mercedes F1 team. “Nobody wants to see racing in supermarket car parks with run-off areas that are miles wide and where you can rejoin if you made a mistake. This makes all the difference. This is just what we need.” Members of the media – as difficult to please as the teams – were delighted with the facilities. “It’s really difficult to fault and very good for a new venue; everything seems to work as it should – which you can’t always say about a new race track,” said Darren Heath, a leading F1 photographer. “It’s a beautiful city that, from a photographer’s point of view, gives us many different and interesting background images when shooting cars on the track.” Those images, along with television pictures, were beamed around the world. Baku was showcased in the best possible way. It had been an intuitive gamble by Azerbaijan, but one that paid off handsomely. It has been considered one of the best new race tracks in the world; an achievement in itself.


dream team Anar Alakbarov, President of the Azerbaijan Automobile Federation in Baku, shares some of the behind-the-scenes thrills and spills involved in preparing for and putting on the city’s inaugural F1 Grand Prix – and explains why it’s not just motor racing fans who reap the rewards.


What was the highlight of the inaugural F1 Grand Prix of Europe, for you? For anyone who loves and enjoys motor racing, as I do, it was incredible to host the 2016 F1 Grand Prix of Europe in our hometown. It allowed Baku to feel the magnificent power and charm of this globally significant, grandiose sporting event. The rich cultural traditions that have evolved over the centuries in Azerbaijan – such as tolerance, and ethnic and religious diversity – along with a favourable geographical location, have all contributed to our country emerging as a place where prestigious international events and a dialogue across diferent areas is possible. As such, Azerbaijan has held such major events as the annual Eurovision Song Contest in 2012 and last year’s first ever European Games. The experience gained through these events meant we were able to organize an F1 Grand Prix at the highest level. It also allowed us to showcase our beautiful city and country as a dynamic destination in Europe for sports, business, tourism and culture.

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Of course, for anyone dedicated to motor sport, or with a passion for it since childhood, an event such as F1 is going to be unforgettable. However, I, and I think many of us, found the most memorable moment to be when the national anthem of Azerbaijan sounded on the pre-start grid. To me it perfectly symbolized the achievements and development of this country in recent years. It was also great to see that F1 visitors came to Baku from 40 diferent countries. Just a few years ago no one could have imagined that F1 cars would be driving through the streets of our city. I was overwhelmed with a sense of pride and joy for our country. With this prestigious event, we have written a new chapter in sports history and introduced a rare street circuit to the F1 calendar. On behalf of the Azerbaijan Automobile Federation and all motor sport fans, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, and the First Lady of Azerbaijan, Mehriban Aliyeva, for their

Clockwise from opposite, top right: Anar Alakbarov, President of the Azerbaijan Automobile Federation; Kimi Räikkonen of Finland arrives at his start position for the race; track and team personnel celebrate the winners; the Azerbaijan flag flies against a blue sky during previews.


“We have learnt a lot from other city circuits, such as monaco and singapore.”


constant care in the development of sport, in particular motor sport, as well as the ongoing support and diligence that made it possible to hold the F1 Grand Prix in Baku. F1 organizers are notoriously difcult to please, yet they were full of praise for the facilities in Baku. Was that a relief? ‘Team Baku’, as we called all of us who were involved, worked very hard to deliver the event to the highest standard possible. It’s also important to note that the Ministry of Youth and Sport of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Azerbaijan Automobile Federation, as well as the Baku City Circuit Company all had roles to play. Everyone came together and worked as

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one team. The CEO of the Formula One Group, Bernie Ecclestone, and Jean Todt, President of the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), highly appreciated these joint eforts. On behalf of the Azerbaijan Automobile Federation, I would like to express sincere gratitude to our friends whose names I have just mentioned for deciding to hold the F1 Grand Prix in Baku and for the organizational and institutional support that we felt throughout the entire period of preparation. Also, our marshals, race ofcials and volunteers deserve special thanks in this regard. It is because of their huge eforts that this race happened. Despite sleepless nights, difcult and sometimes complicated training sessions and, most importantly, a huge responsibility on their shoulders, they managed to do their best for their country and make us proud. There was one potentially major concern, when the kerbs came loose and cut car tyres during the practice race. Was that a worry initially, and were you pleased with

Above: a view of the Baku circuit, with the city’s Flame Towers in the background. Inset: Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull Racing.

the way in which everything was resolved so swiftly? The sporting team of the Azerbaijan Automobile Federation, together with the Baku City Circuit Company worked closely with FIA on every single detail of the circuit in order to deliver an interesting and safe race. Initially, the kerbs did not cause any trouble at all, however, after the frst sessions it became clear that there could be some problems. Together with the FIA team and F1 Race Director Charlie Whiting we decided to remove the kerbs that could have caused problems and paint those areas instead – something that has been done before at other grands prix when faced with a similar issue. Was there a learning curve? When holding a city race, the main challenge is to fnish everything on time. It also brings with it road closures, which of course are not easy for the local population. However, we tried our best to minimize any inconvenience and to provide local residents with maximum mobility in the centre of the city. We’ve learnt a lot

This image: a Mercedes on the track. Right: French driver Romain Grosjean of Haas F1 Team coming round the Old Town wall.

“despitesleeplessnights anddifficulttraining sessions,‘teambaku’ managedtodotheirbest andmakeusproud.”



from other city circuits such as Monaco and Singapore – their experience helped us avoid potentially unpleasant situations. What do you hope the visiting teams and drivers took away from the experience, and of Azerbaijan? I think one of the most special things is the spirit of Baku, which cannot leave anyone untouched. Today the rapidly evolving city has cemented its place among the most beautiful in the world. Improvement works here are carried out with great care, precision, sensitivity and taste. It is important that the new buildings that give the city a special beauty do not interfere with its historic Oriental favour. The city is being modernized, but the skilful combination of Western and Eastern architectural styles allows us to preserve Baku’s ancient appearance. It was nice to hear that all the F1 guests expressed their desire to revisit. I am sure that the hospitality of our people has left an indelible mark on the memory of all who came, and that each of them took away some of Baku’s warmth and goodness.

Do you think F1 had a positive efect on the city as host? Cultural and sporting events are being followed in Baku with great interest and enthusiasm. We have a tradition of hosting such events here already, and I would say that our healthy social climate is one of the main factors as to why we have been so successful. In this regard, we are all aware that in order to hold such an event at the highest level, it is crucial to have the support of the whole community and of Azerbaijan’s citizens. It is precisely this public support that provides strength and confdence. No matter how professionally an event is organized, its fundamental success is based on the stable combination of ideas, attitudes, social feelings and moods of the society in which it is held. The work of our volunteers is testament to the positive attitude of the public. Their eforts brought people together and created a sense of solidarity and belonging. They worked professionally, responsibly and efciently round the clock and demonstrated to all sportsmen and guests the wonderful hospitality and cordiality

inherent in the people of Azerbaijan. Also, sporting events such as this one play an important role in technological development, becoming a beacon for road safety, education, risk management and other areas. It allows us to show the full potential of the country – it attracts investors and tourists, boosts industry, and increases development and community involvement. Beyond the foodlights, cars and parties, a sporting event is a business opportunity for hotels and retailers. There was a wonderful buzz around the Grand Prix. Do you think this will draw in even more people next time? Of course, major events such as the Grand Prix provide branding and positioning for Baku, both regionally and globally, through media coverage and word of mouth. For F1 guests this year it was a time to become acquainted with Baku. We are certain that these visitors will fnd themselves drawn back for the next edition – whether as enthusiasts of motor sport, for the Oriental traditions, the modern and refned architecture or the fabulous cuisine.


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xx Baku.


visited Belarus earlier this year, starting in the western city of Brest on the Polish border. There is so much history here, such as Brest Fortress – famous for its defence against the Nazis in 1941 and, after the Second World War, as a symbol of Soviet resistance. There is plenty of culture, too, with Lights Alley, in which lampposts have been created in weird and wonderful shapes to pay tribute to Nikolai Gogol’s stories. The real star of the show, however, is the beautiful Białowieza Forest, just north of Brest. This primeval forest was once so vast it stretched

pale green ghosts Białowieza is Europe’s oldest and largest forest – part of it a protected wilderness, teeming with wildlife; part of it facing ongoing destruction. Leyla Aliyeva takes a trip to Belarus to see it for herself.

xx Baku.

across much of Europe, but now the last of it – just over 3,000sq km in total – remains in Belarus and over the border into Poland. About half of that total area is a Unesco World Heritage Site (the Belarusian side is entirely protected, known as the Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park), and is a pristine wilderness of majestic old trees (including Europe’s tallest), wetlands and mosscovered dead wood. It is a haven, too, for wildlife, such as lynx, otters and, particularly, the world’s largest population of European bison. Surprisingly, the dead wood plays a big role in the forest’s biodiversity by hosting millions of tiny organisms and allowing fungi to thrive. And part of the problem in the forest’s

unprotected regions, in Poland, is logging. Not only are trees felled, but any dead wood is also cleared away, destroying these fragile ecosystems. The logging also poses a huge threat to wildlife. Forests are known as the lungs of the Earth, and it is so important that we do everything we can to preserve and protect them. It’s good to see Belarus leading the way.


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the primeval forest is a haven for


wildlife: lynx, otters and european bison.

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The Waldhaus Sils hotel embodies some of the greatest design epochs of the 20th century, combining functionality with historical elements, such as the vintage switchboard, which now serves a purely decorative purpose (below).


“I would compare our hotel to a classic car, except it does not stand in a museum, roped off from your touch. As a guest you can take your place and actually drive it, so to speak. The Waldhaus is not a relic, rather, it is still here to be used for what it has been intended all along. For that to work, the hotel’s age and history must be more than a theoretical concept – they have to be something present, something you can feel and sense. The past should not be restored to a T, as if it had just come out of the shop. You should be able to feel the age.”

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w i l d w o o d

For more than 100 years, Lake Sils, above St Moritz in Switzerland, has been a famed inspiration for poets, artists and philosophers. And in the woods above the lake, the Waldhaus is a semi-secret legend among the cultural elite. Albert Einstein, and, more recently, Gerhard Richter have been among those who stay. The Waldhaus is a temple to 20th-century modern design. Each item of furniture, light ftting or window fxture feels like it has been art directed as a still life by the owners, the Dietrich-Kienberger family, who have acquired them through a century and fve generations of ownership. The result? Europe’s most spiritually inspiring hotel, if you’re artistically inclined. Here, Urs Kienberger, the fourth generation of the Waldhaus’s founding family and current ‘chief intellectual offcer’, guides us through its quiet treasures. Photography by CHRISTIAN KAIN

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“The Waldhaus has to be much more than the sum total of its various different parts. All the more, as a historic hotel. It would not feel right if everything simply ‘worked’: without quirks, without history, without a spirit a place isn’t interesting.”

The Waldhaus may be surrounded by beautiful vistas (main image), but it also contains intriguing design elements paying homage to its rich history, including an arrivals blackboard that is still very much in use (opposite, top left).


“When you manage a hotel and work in it you are always a bit at risk to give precedence to function over atmosphere. We, too, know the importance of function. The old switchboard, for example, still has a role even if it is no longer used: to make you see and sense the past. A blackboard marking arrivals, by contrast, is not only old and quaint, but also highly useful in its lowtech kind of way. All of us, when we go by the offce, know at once who has already arrived, who may have a different room from the one originally planned, whether a guest needs a table in the dining-room, who has a dog along and how many children a family has brought.” 130 Baku.

131 Baku.

132 Baku.

The Waldhaus combines design fittings from the course of its 108-year history with modern upgrades to present an experience that is at once old and new – fluidly moving through the decades.

“we must not forget that, at its very core, this is a getaway – something lighthearted and enjoyable. we must not revere our history grimly, but take delight in it and play with it.”


“We were founded in 1908, during the Belle Époque, but what about the time between then and now? The 1920s, 1960s and the late 20th century? All of these eras have also left traces, much to the irritation of purists who would like to fnd either pure Belle Époque or pure contemporary. By contrast, our own idea of an old place is that it also shows what came in-between, even when there are tensions and incongruities. It’s like a village, where every street corner might be from a different age. It wasn’t just born at one point in time and – hey presto! – it’s in the present.” 133 Baku.


“A hotel is like a very funny kind of book, where it’s almost as if every reader, looking at it, reads a different text. Hermann Hesse will have used and appreciated it for quite different reasons than Marc Chagall or actress Vivien Leigh or the champion skier Kjetil, likewise the lonely old professor in room 252 or the French family with the wild children in room 175.”

“A respect for history does not mean limiting oneself to respect for old walls and old chairs. Respect for history also means respect for the building’s role over time.” 134 Baku.

Regular reupholstering and maintenance of the hotel’s interiors ensures that wear and tear are kept at bay, but also that its many elements continue to be lived in and experienced in the contemporary.

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1 Cultural MRI

CULTURAL MRI Anchante, Haiti!

MEME Into the woods.

STATE OF THE ART Brexit stage left.

ARS LONGA The art of fashion.

SCIENCE X ART The indelible mark.

Famous for voodoo and its indomitable Creole spirit, Haiti is irresistible, discovers Daniel Miller.


ver since the first reports of the Haitian Revolution began reaching Europe in 1791 – lurid tales of a sinister voodoo cult in league with the devil – Haiti has been widely regarded with fear and foreboding. Still the poorest country in the Caribbean by some measure, wracked by periodic political and social instability, its infrastructure basic, Haiti isn’t for the faint of heart. Yet the myths that swirl around the country have often related more to the powers outside Haiti than Haiti itself, and travellers intrepid enough to see the place through their own eyes will encounter a transformative, magical place.

137 Baku. Eye.

138 Baku. Eye.

believed to have died in Portau-Prince not long before the Haitian revolution. When Haitians negotiate, they negotiate with the Lwa – the more-or-less morally ambiguous divinities believed to rule the spirit world. To relate to Haitians, travellers must be prepared to enter the same state of mind. Not for nothing is one of the most popular ‘borlettes’ in town (shops where bookies sell lotto tickets) called the Reality Lotto. Port-au-Prince has a rough, dangerous charm, but it would be stretching things to describe

it as attractive. Toxic clouds of diesel fumes blow across potholed streets. Mountains of rubbish and plastic bags pile up in the corners – becoming a river of effluence when thunderous rain hits the island. Still, nothing compares to the intensity of picking a path from Paco to Champs de Mars between scraps of sidewalk and a busy road, music blasting out from every stall, children shouting “Blanc! Blanc!”, eyes observing everything from every corner. Or zooming across town on a taxi motorbike for a single US dollar. If, after a week, Haiti's

visitors were British painter Anna Sebastian, French film and performance artist Erwan Soumhi, New York-based Clocktower Radio, as well as the ghost of André Breton, via an envoy of the mysterious University of Muri. “It was a situation like the island in The Magus by John Fowles,” says Omani sculptor Radhika Khimji. “Everyone has to confront a part of themselves – I mean to do with guilt, with poverty and money. With sexuality. Coming from my London bubble it was a shock. I felt uncomfortable and there

1. Port-au-Prince by night. 2. Marché du Peuple. 3. 'De Lanse Kòd' (Two Rope Throwers) by Leah Gordon (1996). 4. Residential Port-auPrince. 5. Mural in the Grand Cemetery. 6. Musicians at the Ciné Triomphe inauguration. 7. A sculpture in the open-air museum and workshop created by Atis Rezistans. 8. Hotel Oloffson. 9. Marché de Fer. 10. Frankétienne. 11. Sean Penn addresses celebrity supporters during a humanitarian visit to Haiti. 12. Haitians continue to rebuild their lives after the 2010 earthquake.

were times when I was scared as hell! Yet, it was one of the best experiences of my life. I felt my instincts much more sharply – afterwards I realized that I’d lost a lot of fear.” In a different respect to its commercial developments, events such as the Ghetto Biennale, as well as the Francophone Festival des Quatres Chemins, suggest that the relation between Haiti and the outside world might be transforming in a deeper way – we may have more to learn from Haiti than Haiti has to learn from us.



Happily, more people are now beginning to do so. Following the catastrophic earthquake that hit its capital of Port-auPrince in January 2010, and unleashed a flood of aid into the country, tourist numbers have been climbing steadily, reaching half a million in 2014. Investment in Haiti is also increasing. In February 2015 the 175-room Marriott was opened in a glitzy ceremony attended both by Bill Clinton and Sean Penn. Meanwhile, the Ciné Triomphe, once the largest theatre in the Caribbean, reopened to the public in June 2015 after 30 years of closure. This kind of activity is encouraging dreams of the halcyon days when Haiti competed with Havana as a regional attraction for jetsetters – when Mick Jagger stayed with Bianca at the picturesque Hotel Oloffson and the US group Steely Dan scored a hit with ‘Haitian Divorce’. Nonetheless, the fact that Haitians sometimes ask for payment in an imaginary currency dating from that period – the mysterious Haitian dollar – emphasizes the complexity of the project to modernize the country’s culture. Haiti is an unusual country where everyday encounters are defined by a sui generis species of hermetic weirdness, in which humour mixes with sincerity and opportunism combines with mysticism. Ultimately, Haiti is defined by voodoo (or vodou, as it's known locally). Identified outside the country, of course, with its most famous cultural export – the zombie – voodoo in Haiti itself is closer to a way of thinking esoterically and ritualistically. In some ways it is not unlike the thinking of Martinez de Pasqually, the enigmatic European alchemist

peculiarities start making sense, after a month, the world outside Haiti feels strange. Hence the phenomenon of repeat visitors – for many, once you go to Haiti, it is hard not to go back. This group includes the British artist and curator Leah Gordon. After catching the last moments of a 1991 BBC travel programme, in which Jill Dando, having travelled to the Dominican Republic, cautioned viewers to avoid the country just across the border, Gordon began to read about Haiti. Within three weeks she was in Port-au-Prince. In 2006, sent by the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool to commission a sculpture, she met artist André Eugène and his collective, Atis Rezistans. “They were really forward, in a kind of Mad Max way, using a dystopian science-fiction aesthetic,” Gordon says. Three years later they produced the first Ghetto Biennale. “It was they who were using the word ghetto a lot – believe me, it isn’t a word I would normally use. But the idea was to bring people there, and see what happens.” The fourth edition, in 2015, had 70 artists travelling to Haiti to work with local counterparts, such as the innovative neoimpressionist painter and musician Don Carmelo and poetry slammer Rossi Jacques Casimir. Among international



DON CARMELO Founding member of the legendary political rap group Masters of Haiti, painter and musician Don Carmelo, compared by critics to the great surrealist Haitian painter of the 1940s Hector Hyppolite, is currently working on his first exhibition in Europe.

1. OLOFFSON HOTEL Despite basic rooms, pricey meals and often molasses-like service, the characterful Oloffson remains unquestionably the best hotel for first-timers. Fictionalized by Graham Greene as the Hotel Trianon in The Comedians, it is run by Richard Morse, US-born son of Haitian singer Emerante de Pradines. He also fronts the ‘voodoo rock’ band RAM, whose raucous weekly performances at the hotel for a mixed crowd of ex-Duvalierists, prostitutes, spies and ingenuous aid workers are unmissable.

SEAN PENN Arriving in Haiti in the wake of the 2010 earthquake with 350,000 phials of morphine, Sean Penn has, over the past several years, become an increasingly important figure in the country. He was appointed ambassador at large by former President Martelly, and the annual fundraiser for his J/P Haitian Relief Organization is now a major event on the Hollywood social calendar.

2. GRAND CEMETERY Haitian Hougans – voodoo priests – claim that there are nine gates to the ‘other world’ in the universe, nine in the solar system, nine on Earth and nine in Haiti. One is certainly in Port-au-Prince’s voodoo cemetery. Photography is forbidden, but ritual skulls are available at a price.

ATIS REZISTANS Looming over Boulevard Jean-Jacques Dessalines, the sculpture workshop of Atis Rezistans looks like something between a Dickensian warren and Bartertown in Mad Max. If repeated use of similar materials and themes makes the quality of individual artists hard to judge, the collective project represents a kind of living sculpture in its own right.

3. MARCHÉ DE FER Originally destined to serve as a railway station in Cairo before inexplicably landing in Haiti, the Marché de Fer was the commercial heart of Portau-Prince for more than a century until being destroyed by the 2010 earthquake. It was purchased and restored by Denis O’Brien, the Irish owner of the Caribbean mobile phone company Digicel, who poured US$12m of his own money into the project (Digicel also owns the Marriott hotel).

FRANKÉTIENNE Haiti’s most famous living poet, Frankétienne follows in the steps of great Haitian writers such as René Depestre to create an innovative, surrealist-influenced style that deftly mixes Creole with French.

P O R T- A U - P R I N C E 3



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4. REX THEATRE The legendary Art Deco theatre, from which surrealist leader André Breton catalysed the overthrow of US-backed Haitian President Elie Lescot on his visit to the country in 1945, remains under reconstruction. At least it does officially: the ruined venue, attended by no signs of work, is today used as an ad hoc public toilet. 5. CINÉ TRIOMPHE Abandoned for three decades, the iconic cinema served as a warehouse before reopening in 2015. The recipient of a US$7m facelift, it is now ready for not just films (and the first venue to be able to do so since Haiti's 2010 earthquake), but also theatre and other cultural performances.

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Meme From medieval brocades to Rapunzel hair and four-legged friends, the 21stcentury forest girl scene is taking root. Sally Howard peeks behind the foliage.


f you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise. In Japan’s Hinohara or Germany’s Black Forest, however, it won’t be picnicking teddybears you come across. Rather, you might find yourself in the company of a real flesh-and-blood forest nymph. Perhaps you'll find her in a tableau reminiscent of a medieval tapestry: posing on a shaded bough with a wolverine dog in tow, or perhaps she will be journalling about nature’s beauty in lacetrimmed bloomers with tousled Rapunzel hair. Meet the 21stcentury forest girls.

nation’s rediscovery of Norse mythology after decades in which its runes and wolf gods were tainted by association with Nazi mysticism. Fiona Frewert is lead singer, bagpiper and willow flautist with Faun, a fantasy pop group who are the leading lights of the German nu-pagan festival scene. Frewert’s look, which teams Viking brooches with empire-line medieval dresses and nature motifs such as antlers and autumn leaves, is inspiration for a keen base of young female fans who religiously follow her sewing tutorials on the Faun Facebook page. “Girls write to me and say they have tried to make my skirts and headdresses," says 38-year-

We're witnessing a cultural turn as millennials seek antidotes to modern hyperconnectivity and look to the simpler pleasures of bonfires and campouts. Distinguished by their homespun, naturereferencing fashions, forest girls are the sartorial expression of this global mood. In Japan they take the form of the mossgreen-clad ‘mori’, or ‘girls who came out of the forest’; on the US West Coast they are part of the ‘fairy’ eco-festival scene; and in Germany they’re the antler and bodice-sporting ‘waldmädchen’, inspired by the

old Frewert, who lives in Munich with her husband and son (who is "very into Viking swords"). "It’s so cool!” Frewert was an early adopter of the German fad for reprising ancient outdoor gatherings such as May Day Walpurgisnacht (Witches' Night), when pagans met on the Brocken, the highest summit of the Harz mountains in Northern Germany (20,000 people attended festivities there in 2016). “As a teenager, I loved to meet friends at full moon and make a fire,” says Frewert. “I wanted to live in the forest and loved the smells of spring.”

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Today, admits Frewert, there’s nothing eccentric about her predilection for nature worship. “The German nature scene has really grown over the past 20 years,” she says. “Young people like to sit outside at night and have bonfires and tell ancient fairy tales. I think it is because many people don't like their jobs; at weekends they like to escape to an idealized life.” In California, Sonja Alexandra Drakulich is in the studio working on a tryptic of EPs of ancient folk songs to be released by Stellamara, a medieval-inspired acoustic ensemble who are darlings of the West Coast festival scene, for whom she is lead vocalist. Drakulich, a forestgirl icon, divides her time between Stellamara and her career as a therapeutic 'animal communicator': "I work with wolves, canines and horses sufering from anxiety caused by displacement and lack of care," she explains. This passion is reflected in her style, and she's fond of posing, vermilion locks flying, with white horses or with the wolf-husky hybrid, Sheba, who belongs to one of her clients. Drakulich, like Frewert, recalls being drawn to nature throughout her Los Angeles

childhood. "I would seek out beehives and sit and let the bees crawl all over me," Drakulich says. "This, naturally, would make the adults freak out." Her fashion influences include 'the shadow realms', 'gender-free' femininity and medieval art, though fashion, she points out, is secondary to her spiritual-philosophical cause. "I look for symbols and parables that celebrate inter-communication between species and our natural connection to the elements," she says. "My hope is that we can invoke these ancient ways back into human remembrance." Six thousand miles west in urban Tokyo, Mori-girl culture shares many of the features of the US and German/ Scandinavian scenes; not least a preoccupation with a restorative return to nature. Mori-girl Raku, 25, explains: "Unlike the Japanese Lolita trend, though similar, Mori aren't interested in being cute to men. Instead we like to paint watercolours, journal, eat organic and, most of all, care for the environment." The trend originated in 2006 on Japanese social networking community Mixi, when teen star Choco took to dressing, as one fashion blogger put it,


Californian forest-girl icon Sonja Alexandra Drakulich poses with a white horse (1) and Sheba (4) the wolfhusky hybrid. 2. Fiona Frewert with members of the fantasy pop group Faun. 3. Two Mori girls in Harajuku, Tokyo.

"like a girl who came out of the forest". The phrase spread like wildfire and soon the Mori girl became a fixture in influential Japanese fashion magazines Spoon and Cutie. Raku, who dresses daily in a 'dark mori' palette of forest greens and burgundies with lace trimming, explains that the look is flexible. "Many girls like animal or floral prints," she says, "and usually Mori wear flat shoes and keep their nails short. But the individual style is about each girl's interpretation of nature." Shown a picture of Drakulich, resplendent with her husky on a bed of straw, Raku agrees that there are similarities between the forest girls scenes in Japan and the West. "Maybe her look is a bit more, I don't know – carnivorous – than the Mori," Raku says, laughing. "But she looks like she also loves nature." Frewert agrees that these nature-tending subcultures share an escapism, a sense of returning to something lost. "We need to remember what life is about," she muses: "a bowl of cherries, ice cracking in water, the feeling of being in love."

In early 2017 Frewert will launch Elvory, a label of dresses and Viking accessories in collaboration with young German designer Lea Wenke. First, however, until December it's a world tour to celebrate the launch of a new album inspired by the Norse concept of Midgard (the world inhabited by humans among the Nine Worlds), in which fans will be treated to a dragon-inspired carved wooden drum set and a wardrobe of velvet bodices decorated with vines. Though Frewert notes that she won’t be repeating her experiment of stitching medieval breeches for her fellow band member Oliver. “I am not used to sewing for a man's shape," she says, laughing. "So I have to admit that they were a little, well, tight in the wrong places."


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State of the Art Kenny Schachter ponders how Brexit will afect the art market.


rexit will have zero effect on the art market other than to reduce the weight of a pound. The world is up in arms that the UK wildly, unpredictably decided to exit the European Union. Even more shocked and taken aback were the citizens of the UK, caught by surprise in the headlights of their own driving force. But there was one thing the exit leadership failed to consider in their quest, and that was a cogent plan should they succeed – and did they ever. With unfolding politics like this – and I’ve never seen an electorate so publicly and privately engaged in the 36 years I’ve been eligible to vote – why bother reading fction, when reality is simply too weird? However, Brexit has not entered a single market conversation I’ve had since the vote. The reason it will have little or no effect on the art world is a simple issue of the breadth of the indigenous UK art market or, more to the point, the lack of it – it’s small and stagnant and in no time soon will this change. Not to mention that China is nipping at London’s (and New York’s) heels like a vicious Jack Russell terrier. Some recent reports go as far as pegging China the reigning world market leader today. Although one auction segment or another may eclipse New York on occasion, the notion of the UK seriously encroaching on US dominance as the stronghold of the art/fnancial universe is a fantasy, though one suggested when I frst moved to London in 2004. It ain’t gonna happen anytime soon. All is not gloom and doom for the art world and market in particular. As much as the typical Goldman Sachs, Type-A, VIX (Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index) trade-churning maniac loves uncertainty, which we are at red-alert levels on, the more conservative among us prefer safer shores, or relatively protected ones in any event. And that would be the collectible family of investments, or SWAG: silver (more classic cars today, rather), wine, art and gold. Let’s call it GWAC instead. With retail banks such as HSBC threatening negative interest rates for the luxury of keeping cash with them, I foresee continued robust times for unquestionably good versions of good art by good artists (sorry, I just report what I see). November is the next big test for the art market, the US and the world, with forthcoming major auctions in New York and, for better or worse, the elections, all but simultaneously (the vote comes frst, uh oh). Let’s hope sense prevails.


The 1980s: Stranger Things took over Netfix with its Twin Peaks-meetsBreakfast Club vibes, and now they’re remaking Full House. Old is gold.

Stealing artwork: retailer Topman has allegedly plagiarized Azerbaijani artist Faig Ahmed's work and now Zara is in hot water, too. Naughty, naughty.

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Ars Longa The line between fashion and art is becoming everblurrier, says Dylan Jones, British GQ’s editor-in-chief.



1. 'David Bowie is..' at London's V&A Museum, 2013. 2. A dress by Roberto Cavalli at the 'China: Through the Looking Glass' exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2015.

hese days, everyone in the creative industries is encouraged to be a hyphenate. A master, or mistress, of all. Someone who can write a book, make a movie or design a high-street fashion collection as well as finding the time to do whatever it is they actually do for a living. If you can’t write a children’s book, design your own bespoke mobile phone or produce your own line of luxury sunglasses, then what on earth are you doing in your industry? And of course if you’re in the fashion industry, then you’re expected to be able to do all of this in your sleep. Well, not literally, obviously, as the people paying you the vast sums for you to design your own line of wallpaper or customize your own sports car would actually like you to be present, and awake, at the initial meeting in which they promise to shower you with gold for helping them out, but you know what I mean. Increasingly, fashion figures are being called upon to curate their own exhibitions and shows, acting as gallerists simply by dint of their presumed good taste. This year Sotheby’s London hosted its inaugural Contemporary Curated auction aimed at new collectors and asked the celebrated fashion designer Erdem Moralioglu to choose an array of works from the sale that appealed to him. Unsurprisingly, the collaboration was a huge success. Elsewhere, icons such as Karl Lagerfeld and Vivienne Westwood have been called upon to curate their own

exhibitions, while many modern shows need fashion consultants in order to be able to secure and accurately contextualize the sartorial elements contained therein. It would be impossible to imagine the David Bowie show at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2013 or this year’s Rolling Stones exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery without having

a) strong costume elements, and b) someone experienced enough to choose and collate these. As fashion and costume become even more important tools in a modern entertainer’s arsenal, so it behoves the custodians of the form to take these elements increasingly seriously. Of course, it hasn’t escaped the galleries’ notice that fashion is often more popular than regular art. ‘Savage Beauty’, the exhibition of the late Alexander McQueen’s work, drew record visitor numbers and critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic, attracting more than 1.5 million visitors to New York’s Museum of Modern Art and London’s V&A combined. ‘China: Through the Looking Glass’, which featured the work of the contemporary Chinese couturier Guo Pei – as well as Dior, Jean Paul Gaultier and McQueen – attracted more than half a million visitors to the Met, and was extended due to popular demand. Both Tom Ford (“Fashion for me is a creative endeavor but it is not art”) and Miuccia Prada (“I always said, for me, fashion is not art”) have been circumspect about fashion’s place in museums, but they seem to be in the minority. Now fashion is seen as a vital component of any exhibition that attempts to celebrate popular culture. Take the V&A’s ‘You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-1970’, which looks at fashion, music, art and politics – cultural insurrection, basically. Sure, you could have included all the pop groups, denim-clad revolutionaries and red-brick university activists you liked,

but without designers such as Mary Quant or Biba’s Barbara Hulanicki you would have been slightly remiss. Luckily for the V&A, the show was produced by its brilliant resident curators Victoria Broackes and Geoff Marsh (who also co-curated ‘David Bowie is…’). Bowie was obviously a man who felt equally at home in a museum as he did on stage, someone who understood that all art forms tend to feed off and inform each other, a man who enjoyed art and fashion as much as he liked music. “One of the most wonderful things about the David Bowie Archive is that it contains more than 75,000 objects ranging from high fashion Kansai Yamamoto costumes to sketches – even one on the back of a cigarette packet,” says Broackes. “It shows just how in-depth Bowie’s involvement in the creative process of his music and his performances was. One of the most mesmerizing things we included from the archive was a series of storyboards drawn by Bowie for a proposed film project connected with Diamond Dogs, which would eventually become the album and touring show.” There again, often fashion designers don’t click in the way in which they are now supposed to. The design guru Alice Rawsthorn tells a wonderful story about Donna Karan. On a trip to Paris, she was dragged off to the Picasso Museum by her late husband, Stephen Weiss. He hoped that his wife would love it as much as he did. Instead, or so he told American Vogue, she dashed from gallery to gallery barely pausing to look at the works. “Suddenly Weiss heard Donna screaming with glee in another gallery,” says Rawsthorn. “At last, he thought, she has finally found a Picasso that inspires her. He ran into the gallery only to discover his wife gazing at a bare expanse of green wall. This particular shade of green, she explained breathlessly, would be perfect for next season’s lingerie.”


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Science x Art


ny attempt to define what makes humans diferent from other animals very quickly runs into trouble. Some suggest that culture – practises and knowledge passed down the generations – sets us apart. However, we have learnt in the past few decades that the animal kingdom is rich in culture. There are the whale songs, for instance, that are created anew each season and spread to all corners of the ocean. Some dolphins use tools for feeding, and pass that on to their ofspring. Chimpanzees have cultural preferences when it comes to eating: some groups use a termite-digging twig as a dinner fork, while others will use their hands to take the termites of the twig before eating them. We have now learnt to accept that personality is not exclusive to people, either: researchers have documented timid spiders and extroverted sticklebacks, and few would argue against the idea that cats and dogs have individualized character traits. Animals share our emotional spectrum, too, enjoying happiness and laughter, sufering grief and experiencing deep bonds we associate with human love. Many, such as chimps, dolphins and elephants, display awareness of themselves and complex understanding: dolphins have shown in tests that they are aware of not knowing the answer to some questions they are asked,

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becoming agitated unless given a “don’t know” option in addition to “yes” and “no”. The one clear thing we have over the rest of the animal world is spoken language, but even that is largely a result of anatomy. Primates learn sign language with relative ease; the reason they can’t speak is due to the structure of the throat. Scientists agree now, however, that there is one sign that we are diferent: the human mind, and its capacity to have created a permanent scar in the Earth. We live in a newly labelled geological era, the Anthropocene, in which human activities have made such deep impact that they are visible in the geological record. The most significant impact is the signature of atomic weapons. Tests carried out in the middle of the 20th century threw swathes of radioactive particles into the atmosphere, and these became trapped in the Earth’s rocks and in the ice formed at the poles. They will be there for hundreds of thousands of years, slowly emitting radiation and transforming themselves into a cascade of diferent elements. According to Ele Carpenter, lecturer in curating at Goldsmiths, University of London, this turning point can be explored beyond a passive scientific acknowledgement of our lasting impact. She has curated a show at Bildmuseet in Umeå, Sweden (on until 16 April 2017; that

explores the nuclear age through a variety of artistic projects. ‘Perpetual Uncertainty’ seeks to lay out the ramifications of our atomic age. Works by artists from Europe, the US and Japan use nuclear themes and materials to assess what we should make of this era. The project invited artists to respond to Britain's dismantling of nuclear submarines. For Carpenter, though, the issues run deep. The process of dismantling involves storing submarine reactor vessels, and Carpenter quickly realized that the nuclear Anthropocene is about collective decision-making, our aesthetics of technology and our relationship with the physical space – above and below ground – of the planet. “I’m interested in how nuclear materials are entering the public realm, and the political spaces in which artists can participate and practise,” she explains. She is also keen to explore the relationship between political strategy and what she calls the “tactics of making”. “It’s not a question of personal or government responsibility,” Carpenter says, “but a question of how these two forms of knowledge and operation inform each other.” The exhibition includes many provocative pieces. Ken and Julia Yonetani’s Crystal Palace, for example, is a set of 31 chandeliers made of glass containing uranium: when the UV lights are switched on, the

glass glows an eerie green. Conceived in the aftermath of 2011's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan, it is a potent reminder of the tensions between human technological achievements and the risks they engender. Another work, A Temporary Index, by Jon Thomson & Alison Craighead, provides an indicator of the radioactive legacy of the Chernobyl meltdown. Hard as it is to see this signature of human uniqueness, the nuclear Anthropocene begs to be taken seriously. The world’s superpowers continue to flex their muscles in displays of nuclear strength, and build reactors with millennia-long legacies and waste-disposal issues that remain unresolved after decades of careful consideration. ‘Perpetual Uncertainty’ ofers the chance to reflect on our past decisions and to reimagine our future.


1. 'A Temporary Index' by Jon Thomson and Alison Craighead. 2. 'Crystal Place: The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nuclear Nations' by Ken and Julia Yonetani.


We are living in a new age, the Anthropocene, brought on by the nuclear scars humans have created on Earth. As a new art exhibition explores the long-lasting efects, Michael Brooks urges everyone to take note.

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Queen of Steel The legacy of the trailblazing Iraqi-born British architect Zaha Hadid, who died in March of this year, lives on in her buildings – the dazzling, audacious, operatic edifices she considered symbolic of a hopeful future.

“I’m an architect, so i create forms. what’s xx Baku.

The Zaha Hadid-designed Heydar Aliyev Centre, Baku.

the point of an architect who doesn’t?” xx Baku.

Zaha Hadid photographed at the Architectural Association in London (1) attending a diploma committee meeting in the library, 1988; (2) at a Peak Project party, 1985; and (3) with Rem Koolhaas and Mohsen Mostafavi at a DRL presentation, 1999.


planet in her own inimitable orbit.” This was how Rem Koolhaas, the celebrated Dutch architect, described Zaha Hadid at the time of her graduation from London’s Architectural Association. In the mid-1970s, Koolhaas was one of the Iraqi-born architect’s tutors at this radical architecture school. Setting up her own practice in London in 1980, Hadid went on to become a far brighter fixture in the cultural firmament than a planet alone. By the turn of the 21st century, it was clear that ‘Zaha’, one of the few architects to be widely recognized by a forename alone, was not simply the best known female architect of all time, but also one of history’s greats. By 2001 her architectural odyssey had transformed her from a planet into a star around which bright clusters of architects, designers, clients, critics and fans revolved. At the time of her sudden death at the age of 65, in Miami at the end of March, Hadid’s studio was Britain’s fastest growing architectural practice, with offices in London, New York, Mexico City, Dubai, Beijing and Hong Kong. She had won the Pritzker Prize – architecture’s Nobel – been made a Dame (the female equivalent of a British knight) and, in 2015, she was awarded the Royal Gold Medal for Architecture, a gift of the Queen given in the country she had chosen as her home 30 years before. The buildings she dreamed up, shaped and saw built are as compelling today as they will be in years to come. Some are pure architectural sorcery, among them the BMW Central Building,

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4 & 5. The Heydar Aliyev Centre, Baku, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects in 2013.

Leipzig, the Phaeno Science Centre, Wolfsburg, the Bergisel Ski Jump, Innsbruck, the Rosenthal Centre for Contemporary Art, Cincinnati, the Maxxi museum, Rome and the Heydar Aliyev Centre, Baku. Functional and yet unprecedented, these are dynamic, sweeping and even unashamedly voluptuous designs. “I’m an architect,” Hadid said, “so I create forms. What’s the point of an architect who doesn’t?” As Baku’s Heydar Aliyev Centre shows, Hadid brought fresh energy and glamour to contemporary architecture, offering excitement, hope and new forms of beauty to people and cities crying out for buildings that would put them on the map: designs that said “we can do great things, too”. Here in Baku is a building, rising from the site of


a former Soviet tank factory that appears to roll out of the ground as if formed from a single continuous gleaming surface with no obvious beginning and no inevitable end. Although derived as much from mathematical logic as intuition, the forms of her buildings could be theatrical, baroque and truly operatic. One of my most abiding memories of Zaha Hadid – the public figure – was her entrance into the lobby of the dazzling new Guangzhou Opera House in 2010. I watched from the balcony as she swept in like some Queen of the Night, surrounded by ever-tighter circles of fans and admirers. It was as if some legendary diva was holding court. The only other architect I have seen treated with similar adulation was Brazil’s Oscar Niemeyer. Appropriately, perhaps, Hadid was influenced by Niemeyer’s bold handling of concrete and the powerful forms of his memorable designs in Brasília. When I went to see Niemeyer on the occasion of his 100th birthday, workers chanted “Oscar! Oscar!” from building sites as we waited for the taxi that took us to lunch. Puffing on a small cheroot, Oscar spoke admiringly of Hadid. In public, Hadid was as unmistakable as her buildings.

6, 7 & 8. The Phaeno Science Centre, Wolfsburg, Germany.

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She dressed to draw attention. As a student in London she was fond of a pink-feathered coat by the French lingerie designer Chantal Thomass. She even wore it to Brezhnev-era Moscow, on a trip to find out more about the Suprematist art and architecture that inspired her early work. “I walked across Red Square in those feathers,” she told the Daily Telegraph’s Caroline Roux. “I don’t think they’d seen anything like it.” She chose to wear the latest and most outlandish designs by Issey Miyake, Prada and Commes des Garçons. She designed a range of pumps for the Brazilian shoemaker Melissa and science fiction-style stacked boots for United Nude. She styled jewellery for Georg Jensen and collaborated on designs for furniture, handbags, jewellery and vases with the likes of Louis Vuitton, Lacoste, Lalique, Chanel, Atelier Swarovski and David Gill. For all her flamboyance and sheer presence, few would have guessed that Hadid was essentially a shy and private person, although acerbic, gossipy, fierce, loyal and funny, too. She could seem so brave and sometimes brusque as if she was in complete control of her world and yet she attracted detractors like few other architects – those who were unable or unwilling to come to terms with her swooping, soaring, gathered, rolled and folding forms. Although Hadid and her buildings became hugely popular among a very wide and global audience, peevish criticism hurt her. “The very essence of Zaha Hadid,” Amanda Levete, herself an inventive architect who studied at the Architectural Association in the 150 Baku.

1970s, told Dezeen magazine, “is that she was a real romantic, very sensitive but a warrior, too.” She needed to fight, for Hadid was not just a woman in what has long been a man’s world, but always a foreigner in Britain, where she lived from 1972. In 1994, wilfully philistine Welsh politicians among other hostile critics annihilated one of the first of her radical schemes that looked as if it might be built, a competitionwinning design for an opera house on Cardiff Bay. This was a body blow to Hadid. Not only had she poured her heart and talent into the project, but she had also teamed up with Arup, the magisterially competent building engineers, who had no doubt whatsoever as to the practical nature of her luminous design. Hadid herself – a controversialist as well as Levete’s “warrior” – had yet to learn the degree of tact architects so often need to win commissions. In an interview with Lucy Kellaway of the Financial Times in November 1995, for example, she said of her critics: “Give them time and space to understand. The problem is that people in this country have seen so much garbage for so

1 & 2. The Bergisel Ski Jump in Innsbruck, Austria, built following an international competition won by Zaha Hadid Architects in December 1999.

long they think life is a Tesco. When the highest aspiration is to make a supermarket, then you have a problem.” From the beginning, however, it was clear that Hadid was unlike any other architect. It was not simply her upbringing in 1950s Iraq – a progressive country then – nor an education that spanned a Catholic school in Baghdad, Berkhamsted School, Hertfordshire, the American University of Beirut and the febrile Architectural Association in London’s Bedford Square, but her fascination with revolutionary design. Shortly after Hadid’s death, Rem Koolhaas told Dezeen, “I see her work not necessarily as an exciting form of Western architecture and a development of Western architecture, but really something fundamentally


different.” Koolhaas was angry at the time of Hadid’s death not simply because he felt her work was often misunderstood but because “of the short-sighted criticism in which the architectural press acts as a kind of Amnesty International in terms of judging local conditions more than local situation, and is therefore fundamentally hostile to making contributions to other cultures that are not as perfect as we supposedly are in the West.” Hadid’s own belief was that architecture tends to outlast political regimes of all colours. What she was designing and building for, she said, was the people who would use those buildings, people for whom her compelling designs were concrete symbols of hopeful futures. When, in 2014, the New York Review of Books claimed that 1,000 workers had died on the building site of Hadid’s Al Wakrah stadium in Qatar even though work had yet to start on the project, she sued for defamation, and won. Remarkably, the BBC’s Today programme repeated this false claim more than a year later in a live interview with Hadid on the occasion of her receiving the Royal Gold Medal. Incensed, she walked out. Like other great architects Zaha Hadid was an artist. She found beauty in unexpected landscapes that informed her work in profound ways. “I don’t design nice buildings,” she told me when I was writing a profile of her for the Guardian. “I don’t like them. I like architecture to have some raw, vital, earthy quality. Some winters ago I flew from New York to Chicago in the snow. At sunset, the landscape and cityscapes became no colours other than starkly contrasted black and white, while the rivers and lakes were blood red. Amazing. You wouldn’t call that a nice landscape, but it had the quality of light and life I would love to get into our buildings.” She did.


3. Landmark Zaha Hadid buildings include (3) the BMW Central Building in Leipzig; (4 & 5) the Rosenthal Centre for Contemporary Art, Cincinnati; and (6 & 7) the Guangzhou Opera House, China.



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PROFILE: SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS For Dmitry Turcan, the creative head of Baku’s avant-garde Lilac Boutique, fowers have the power to be as transformative as a work of art, as Anna Wallace-Thompson fnds out. Dmitry Turcan practising his craft at the Ateshgah Fire Temple, in Baku.


Dmitry’s top two in Baku…

Food, fabulous food. There’s nothing better than having a good meal with close friends at the end of a long day. Sumakh (above) is a favourite spot for its modern take on local cuisine, and I also love Kefi, a chic wine bar serving only Azerbaijani wines and snacks. 152 Baku.

Going up country. I recently discovered Mount Shahdagh (above), where there is a wonderful ski resort, as well as an area called Shamakhi, just over 100km inland from Baku. The nature there is spectacular and unspoilt – it’s like being on a different planet.

here’s more to fowers than just a bunch of pretty colours. They have the ability to transform a room, to lift your spirits and to foster goodwill, as well as nurture creative self-expression and overall wellbeing (seriously, fower therapy is a thing and it’s here to stay). None of this will come as a surprise for Dmitry Turcan, however, who runs both branches of Baku’s avant-garde foral destination Lilac Boutique. For Moldovan-born Turcan, foral design is more than simply handing over a bouquet of roses. “In Azerbaijan people love giving fowers,” he says. “They’re always eager to discover and ready for what is new.” Having moved from the Italian fashion capital of Milan to Baku fve years ago to become the art director of Lilac, Turcan now oversees foral arrangements for important events, such as last year’s European Games. He also works closely with entities such as the Heydar Aliyev Centre and holds foral design classes, teaching keen students the Ikebana-like art of putting together the perfect display. “I’m lucky because my work is also my main hobby,” Turcan says, smiling. “When I moved here, the locals treated me as one of their own.” He raves about the local culinary specialities, which he describes as “simple and fresh”. When not elbow-deep in blooms, he makes the most of his time in Azerbaijan by exploring every corner. “This is a country in which you can experience almost anything – from world-class luxury hotels to tiny traditional villages with just a few families.” This appreciation of diversity is refected in his attitude towards the art of fora: “Remember, there is no one fower that is better for an occasion than another – it’s the gesture that counts.”


THE BUZZ: IT’S BEEN A HARD DAY’S NIGHT Whether it’s a taste of Paris you’re after or winding down with a cocktail at sunset, these two new Baku venues offer the very best in striking design, ambience and experiential dining.

Michelinstarred chef Akrame Benallal excels in chic French dining with a focus on pedigree and simplicity.

Atelier Vivanda A chic Parisian bistro run by a twoMichelin-starred chef in the heart of Baku? Mais oui! A black-tiled bar surrounding the open kitchen features individual wooden countertops, reminiscent perhaps of butchers’ chopping blocks. The focus here is on meat, after all. “We know the pedigree of everything on your plate,” says chef Akrame Benallal, who opened his frst Atelier Vivanda in the French capital in 2012, with two more in the city to follow. Then outposts were established in Hong Kong and Manila, and now Port Baku (above). Benallal’s mantra for these restaurants is “simple and easy”, evident in the prime cuts of meat, fame-grilled to perfection, accompanied by France’s much-loved potato dishes – pommes darphin, gratin dauphinoise, et al – classic desserts such as crème brûlée and, of course, wine. It is a very tasteful affair indeed. Go, tout suite!

Barrel Playground This new party kid on the block – or on the Boulevard, rather – combines breezy beach-shack vibes during the day and pumping techno beats by night (left). Its open design celebrates dappled sunlight and welcomes those wandering in for a lazy lunch, with its luscious plants and cosy nooks. Once the sun goes down, however, the star of the show is Barrel’s soundtrack. Put on your dancing shoes and boogie the night away with cocktails aplenty, starry skies and tunes from Azerbaijan’s hippest DJs.


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MY ART: Matters of the Heart Kasia Kulczyk is passionate about art from her native Poland – not only collecting it, but organizing major shows, as she tells Anna Wallace-Thompson. Portrait by GARY SOBCZYK

What started your collection? The frst piece I bought was White Shirt by Polish artist Jadwiga Sawicka. She creates ‘written painting’ using news headlines and pieces of clothing.

Is there a crossover between curating and collecting? As I understand it, a curator’s job is to fnd a harmonious or juxtapositional relationship between works in an exhibition. By collecting a specifc period from a specifc region, it has allowed for a historically cohesive body of work to come together, allowing for a natural play on themes and subject matter. How do you know you have to have a particular piece? I just have to feel it; I follow my heart. Any exciting discoveries? Through galleries, mainly in Warsaw, Berlin and Budapest, I discover impressive emerging artists. Although my focus is on established and hugely underestimated artists not well known outside of Poland, such as Henryk Stazewski, Jerzy Kałucki, Wojciech Fangor and Ryszard Winiarski. Main picture: Kasia Kulczyk at home in London with a work by Brent Wadden. Above, from top: Polyamide (2015) by Paulina Olowska; Tarok (1990) by Jerzy Kałucki; Game 6 x 6 (Chance without a return to the black box) (1983) by Ryszard Winiarski; and White Shirt (2005) by Jadwiga Sawicka.

Advice for aspiring collectors? Don’t get sucked in by overpriced headline artists in Western galleries. What’s next? I am planning an exhibition for Polish performance artist and photographer Zofa Kulik in London. Her work All the Missiles Are One Missile will also be on view at Paris Photo art fair in November. I have organized a show in Daniel Libeskind’s new Sapphire building in Berlin, too, for promising young artist Natalia Stachon.


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What has your focus been? While I’ve mostly collected central European works, I gravitate towards Polish art from the 1960s onwards. I collect all media, yet fnd myself drawn to painting because of my love for texture and the restricted possibilities that a painter faces in exploring new ideas – as exemplifed by Paulina Olowska. Having said that, I am interested in artists from all over the world who explore these themes and ideas, such as Brent Wadden.

ALL IN THE MIND: Crystal Healing On raw, organic diets, the masses are now turning to crystals – thanks to the likes of Miranda Kerr and Cara Delevingne. Hey, if it works for Madonna… Illustration by VINCENT S



erhaps one of the better-known alternative therapies, crystal healing has been in use for centuries. Even on the high street evidence of this craze can be found in abundance. But what was once the preserve of hippies and dusty little shops, now has a major following, sparked by designers, healers, gallerists and, naturally, Hollywood celebrities, all of whom are raving about the benefts. So how does this amazing remedy work, you ask? As ever, it’s all down to the twin pillars of alternative medicine: healing vibrations and energy centres. Crystal afcionados praise the treatment for its ability to

The Beckhams went crystal gaga during their time in Los Angeles.

realign chakras and our wellbeing as a whole, as opposed to conventional medicine, which treats only one area at a time. Each crystal is thought to have a different electromagnetic charge (the result of the geometric make-up of the atoms within the crystal), and it is this ‘charge’ that can be used to address various issues. The procedure itself is simple enough – a patient will be induced into a deep state of relaxation (always a nice thing) by a crystal therapist, after which various stones will be selected based on the state of their aura (auras, too, play a large part). These will be arranged along the patient’s

body. The result? Overall feelings of wellbeing, with the occasional report of a temporary intensity of symptoms – all part of the process of release and nothing to worry about. As for celebrity fans: Angelina Jolie has supposedly invested heavily in crystals (though apparently Brad remains a sceptic), and the Beckhams went crystal gaga during their time in Los Angeles (pink quartz and black tourmaline, in case you were wondering). And who doesn’t remember Spencer Pratt in that episode of The Hills? What more is there to say? The way forward is crystal clear.


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THE ARTIST: Comic Relief

“ ’ve always been a big fan of comic books. As a young teenager I was already creating my own characters – I was also dabbling in street art via graffti. I loved the absolute freedom that these two art forms gave me – to be able to invent personas, to have ideas with no limitations or rules. Then I received my frst graffti commission for a private wall and I’ve been honing my style ever since. The process of creation almost always starts with a pencil for me – sometimes my tablet. I’ll begin with some scribbles and scratches and build from there, though I also work with brushes, spray paint and some digital work. I’ve had my work exhibited here in Azerbaijan as well as in the US, including two walls in the legendary 5 Pointz building in New York. It was one of the most famous graffti sites in the world. Sadly, it’s since been demolished. I’ve also illustrated a book of poems. I draw a lot of inspiration from the people around me – everyday heroes. I love collaborating on projects, too. I’ve been lucky enough to partner up with fellow Azerbaijani street artist Elman Malikov (aka Skiper) on the IDEA (International Dialogue for Environmental Action) campaign. You can also fnd my work at Gloria Jean’s Coffees in Baku, where it adorns the ceiling, as well as at the A+A Events Media Park. I’m a huge fan of comic book writer, artist and video game developer Joe Madureira, who works with Marvel, and particularly of his pencilling and shadowing skills. I also admire American artist Justin Bua for his brilliant colours and painting technique. One day I hope to illustrate a comic book or graphic novel or create concept art for video games and flms. I’m currently studying at Azerbaijan University of Architecture and Construction, which is teaching me a lot about structures and space. For now I’ll be developing my concept art and working on new character designs.


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As a young teenager I was creating my own characters – dabbling in street art via graffiti. I loved the absolute freedom these two art forms gave me.

Azerbaijani street artist Nadir Farajullayev is honing his creative superpowers while at university in Baku – and the future looks bright. Photography by NATAVAN VAHABOVA Opposite, from top: Nadir Farajullayev in Baku; works by the artist, Wanted (2015) and, this page, The Notorious B.I.G. (2012).

“i draw a lot of inspiration from the people around me – everyday heroes.” 161 Baku.

HISTORY LESSON: ODE TO JOY Think a bunch of roses is romantic? Try building a palace. This is how one Baku oil baron showed his wife just how much he cared in 1912, with his neo-Gothic Palace of Happiness.

How happy the tenants of this building must be.


Above: the intricate roof of the palace. During construction, a builder fell to his death when adjusting the statue of the knight.

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Wow, what a grand gesture. What’s the story? This spectacular building was originally called Mukhtarov Palace, named after its owners, but later known as the Palace of Happiness. The story goes that the Azerbaijani oil baron Murtuza Mukhtarov had it erected for his beloved wife, Lisa, after one of their frequent jaunts to Europe. While abroad, she fell in love with a French Gothic residence, allegedly gasping, “How happy the tenants of this building must be”. Her doting husband silently took note and arranged for a replica to be built in their home city of Baku. Within nine months it was realized and Mukhtarov unveiled it to Lisa – surprise!

Astonishing. So they lived happily ever after? Not quite. The loved-up couple lived in their palace until 1920, when the Soviets invaded Azerbaijan. It is said that Mukhtarov shot some Russian offcers when they forced their way into his home on horseback, before, tragically, killing himself. What became of the building? As one of the largest mansions in Baku, it has served a variety of purposes, including the base for a libertarian Muslim women’s club, a Shirvanshahs’ museum and as the Palace of Marriage Registrations, which remains its name and function today. Apt, really. It was granted

status as a protected cultural monument, and in 2012 was completely restored. At last year’s Venice Biennale it even featured in Azerbaijan’s exhibition by art organization Yarat, entitled The Union of Fire and Water. Set in the Palazzo Barbaro, the formerly private residence of a Venetian ambassador who had travelled extensively in Azerbaijan, the installation looked at the history, culture, unity, love and confict inherent within these prominent structures of Baku and Venice. No doubt this enduring legacy of love would have made Mr and Mrs Mukhtarov very happy indeed.


THE ILLUSTRATOR: Woodland Creatures

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By Leyla Aliyeva

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THE CIRCUIT: When Art Met Nature Art for more than art’s sake – a London show to support the plight of big game in Africa.

Leyla Aliyeva with her work Maxik.

Simon and Michaela de Pury.

On a balmy summer evening in the heart of London’s Soho, a crowd of nature lovers and art fans gathered to admire conservation-themed works by a collection of Azerbaijani and international artists. Featuring pieces by Leyla Aliyeva, Julian Melchiorri and Nok Currall, among others, ‘Live Life’ was a celebration of the natural world and a call to action to save it. It was held in support of National Park Rescue, a non-proft organization founded by conservationist and broadcaster Mark Hiley to develop and protect national parks and wildlife in Africa. The diverse artworks, coupled with wildlife statistics, served as a powerful reminder of the ongoing plight of our planet’s endangered.

Nok Currall (right) and friend.

Pomegranate by Ragim Chopurov.


Above: Emin Mammadov and Anar Alakbarov. Below: Works by Leyla Aliyeva.

Meredith Ostrom, Katy Wickremesinghe and Jean-David Malat.

Hervé Mikaeloff, curator of ‘Live Life’, with Ingrid Pux.

Moment of Culmination by Aylel Heydarova.

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THE CIRCUIT: Pump Up the Volume A star-studded line-up for the inaugural Zhara Fest in Baku. Nuran Huseynov, Anar Alakbarov, Leyla Aliyeva, Aras Agalarov and Murad Gulubayli.


What could be more ftting for a summer soirée than a music festival on the beach? That’s exactly what the Zhara Fest organizers decided, so partygoers headed north to the Sea Breeze resort to groove the night away with more than 30 of Russia and Azerbaijan’s top pop stars – including Valery Meladze, Nyusha, Slava and A-Studio. Also performing was Emin, who, along with Grigory Leps and Sergey Kozhevnikov (founder of Russia’s Golden Gramophone awards), was behind the new festival. Sati Kazanova.

Emin Agalarov with sons Mikail and Ali.

Philipp Kirkorov and Ani Lorak.

Denis Klyaver and Irina Fedotova.

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Timati, Grigory Leps and Keti Topuria.

Andrey Malakhov and Yana Churikova.

Mitya Fomin.

Eva Polna.

Nikolay Baskov.

Yulia Baranovskaya and Katya Lel.

Potap & Nastya, and Alexey Vorobyov.

Stas Kostuyshkin.

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THE CIRCUIT: A Tale of Two Cities Celebrating history in London and a major George Condo retrospective in Baku. AZERBAIJAN TOASTS REPUBLIC DAY This glittering evening reception at the Montcalm hotel, hosted by the country’s embassy in London, kicked off with a performance by the accomplished violinist Sabina Rakcheyeva, who played the national anthems of both Azerbaijan and the UK. Diplomats and cultural infuencers then celebrated in style to commemorate Azerbaijan’s Republic Day on 28 May. It was on this day in 1918 that the country declared independence. Guests at the event. Sabina Rakcheyeva performing.

Professor Nargiz Pashayeva is greeted by hosts including (far right) Tahir Taghizadeh, Azerbaijani Ambassador to the UK.


Works by George Condo on display in the Heydar Aliyev Centre.

CONDO COMES TO BAKU Ahead of Baku’s debut Formula 1 race, the Heydar Aliyev Centre opened a major retrospective of works by the prolifc American artist George Condo. Curated by Simon and Michaela de Pury, the show features some 80 works drawn from the collection of Andrea Caratsch, and includes sculptures, paintings, silkscreens and more. Condo’s extensive ouevre demonstrates his keen grasp of what it is to be human.

Leyla Aliyeva welcomes guests at the opening of George Condo’s exhibition in Baku.

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Regent’s Park, London 6–9 October 2016 New Preview Day Wednesday 5 October

Sassetta, San Sepolcro Altarpiece (detail), The National Gallery, London

Tickets at


Valentin Dyakonov A multitasking Moscow-based curator and critic with a growing legion of fans.

Marina Vranopoulou The influential gallerist enticing a new breed of visitor to the Greek islands. Marina Vranopoulou opened Dio Horia (main image, this page), her Mykonos gallery, in 2015. Since then she has turned Mykonos into a destination for contemporary art – not just the nightlife that made it infamous. When Vranopoulou isn’t programming the gallery, she manages Dakis Joannou’s Deste Foundation Slaughterhouse Project on the Greek island of Hydra. The talented and enterprising young woman is someone to watch, as she will no doubt shape the arts in Greece for years to come by building a platform for cultural exchange.

As Russia continues to emerge from the vestiges of the Iron Curtain, there is no doubt that Valentin Dyakonov’s projects will similarly emerge into a broader international focus. In Moscow he is among the strongest and most interesting contributors to the cultural landscape, wearing a multitude of hats and easily shifting between responsibilities. He holds a PhD and is a cultural correspondent for Kommersant newspaper – his first curatorial project was instigated at the behest of his readers. This evolved into an ongoing practice and his next exhibition, in Moscow – still in the planning stage – is much anticipated.

C&G Artpartment This buzzing Hong Kong art space encourages dialogue and collaboration. C&G Artpartment was founded in Hong Kong in 2007 by artists and curators Clara Cheung and Cheng Yee Man, and exists as both an art collective and alternative exhibition space. C&G Artpartment has curated numerous exhibitions that respond to social and cultural issues in Hong Kong while creating a dialogue with artists in other parts of Asia and around the world. Its unencumbered form allows the artists to curate exhibitions, collaborate with other artists and make their own work, thus offering a precious outlet that counterbalances the commerce-heavy appetite of Hong Kong.

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The much-anticipated autumn season sees the art world abuzz with exciting gallery collaborations, cool new shows and dynamic curators. Jarrett Gregory has all the details.

Nicoletta Fiorucci and Milovan Farronato Crowd-pulling events are this curatorial dream team’s speciality.


Nicoletta Fiorucci founded the Fiorucci Art Trust in 2010 as a platform for experimental and artist-driven programming. The Trust’s director and curator, Milovan Farronato, works closely with Fiorucci to develop exhibitions and select artists for a series of projects, including the magical Volcano Extravaganza on the Italian island of Stromboli (main image, this page). For this event in July this year, Farronato co-curated a week-long series of shows and performances conceived by the artist Camille Henrot and staged with a team of artist-collaborators. Expect further exciting developments from these two.

The Institute for Human Activities A provocative artist-led project drawing attention to global economic disparity.

Reena Spaulings Fine Art and House of Gaga Exciting programmes lie ahead from this New York-Mexico City mash-up.

The Institute for Human Activities (IHA) is a research-based project initiated by Renzo Martens, an artist and Yale World Fellow. Although controversial, IHA employs the arts to bypass severe economic inequality and destitution. The IHA conference centre, designed by the renowned architecture and urbanism firm OMA, is currently under construction in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and will attempt to gentrify one of the poorest areas in Africa. Martens’ film Enjoy Poverty: Episode III details his ongoing engagement with the area and really should not be missed.

Reena Spaulings Fine Art, from New York, and House of Gaga, from Mexico City – two of the most exciting contemporary art galleries – have partnered up to open a gallery in the MacArthur Park area of downtown Los Angeles. Programming commences this autumn, with highlights from each gallery’s roster including Ei Arakawa, Seth Price, K8 Hardy, Klara Liden at Reena Spaulings Fine Art, Karl Holmqvist, Jay Chung and Q Takeki Maeda, and Emily Sunblad at House of Gaga. Jarrett Gregory is an associate curator at LACMA.


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ENDANGERED NO. 5: Caspian Seal With its prized fur and blubber, the Caspian Sea’s only marine mammal is literally dying for fashion. If this doesn’t stop soon, sadly, its fate will be sealed. Illustration by MARGAUX CARPENTIER

Found: Small but mighty, the diminutive Caspian seal (Pusa caspica) resides, as its name suggests, solely in the brackish waters of the landlocked Caspian Sea. It is thought to have originated in the northern seas up to three million years ago - that’s some pedigree. Most of the year they can be found throughout the Caspian, but during the cold months the vast majority head north-east to set up camp on the ice sheets for breeding (they’re monogamous, FYI). The absurdly adorable seal pups are born with thick white fur coats for insulation, before shedding them a month later for shiny dark grey skin. Under threat because: As is often the case, sadly, hunting is the main culprit for their decline. Seal skins and the pups’ white fur are desirable for hats and clothing, while their blubber is valuable as a medicinal tonic and even as cattle feed. Plus, large numbers are reported to become tangled in illegal sturgeon-fshing nets. Natural predators – wolves and sea eagles – also play a part in their demise. Further threats could arise from oil-feld development in the Caspian and climate change, which could cause the icy breeding grounds to melt prematurely. What does this all mean? Well, that numbers have fallen by 90 per cent, from more than a million a century ago. Yikes. Outlook: The countries surrounding the sea – Azerbaijan, Iran, Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan – have all approved conservation plans to help protect the seals, but very little action has taken place. The plan includes banning hunting (various prohibitions began as far back as 1940), reducing accidental catches in fshing nets (and encouraging fsheries to release the seals, rather than kill them), and establishing protected areas. Some non-government organizations in the Caspian states have also been raising awareness of the seals’ plight. And the IDEA (International Dialogue for Environmental Action) campaign is working towards the recovery of biodiversity in the Caspian Sea. But more needs to be done, and fast.


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Numbers have fallen by 90 per cent, from more than a million a century ago.

20-23 octobER 2016 grand palais petit palais hors les murs paris #fiac • Organised by

OfďŹ cial sponsor

tom wolfe


Tom Wolfe is a celebrity chef and food artist.

176 Baku.


Tabula Rasa

t’s been a busy year so far – I launched my frst perfume, Tom Wolfe #234, in collaboration with Illuminum, and I’ve also recently come back from a trip to Baku to work on this issue’s food shoot. I frst went to Baku, however, in 2013, when LVMH invited me to produce a Hennessy launch at the Four Seasons hotel. The event was a lot of fun, as we dressed models in couture and they served canapés off my wearable trays – it was fabulous! Since then, each time I return, I’m amazed by all the new galleries, cafes and restaurants that have opened – there are so many fun cultural things to do. Whenever I’m in Azerbaijan, one of my best friends (artist Afet Akhund-zadeh) takes me antiques shopping. Last year we spent a day at her family’s beach house on the coast. It was very peaceful, and we picked pistachios from the trees in the garden. Those kinds of food memories will last me a lifetime. In Baku itself I adore the Pakhlava Teahouse – Ismail Dadashov, its master tea blender, is a great guy who never fails to brew me something extraordinary. I’ve had a fantastic journey through Azerbaijan, and discovered the foods of its many regions and climate zones. Cooking in Qirmizi Qasaba (also known as Krasnaya Sloboda) with the Mountain Jews was amazing; and I always boast that Lankaran, in the south, grows the best lemons I’ve ever tasted.

Baku - Autumn 2016  

Baku Autumn - Issue 20 2016 ART. CULTURE. WILD.

Baku - Autumn 2016  

Baku Autumn - Issue 20 2016 ART. CULTURE. WILD.