art. culture. azerbaijan.
a conde nast publication SPRING 2014 ISSUE ELEVEN
It’s a Passion
Paint the town chic
shiny green star
Stella McCartney speaks fashion
put the milk where? Tea has never been so sultry
women architects It’s a girl’s world up there
overload! Richard Deacon Sarajevo style Kanye & Jay-Z do art
Infused with Soul
A Time To Live
leyla aliyeva, photographed by Frederic aranda.
hat does spring mean to you – romance, creativity, new beginnings, visions of summer sun, or just more travel and hard work? For us, spring means a new year, as shoots rise from the ground and the natural world renews. Having said that, given the pace of Baku’s renewal, ours is a city that seems to move several years within the space of a few months, whatever the season. I am delighted that Baku magazine has gained a following, as well as some pretty high-profle visibility around the world since we started publishing it. People ask me whether it is a magazine about my city, or my country, or about contemporary art, or culture – and the answer is, it’s about all of these and none of them. Of course Baku is the capital of my homeland, Azerbaijan, and I am delighted that this magazine showcases my city’s rapid creative, cultural, artistic and gastronomic development. Just 10 springs ago it would not have been conceivable for Baku to be ranked among the world’s ‘hot spot’ cities; now I am overjoyed that we are on so many people’s ‘to see’ lists. But I also tell people that Baku, the magazine, is about more than that. It’s about a state of mind: being young at heart, keen to discover, a little bit irreverent, utterly creative and totally modern. We have a lot of that in this issue, from interviews with Stella McCartney, Richard Deacon and Tamara Ralph, to a stunning fashion shoot within the city, to stories about culture, old and new, and the most interesting corners of the experimental art world. Happy New Year.
Leyla Aliyeva Editor-in-Chief
** ** **
On the road The ayes have it Star Ferry east Studio 54 Antielectron neutrino Maya? Are you there?
Contents sketches it’s a mirage
With their curves by day and light shows by night, Azpetrol’s outlets are the sculptures of the road.
Our pick of the festivals, fairs and biennials this spring from Glasgow to Sydney, and all points in between.
cult & collectable
A selection of some of the most covetable objects on sale at the art auction houses in the coming months.
opinion former Super-smart and ultra-connected, Yana Peel is setting the international cultural agenda.
basel v basel
infuseD with soul
Drinking tea by the shores of the Caspian has a tradition all of its own.
raising the roof Women architects are making waves around the world and changing the face of the industry.
Baku’s cultural barometer of cutting-edge trends on the international art scene.
baku profile Latin American chef Martin Quintana at Pasifco.
exposure Winning images from the World Press Photo Contest.
Destination: xinaliQ The highest, most remote village in the wild Caucasus.
the artist Baku-born, Moscow-based painter Hamida Malikova.
history lesson We look at the symbolism and identity of national fags.
culture The mysterious legends of Baku’s Maiden Tower.
the alchemist British artist Richard Deacon transforms mundane materials into sculptural gold. Celebrities like Jay-Z and Lady Gaga all want to collaborate with artists. And the feeling is mutual.
Drive! For a turbocharged three days, Baku was transformed into a racing track for the Baku World Challenge.
star bright Stella McCartney, a superstar of the fashion world, refects on her work, life and fame.
city slicker Sculptural, solid shapes collide with light-as-a-feather fabrics in Baku’s cool contemporary interiors.
We compare the original Art Basel art fair with its brand new sibling, Art Basel Hong Kong.
a time to live French flm star Robert Hossein talks about beautiful women, his Azerbaijani roots and the future.
Dress for success
it’s show time
The Whitney Biennial is back. We name the eight artists not to be missed this year.
rock stars Dale Rogers, London’s answer to Indiana Jones, transforms fossils into objets d’art.
speaking for herself The Moroccan artist Lalla Essaydi gives voice to both herself and the women she depicts. Tamara Ralph of Ralph & Russo, couturiers to the stars, tells us why exclusivity is everything.
the illustrator Leyla Aliyeva invokes the spirit of spring.
maven A Mexican style blogger reports from Zona Maco art fair.
my art Ramesh Nair of Moynat reveals his eclectic taste.
the buzz American classics with an haute twist at Alov steakhouse.
90 156 160
the circuit People, places and parties around the world. tabula rasa Top TV executive Andrea Wong is amazed by Baku.
COVER. Photographed by KT AULETA. Styled by mELINA NICOLAIDE. Top and skirt by CELINE.
art. culture. azerbaijan. a conde nast publication SPRING 2014
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, CONDE NAST ART DIRECTOR MANAGING EDITOR DEpuTy EDITOR/CHIEF Sub-EDITOR ASSOCIATE EDITOR EDITORIAL ASSISTANT
Leyla Aliyeva Darius Sanai Daren Ellis Maria Webster Abbie Vora Laura Archer Caroline Davies
Simon de Pury
CONTRIbuTING FASHION DIRECTOR
CONTRIbuTING ART DIRECTOR pICTuRE EDITOR Sub-EDITOR DESIGN INTERN pRODuCTION CONTROLLER pRODuCTION CO-ORDINATOR
DEpuTy EDITOR, RuSSIAN bAku MAGAzINE DIRECTOR, FREuD COMMuNICATIONS DIRECTOR, MEDIA LAND LLC IN bAku / ADVERTISING
CO-ORDINATION IN bAku
DEpuTy MANAGING DIRECTOR pRESIDENT, CONDE NAST INTERNATIONAL
Michael Idov Natalie Livingstone Emin Mammadov Hervé Mikaeloff Kenny Schachter Claire Wrathall Mark Hudson Liz Leahy Andrew Lindesay Olena Slyesarenko Frances Seal Emma Curley
Tamilla Akhmedova Hannah Pawlby Khayyam Abdinov +994 50 286 8661; email@example.com Matanet Bagieva
Albert Read Nicholas Coleridge
BAKU magazine has taken all reasonable efforts 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. © 2014 The Condé Nast Publications Ltd. BAKU magazine is published quarterly by The Condé Nast Publications Ltd, Vogue House, Hanover Square, London W1S 1JU; tel +44 20 7499 9080; fax +44 20 7493 1469. Colour origination by CLX Europe Media Solutions Ltd. Printed by Taylor Bloxham Limited, Leicester. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is strictly prohibited. 18 Baku.
Vernissage | Wednesday, May 14, 2014 | By invitation only artbasel.com | facebook.com/artbasel | twitter.com/artbasel
Contributors is an illustrator, who spends half of her day drawing in her Berlin studio, and the rest drawing with her daughter at home. In this issue Tina paints the British fashion designer Stella McCartney (p50). What is your favourite number? 61 – I have synaesthetic tendencies and this number has the nicest colour, a dusty, pale blue. Art Basel or Frieze? Never made it to Frieze, so I’d say: Frieze. Buzzfeed or newspaper? Newspaper – 100 per cent I like springtime because... ...of springtime.
has been curating exhibitions in museums and galleries for decades and has published and lectured extensively. In this issue Kenny gives his view on the current art boom for Ars Longa (p126), plus he begins his new residency as Baku magazine’s Art Agony Uncle (p128). What is your favourite number? 13 Art Basel or Frieze? Basel, by far. Buzzfeed or newspaper? All info, all of the time. I like springtime because... ...it makes no difference.
is a freelance arts reporter and Editor-at-Large of The Art Newspaper, based in London. For this issue she writes about celebrities dabbling in performance art (p84). What is your favourite number? 3 Art Basel or Frieze? Neither. Buzzfeed or newspaper? Both. I like springtime because... ...it’s not dark when I walk the dog at 6am.
is the founder of Metbex Couture, an online food magazine and culinary consultancy in Azerbaijan. Natalia helped the Baku team orchestrate the tea shoot in her home city for this issue (p90). What is your favourite number? 8 Art Basel or Frieze? Art Basel. Buzzfeed or newspaper? Newspaper. I like springtime because... ...everybody around is positive and smiling.
is a native New Yorker who has been lost and found in Sarajevo. He is an emphatic Balkanophile, if there is a such a thing. For this issue he offers an insider’s perspective on the cultural scene in Sarajevo (p121). What is your favourite number? 7 Art Basel or Frieze? Frieze (of course). Buzzfeed or newspaper? Newspaper. I like springtime because... ...everything is aglow.
is an Irish photographer based in London whose work takes him all over the world, shooting all manner of subjects. He’s also published 10 books in collaboration with Michelinstarred chefs. For this issue Richard photographed the Azerbaijani tea story (p90). What is your favourite number? 21 Art Basel or Frieze? Frieze. Buzzfeed or newspaper? Newspaper. I like springtime because... ...it’s colourful.
artwork by olena slyesarenko.
Itâ€™s a Mirage All interlocking curves by day, and surreal arcs of light by night, they appear like visions in the Baku streetscape. They are no more than standard flling stations, where you can gas up on unleaded or grab an emergency stash of Doritos and ice cream, but Azpetrol, Azerbaijanâ€™s national petrol retailer, designs its outlets like sculptural works of art. And why not? Photograph by Giles price
In the heart of London’s Mayfair, moments from Bond Street and Hyde Park, Claridge’s hotel embodies the essence of English style. BROOK STREET, MAYFAIR, LONDON W1K 4HR TEL +44 (0)20 7629 8860 RESERVATIONS@CLARIDGES.CO.UK CLARIDGES.CO.UK
Where Hong Kong What Asia’s flms have a chance for glory every spring, with dramatic galas, red carpet events and public screenings. hkiff.org.hk
21 MARCH–9 JUNE BIENNALE OF SYDNEY
Where Sydney What Held since 1973, this is the Australian arts event. Work from around the world, such as by Briton John Stezaker (right) will be there, and places for their Artist One-onOne programme – where you can chat with an artist – are sure to be snapped up fast. biennaleofsydney.com.au
COURTESY JAVAD MIRJAVADOV. COURTESY JOHN STEZAKER AND THE APPROACH, LONDON. ©EPA EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY B.V./ALAMY. REX/GALLO IMAGES. PHOTO TIM ROBERT.
27 MARCH–2 APRIL AT THE CROSSROADS 2
( cultuRe FIx
24 MARCH–7 APRIL 38TH HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
WHAT’S HOT & WHERE IT’S AT THIS SPRING
28 APRIL–4 MAY AFRIKABURN
Where Sotheby’s, London What Subtitled ‘Contemporary Art from Istanbul to Kabul’, Sotheby’s second instalment of its selling exhibition covers contemporary works from the countries of the Caucasus – including work by Azerbaijani artist Javad Mirjavadov (pictured) – Central Asia, Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan. sothebys.com
Where Tankwa, South Africa What Create art, dance in the dirt, burn structures. It’s heavy on the symbolism, a little lighter on the Google execs who reportedly attended the Burning Man festival in Nevada, of which AfrikaBurn is the frst regional event in Africa. afrikaburn.com
3 APRIL–25 MAY LOVE ME, LOVE ME NOT
29 MARCH–5 APRIL KLEIN KAROO NATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL
Where Oudtshoorn, South Africa What This is South Africa’s Afrikaans-language arts and culture festival. It’s been pushing the boundaries with street art, theatre, dance and visual arts since 1994. kknk.co.za
Where Heydar Aliyev Centre, Baku What After its success at the Venice Biennale, this Yarat exhibition returns home with video, installations and paintings by artists from Azerbaijan and its neighbours, such as by the Iranian-born New York-based painter Ali Banisadr (pictured). loveme-lovemenot.com
( cultuRe FIx
( 14–22 JUNE ZANZIBAR INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
Where Zanzibar, Tanzania What One of East Africa’s largest cultural events, ZIFF fosters new talent with screenings and workshops. ziff.or.tz
3–6 JULY THE ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL
4–21 APRIL GLASGOW INTERNATIONAL
Where Glasgow What The city known for its art with bite showcases its talent alongside international artists, such as Bedwyr Williams (pictured). glasgowinternational.org
9–11 MAY HENZEL STUDIO COLLABORATIONS
Where New Orleans What The African-American music festival boasts Prince (pictured right), Mary J Blige and Charlie Wilson among its headline acts. essence.com
Where Barneys, New York What Turn your foor into an artwork with beautiful rugs by artists such as Juergen Teller, Jack Pierson (pictured) and Helmut Lang, on sale during Frieze NY. byhenzel.com
Where San Miguel Allende, Mexico What Bolder than Basel, brighter than Frieze, this Mexican festival celebrates the best art in Latin America, including Spencer Tunick’s nudes (left). smartsanmiguel.com
UNTIL 13 JULY 2015 EAST WING BIENNIAL INTERACT: DECONSTRUCTING SPECTATORSHIP Where Courtauld Institute of Art, London What A student-curated show about interacting with art. It has works by new and established artists, including Azerbaijan’s Rashad Alakbarov whose seemingly abstract creations, such as It Is Not Chaos (2013), below, take on their real form with light and shadows. courtauld.ac.uk
10–12 JULY WHITE NIGHTS FESTIVAL
Where St Petersburg What This pop festival in the Ice Palace is on during the city’s ‘white nights’ when the city enjoys 24-hour daylight. There is the famous Scarlet Sails spectacle, too. wnfestival.com
7–22 JUNE ART|JOG
Where Yogyakarta, Indonesia What Indonesia’s fnest artists such as Budi Kustarto (above) are showcased in the city at the heart of Javanese art and culture. artfairjogja.com
30 APRIL–3 MAY ART BEIJING
Where Beijing What Now in its ninth year, Art Beijing pulls in international galleries as well as home-grown talent. Discover them before they hit the big time. artbeijing.net 26 Baku.
PETER BENNETT. © BEDWYR WILLIAMS. © GONZALES PHOTO/DEMOTIX/CORBIS. COURTESY GALERIA HILARIO GALGUERA. COURTESY HENZEL STUDIO. © ANDREW CATTA/ALAMY. FAKHRIYYA MAMMADOVA, COURTESY RASHAD ALAKBAROV.
30 MAY–1 JUNE SMART: SAN MIGUEL ART FESTIVAL
Art Dubai 2014 • Contemporary: 313 Art Project, Seoul • Agial Art Gallery, Beirut • Sabrina Amrani Gallery, Madrid • Art Factum Gallery, Beirut • L’Atelier 21, Casablanca • Athr Gallery, Jeddah • Ayyam Gallery, Dubai/London/Beirut/Jeddah/ Damascus • Baró Galeria, São Paulo • Bolsa de Arte, Porto Alegre/São Paulo • The Breeder, Athens/Monaco • Laura Bulian Gallery, Milan • Carbon 12, Dubai • Carroll / Fletcher, London • Chatterjee and Lal, Mumbai • Chemould Prescott Road, Mumbai • Galleria Continua, San Gimignano/Beijing/Le Moulin • CRG Gallery, New York • Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris • D Gallerie, Jakarta • Experimenter, Kolkata • Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde, Dubai • Galerie Imane Farès, Paris • Selma Feriani, London/Tunis • Galleria Marie-Laure Fleisch, Rome • GAG Projects, Adelaide/Berlin • Galerist, Istanbul • Giacomo Guidi Arte Contemporanea, Rome • Gladstone Gallery, New York/Brussels • Marian Goodman Gallery, New York/Paris/ London • Alexander Gray Associates, New York • Green Art Gallery, Dubai • Grey Noise, Dubai • Hales Gallery, London • Leila Heller Gallery, New York • Kashya Hildebrand Gallery, London/Zurich • Hussenot, Paris • In Situ / Fabienne Leclerc, Paris • Rose Issa Projects, London • Galerie Jaeger Bucher, Paris • Galerie Rodolphe Janssen, Brussels • Kalfayan Galleries, Athens/Thessaloniki • Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna • Lombard Freid Gallery, New York • Lumen Travo, Amsterdam • Elmarsa, Tunis/Dubai • Galerie Greta Meert, Brussels • Victoria Miro, London • Marisa Newman Projects, New York • Galleria Franco Noero, Turin • Gallery Wendi Norris, San Francisco • Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris/Brussels • Omenka Gallery, Lagos • Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo/Singapore • Paradise Row, London • Pechersky Gallery, Moscow • Pi Artworks, Istanbul/London • Pilar Corrias, London • Galerie Polaris, Paris • Tyler Rollins Fine Art, New York • Schleicher/Lange, Berlin • Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Hamburg/Beirut • Gallery Ske, Bangalore/New Delhi • Tashkeel, Dubai • Tasveer, Bangalore • Galerie Daniel Templon, Paris/Brussels • The Third Line, Dubai • Galerie Tanja Wagner, Berlin • Yavuz Fine Art, Singapore • Modern: Agial Art Gallery, Beirut • Aicon Gallery, New York/London • Albareh Art Gallery, Manama • Artchowk, Karachi • Elmarsa, Tunis/ Dubai • Karim Francis, Cairo • Grosvenor Gallery, London • Jhaveri Contemporary, Mumbai • Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai • Galerie Janine Rubeiz, Beirut • Shirin Gallery, Tehran/New York • Marker: ArtEast, Bishkek • Asia Art, Almaty • North Caucasus Branch of the National Centre for Contemporary Art (NCCA), Vladikavkaz • Popiashvili Gvaberidze Window Project, Tbilisi • Yarat Contemporary Art Space, Baku. www.artdubai.ae
OUR BID Gustav Klutis, ‘Building Socialism under the Banner of Lenin’ (1930), US$10–15,000 AUCTION ‘Modernist Posters’ at Swann, New York, 24 April
PADDLE POWER Spring auctions
OUR BID Man Ray, ‘Self-portrait with studio camera’ (1932), US$20–30,000 AUCTION ‘Photographs’ at Phillips, New York, 1 April
Red Goes Faster
( Cult & Collectable
OUR BID Ferrari 375-Plus (1954), no reserve AUCTION ‘The Goodwood Festival of Speed Sale’ at Bonhams, Chichester, 27 June
COURTESY PHILLIPS; BONHAMS; PIASA.
OUR BID Rare lounge chair and ottoman by Gio Ponti, €15–20,000 AUCTION ‘Italian Design and Tribute to Lorenzo Burchiellaro’ at Piasa, Paris, 15 April
OUR BID Fish Lamp produced by New City Editions in 1984, designed by Frank Gehry, US$70–90,000 AUCTION ‘Doyle+Design’ at Doyle, New York, 11 June
( Cult & Collectable
OUR BID Jean-Paul Riopelle, ‘Pleine Saison’ (1954), CAD$400–600,000 AUCTION ‘Canadian Post-War & Contemporary Art’ at Heffel, Vancouver, 28 May
OUR BID Two Cameroon Wooden Vessels, £1,200–1,800 AUCTION ‘Furniture and Works of Art’ at Lyon & Turnbull, Edinburgh, 25 June
OUR BID Alexander Koester, ‘Enten Im See’ (1909–13), €30,000 AUCTION ‘Old Masters & Art of the 19th Century’ at Ketterer Kunst, Munich, 24 May
Best of British
OUR BID Manuscript map of Kyoto as the imperial capital, 17th century, US$60–90,000 AUCTION ‘Maps & Atlases’ at Swann, New York, 3 June
COURTESY LYON & TURNBULL.
OUR BID Bernard Leach, bowl, £2–3,000; David Jones, watercolour, £3–5,000; Tom Dixon, ‘S Chair’, £4–6,000 AUCTION ‘Made in Britain’ sale at Sotheby’s, London, 1 April
( Above: ‘Les Femmes du Maroc: La Grande Odalisque’ (2008). Opposite: Lalla Essaydi at the Museum of Modern Art, Baku. 32 Baku.
Speaking for Herself
Through her astonishing photographs, the Moroccan artist Lalla Essaydi gives voice to both herself and the women she depicts, says Charlie Burton.
n Lalla Essaydi’s 16th birthday she got into trouble. It was 1972 and, back then, Marrakech, where she was growing up, was one of Morocco’s most conservative Islamic cities. That night, her brother suggested they go out to a local club. She knew it was risky. “So we did it in such a way that we thought nobody else knew,” Essaydi recalls. Inevitably, her parents found out. As punishment they grounded her for two days alone inside a beautiful, empty old house that once belonged to her grandfather. The reasoning was that, while alone, she would realize the severity of what she had done. Instead, it just made her angry. “Of course, for my brother – nothing happened to him.” She felt it wasn’t fair, yet it was typical of her experience of that country in which girls were expected to behave differently to boys – they weren’t allowed to see friends by themselves, they were not allowed to be ambitious or independent. “In the household itself, everything was catered to my brothers,” she says. If the men wanted a drink, she would have to fetch it. Today, Essaydi is 57 years old and works as an artist, dividing her time between New York, Boston and Marrakech. She has worked in various mediums, including painting and video, but today she is best known for her series of photographs including Converging Territories, Les Femmes du Maroc (pictured), Harem and Bullets. These series, rooted in her childhood and teenage frustrations, offer a sophisticated and intricately beautiful expression of her personal view of women in Islamic society. Essaydi’s subjects are women in Middle Eastern dress, staring – provocatively, or perhaps simply with a cool selfassurance – out of the picture at the viewer, and the structure and composition of these works make them more like paintings than documentary photographs. Often Essaydi will split the images into diptychs and triptychs, and in the compositions in all but her frst series, Converging Territories (2003–04), the women are posed like fgures in so-called Orientalist paintings – a genre of painting associated with Middle Eastern and North African subject matter that became 33 Baku.
Similarly, says Essaydi, her work is a bridge between both sides of the globe. There’s a possible life where Essaydi would never have achieved so much. Had she stayed in Morocco, she says, she would not have developed the feminist ideas crucial to her work. Her parents sent her to high school in Paris, and in 1977 she moved to Saudi Arabia. “Growing up in our culture, we were very sheltered,” she explains. “So it was when travelling that I started really thinking of independence – that I am an individual. That created such a difference between me and my siblings, especially my sisters, in the sense that I can’t be easily brainwashed,” she says. “Even now it’s strange how, as soon as I go to Morocco, I start to think differently – and that worries me. As soon as that starts happening, I just leave.” Think differently how? “If I walk in the streets of Morocco, I can wear a pair of jeans and a T-shirt exactly like I do in the States, or in Europe. But I don’t feel comfortable about it.” She had two children while living in Saudi, but Essaydi eventually decided to leave for Boston in 1996 so they could be educated in America. There, she enrolled at art school. One day in 2001, during the second year of her master’s degree,
From top: ‘Harem #18’ (2009); view of the exhibition ‘Beyond Time and Beauty’ at the Museum of Modern Art, Baku, 2013; ‘Converging Territories #24’ (2004).
subjects’ bodies and scenery with Arabic calligraphy written in henna. Unlike the women in the paintings of the French Orientalist Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824–1904), one of her major reference points, Essaydi’s subjects have been given a new voice through this text, even if the writing is not always legible. Last November, Essaydi opened her most recent exhibition, ‘Beyond Time and Beauty’, at the Museum of Modern Art in Baku. This was the latest in a run of countries to represent her work (previously she has shown in America, Syria, Japan, France, the Netherlands and the UK, among others). With 29 works flling the four rooms of the gallery space, the show displayed the full range of her artistic output. Baku, of course, was a highly appropriate location for this show; Azerbaijan itself is a nexus where Europe meets Asia, and the city of Baku has in recent years accumulated all the appurtenances of an upscale Western city – luxury brands, landmark hotels and an invigoratingly international crowd – while retaining its deep-seated Asian character.
the curator of a nearby museum came to look at some of Essaydi’s photographs. But instead she found herself captivated by a huge painting that Essaydi had almost fnished: a deconstructed version of Gérôme’s The Slave Market. She asked what it was about, and Essaydi explained how it was her twist on a work of Western imagination. “But I thought it was real,” said the curator. Like many of Gérôme’s contemporaries, this woman assumed the original was documentary. “I was shocked,” recalls Essaydi. “If a person specializing in art, and with a PhD, can still think it was
It was when travellIng that I started really thInkIng of Independence – that I am an IndIvIdual. by somebody from my family.” As Essaydi’s reputation grew, however, their views softened. In any case, her father had been a painter. “When people wrote about my work, and the family started reading about it and found out what I was trying to do, there was some kind of understanding. Now, I actually have a lot of people who like my work in the Middle East and in Morocco.” These days, Essaydi has a studio in Marrakech and is surrounded by supportive relatives. So after more than a decade working with these ideas, and having won her family’s acceptance, does she feel that she can now move off in a new direction artistically? “I’m changing as the time changes and circumstances around me change – that applies to my work, too. Right now, I think that I really am ready to play. I have images in my head of what I’m trying to accomplish, but so far the results are not exactly as I want,” she says. “So I keep pushing.”
Charlie Burton is an editor on British GQ magazine.
This page and previous pages: © The arTisT and The edwynn houk gallery, new york. porTraiT and insTallaTion shoT by Fakhriyya MaMMadova.
( fashionable during the 19th century, especially in the work of French artists. But Essaydi’s photographs do not simply imitate these historical works; rather she subtly subverts the Romantic exoticism and fantasies characteristic of this genre. Perhaps the woman’s feet are dirty, or the decorative background is made out of bullets – with details such as these, Essaydi debunks the idealization of the ‘Orient’ by European art and reveals the profound mismatch between art and reality. For most of her photographs, too, she covers her
real, I knew that I had to do something about it.” Having alighted on her style and calling, she knew it would cause a rift between her and her family. Depictions of women, particularly in public spaces, ran against her culture’s traditions. “And our religion, too, arguably,” says Essaydi. “I didn’t know, also, how my family would feel about my name and, therefore, their name being out there. Somebody from Europe wouldn’t understand how it is and they’re completely crazy about being in the media in the US, but it’s totally the opposite in Morocco.” Her hunch was right. Her relatives forbade her from working at the family house when she visited. “No one talked about my work for a very long time,” she says. “I wasn’t showing in Morocco, and I believe that it’s because of that, they thought what I was doing was wrong. The situation was quite hideous. I was even accused of doing pornography
Photography by Natavan Vagabova
Angelina Jolie gliding down the red carpet and Beyoncé shaking her sequins on stage have one thing in common – London-based couturiers Ralph & Russo. Creative director Tamara Ralph tells Laura Archer why exclusivity is everything.
Dress for Success
Tamara Ralph pictured in the Old Town in Baku, last year.
t is a wild and wet day when I arrive at the London atelier of couture house Ralph & Russo. The blustery winds sweep me along Knightsbridge, up Sloane Street and through the polished brass doors, depositing me, rather unceremoniously, in the sleek lobby. I am still battling to tame my hair when the lift doors open and I fnd myself face to face with Ralph & Russo’s perfectly coiffed co-founder and creative director, Tamara Ralph, who appears effortlessly chic in her pale pink cashmere jumper, leather trousers and studded black suede stilettos. I suspect I am the least glamorous person to have ever sat in the elegant grey and cream room into which I am ushered, but Ralph’s warm, friendly manner puts me instantly at ease. Coffee is poured, scented Roja candles are lit and the rain outside is soon forgotten. “Clients like visiting us here because they feel comfortable and it’s very discreet,” Ralph comments as she joins me on the velvet sofa. “They can totally relax and spend as much time as they like talking through their requirements.” 37 Baku.
From the stage to the red carpet, Angelina Jolie, Beyoncé, her sister Solange Knowles and model Nieves Alvarez all count on Ralph & Russo for wow-factor dressing. 38 Baku.
By “clients”, she means people such as Angelina Jolie, Beyoncé, Eva Longoria and HRH Sheikha Mozah of Qatar, who have all become fans of Ralph & Russo’s signature show-stopping gowns. Being couture, everything is entirely bespoke so there’s never any danger of that most feared of social faux pas – turning up to an event in the same outft as someone else. “We design for each and every client,” Ralph explains. “We create everything from daywear and suiting to cocktail and bridal. Some ladies come to us for a one-off dress for a special occasion and some want an entire year’s wardrobe. We put together a collection for that person based on who they are, what suits their lifestyle and what events they have coming up, whether they’re political visits or red carpet appearances.” Such personalization has been a key factor in Ralph & Russo’s success so far, an attainment that has been measured at an astonishing 400 per cent a year according
The aTTenTion To deTail ThaT we offer is whaT people are looking for Today in luxury. Mark Zuckerberg and Marissa Mayer. “We started with just one client so we are very fattered and honoured to be on that list,” Ralph says. Despite this very public endorsement, Ralph & Russo remains something of an insider secret. Discretion is a guiding principle for the house – visits to the atelier are by appointment only, there are no retail stores bar a small concession in Harrods. When Angelina Jolie appeared at a
frank micelotta/ap/press association. venturelli/wireimage. larry Busacca/wireimage. rex/niviere/sipa. richard Bord/getty.
to Fortune magazine, which included Ralph and Russo in its prestigious ‘40 under 40’ list of rising stars in business for 2013. This is no small feat: they are the only fashion names to be included and feature alongside, among others,
couturiers and was already working in fashion back in Sydney. “My grandmother was one of Australia’s top couturiers,” she recalls. “She taught me how to sew, drape, and pattern-cut. I started really getting involved with it from the age of about 10 – I was always sketching or making dresses.” Ralph cemented the skills passed down to her by studying at the prestigious Whitehouse Institute of Design in Sydney, and by the time she booked that fateful trip to London she was already dressing some of Australia’s highest profle women. In Russo she found not only a business partner – he looks after the operational side of things while she focuses on design – but a romantic partner, too. The couple had been together for four years before founding their eponymous label in 2007 and today a large diamond solitaire sparkles on her left hand as she talks. “We work really well together and we have a great understanding of what we want,” she says, explaining the secret to their successful partnership. “We’re both entrepreneurial and we
“No – we want to keep growing!” she says, laughing. “We have such exciting plans – a beautiful accessories line launching soon, and possibly a cosmetics line as well.” Of more pressing concern when we meet, however, is the imminent showing of their frst-ever collection at Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week. Towards the end of last year they were invited by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture to show on the schedule alongside Chanel, Dior and Valentino, making them the frst British couture house to do so in 100 years. The historic event is just two weeks away when we speak, but she shows no trace of any nerves. “We’re more excited and busy than nervous. The collection’s exquisite and it’s really coming together – we can’t wait.” Indeed, the atelier is humming with energy as the team prepares for the forthcoming show. In the workshop, couturiers are bustling around mannequins, pinning and tacking and measuring. Others are bent over half-fnished gowns, needles fying as they painstakingly sew thousands
singer appointing Ralph & Russo to create the silver satin gown she wore to perform at President Obama’s inauguration ball and the stage outfts for her recent ‘Mrs Carter’ world tour. Not bad for a brand founded just six years ago, during a recession, after a chance meeting on a street in London. “I met Michael [Russo] within the frst couple of hours of landing in London,” says Sydney-born Ralph. “We literally bumped into each other on the street.” Discovering that they were both from Australia, they started talking and Ralph’s holiday proved to be the catalyst for a major life change: “I decided then that London was where I wanted to be”. Ralph comes from a family of
It’s not just about a beautIful gown, It’s everythIng that makes our customers’ lIves a lIttle easIer.
of shining beads and Swarovski Ralph & Russo crystals onto the bodices. making history at Michael Russo shows me around, Paris Haute Couture bounding between the Fashion Week 2014. workbenches, holding up embellished jackets and folds of delicate lace for me to inspect. Craftsmanship is integral to the brand, with the best couturiers selected to maintain strict quality standards. Ralph worries, however, that such skills are dying out so she has set up an in-house training programme to ensure the skills are passed down, just as they were to her. “The attention to detail that we offer is what people are looking for today,” Ralph says. “Our ladies are busy and with us they don’t need to rush around. It’s not just about a beautiful gown, it’s everything that makes their lives a little easier – we take care of everything.” With a philosophy like that, it’s no wonder that Ralph & Russo’s A-list client base keeps on growing.
constantly bounce ideas off each other.” The couple travel the world together, visiting clients, gathering ideas and fying the fag for their brand, including a recent trip to Baku for the opening of Zaha Hadid’s Heydar Aliyev Centre. Does it not get too much being together all day, every day, I wonder? “We really like it,” she says. “It’s a lot of work so it’s nice to have someone there who you can do it with and who you can grow the company with.” After all that growth, surely they have booked in some time to pause and refect on all that they have achieved? She looks completely bemused by the question.
flm premiere in a white Ralph & Russo gown with a dramatic rosette on the shoulder, the atelier’s phone rang off the hook with would-be customers prepared to pay the requisite tens of thousands of pounds for the same design. They were politely refused. “It’s important that we keep exclusivity on the pieces,” Ralph explains. “Our clients love working with us because everything is exclusive to them. And once you’ve experienced how incredible that feels, there’s no going back.” This approach has enabled Ralph & Russo to build a business almost entirely by word of mouth, its reputation for privacy and exclusivity making it highly recommended among the rich and famous. Even Beyoncé came through a personal referral, with the
Ed LEdErman. FiLip WoLak.
The Whitney Museum, on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Below: the curators who are shaking things up, Anthony Elms, Stuart Comer and Michelle Grabner.
ou’ve heard of Cindy Sherman, right? The queen of conceptual portraiture? That may well be because she has appeared in no less than fve Whitney Biennials. And what about Chicago-based Theaster Gates, known for his largescale installations? After his inclusion in 2010’s Biennial, before which he was a relative unknown, his pieces suddenly began selling for six fgures; now he sits at number 40 on Art Review’s Power 100 list of the most infuential people in contemporary art (above Jeff Koons). If this is not proof of the event’s authority, I don’t know what is. The Biennial, at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, is a milestone for contemporary American artists, and one that has an eight-decade history of helping guarantee sales, shows and plenty of attention from the right people. Since its inception in 1932, originally as an annual event, the show has attracted
It’s Show Time curators, critics, dealers and collectors alike, who use it as a benchmark for the hottest talent around. This year’s, which began on 7 March and runs through until 25 May, is set to be no less infuential – in fact, with 103 featured artists it’s almost twice as big as the last Biennial in 2012. This is thanks to a talented trio of organizers, who, for the frst time, are non-Whitney curators: Stuart Comer from the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Anthony Elms from the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; and Michelle Grabner, an artist. They have each curated a foor of the museum’s Marcel Breuer-designed building on the Upper East Side (the last Biennial here, as the museum prepares to relocate to the Meatpacking District). And what an exotic mélange of works there are on offer...
The Whitney Biennial is back, acting as contemporary art’s barometer for who’s in, who’s out and who’s on to something new. Andrew Russeth cherrypicks eight names not to be missed this year.
4 3. Zoe leonArd
Ones to watch 1. etel AdnAn
Born: 1925. Lives: Sausalito, CA and Paris. The oldest artist in this year’s show, the Beirut-born poet and painter is perhaps best known for elegant, spare little paintings of Mount Tamalpais, visible from her Bay Area home in California. With just a few felds of fat colour, the pieces are almost abstract. The Biennial will present a small survey of her wide-ranging practice, including electrically coloured tapestries and leporellos (accordion-style books that pair drawing and poetry). Pictured: ‘December from my Window’ (1993).
2. tAishA PAGGett
Born: 1976. Lives: Chicago and Los Angeles. Over the past few years museum curators have been embracing performance – music, dance and otherwise. And the Biennial will have a serious helping of it, including a week of choreography by Paggett, who mines sources such as YouTube, Zumba and bodybuilding to make intricate works that address the body, race, identity and privacy. Pictured: ‘Fila Buster in the Autouniverse’ (2012). 42 Baku.
Born: 1961. Lives: NYC. An alumna of two previous Biennials, Leonard has built a walk-in camera obscura this year, turning a room into a living camera box, with a small hole and a lens looking out into the street. Her work typically has a melancholy to it. Pictured: ‘Sketch for 945 Madison Avenue’ (2014).
4. Gretchen Bender
Born: 1951. Died: 2004, NYC. It’s intriguing to see which artists the curators include posthumously. Bender’s multiscreen works are sharp critiques of corporate interests that she spliced together from adverts and computer graphics. She’s still very infuential. Pictured: ‘Total Recall’ (2013).
5. dArren BAder
Born: 1978. Lives: NYC. One of the world’s most adventurous sculptors, injecting lasagna with heroin, stuffng a French horn with guacamole and exhibiting live cats as artworks (free for museum visitors to adopt). Plus, he often doesn’t label his work. Pictured: ‘Person Sitting in Passenger Seat of Car’ (2012).
6. JAcolBy sAtterwhite
Born: 1986. Lives: NYC. He’s acclaimed for trippy videos in which he dances, in famboyant costumes, in animated 3-D sci-f environments. Look out for his surprise performances during the Biennial. Pictured: ‘Reifying Desire 6’ (2014).
7. BJArne MelGAArd
Born: 1967. Lives: NYC. This Norwegian provocateur has dominated NYC for the past few years with a string of gallery shows packed with paintings, installations (one with live tiger cubs) and videos that are fxated on violent sex, drug use, suicide and other traumatic material. Pictured: ‘Ignorant Transparencies’ (2013).
8. donelle woolford
Born: 1977. Lives: NYC. Here’s a confusing one. Woolford is an AfricanAmerican painter who regularly gives interviews, and poses for photo shoots, but does not exist. She’s the creation of a white artist named Joe Scanlan, who hires women to play her. Pictured: ‘Avatar’ (2007).
Chris Austin, Courtesy CAlliCoon Fine Arts, new york. Ashley hunt. Courtesy Zoe leonArd. jAson mAndellA, Courtesy the kitChen. www.1857.no, Courtesy dArren bAder And Andrew kreps GAllery, new york. Courtesy monyA rowe GAllery And mAllorCA lAndinGs GAllery. thomAs muller, Courtesy GAvin brown’s enterprise. Courtesy donelle woolFord.
20/22 Khojaly Avenue 路 Baku, Azerbaijan 994 12 480 21 12 路 www.sumakh.az
Portrait by NatavaN vagabova
Super-smart, ultra-connected in at least 20 countries, a key mover on the art scene and CEO of Intelligence Squared – Yana Peel is setting the international cultural agenda, as Harriet Quick reports.
Yana Peel in Baku.
ow you present yourself, your ideas and opinions – that’s what differentiates people today. You don’t have to be ‘right’ but it is how you communicate and defend yourself that’s important.” Yana Peel delivers this insight over a coffee at the Arts Club in Mayfair, London. “Debating is a sport and it is a great luxury to do that well. Civilized aggression is a healthy thing – we all shake hands at the end of the day.” The club, the hang-out du jour of the wealthy, arty jet set, is an apt setting for Peel – a dedicated catalyst and provocateur in contemporary culture with an infuence and network that now circles the globe. In her professional capacity, Peel is CEO of Intelligence Squared Group, the world’s leading forum for live debate. She’s also highly infuential in the arts through the funds she has co-founded. Whether she is hosting a party for the Royal Society of Literature (her London home is the society’s former HQ); taking World Economic Forum (WEF) delegates on a cultural/socio-economic tour of St Petersburg; or fying to Baku for the 45 Baku.
Yana Peel and Intelligence Squared are creating a growing appetite for serious and entertaining debate, such as ‘Verdi vs Wagner’ at the Royal Opera House, London, in 2013 (below left).
peel is one of life’s natural galvanizers, charming people from all different sectors when promoting business and philanthropic ventures.
having been raised in Canada by her Russian-Jewish parents. While studying Russian literature at McGill University in Montreal, she found a talent for networking and persuasion when staging fundraiser fashion shows at nightclubs. “I loved to produce and bring people together,” she says. “I was not going to be a designer or artist but I was always involved with those tribes. Back then, I was fascinated with DJs and electronic music, which evolved into
Outset is at the cutting edge of funding contemporary art such as the Outset Artist’s Flat at the South London Gallery in 2010 (above), here with works by Sam Porritt and Craig Fisher, and Pedro Reyes’s ‘Sanatorium’ at the Whitechapel Gallery in 2013 (right). 46 Baku.
artists and then it became about curators and museum directors.” Her fellow students were impressed by her tenacity. One, Imran Ahmed, who went on to found the digital digest The Business of Fashion, remembers: “Yana seemed to have a knack for marshalling resources and working with disparate types of people, from Montreal’s drag queens to the university administrators. Somehow, she pulled it all off.” Peel went on to study business at the London School of Economics before joining Goldman Sachs, where she met her husband. Specializing in equities and investments in emerging markets, she rapidly climbed the ranks. It was during her banking years in the
late 1990s, while living opposite the site of the future Tate Modern that Peel’s interest in art was re-ignited. London was witnessing an art boom with White Cube in Hoxton Square, Sadie Coles in Heddon Street and artists such as Jake and Dinos Chapman, Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst all gaining international recognition. Peel recognized that there was nothing that connected her professional realm with the art world so she left banking and, together with her friend Candida Gertler, set up Outset Contemporary Art Fund in 2003, one of the most signifcant and respected art foundations on the scene today. “We started bringing people together around artistic ideas and institutional spaces, and asking for funding that Outset would re-distribute into the best projects we could fnd,” she recalls. “In return, patrons gained knowledge, inspiration and introductions to artists.
courtesy intelligence squared. courtesy of the Victoria and albert MuseuM, london. dan Weill, courtesy Whitechapel gallery. andy stagg, © south london gallery.
opening of Zaha Hadid’s Heydar Aliyev Centre, where she admired “the amazing heritage of investment in culture”, Peel is omnipresent. She is one of life’s natural galvanizers, charming people from all different sectors when promoting business and philanthropic ventures. “I’ve always loved new ideas, new projects; creating that which did not exist before,” says Peel. She spins all these plates while raising two children between London and Hong Kong, where she and her fnancier husband, Stephen, relocated six years ago to a spectacular home on the seafront. Peel was born in St Petersburg, although there’s not a trace of Russian in her accent,
That energy is being put to good use at Intelligence Squared. Peel has a knack for sniffng out the zeitgeist. “I used to go to those frst debates at the Royal Geographical Society and pay my £20 to attend,” she says. “Upon moving to Hong Kong I called the founders and asked if we could transfer the concept. The inaugural session ‘Do Cultural Treasures belong in their Country of Origin?’ had 800 attendees and was wildly successful. The latest sold out within three days,” says Peel, who has just chaired a series called ‘Inside the Creative Mind’ at Davos, in her capacity as a WEF Young Global Leader. A focus this year will be leading think tanks on how museums can use tech to bring arts and culture to unprecedented numbers.
I lIke fIndIng the spaces In between – where people connect between IndustrIes. that frIctIon InspIres me.
Acquisitions by the V&A 2013 Design Fund: (top) Thomas Thwaites, ‘The Toaster Project’ (2009–10); (above) Cody Wilson/ Defence Distributed, ‘Liberator Gun’ (2013); (previous page) ‘Ear Chairs’ (2003) by Studio Makkink & Bey.
“The outcome was the V&A Design Fund, which was launched at a glamorous dinner at the museum with Yana orchestrating everything. We achieved our target and repeated it the following year. This has meant, to date, 12 major new acquisitions for the collection. Yana’s relentless enthusiasm and drive makes it all possible.” What’s more, the Peels host really fun parties, attended by a tutti-frutti of personalities. They make a handsome couple – she wearing designer cocktail dresses from British favourites Peter Pilotto and Christopher Kane and he in softly cut suits – and have presence, as well as intellectual punch. “Being around people who are making it happen is amazing,” she says. “I like fnding the spaces in between – where people connect between industries. It generates friction and electricity and that inspires me and gives me energy.”
“Being in front of an audience does not come naturally,” she reveals. “It is 99 per cent perspiration and one per cent inspiration. I sat between Mayor Johnson and Mayor Bloomberg at a Serpentine event and asked myself, ‘Why are they being shy?’ They were both on devices and I realized they were practising speeches. Even at that level, you have to be focused.” Peel is a true international citizen: “I think of us as a global family. My kids are of Russian-Jewish descent, living in Hong Kong with a British father and grandparents who take them to Anglesey every summer. To be comfortable not being delimited by your national ID, but rather fnd a sense of pride with the facets that you identify with – well, that’s wonderful,” she declares. “I have a legacy of strong women in my family, who have gone through amazing things,” she tells me. “One grandmother survived the blockade in St Petersburg and now lives in Toronto; the other ran from Belarus to Kyrgyzstan and lost all her brothers in the war. As an only child, I have responsibilities – to not mess around; to get on with it!”
Top: Yana Peel (centre) with Ella Krasner and Anita Zabludowicz at the V&A Design Fund Gala, 2012; and Peel at the Global Fund Celebration, London Fashion Week, 2013.
Yana’s Top Dinner Party Debates
1. Can the hand that
rocks the cradle rock the boardroom?
2. Is growing inequality in Western societies an inescapable consequence of globalization? 3. Has Obama proven to be a worldwide failure? 4. Would any English patriot wish to get rid of Scotland?
5. Which wearable
technology will revolutionize our work and wardrobe?
DaviD M. Benett/Getty. RichaRD younG/ReX. couRtesy of the victoRia anD alBeRt MuseuM, lonDon. Daniel aleXanDeR.
Our frst venture raised £100,000 at a dinner at Norman and Elena Foster’s home.” In the past 11 years, Outset has enabled more than 100 acquisitions, raising nearly £5 million and has branches worldwide. The Outset formula, inspired by American-style philanthropy, was a winning one. It also proved a blueprint for Peel’s subsequent ventures that similarly crossfertilize the corporate, private and artistic worlds. In 2011 she became Founder of the Design Fund to Beneft the V&A, which helps the museum collect today’s design objects. Ben Evans, the director of the London Design Festival, was involved in the project early on and recalls the launch. “We agreed to sort out the V&A’s ability to acquire contemporary design,” he says.
At the top of the fashion world, Stella McCartney is famed not just for her laidback-but-sexy designs but also for her ethical stance within the industry. As her new store in Baku opens, she refects on business, family and the perfect breakfast. Words by harriet quick Illustrations by tina berning
here is a slight moment of anxiety at the genteel Clarke’s cafe in Notting Hill when Stella McCartney decides to order scrambled eggs with coffee and grapefruit juice. The eggs are not the issue, nor is the grapefruit juice, which McCartney commends for its alkalizing properties; no, the issue is the lack of wheat-free bread. The amiable maître d’ pops across the road to purchase a small loaf and the problem is solved. “These are the best eggs and the toast is delicious – I really think you should add this to your repertoire,” declares McCartney after the triumphant breakfast. With her pretty freckled face and strawberry blonde hair all working in a soothing tonal harmony with her chunky cableknit camel sweater, jeans and fat, tan ankle boots, McCartney looks content and satisfed. She is happily married to brand consultant Alasdhair Willis (they have four children under the age of eight) and is now on top of a world-class fashion house that delivers glamour and style to women everywhere. Her eponymous business, which is backed by FrançoisHenri Pinault’s Kering group, the owner of Gucci, Puma and Saint Laurent Paris among many other luxury brands, is now an impressive 13 years old. “It’s a long time – where did that go?” she says. “It’s mad. The time has gone quickly but then no one really looks back on life – you are just getting on with it and proceeding forward. When I do stop for a moment, 51 Baku.
the thing that hits me is that I am chuffed that I am still around. For me, it feels like we are just starting. I want the house to have longevity. I always remember my grandpa (on my mother’s side) saying it is so important in any business to have staying power.” The Stella McCartney brand certainly seems to have staying power. It also has an excitement and attraction, all of which is a potent cocktail but one that can be diffcult to sustain in the febrile world of fashion.
Models on the runway at the Stella McCartney spring/summer 2014 show in Paris (above, top centre and far right); McCartney at the Chloé show in 1999 and in 1997 with Kate Moss; McCartney designs on the red carpet as worn by Having left her Cameron Diaz (left) and position as creative Kristen Stewart, in 2013. director of Chloé in 2001, McCartney started up her own label as a 50/50 venture with Kering. She wooed critics with her deft mix of masculine, Savile Rowinfuenced tailoring and delicate feminine pieces and that juxtaposition has become part of the brand’s DNA. Over the years, the design ante has been upped with elegant new organic silhouettes, artisan fabrics and details, and a winning way with day to evening pieces. This 52 Baku.
culminated in 2012 when she was appointed Team GB’s creative director by Adidas, making her the frst ever fashion designer to dress an Olympic Team in full, and when she received both a British Fashion Council Designer of the Year Award and an OBE. The launch of lines such as Kids, Adidas by Stella McCartney, and ranges of lingerie, accessories, fragrance and sunglasses has created a brand with many touchpoints relevant to a variety of lifestyles. Being a woman making clothes for women, McCartney’s emphasis in her designs is on
“It really feels like there is so much more to do. It’s about refning on every level. As you grow as a business the communication has to be much tighter. At the start, you assume people know what you mean but now I have found you can’t say at a ftting that a dress should have a ‘red blossoming hemline’. You have to say exactly what that tone of red is, whether it’s more of a claret red or a deep warmer tone. You need to be precise so that the next time you come to the dress it’s in the right red.” She pauses over her coffee. “It’s the same with the stores – I need to know exactly how a changing-room door opens and whether there is a belt on hand to help with styling. Making the ship gleam – polishing all the brass work and making it watertight – that’s what it is about.” The gleaming yacht is an apt analogy for a business that traverses the globe encountering women of all kinds of cultural backgrounds and expectations. In 2014 Stella McCartney will be opening a shop in Baku, the latest in a line up of 26 stores and 600 selling points worldwide. “We try to take into account different cultures and
ease of wear rather than fantasy, and that pragmatism has won her thousands of loyal customers – she counts Kate Hudson, Liv Tyler, Kate Winslet and Gwyneth Paltrow among her friends and fans. Alongside Phoebe Philo at Céline (her former righthand at Chloé), Isabel Marant, and Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen, McCartney has made this the era of the female designer and one in which the issue of ethical fashion has come to the fore. With tenacity, ingenuity and a great deal of passion, the McCartney team continues to surprise and delight. “I’m a perfectionist and I do have high standards about how I like to work and to live and I always believe you can do something better,” she says.
needs and create a refection of our world in that. It’s not about treating everywhere as the same, shoving a shop here and there – what we are doing is joining the dots, mapping out little conversations with women. The stores have a thread that is similar and the work is housed in a certain way but they have different expressions,” explains McCartney of the brand’s site-specifc agenda. “The world of Stella touches different types of women, different parts of their lives – from daywear to cocktail to sport to kidswear – and in Baku hopefully women will respond to those elements.” McCartney, like her mother, Linda, is a staunch vegetarian and champions ethical
DaviD Fisher/reX. erik PenDzich/reX. ken towner/reX/evening stanDarD.
We try to take into account different cultures and create a reflection of our World in that. it’s not about treating everyWhere as the same.
rex/sipa press. rex/globe photos. david x prutting/rex/bfaanyc.com. matt baron/rex/bei. rex. rex/startraks photo.
and environmental awareness in all areas of her business. Her environmentally sensitive, holistic view permeates every part of the company. It is one of very few fashion businesses that does not use leather, skins or furs in any of its products, and that is some feat given the historic reliance on these in the luxury fashion market. Developing an attractive line of non-leather, non-PVC accessories has been a huge challenge. Yet such hits as the chaintrimmed Falabella line of bags, print-canvas platforms and a sleek line of sunglasses are paying off as commercially viable, proving it can be done. This approach extends to the use of wind power to generate electricity, printing on both sides of the paper, and the ban on plastic bottles in the offce. To instil sustainable principles in a business that depends upon newness and disposability requires something of an intellectual headstand. But if anyone can do it, McCartney can. “For me, there are many different levels,” she says. “Number one is about designing timeless, investment pieces that do not really go out of style – disposable fashion is environmentally
unfriendly.” She is well-versed in green ideology and employs professional advisers to help on strategic decisions in this area of her work. “The biggest impact is no fur – over 15 million animals are killed for fashion every year. Even if you remove the issue of what people do to the animals, the water and grain that it takes to keep 50 million animals is crazy. The food that is needed could feed many, many more people and the use of land mass is ineffcient, too. And we must be one of the very few fashion companies not to use PVC. It’s very hard to fnd sequins!” says McCartney throwing her hands up at this small but important quest. After all, sequins are global shorthand for glamour from São Paulo to Shanghai.
McCartney’s particular style signature is rather like herself – personal, nonchalant, tomboyish yet deeply feminine. She has delivered numerous variations on the tuxedo suit, transformed the all-in-one into a viable evening option and is a master of the cocktail dress with a difference, whether through a beautiful print, delicate lace, strategic cut outs or clever contouring panels and seams. From the boardroom to the red carpet, women look very comfortable and sensual in her designs rather than uptight and overpolished. For spring/summer 2014 you will fnd sporty soft tailoring in the shape of zipped jacket trackstyle suits; gently voluminous mid-calflength skirts in daisy silk jacquard; and romantic lace dresses that shift from matt to sheer, showing off areas of the body. “I really felt for fuidity, softness, femininity – the collection was less strict and more romantic,” says McCartney, her speech replete with the designer’s lexicon of adjectives and comparisons. Where McCartney might not be able to deploy the sheen and shine of sequins and exotic skins, she does employ the arresting, thought-provoking power of art. In the past, she has collaborated with artists Gary Hume, Jake and Dinos
thing, but there’s a side to me that is allergic to absolute perfection,” she ponders. “I’m intentionally a little bit rough around the edges. When everything is all too slick it does not feel right.” The same is true of her home life. Having grown up in the countryside, McCartney remains very outdoorsy and grounded. She and Alasdhair do the school run, they encourage their kids to be very active and spend the weekends at their country house in Worcestershire riding horses and going on adventures. “Even if there is a snowstorm, I make sure we wrap up and get outside!” Over the years, McCartney has learnt to manage her own presence and the halo effect of her legendary family name with good grace. When on ‘tour’ or at public events she is friendly and generous to the shutter-clicking crowds and autograph
Chapman, Jeff Koons, Rob Pruitt, Ryan McGinley and satirist Robert Crumb on specifc pieces as well as on prints. “I’ve always loved and collected art and I have a lot of friends in that feld but I only do something for the brand if it feels right – you have to let the artists’ work speak,” she explains. She fnds that collaborating with artists tends to result in an interesting frisson, but what repels McCartney is anything that feels too forced, contrived or too perfect. “Maybe it’s a British
hunters, happily positioning herself as one of the girls. It was not always so. “When I frst started going to art school and was leaving home physically and mentally I was so defensive about the fame thing and who my parents are.” But for McCartney, it’s never been about the fame. “What I do for a living is not about me, or at least I try to make it that way,” she explains. “I provide a service for women. Psychologically, I want to make women feel the best they can – that’s my job and that’s what makes me feel rewarded inside. Women have an emotional response to my work and that’s what it is about.” McCartney sips the last of the grapefruit juice. “I just want everyone to be in my gang!”
Far left: Stella McCartney as a child in 1976 with parents Paul and Linda, and sister Mary. Centre, left and above left: McCartney in New York in 2013 with Madonna, her husband Alasdhair Willis, and Liv Tyler. Above: McCartney with her OBE at Buckingham Palace, London, 2013.
Art Basel is the world’s preeminent social-event-cumart-fair. Its younger sister, Art Basel Hong Kong, is trying to outshine it. Which sibling are you favouring this year? Words by caroline davies
So you can walk the walk… Basel Preview: 17–18 June. Fair: 19–22 June. The Swiss fair isn’t quite as serious as it’s made out, but it’s still important to abide by the etiquette. You show your credentials through your collection. What you do say: What did you fnd interesting today? What you don’t say: What did you buy? “So tacky,” says Andreas Siegfried, VIP ambassador for Basel. Basel HK Preview: 14 May. Fair: 15–18 May. It’s a brave new world in Hong Kong and information is king. Galleries and collectors are impressed when you’ve done your homework. “It’s quite extraordinary,” says Magnus Renfrew, director of Asia for Art Basel. “People come past once, then return the next day knowing everything there is to know about the artist.” What you do say: It isn’t quite up to the 2010 body, but he’s on the right trajectory. What you don’t say: I always confuse diCorcia and Dicaprio…
Basel (from top): paintings by Rob Pruitt; ‘Two into One becomes Three’ (2011) by Matt Mullican; a visitor looks at ‘Joecar Blue’ (1968) by James Turrell. 56 Baku.
© erik tham/corbis. Getty. wireimaGe.
© john harper/corbis. mch messe schweiz (basel) aG . © alex hofford/epa/corbis. © tyrone siu/reuters/corbis.
Why we are all here, after all. Basel Art Basel can be overwhelming. “Basel is the original blue-chip art fair with an amazing history of collectors with a high level of sophistication,” says Amelie von Wedel, director of Wedel Fine Art. If you are a newcomer, don’t wear yourself out. “Do a little, but concentrate on the best,” suggests Siegfried. “If you are a young collector just starting to buy contemporary art, start on the second foor. There is a mix of younger and established galleries there.” Contrary to appearances, the gallery owners are happy to talk. Strike up a conversation and glean the information they have on their artists. Listen out for artists having a good fair – everyone was talking about the British artist Idris Khan last year. Basel HK With half of the galleries from Asia and the Asia-Pacifc, Basel HK can throw even the most experienced collectors. “You get to see a completely different slice of the art world,” says Renfrew. “It might be a baffing experience to see things from a new perspective, but you can learn from it.” Don’t be embarrassed to take a guided tour; then you won’t look like an amateur when you venture past the frst two aisles.
Hong Kong (from top): the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre; Angela Su in the ‘Paper Rain’ parade, 2013; ‘Aztec Pattern’ (2013) by Osang Gwon; ‘Log Lady & Dirty Bunny’ (2009) by Marnie Weber. 57 Baku.
The hot spots to ‘bump’ into that business contact. Basel “You go to these fairs mainly to collect people more than objects,” says Kenny Schachter, a London-based art dealer and curator. After the brief slurred conversations and air-kisses at parties in Art Basel Miami, this is the place where you cement that contact; it is where networking grows up and gets down to business. Put a name to a face at the vernissage where collectors mingle en masse. With crowds packing the corridors, hang out near a Miró and let them come to you. Daytime fair pick-ups are easy in the central courtyard at Basel or, provided your name is on the door, at the UBS Lounge. Basel HK “The Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre taxi stand is one of the best pick-up spots,” says Alan Lo, co-founder and director of Press Room Group and adviser to the fair since 2009. “You come across museum directors and leading art advisers with time to kill.” If you are looking for artists, try going to Hong Kong’s artist studios in Fo Tan, or the K11 art space in Central, or the Spring artspace in Wong Chuk Hang, recommends Hong Kong-based curator William Zhao. “Try to check out other art spaces besides these; you’ll learn even more about the dynamics of contemporary art in Hong Kong.”
From top: outside Art Basel, 2013; ‘Flower Generation II’ (2012) by Eko Nugroho, and Target Paintings by Ugo Rondinone, both at Art Basel Hong Kong. 58 Baku.
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The unexpecTed neTwork
The pre-parTy drink
getty. © erik tham/demotix/corbis.
To oil the wheels. Basel The Kunsthalle is a Schachter recommendation. Based in a former artists’ clubhouse in the city’s art museum, it is quite literally at the foot of Basel’s art scene. The cigar room there is the perfect spot to mull over your week’s purchases in peace. Siegfried also recommends the newly opened Volkshaus – with its bare light bulbs, it is a taste of Shoreditch in Switzerland. Basel HK The Mandarin Oriental’s Captain’s Bar is the place for business, but what about pleasure? Stop off at Ham and Sherry, which serves pretty much what you’d expect. Hong Kong is known for its roof-top bars: RED bar comes with a harbour view, or you could head to Wooloomooloo at the top of The Hennessy building if you fancy a steak with your panorama. There are more ways than just art if you want to impress with your knowledge. Swot up on the menus before going to Japanese whisky bars such as Ronin, or take friends to the secretive 001 cocktail bar – with no address or website, fnd the black doorway with a spotlit buzzer just off Graham Street.
The meal maketh the deal. Basel If Michelin stars are failing to impress, try the Restaurant Schafeck. A traditional Swiss affair with a painted stone facade and green shutters, this tiny establishment is famed for its fondue. When the mainstream becomes repetitive, head here and latch on to dinners held by alternative art fairs. Basel HK Intelligence Squared impresario Yana Peel recommends the Michelin-starred Duddell’s as “the best restaurant without a doubt”. She should know, she runs their arts programme. Zhao recommends Otto e Mezzo for Italian or Chachawan for Issan from northeastern Thailand. If you’re trying not to be a try-hard, Serge et la Phoque in the Wanchai Road market is a local favourite (the chef is from the famous Le Chateaubriand in Paris).
From top: ‘Feats Table: Undeclared Perceptions’ (2012) by Entang Wiharso at Hong Kong; Ham and Sherry restaurant in Hong Kong; installation at Art Basel; Duddell’s restaurant in Hong Kong. 59 Baku.
Network over corn flakes. Basel Les Trois Rois (The Three Kings), with its gilded kings over the door, is where the art world holds court. You can add your name to the waiting list, but if you want to get a room before 2020, start making friends with the GM; guests book the same suite year on year. Alternatively, take the helicopter and stay in Zurich. If you are there with someone you shouldn’t be, the Dolder Grand, perched high on the Adlisberg hill outside Zurich, is famously discreet… Basel HK If you want to be the frst to the fair, the Grand Hyatt is next door, perfectly positioned if you anticipate a few seamless outft changes. That said, you might want to escape all the bustle, so try the Mandarin Oriental, “the old dame of HK island,” says Lo, “where the service is always amazing”. The Upper House, a slick boutique hotel in Queensway, is also a lofty hot spot.
Get down to business... Basel “You don’t come to Basel to party,” says Schachter. This fair is far more grown up than the Miami version. Gallery dinner parties and galas happen on most nights; top tickets are Hauser & Wirth and Sprüth Magers. Keep an eye on the table plan; you don’t want to end up with the bore at the end. Basel HK “Stylistically, Hong Kong sits between Basel and Miami,” says Schachter. “It is a little more party, but it isn’t as crazy as Miami.” Yana Peel’s grand fnale is the event at which to be seen, although tickets are as hard to come by as an under-priced Richter. The Ullens Center for Contemporary Art hosts a spectacular dinner as does the Swiss uber-collector Monique Burger. Richard Chang and fashionista Dee Poon’s party is a stylish affair.
© caro/alamy. © alex hofford/epa/corbis. © tao images limited/alamy. getty.
Going the extra mile… Basel Partying might not be in Basel’s DNA, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t stay up until the small hours discussing the merits of Picasso’s blue period. If you fail to secure an invite to a private chalet soirée, hunt down the art performances, like last year’s Oslo10’s or Absolut Vodka’s art bar installation. Basel HK Where else can you challenge the drunken elite of the art world to a game of ping pong or persuade them to dance to ‘YMCA’ than the latenight club Tazmania Ballroom?
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Hong Kong (opposite, from top): the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre against the city skyline; ‘White Party’ (2005) by Sakarin Krue-On; the art menu at the Mandarin Oriental Grill & Bar; the Grand Hyatt; ‘Periphery’ (2013) by Seung Yul Oh; Man Wah restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental. This page (from top): the Tazmania Ballroom, Hong Kong; ‘Carnívoras’ (2012) by Adriana Varejão at Art Basel; ‘The Pilgrim and the Pirate’ by Samsul Arifin at Hong Kong; Les Trois Rois hotel, Basel. 61 Baku.
City Slicker Sculptural, solid shapes collide with light-as-afeather fabrics for optimum transitional-weather dressing. We look to the capitalâ€™s distinctive skyline and the tranquillity of its cool, contemporary interiors for inspiration. Photography by KT AULETA Styling by mELinA nicoLAidE Sunglasses by LindA fArrow. Top by LUcAs nAscimEnTo. Dress by sporTmAx. Shoes by mArni.
this page. Sunglasses by linda farrow. Top by lucas nascimento. Dress by sportmax. Shoes by marni. opposite. Choker by miu miu. Dress by kenzo. Shoes by prada.
Dress by chalayan. Waistcoat by dries van noten. Shoes by marc Jacobs.
this page. Top by maison martin margiela. Skirt and tights by miu miu. opposite. Top by christopher raeburn. Skirt by veronique leroy. Legwarmers by prada. Shoes by vans.
this page. Sunglasses by linda farrow. Dress, legwarmers and shoes by prada. opposite. Top by kenzo. Trousers by dries van noten. Shoes by marc Jacobs.
this page. Top and skirt by celine. Shoes by Balenciaga. opposite. Dress by felipe oliveira Baptista.
Hat by kenzo. Top by adidas. Skirt by lucas nascimento. Bag by miu miu. Shoes by marni.
this page. Dress by christian dior. Cap stylistâ€™s own. opposite. Hat by chalayan. Dress and cardigan by kenzo. Shoes by Veronique leroy.
Hair by alexandry costa at artlist. Make-up by william bartel at artlist. Model anna boyar at modus vivendis. Casting rosco production. Photographerâ€™s assistant elliot ross. Fashion assistant matthias ruhlman. Special thanks to fairmont baku.
This page and opposite: Richard Deacon in his London studio, along with some ideas and works in progress.
Richard Deacon transforms mundane materials into sculptural gold. Now, the Turner Prize-winning artist is celebrated in a major retrospective at Tate Britain. He grants us access to the rarefied world of his studio. Words by michelle cotton Photography by RoBeRt WYAtt
ichard Deacon likes his privacy. Rather than using his south London studio as space for a production line, like many other artists, Deacon treats his as a sanctuary, a place to think and refect and allow ideas to take shape on paper, frst, or as little clay or plastic models. “Tony Cragg, Antony Gormley and Anish Kapoor have all expanded their studio operations, whereas I have made myself nomadic,” he says. “I fnd it a bit paralysing to have a lot of people in the studio. I prefer to keep the studio as a private space.” Consequently, his colossal, twisted steel sculptures are fabricated at a metalworks in Bletchley, Buckinghamshire; his organically shaped ceramic creations are produced in Cologne, Germany; and everything else is constructed offsite by a network of trusted craftspeople. Deacon, who is best known for his complex large-scale works, and for winning the prestigious Turner Prize in 1987, began gaining attention three decades ago as one of the so-called ‘New Generation’ of British sculptors, alongside Cragg, Gormley, Kapoor, Richard Wentworth and Bill Woodrow. Their radical work concerned itself with form and materials, both of which had become unfashionable the decade before. They embraced the urban environment, exploring the meaning of objects and playing with primary colour. This infuential group became associated 79 Baku.
Richard Deacon’s ash and steel sculpture ‘Restless’ (2005), and below, a glazed ceramic work ‘Venice Blue-Green/Spring Green/ Pink & Electric Blue Traces’ (2007).
with Nicholas Logsdail’s Lisson Gallery in north London, which last year hosted its ninth exhibition of Deacon’s work. With his retrospective this year at Tate Britain, on until 27 April, Deacon can now add to his long and impressive list of achievements the fact that he is the only living artist to have held major solo shows at Tate Britain, as well as its other branches in Liverpool and St Ives. The chosen pieces span the whole of the artist’s career, including a delicate pastel and pencil drawing entitled It’s Orpheus When There’s Singing #7 (1978–79); a 3m x 4m fower-like marble and leather sculpture, Art for Other People #12 (1984); and a long, twisting, intricately worked wood and metal piece called After (1998), plus much, much more. “Over the years the Tate has bought many of my important pieces and has a very good representation of my work,” says Deacon of this landmark event. Born in Bangor, Wales, 64 years ago, Deacon grew up as the son of a pilot who had served in the Royal Air Force. His parents had lived in India during the Second World War, and when Deacon was six the family moved to Sri Lanka. He recalls his three years there as a richly 80 Baku.
© the artist; Courtesy Lisson GaLLery, London. Courtesy tate.
formative experience. “It was a complete revelation,” he says. “When we frst arrived I remember seeing a snake charmer playing a pipe at a market. He took out a mango stone, put it on the ground and piled up earth in a cone above it and then a silk scarf over the earth. He played again on his pipe and the handkerchief rose up in the air, and when he whipped it away there was a tree underneath it with leaves futtering in the breeze. That was enough to convince me that we had arrived somewhere quite special.” Sculpture was a part of the revelation, too. Deacon remembers visiting the 12th-century garden city of Polonnaruwa and staring, through child eyes, at the huge images of Buddha carved into the cliff face, unable to understand how they had come into being: “I had this powerful sense of positive and negative space, the Buddha that was there and the cliff that wasn’t. There was something wonderful about realizing those two things at once; I think it activated something in my head.” That was just the beginning of a lifelong curiosity with objects – he has explored the potential of all manner of everyday materials, from polycarbonate and vinyl to cloth, corrugated iron and foam. These days Deacon
From top: a steel configuration titled ‘Congregate’ (2009), and ‘After’ (1998), made of wood, steel and aluminium.
On the first day of the ‘A’ course we went into a room. There was a set of instructions – no talking, we had to be present – and that was the way it went for a year. usually restricts himself to using laminated wood, aluminium, steel or fred clay for his abstract forms, which could be wallmounted, free-standing, as small as the palm of your hand or as monumental public pieces, such as Once Upon a Time (1990) – a green and red steel sculpture jutting out from the surviving wall of the old Redheugh Bridge in Gateshead Riverside Park. Deacon frst studied at Somerset College of Art in Taunton. One of his frst forays as an artist, which began in performance, was a work for radio. “It used the body as a material and was purely based on a sequence of sounds that I produced by hitting one body part against another,” he explains. “I was quite ft at the time so could create a lot of combinations!” That was in 1972, Deacon’s fnal year on the now legendary ‘A’ Course at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London. The ‘A’ course was a radical teaching experiment in which, for example, students were shut in an empty white studio every day and banned from speaking or leaving the room for eight hours at a time. “It was a complete surprise,” he recalls. “On the frst day our names were read out and as we went into the room we were given a block of polystyrene. On the wall inside 81 Baku.
there was a set of instructions – no talking, we had to be present and so on – and that was the way it went for a year.” After the frst week the group of students returned to the studio expecting to fnd everything as they had left it, only to discover that their previous work had been removed. At other times the materials remained. “There was never any discussion, there was never any critique as to whether it was good or bad, we had to decide for ourselves.” Deacon concludes, “it was very liberating despite its constraints”. As an artist, he says it taught him “not to plan ahead”. After graduation he focused his attention on creating props for his performances, using plaster and bits of board, before later deciding to extract himself from the picture entirely and concentrate on sculpture. “I knew that I wanted to make objects,” he
Barbara Hepworth is still underrated. I think it’s her work, rather than Henry Moore’s, that has been continuously of interest to me. says. “I began to understand the performance work as a kind of apprenticeship that had helped me learn how to use a studio.” Deacon saw that further training would build on that beginning, so in 1974, two years after fnishing at the prestigious Saint Martin’s School of Art, as it was then, he enrolled on the Environmental Media course at the equally revered Royal College of Art, London. In his career since then, his works have been exhibited at such major institutions as the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Sprengel Museum in Hanover, to name a few. In 2007 he represented Wales at the Venice Biennale. And besides a substantial holding at Tate, his work can be found in important public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Despite these signifcant accomplishments, Deacon maintains a less willingly 82 Baku.
public persona than some of his mediafriendly contemporaries. It seems apt, then, that he should fnd inspiration in astronomy and architecture – felds that allow quiet observation. As a young artist he visited almost every cathedral in Britain. “What was interesting to me was the relationship between the inside and the outside,” he says. “A Gothic cathedral is like a Richard Rogers building – it has its guts on the outside. I was looking at the quality of space and line within the cathedral.” Deacon compares his fascination with Gothic architecture to the Hindu temples that he frst encountered in Sri Lanka in the 1950s. “Most Hindu temple architecture takes the mountain and the cave as its model; they are models of mountains and their internal spaces are caves. Gothic cathedrals are a bit like that,” he adds. “The structure allows a cave or a sort of cavern to be present, they appear to be built around the space.” He cites a radical group of 1970s American sculptors, including Donald Judd, as well as Henry Moore’s work from the 1930s – “particularly the carvings” – and the Modernist sculptor Barbara Hepworth as endless sources of inspiration. “Hepworth is still underrated,” declares Deacon. “I think it’s her work, rather than Moore’s, that has been continuously of interest to me.” When he was 16 years old he even tried to interview Hepworth for his school magazine – she turned him down. Though, clearly, Deacon was not deterred for long.
‘Richard Deacon’ at Tate Britain is on until 27 April. His book, ‘Selected Writings’, is published by Richter/Fey on 31 March.
© the artist; Courtesy Lisson GaLLery, London. Courtesy tate.
Opposite, from top: ‘Alphabet G’ (2011); ‘Art for Other People #23’ (1988). This page, from top: ‘Empirical Jungle’ (2003); ‘Art for Other People #41’ (1997) and ‘Fold’ (2012).
Left: Andy Warhol making a movie in 1968; main image: Lady Gaga at the ArtRave event to launch her album ‘Artpop’, 2013; below: Jay-Z performs ‘Picasso Baby’ at Pace Gallery, New York, 2013.
Celebrities and the art world are having a big love-in, from Jay-Z at Pace Gallery to Lady Gaga being immortalized by Jeff Koons. And while this coupling has a decades-long history, it is now more prolific than ever. Words by cristina ruiz
Getty. © Andrew Kelly/reuters/corbis. yAnA pAsKovA/eyevine.
hawn Carter used to be a drug dealer selling crack cocaine. Today, 17 years later, he is a multi-millionaire recording artist known as Jay-Z, as well as an entrepreneur and art collector. So how did he go from street hustler to art afcionado? And why are so many of the most infuential tastemakers – Kanye West, Katy Perry, and Lady Gaga among them – aligning themselves with the art world? In the 1960s Andy Warhol’s obsession with celebrities underpinned his transformation into one himself, the frst artist ever to gain such global recognition. Today musicians as well as Hollywood actors, such as James Franco, seem determined to fip Warhol’s achievement on its head and turn themselves into artists. Heavyweights from the music industry have long been making overtures to visual artists, but none has embraced 85 Baku.
Left: Jeff Koons’s sculpture of Lady Gaga; and the artist and singer together at the launch of her album ‘Artpop’ in New York, 2013. Right: Andy Warhol at the Factory in New York during the shooting of ‘Chelsea Girls’, c. 1966. Below: fans line up to see Jay-Z perform ‘Picasso Baby’, and the rapper with Marina Abramovic´.
The art world comes across in public as conspicuous wealth, and is therefore interesting to new audiences – musicians among them. contemporary art with as much gusto as Jay-Z. Last July he performed his new single ‘Picasso Baby’ – a homage to artists past and present – as part of a top-secret event at Pace Gallery in Chelsea, New York. It lasted six hours, so becoming a work of performance art. A cross section of guests from the worlds of art and culture were invited along with a select number of fans, all of whom the hip-hop star drew in from the sidelines at various intervals to perform with him as he rapped the song’s lyrics over and over again. Painter George Condo grinned from ear to ear when Jay-Z serenaded him with the line about wanting “Condos in my condo”, while the veteran performance artist Marina Abramovic´, who has made a career out of studied detachment, could barely contain her excitement when her turn came. She stood in front of Jay-Z, touching her forehead to his as if undertaking some kind of ritualistic, passing of the performance art torch. British actress Jemima Kirke from the hit television series Girls bear-hugged the rapper from behind and refused to let go (until security forcibly removed her).
Film-maker Jim Jarmusch smiled with cool detachment, head swaying to the beat, and New York magazine art critic Jerry Saltz stayed for the entire six hours – “I went in doubting. I left elated,” he later wrote. But not everyone was impressed. The Pace performance was “humongously embarrassing for everyone involved,” says Christian Viveros-Fauné, art critic of the Village Voice in New York. Jay-Z’s efforts to conquer the art world are part of a larger story that is currently being played out in contemporary culture, Viveros-Fauné says. Contemporary art, with its rapidly escalating prices, is now seen as the ultimate consumer commodity, a symbol of success like no other, and a passport to a highly exclusive social scene. “The art world comes across in public as conspicuous wealth, and is therefore supremely interesting to new audiences – bling-obsessed musicians among them.” Artists, it seems, have different concerns. They love collaborating with successful musicians because “they don’t just want to meet the rich collectors who can buy their work, it’s not enough for them…they want people to come up to them and say ‘I love your work, I can’t afford it, but I love it,’” says Roger Klein of Pat Magnarella Management who represent bands such as Green Day and the Goo Goo Dolls. “Visual artists often work by themselves, whereas musicians work with other band members, with record labels, and they get to meet their fans. So when artists interact with a musician’s fans it expands their territory. Even successful
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artists such as Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons long for adulation, like the rest of us.” The New York painter Will Cotton, whose portrait of Katy Perry foating atop a cloud of candyfoss features on the cover of her Teenage Dream album, echoes this: “The art world has typically been a small, rarefed entity that doesn’t reach the masses,” he says. “Creative affnity” is the key to successful artist-musician collaborations, says Cotton. “If Katy Perry had said to me: ‘do a painting of me lying on a pile of mashed potatoes,’ I wouldn’t have been interested.” Perry was instead fascinated by Cotton’s signature candy-flled canvases and she hired him to work on the video of her single ‘California Gurls’, which has had nearly 100 million hits on YouTube. “I feel good that these thoughts that started in my studio have reached so many,” says Cotton.
“In terms of my own contribution to pop culture, it’s the kind of numbers the art world never sees so I feel like I’m having an active, two-way dialogue with pop culture.” Collaborations taking place today are more frequent than ever before. “It all started with the launch of MTV in 1981,” says Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn of the Salon 94 gallery who advises Jay-Z on his art purchases and also organized his Pace performance. “Before MTV and videos, musicians didn’t need to think about image making, all they needed was a stage set when they performed. When MTV started, they had to commission videographers and directors and now inviting an artist to make a music video seems entirely natural.” For hip-hop stars like Jay-Z, the art world does not just represent extravagant consumption. Quite the reverse, argues 87 Baku.
William Oliver, editor of the website District MTV. â€œPopular culture of all sorts has become so commercial, that musicians who started out with a sense of integrity may feel, after their work has become globally successful, that their integrity has been washed away; working with a well-respected visual artist may help bring back that sense of purpose.â€? It certainly helps explain why Lady Gaga collaborated with artist Jeff Koons for her latest album Artpop. Together the pair hosted a party in New Kanye West in the art world: at Design Miami Basel in 2013, and with artists Takashi Murakami (above) and George Condo. Below: John Lennon and Yoko Ono during their week-long Bed-In for Peace in Amsterdam, 1969. Right: Andy Warhol with The Velvet Underground in the mid-1960s.
York last November where a series of new, Gaga-inspired sculptures by the artist were unveiled, including a nude portrait of the songstress clutching her breasts and with legs akimbo appearing to give birth to a shiny blue sphere, an image of which was used for the album cover. A surprising number of musicians, Bob Dylan, David Bowie and Captain Beefheart among them, have made paintings alongside their music and many more buy art. Musician collectors include Rihanna,
who says she became “obsessed” with art after buying a painting of Bob Marley by Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood. “It’s very rare that you get a painting of a legend painted by a legend, so I had to get it,” she told reporters. For Jay-Z, too, the art world is a place of kindred creative spirits. “When I started going to galleries people in hip hop were like: ‘art is too bourgeois’, but artists, we’re alike, we’re cousins. For me, bringing the two worlds back together is exciting,” he
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When I started going to galleries people in hip hop were like: “art is too bourgeois”, but artists, we’re alike, we’re cousins. said in a flm of the Pace ‘Picasso Baby’ proceedings. Like Jay-Z, Kanye West has long been keen on expanding the boundaries of hip hop to encompass other forms of creativity. Over the years the rapper, who attended art school in Chicago, has hired artists such as Takashi Murakami and George Condo to work on his stage sets, videos and album covers and he likes to present himself as a Renaissance man, patron of the arts, and the greatest artist of our time to boot. “I am the number one most impactful artist of our generation. I am Warhol,” he shouted at one radio interviewer in a typically heated exchange. The history of these artist-musician collaborations is a long one. It was in the 1960s that artists and musicians began working together in ways which they’ve continued to do ever since. In New York, Andy Warhol hung out with the most famous rock stars of the time and even launched his own band, The Velvet Underground. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, the Beatles were turning to leading British Pop artists to design their album covers: Peter Blake for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and then Richard Hamilton for the White Album. And shortly afterwards, John Lennon and his then new wife, Yoko Ono, staged what must surely be the most famous performance art pieces of all time – the Bed-Ins for Peace, two weeklong lie-ins held in hotels in Amsterdam and then Montreal in 1969 as a protest against the Vietnam War, which were designed to generate publicity for their cause. The rise of the internet has popularized art to an extent that was unthinkable 10 years ago. Today references to art are everywhere and everyone’s an artist. Even the actor Shia LaBeouf, best known for his role in the Transformers franchise, has claimed that his recent, and widely publicised, spat with a graphic novelist whose work he plagiarised in a short flm, was in fact a work of performance art. So celebrities take note: art is not as easy as you may think. But, then again, maybe being a celebrity isn’t as easy as it looks, either.
Drinking tea is a human ritual that has spread to all points of the globe from its Eastern origins. By the shores of the Caspian, where they grow Lankaran tea, it has a tradition all of its own. Words by claire wrathall Styling by tom wolfe Photography by richard haughton
Opposite: Caramel cane-sugar; this page: Lankaran tea being poured into the gazelle armud glass. Gazelles have a special place in Azerbaijani culture as a symbol of natural beauty, grace and purity.
ove and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea,” wrote the English playwright and novelist Henry Fielding in 1728. In Baku they would beg to differ, for Azerbaijanis choose to sweeten their tea with jam. It’s not that sugar – usually in lump form – is proscribed, but that jam is preferred for its favour as well as its sweetness. Indeed it’s the presence of softset preserves – made from mulberries, quince, rose petals, walnuts, apricots, or cherries (ideally white ones) – at an Azerbaijani tea ceremony that elevates the enjoyment of tea from the ordinary to the gourmet. The tea and jam are actually not mixed together. A little spoonful of jam is put in the mouth, and then the tea is sipped so that the hot liquid melts the jam, producing a drink akin to a very superior, silkily smooth fruit tea. In the absence of jam, there is of course lemon and sugar to temper the tannins. And sometimes you’ll see someone 92 Baku.
Foreground: red copper Russian samovar by N N Shaposhnikov, from the late 19th century, in Qala Antiquities Museum, Azerbaijan; in background: copper majmai tray by Abbas, from 1841.
From left: dates, fgs, walnuts, alycha; keklikotu (wild mountain thyme, which grows only in the Caucasus); and dried persimmon.
Various jams to take with tea, from top: strawberry, feijoa, cherry, alycha, olive, white cherry, and watermelon, with walnuts (centre).
put a sugar cube in their mouth in place of jam, and drink the tea through it. Tea regularly punctuates the day in Azerbaijan. It’s what concludes business meetings and meals. It encourages customers to come to a decision in shops. Traditionally it would signal the outcome of negotiations between matchmakers when brokering marriages (the sweeter the tea, the likelier it is there will be a wedding). It punctuates the narrative of Kurban Said’s great East-meets-West, loveacross-the-divide novel Ali and Nino (1937), set in Baku, not only in its capacity as a fact of daily life, but to emphasize the difference between the tea-drinking Azerbaijanis and the wine-drinking Georgians.
It’s the presence of preserves made from mulberries, quince, rose petals, apricots, or cherries at an Azerbaijani tea ceremony that elevates the enjoyment of tea to the gourmet. It is the very raison d’etre of the çay khana or tea house, where men (and it is mostly men in these places) gather to talk or play nard, the local version of backgammon. Tea may only have been cultivated in Azerbaijan on a major scale since the 1930s, but in light of its location on the Silk Route, its tea culture is as old as Baku’s ancient atmospheric caravanserais. Visit someone’s home, and whatever the time of day, you will surely be offered tea, alongside bowls of dried fruits and nuts. Very possibly you will also be offered sweet pastries such as pakhlava, or shekerbura, little semicircles or crescents flled with ground nuts, almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts that were once served only on holidays such as Novruz, but are increasingly available year-round. Coming in a beautifully decorated box, the best-known premium brand of Azerbaijani tea is Azerçay’s Buket Dogma Çay, a large-leaf black variety 97 Baku.
Ismail Dadashov, at Baku’s Pakhlava restaurant, is Azerbaijan’s most revered tea blender. He mixed two special blends of black Lankaran tea for ‘Baku’ magazine: (this page) with plum petals and strawberry; and (opposite) with raspberry, strawberry, rose petals and wild fowers.
grown in the sub-tropical Lankaran and Astara regions in the far south of the country. Producing a clear garnet-red infusion, this tea is subtly enhanced with bergamot oil, like the popular English blend Earl Grey. Apart from that, the two teas have little in common when it comes to taste. In Azerbaijan, tea may be additionally favoured with herbs or spices as it is poured. As the tea brews, another pot is flled with a couple of spoonfuls of thyme, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, mint or perhaps rose petals and topped up with boiling water. When both have had suffcient time to infuse – for seven or eight minutes, on a little stand over a tealight to ensure the tea stays hot – each is poured, just a centimetre or so, into a glass as they are made strong and then topped up with boiling water from the urn or samovar.
Traditionally tea would signal the outcome of negotiations with matchmakers when brokering marriages. There is something infnitely pleasing, too, about the glass or armud (literally “pear-shaped”) in which tea is served, though with its nipped-in waist, it’s somehow more reminiscent of a thistle. Whatever its inspiration, it is an ingenious design because it means that however hot the tea in the bulb at the bottom, the rim remains cool enough to hold and to put to one’s lips. (The old cut glasses in silver holders – podstakanchiki in Russian, possibly the only language with a specifc word for them – seem to have died with the Soviet Union.) There’s a saying in Azerbaijan – “çay nedir, say nedir” – meaning “when drinking tea, don’t count the cups”. But then why would you? The glasses are small, and their contents abound in healthboosting antioxidants. But above all, the robust but smooth aromatic, almost vanilla-like favour of Azerbaijani tea, especially Buket, is delicious – with or without love or scandal, or even jam.
Tea is served.
Jams for tea drinking: (this page) feijoa and (opposite) white cherry. Consultant METBEX COUTURE. Producer MARIA WEBSTER. Special thanks to the ART GARDEN, Baku.
xx 102Baku. Baku.
hould you desire a Siberian mammoth tusk, a Chinese sabre-toothed tiger skull, the 10,000-year-old skeleton of a Romanian cave bear, a 35-million-year-old turtle from the South Dakota Badlands National Park or, indeed, a perfectly preserved 170-million-year-old mosasaur from Germany (yours for about £250,000), then Dale Rogers is your man. Operating out of swish premises in arty Pimlico Road in central London, where neighbouring interior design galleries include Linley, Gordon Watson and Andrew Lamberty, Rogers caters to a growing global interest in and market for fossils, minerals and other geological wonders. He numbers oligarchs and Arab potentates, investment bankers and lawyers among his clients. He also supplies a host of modish interior designers such as Collett-Zarzycki and Robert Couturier, and developers such as Candy & Candy, as well as the yacht designers Terence Disdale and Andrew Winch. As befts his rugged, outdoorsy appearance – you cannot help but be reminded of Indiana Jones – Rogers’s passion for fossils 104 Baku.
Dale Rogers in his London warehouse.
stars Londonâ€™s answer to Indiana Jones, Dale Rogers transforms ancient fossils and minerals into collectable objets dâ€™art coveted by the uber-wealthy. Words by Claire Wrathall Photography by GreG White
Dale Rogers’s warehouse, with (far right in a frame) the 90-million-yearold skeleton of an extinct species of giant crocodile, skulls of other extinct animals and slabs of lapis lazuli.
has its origins in adventure rather than academia. Having grown up in Colchester in Essex, where his parents ran a nightclub, he yearned to travel, and in the early 1980s found himself in southern Spain, wondering what lay across the water in Africa. He boarded a boat to Tangier in Morocco where, sitting at a café table one day, he was captivated by the fossils – ammonites and orthocerases – he’d noticed embedded in the stone table top. “I didn’t know anything about rocks or fossils or petrifed wood,” he says, “but I liked things that were rare and giant and beautiful and decorative.” He determined to travel deep into the south of the country to fnd out more, and here he happened on a quarry “in a very remote place” near Khouribga, about 120km south-east
of Casablanca, where considerable numbers of fossils were being unearthed. “It just kind of snowballed from there. In those days you didn’t see many things like that at all. I was intrigued and just kept on looking into the subject more and more.” He built a network of contacts who could help him not just with sourcing fossils but also with the logistics of getting them back to London, where he would sell them from a stall at the Portobello Road Market in Notting Hill. Rogers continues to buy a lot from Morocco, not least because it’s a nation with no export ban on fossils, he says. Indeed one of the most remarkable pieces in his current stock is the immaculately preserved complete skeleton of an extinct species of giant crocodile found there, curled up in what looks like an artful curve
I didn’t know anything about fossils but I liked things that were rare and giant and beautiful. but would actually have been the position in which it died. “The skull’s fantastic,” he says, pointing to its extraordinarily long snout and the serrated rows of vicious teeth. “More than a metre long and more like a gavial, a kind of crocodile you get in India,” he notes. “Though this one is probably 90 million years old.” It’s priced at a cool £285,000. For all the preponderance of Moroccan fossils, Rogers actually carries stock from about 40 countries, among them Afghanistan, Brazil, Chile, China, France, Madagascar, Mexico, Pakistan, Romania, Russia, Uruguay, and the US. The UK is a particularly rich source of ichthyosaurs (‘fsh-lizards’ in Greek), many of which have been found in the lias quarries near Street in Somerset, where the limestone and shale strata date back to Triassic times. Azerbaijan is one of the world’s most important regions for fnding fossils. A little 107 Baku.
more than 10km north of central Baku, the Binagadi asphalt seep is a 60-hectare bitumen lake that has become the graveyard of more than 100 different species of ancient birds – eagles, swans, pelicans, kites and ravens – and their mammal predators, such as sabre-toothed tigers, cave bears, hyenas and lions. But its status as a Natural Monument of Special Signifcance means it is illegal to remove anything from the site, just as it is to do so from the La Brea tar pits in Los Angeles, California, which is billed as the “world’s most famous ice-age fossil excavation site”. La Brea’s oldest fnds date back 60,000 years, however, and so are considerably younger than Binagadi’s estimated 200,000-year-old specimens. Large animal fossils in particular are much in demand. “You can see where the Cyclops myth came from,” says Rogers, pointing to an immense elephant skull and the vast central indentation that houses its eye sockets. We have moved to the treasure house that is Rogers’s north-west London warehouse. One thing in particular catches my eye: a startlingly beautiful palm frond that looks like an ancient Egyptian painting. Rogers explains that there’s a market for
The Binagadi asphalt seep near Baku holds more than 100 species of ancient birds. fossilized plants, too, as he shows me a 400-million-year-old block of exquisitely detailed and intricately patterned sea lilies (known as crinoids). He found it on the Algerian border with Morocco, and it is preserved in phosphate in an undulating pattern that still speaks of movement. “You can see the way the wave action played around with them and then just left them to settle somewhere on the seabed,” he says. Rogers deals in minerals and other geological phenomena, too, not least because there are fewer restrictions, he says, on exporting it. Canada, for example, forbids the removal of fossils but permits trade in minerals, hence his acquisition of a remarkable iridescent ammolite, the fossilized shell of an ammonite which is classifed as a mineral rather than a fossil. It’s intriguingly beautiful, the surface of its snail-like form, perhaps 40cm across, a riot of opalescent greens, browns, reds and oranges, patterned like Venetian glass. It’s also remarkably rare for it is set in its original matrix – the term used to describe the bedrock it was found in – and is about as large as that species was known to grow. Then there are the three chrysanthemum stones, white celestite and calcite ‘fowers’ now fxed in dark grey limestone which may be 250 million years old. Aesthetically they are somehow quintessentially Chinese, so it’s no surprise to learn they were sourced near the Yangtze River, discovered at the time of the construction of the Three Gorges Dam, when neighbouring caves were excavated prior to their being fooded. Other minerals include a polished block of amber-coloured citrine so luminescent 108 Baku.
A bed of ammonites and a tall basalt geode with amethyst crystals lining its interior, lie among the treasures in the warehouse.
it seems to glow; slabs of silvery polished pyrite; white coral-like Chinese aragonite; and huge blocks of dazzling Yves Kleinblue lapis lazuli, 80cm or so tall and weighing about 130kg apiece that he found in a quarry in Afghanistan, where he spent three scary weeks last year. “It’s just lawless up there, with all the criminal gangs. Kalashnikov central!” he says. “But when I saw the stones for the frst time, it was like, ‘Oh my God, I had no idea I’d fnd something like this.’ They had to be brought down by hand, down scree slopes of 500 or 600 metres and across a river because you can’t get trucks right up to the quarry.” As often as not, it seems, the discovery of fossils and minerals is a by-product of industrial development or quarrying. Rogers has sold fossilized dolphins and penguins unearthed in a phosphate mine in Chile, for example. He has an immense slab of Miocene-era pectens – white scalloplike seashells, shaped like the Royal Dutch Shell logo – which was found in a limestone
The stones had to be brought down by hand, over 500m scree slopes and across a river as you can’t get trucks up to the quarry. quarry near Marseilles in the south of France. Equally striking are the tower-like basalt geodes flled with gem-quality, deep purple amethysts that have grown in the interior of fossilized gas bubbles, unearthed in copper mines in Brazil and Uruguay. But perhaps the most astonishing item in his warehouse is a substantial slice of a huge meteorite (also classifed as mineral), found in a remote part of northern Russia. (“It was a real journey to get up there!”) Its blackened crust is partially intact, but one side has been polished to a mirror fnish, while the other has a matt silvery surface crosshatched with striations known as Widmanstätten patterns (named after the Viennese scientist who discovered them in 1808). These patterns comprise long crystals of iron and nickel alloy interwoven by ribbons of kamacite and taenite “which can only form in the vacuum of space,” says Rogers. “They require literally millions of years of cooling to form from a molten planetary core fragment, 1,000 years for each degree Celsius.” He pauses, as though almost awed. “Just a few museums have them. And it’s such a beautiful object.” Truly, it is something to behold, but for all the rarity of such pieces and the wonder they inspire, Rogers is honest about their potential as investments. “A lot of people ask about that,” he says, “but though it’s quite likely they’ll rise in value, there’s no way of knowing for sure.” There isn’t an established market for such curiosities yet and though, for instance, a fossilized mosasaur – the marine equivalent of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, and one of the main predators of its time – in perfect 110 Baku.
condition may be all but unique today, there might be 10 found tomorrow or there may never be another one found again. It is impossible to tell with this business. “You should only buy because you like it,” he cautions. But there certainly seems to be a growing interest in collecting such pieces not just because they are beautiful and scarce, but because they suggest permanence and stability in nature. “We’ve put massive collections on several superyachts,” he says, which is a surprise given how much these items can weigh, but also appropriate somehow, given the way these remarkable fnds speak, like voyages across the ocean, of a quest for discovery.
A white slab of Mioceneera pectens from Marseilles, delicate pink sandrose (opposite, bottom), and various exposed and polished ammonites are just some of the items in Dale Rogers’s hoard.
What lies beneath: the treasure of binagadi Just several kilometres north of Baku you’ll fnd a 190,000-year-old tar ‘lake’, known as the Binagadi Fossil Cemetery. Beneath its surface, the fossilized remains of more than 50,000 creatures have been found. Among these fnds are at least 40 species of mammal, including an ancient ancestor of the rhinoceros and elephant, as well as the Absheron wild boar, giant deer and reptiles, plus 107 species of insect and 22 varieties of vegetation. All these have been protected by a thick layer of petroleum that has lain there since the end of the Pleistocene era, 11,700 years ago. The hope is that in time the site will be accorded World Heritage status. 111 Baku.
Interview by LeyLa aLiyeva Illustration by Joe cruz
lEYLA ALIYEVA. May we start our conversation with your childhood? ROBERT HOSSEIN. Oh là là! I have lived a very hard life. My father [the composer André Hossein, born Aminoullah Husseinov, 1905–83] was Azerbaijani but born in Samarkand, and my mother in Kiev. He was a Zoroastrian, you know. My mother’s father was very rich, and when the Russian Revolution began, he was put in prison. But he had been generous to many students in the past, so they helped him and my mother escape to Germany. There, she became an actress, which is how she met my father, who was a young musician. When the Nazis came, they went to Paris where I was born in a hotel. They had no money. I went to school until I was 12, and after that I started to earn. I worked, and went to the theatre after work. I wrote my frst play at 17, which is still being put on in theatres. Later I got to know writers like Jean-Paul Sartre and Boris Vian, and the musician Claude Luter. LA. You were friends with the artist Marc Chagall, too, weren’t you? RH. Chagall? I will tell you how I met him. I didn’t have a single franc when I was told, “Go to see Chagall, he lives in Avignon, he is there with his family.” To get the money to travel, I went to see the actor Gérard Philipe and I said to him, “I adore everything you do.” He said to me, “No, no. Don’t say stupid things. How much do you need?” He gave me money and I took the
© claude schwartz/kipa/corbis. getty. rex/sipa press. gamma-keystone via getty.
Robert Hossein has starred with some of the world’s most beautiful women. Now at 86, the French actor is in a refective mood as he talks about his Azerbaijani roots and the future.
Robert Hossein in his heyday in the 1950s and 1960s, and (far left) with his first wife Marina Vlady in 1959.
because there will be a catastrophe! There are many people who are in need and have nothing; we must do something. LA. You once described yourself as “a pessimist full of optimism”. RH. Yes. You also hold a festival here in Azerbaijan, don’t you? A forum on tolerance [the biennial World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue], so that everyone can live harmoniously. LA. What has been your favourite flm role? RH. You know, I have played police offcers, gangsters, I have done everything, in costume, without costumes. I have worked with Sophia Loren, Gina Lollobrigida, Brigitte Bardot, Annie Girardot and Catherine Deneuve. I have done many flms and won prizes at the Cannes Film Festival. LA. So you have worked with some of the most beautiful women in the world. Who was the most beautiful? RH. Brigitte Bardot. LA. Is it more about physical beauty or the soul? RH. The soul, of course! Why? Beauty – is it beautiful? But the soul is… Good heavens… Do you know what, I said to my wife, who is French, “I want to go to Baku and stay there”. English, Russian and Azerbaijani are all spoken there, and it’s normal. But not much French is spoken. It is very strange, because when I walked around Baku, I saw Paris. train. So when I arrived, I knocked on the door: “Is anyone there? Hello?” Nobody replied. I said, to myself, “Good heavens, what should I do?” I opened the door and saw a table laden with all sorts of things: cheese, caviar, fruit and wine. I didn’t see anyone, so I sat down and started to eat but soon discovered they were all behind me by the door, watching. In the end, I stayed with them for two months. LA. Your frst wife was the actress Marina Vlady. Can you tell me about her? RH. She was exceptional, a beauty. And a very strong woman. She had four sisters [all of whom have died]. She has survived them all. I still see her and we get on well. LA. You have acted for both the screen and the stage. Which do you prefer? RH. I don’t know, because I have done 100 flms for the cinema, both as an actor and director. For the theatre, I have done a huge number of shows with so many actors from all around the world. Now I am simply waiting, day and night, to die peacefully. You know, my best friend Georges [Lautner, the French flm director] died today. He made The Professional  with [Jean-Paul] Belmondo and myself. Georges lived in Paris but now that he has died he will be returned to his home city of Nice. But there we are… They say that as we get older we get terribly nostalgic about life. LA. Do you believe in God? RH. Of course! It is crucial that all religions and races work together, like they do in Azerbaijan, so we can save this world, 114 Baku.
© frÉdÉric stucin. francos films/incei film courtesy rga. princia/ transmonde film courtesy rga. © sunset boulevard/corbis.
They say that as we get older we get terribly nostalgic about life.
cicc/francos fils/gloria-film/the kobal collection. rex/everett collection. ©sunset boulevard/corbis. credit princia/transmonde film courtesy rga. pathe/rga.
Robert Hossein now, photographed in Paris last year (opposite), and then, in some of his best-loved roles, such as the Angélique films (main image).
It is crucial that all religions and races work together, like they do in Azerbaijan, so we can save this world. LA. The architecture is very similar. RH. Yes, and the way people dress. LA. What did you like the most in Baku? RH. Its heart. I saw unbelievable modern and historic architecture. Everything is clean – the streets, the mosques and synagogues. We stayed in a good hotel, and whenever I looked out of the window there were so many cars on the roads, at all times, you know, and sirens. I really thought we were in Paris. LA. You have had a very brilliant and beautiful life. Do you have any particularly strong memories? RH. Yes, there was Angélique. Do you remember that flm? When I was frst approached to do it, I said no – the part they offered me was for a character with a scar and a limp. I told the producers that I had just fnished a flm by Roger Vadim, starring opposite Bardot [Le Repos du Guerrier, 1962] and was a success! So why would I want a scar and a limp? But they persuaded me to do it [the frst of a popular series of fve Angélique flms, directed by Bernard Borderie, 1964–68] because the
character dies early on, and then I’d be free. But the second flm didn’t go so well and they wanted me back for the rest of the series. I agreed, but only ever got €300 when I should have got 4%. Now there’s a court case about it, so we’ll see… LA. Do you speak any Azerbaijani? RH. No, but I am studying, it isn’t diffcult. I want to announce to everyone that I was there, and show everyone what I saw: the museums, those beautiful buildings. LA. I imagine you are familiar with music from Azerbaijan? RH. Of course! My father wrote symphonies, concerts, ballets and flm scores. He had an extraordinary gift. He was an exceptional composer. I adore music. However, I don’t play an instrument myself, or write music. LA. Are you working on any new projects at the moment? RH. I want to make a flm about the life of Tomyris [a queen who reigned over the Massagetae in Central Asia c. 530BC and who defeated Cyrus, the great king of Persia, as recorded by Herodotus]. Do you know her story? I am looking for someone to play Tomyris, in fact, and when my wife saw you in Baku, she said to me, “Where are you looking for Tomyris? She is here in Azerbaijan!” Now that we have met, I know I must make this flm… Your face really is Tomyris. LA. Haha! RH. You laugh but it’s true, it’s great!
s the sun sets on the Caspian Sea and myriad coloured LEDs on the three Flame Towers light up Baku’s distinctive skyline, the city rumbles into life for the weekend. Only this time it’s a particularly audible rumble as 30 high-performance sports cars, their engines growling, parade through the capital of Azerbaijan. Baku’s raucous foodlit procession is the prelude to the Baku World Challenge, which is the critical fnal stage in the worldwide FIA GT3 series championship. In fact it looks more like a fashion show, only with supercars instead of supermodels attracting the fash photography. These are GT3 cars, race-tuned versions of high-end production sports cars. Lamborghinis and Ferraris, Porsche 911s, Audi R8s and McLaren 12Cs are all here. Baku’s citizens have been drawn to the spectacle by the cacophony, somewhat bemused by the free motor show that has materialised in their historic city. For the teams competing tomorrow, it’s a chance to bask in the warm welcome from the crowds waving at them. When I return for race day, the atmosphere couldn’t be more different. It’s a sunny Sunday afternoon and despite the throng of people gathering along the promenade towards Flag Square and Crystal Hall, the crisp November air is unusually quiet. The normally busy highway has been closed to traffc because this scenic stretch of the ancient Silk Road has now become a racetrack. I make my way through the bustling pit lane, where the mechanics appear to be rebuilding their cars from scratch in preparation for the main race later in the day, in search of Thierry Boutsen. With three Formula One Grand Prix 116 Baku.
From Silk Road to racing track, the centre of Baku was transformed for a turbocharged three days into the venue for the Baku World Challenge, a spectacular street race.
Opposite: the street circuit for the Baku World Challenge. This page: Oliver Webb, the British driver for the Fortec team.
Words by JIM HILL Photography by Laurent nIvaLLe
victories under his belt, the retired racer is something of a celebrity – he’s also the force behind this new circuit in Baku and I’m keen to meet the man behind this momentous event. At the front of a line of vintage Formula One cars from the 1960s to the 1980s, I spot the words ‘Thierry Boutsen’ stencilled in gold on the side of a black Lotus. But at that very moment the peace is shattered by the thunder of its V10 engine as Boutsen fres
It’s an eventful race. There is frenzied jostling for position at the start and there’s at least one high-speed collision. the ignition, spitting fame from the exhaust. I cover my ears as, one by one, each classic vehicle splutters to life and charges after the Lotus, as it streaks away along the Caspian coast. The vintage Formula One display is just the beginning of the day’s entertainment, which will culminate in the Baku World Challenge race for the GT3 cars, with a world title and total prize money of €175,000 at stake. The sponsor, Aztexnika, has carried much of the cost of importing the cars and equipment to Azerbaijan, and the international teams are here with their best mechanics and fastest young drivers, all of whom are hungry for victory.
The action of the Baku World Challenge GT3 race against the backdrop of the city’s waterfront, with Thierry Boutsen in his vintage F1 Lotus (top, far left).
With the track slick from an earlier frost and speeds reaching 250km/h, it’s an eventful race. There is frenzied jostling for position at the start and there’s at least one highspeed collision. In the end, it is Laurens Vanthoor and Stéphane Ortelli, driving Audi R8s for Belgian Team WRT, who collect the €100,000 frst prize. I fnally meet Boutsen at the glamorous after-race party and I’m able to ask why an international event like this would be put on in Azerbaijan, a country with little history of motor racing? “Why not Baku?” Boutsen replies. “This city is exciting and unique and beautiful. It makes a splendid backdrop for a street circuit.” During his long and legendary career in motorsport, Boutsen, as you might expect, has accrued many big-name contacts and plenty of
experience driving on street circuits, so he was clearly the right man for the job. To help him, Boutsen enlisted the event promoters Renaud Jeanfls and JeanFrançois Chaumont. “With 30 GT3 cars on the grid, plus 15 vintage F1 cars, we needed two specially converted Boeing 747 jumbos just to fy in all the cars and equipment,” says Jeanfls of the extraordinary logistics of staging such an event. And to meet FIA race requirements,
We needed two specially converted Boeing 747 jumbos just to fly in all the cars and equipment. the course this year had to be extended by 4km. “Now we have a very fast track with long straights for overtaking, and exciting hairpins and chicanes,” he explains. “The wide roads, open spaces and great landmarks of Baku worked well for us.” If the event is judged on the satisfaction of the 50,000 spectators that descended on Baku and its transitory race track that weekend, the Baku World Challenge must be deemed a resounding success. It seems ftting somehow that a nation so rich in oil should host a motorsport event in its capital, so perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that Azerbaijan turns out to have such an appetite for racing.
Scenes from the F1 race, part of the Baku World Challenge weekend, and (below) the winners of the GT3 championship race.
forward to the new avant garde! CuLturaL MrI Spotlight on Sarajevo.
heart & souL Japan, offine.
MeMe Immersive theatre.
ars Longa Is art a bubble?
illustrations Mitch Blunt.
Particles as sculpture.
art agony unCLe Meet Kenny.
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Sarajevo is regaining its historic place at the heart of Balkan culture, says Tim Clancy.
he spotlight will be on Sarajevo this year as the city commemorates the 100th anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie, an act that sparked the First World War. And it is this event and, of course, the 1992–95 war that are largely to blame for the image of Sarajevo as a war-torn city. Sarajevo’s contemporary artists share a different view, however, and prefer to paint the picture of their city as a cosmopolitan member of the larger European family. With the eyes of the world on them, they hope to sculpt, draw and reshape Sarajevo into a new light.
121 Baku. Eye.
Much has happened in the past century. Sarajevo’s European integration had already begun with the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina by the AustroHungarian Empire several decades before that fateful day in June 1914. But Sarajevo never left its Eastern and Oriental infuences behind. The Ottomans, ruling the city for more than 400 years, had made the cultural footprint that still marks the city today in the architecture of the Old Town, its cuisine and unique world view. The multi-layered heritage of Sarajevo includes the taste and style of both East and West. Film, theatre and music have become the most visible expressions of the city’s creative identity. Film directors Danis Tanovic and Jasmila Zbanic, theatre director Haris Pasovic, and writer Aleksandar Hemon have all received international acclaim. But what is less widely known about Sarajevo is its burgeoning art scene. As Pierre Courtin, director of the city’s Duplex100m2 Gallery, puts it, “There is a great disconnect here between art and economy. The contemporary art scene here is almost invisible yet its quality is easily on the level of any major European city.” Despite the richness of Sarajevo’s cultural scene, its very existence today resembles the similar struggle for survival that the country faced in the early 1990s. Stagnant politically and caught in a downward economic spiral, Sarajevo’s cultural institutions have found themselves in a battle for their lives. The National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the frst cultural institution of its kind in the country, has had its doors shut for more than a year due to lack of funding. The Art Gallery of Bosnia and Herzegovina and other key symbols of the country’s cultural heritage face similar fates. Sarajevan artists, however, have an instinctive resistance to destructive forces. The Sarajevo Film Festival, now one of Europe’s leading festivals, was founded in 1995 towards the end of the longest siege of a capital city in modern European history. SARTR, the Sarajevo War Theatre, put on plays, including Waiting for Godot, by
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candlelight while the city was under heavy bombardment. It is that spirit that defnes Sarajevo’s cultural scene today. Even if it is diffcult to see the light at the end of the tunnel due to the closures of major cultural institutions, it’s worth seeking out the many hidden treasures that Sarajevo holds. Sarajevo has an indefnable charm to it. It is a small but bustling capital with a café culture unmatched anywhere in south-east Europe. What pubs are to London, so cafes are to Sarajevo, and then some. There are more cafés per capita than any other city in the region. Coffee is taken very seriously, whether it be a strong Bosnian/Turkish kafa, an Italian ristretto, or a classic cappuccino. The arty crowds tend to gravitate towards venues such as Kriterion or the Boris Smoje Gallery where they can not only get a coffee or stiff drink but also see the latest exhibitions. Strolling with the tourists through Bascarsija in Sarajevo’s Old Town towards the city centre is to take a journey through time. In Bascarsija’s crafts quarter there is a labyrinth of small side streets, reminiscent of Istanbul’s old trading quarter, with traditional coppersmiths hammering away at Turkish coffee sets. The silver- and goldsmiths of Zlatarska Street, especially the jewellery creations of the Sofc family, have been praised in New York and Paris. There is also a handful of young artists making a living for themselves in this bustling area. Saraci Street, the main artery running through the Old Town, eventually leads to Ferhadija, at which point the narrow, stone streets transform into a wide promenade lined with Secessionist architecture and modern store fronts that pay tribute to the four-decade Hapsburg reign in this part of the world. Many of the contemporary art galleries are located in the mid-town area. These include Duplex100m2 in Obala Kulina Ban Street, Gallery 11/07/95 next to the Cathedral, and the Sarajevo Centre for Contemporary Art. Duplex100m2 has been invited by the Galerie du Jour Agnès b in Paris to curate a 20-artist exhibition of Bosnian art called ‘Memory Lane’ later this year. Courtin plans to bring this exhibition back to Sarajevo after its Paris debut in the hope of jumpstarting the lagging appreciation, on the part of the powers-thatbe, of the country’s superb contemporary art. For the First World War centennial commemoration, Duplex100m2 will host installations by Sejla Kameric and Radenko Milak, both of whose work is concerned with politics and identity. Ars Aevi Gallery is located in Dom Mladi in the Skenderija Centre. It is home to the largest and most valuable art collection in the Balkans and possibly all of Central Europe. During the confict in the 1990s dozens of world-renowned artists such as Marina Abramovic ´ and Bruce Nauman, donated to the collection, eventually leading to a new contemporary art gallery. That
project never materialized but at least part of the collection has fnally seen the light of day at Ars Aevi. Unfortunately, this gallery, too, is only sporadically open due to the economic woes that continually burden Bosnia’s art scene. Charlama Depot Gallery, run by Jusuf Hadzifejzovic, who many consider to be the father of contemporary art in Sarajevo, is just a foor down. Across the hall is Collegium Artisticum. With its new curator, Branka Vujanovic, this pre-war contemporary art powerhouse is beginning to emerge as the premier exhibition space in the city. Although both are plagued by funding shortages, they have managed to keep their doors open. For now. When I frst arrived more than two decades ago, the city was in havoc. But it has risen phoenix-like from the ashes and that recovery I would attribute to the artistic soul of Sarajevo. This city’s character has a gritty, raw edge to it, and its art scene very much refects that. The artists and galleries may not be the most sophisticated in the way in which they package, market and curate their works and exhibitions but if one looks hard enough the rewards most certainly outweigh the effort. The city’s creative industry, despite the negligence of the government in its support of the arts, is undoubtedly one of its most undervalued assets.
© boaz rottem/alamy. © loop images ltd/alamy. © jasmin brutus/alamy.
Previous page: cafe life in Bascarsija in Sarajevo’s Old Town; main image: a view across Sarajevo at dusk; left: Gallery 11/07/95; below left: the gallery Duplex 100m2, and ( bottom) Sejla Kameric, the Bosnian artist who will be showing there for the First World War centenary exhibition.
names to know
places to go
MaJa BaJeviC Bajevic recently returned to her hometown Sarajevo after living in Paris since the war began. She is heralded as Sarajevo’s, and indeed Bosnia and Herzegovina’s, most established artist and one of the most important in Eastern Europe. Her video performances and installations have been seen in group and solo exhibitions in Berlin, London, Paris, Madrid, Stockholm and, of course, her beloved Sarajevo.
1. duplex100M2 gallery Run by French native Pierre Courtin, this is one of Sarajevo’s most active contemporary art galleries. Duplex focuses mainly on Bosnian artists but it has also become a hub for regional artists as well as pulling in an impressive repertoire of internationally renowned names. duplex100m2.com
seJla KaMeriC Kameric’s visual art work is often dedicated to confronting prejudice. Her work personifes the struggles of dealing with war and the labels that are unjustly applied to any group and that lead to discrimination. This important artist makes her voice heard in small and subtle ways through her very powerful visual installations.
2. CHarlaMa depot A patchy collection of fne art by more than 200 artists from around the world, this beleaguered gallery in the Skenderija Centre faces eviction due to lack of funds. Operated by Jusuf Hadzifejzovic, he defes the odds and has somehow kept this bastion of culture going on life support. cekacharlama.wordpress.com
adela JusiC Jusic’s artistic inspiration stems from her war experiences as a child in war-torn Sarajevo. The work of this feisty, young Sarajevan primarily focuses on video. She won the best Bosnian young artist award for 2010, and in 2012 was awarded the Charlama Gallery award for the best work by a young artist. CrveNa The most driven and successful of Sarajevo’s art collectives, Crvena Association for Culture and Art stands out for its tireless promotion of art and culture in Bosnia and Herzegovina both at home and abroad. crvena.ba Jusuf HadzifeJzoviC He is not only an icon of the contemporary art scene in Sarajevo but also considered the father of it. He has nurtured several new generations of struggling artists and helped put Sarajevo and its impressive entourage of creators on Europe’s contemporary art map.
3. CollegiuM artistiCuM Under new management and with a new vision, this cultish art gallery has grown new wings. The spacious gallery is gaining momentum as a favourite for artists from near and far to show their work. collegium.omnitask.me 4. art gallery of BosNia aNd HerzegoviNa This state-run gallery also faces an uphill battle with funding. It is home to the fnest collection of works from Bosnia and Herzegovina over the past 100 years. Although its doors may sometimes be closed it is still the premier gallery. ugbih.ba/en 5. gallery 11/07/95 Easily the fnest curated photo gallery in the country, Gallery 11/07/95 commemorates the Srebrenica genocide with a deeply moving collection of photographs by award-winning photographer Tarik Samarah. The gallery hosts a wide range of human rights and anti-war installations throughout the year. galerija110795.ba
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Meme Theatre? How retro. Now, it’s all about interactive, offsite productions where you are part of the show, says Marina Galperina.
ully immersive, site-specifc theatre is all the rage from New York to London and beyond. In fact, it’s threatening to render traditional playhouses even mustier than normal: why even see Macbeth if Hecate will never pull you into her room for an intimate one-on-one? With Sleep No More in its fourth year, still luring masked visitors through a 100-room maze of a former Manhattan hotel, it’s clear that this hallucinatory Macbeth update has given birth to something big. That’s what we expect now – the fourth wall gone and rebuilt, behind us. Here are the latest hot tickets.
THEN SHE FELL This fantastical Victorianesque production, set in a former hospital in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, is part theatre, part impressionist dance. Only 15 guests per show are allowed, wined and dined by “psych ward” keepers, and led from room to room by “patients” – crazed versions of Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland characters. It’s haunting, seedy, surreal, and somehow combines creepiness with childlike wonder, as did Carroll’s whole Alice thing. To 29 June 2014; thenshefell.com
© mike theiss/national geographic society/corbis. © steve vidler/alamy. © tim draper/design pics/corbis. darial r. sneed. birgit & ralf. paula court. afp/getty.
THE DROWNED MAN From Punchdrunk, the creators of Sleep No More, The Drowned Man presents two trippy retellings of adultery and murder based on the German play Woyzeck. The stories run consecutively in a four-story, 200,000sq ft offce building near London’s Paddington station, transformed into the elaborate set of a fctional flm studio. To 23 March 2014; nationaltheatre.org.uk
SECRET CINEMA Secret Cinema is London’s (and soon New York’s) immersive flm screening series, with props, actors and sets spilling out through the audience in tribute – like the sandy desert complete with real camels for their Lawrence of Arabia event. To 4 May 2014; secretcinema.org Opposite from top, daily life in Tokyo: the Shibuya crossing; young subway users texting; a street in Shinjuku. This page, from top: ‘Then She Fell’, New York City; ‘The Drowned Man’ by Punchdrunk, London; audience participation before a screening of ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ by Secret Cinema; ‘Dutchman’ at the Performa Festival, New York City.
DUTCHMAN The 1960s play was briefy re-staged at this year’s Performa Festival, inside the Russian and Turkish Baths of New York’s East Village. Imagine watching a racially charged seduction in your bathing suit, sharing the same steamy air and benches with the actors. The play gives hope for more indie production popups like this and gives a new, sweatier meaning to ‘immersive’. 13.performa-arts.org
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Ars Longa Is today’s art market in a crazy boom? Kenny Schachter suspects that Hirst and Murakami could be redrawing the cultural map.
tock Market Up 600! Stock Market Down 900! Blaring headlines like these point to the continuing volatility and uncertainty in the fnancial markets just about every week but these ups and downs are only a part of what is fuelling the explosive growth in the contemporary art market. Fasten your seat belts, because it’s not stopping anytime soon, either. Rampant globalization, a surfeit of cash sloshing about the system, market uncertainties, low interest rates and the overall lack of attractive investment opportunities have contributed to a perfect storm for the growth of art appreciation, fnancial or otherwise. An oft-repeated complaint levelled against art as a particular asset class is that there is no income to be derived from a collection, but I’d argue that art kicks off a visual (and social) dividend with the palpable upside of viscerally enriching daily life. But the question is, can it last? And if so, how long? Nothing goes up forever. My theory is that there is a fundamental value to art, other than a subjective notion of taste and fashion, which is driving prices. Since art came off the cave walls it has been coveted and collected, though most would deny the idea that there is a calculable objectivity to creativity and hence a measurable worth; don’t you believe it! Yes, art cannot drive you to work but nevertheless there is a wide array of distinct takes on art contributing to the present frenzy, from the acknowledgement of art
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as a legitimate asset class comprising aesthetics to the effects of art on wellbeing. Call it bucks and beauty. For a number of reasons, Picasso is the benchmark, the gold standard for all things related to the art market. His unrelenting output in a series of groundbreaking styles and his colourful personal life (inseparable from his professional life, really) accounts for this. If you look at a graph charting the price movement of a decent quality Picasso, you will see a steady rate of price increase that rarely varies by much and certainly never goes down by more than a few points in a given cycle. This won’t change, ever. Couple the universally acknowledged virtuosity of an artist such as Picasso with the historical overall price
performance and you get a sense of the undying optimism that this combination of factors can generate. Contrary to what some might imagine, the large output of artists such as Damien Hirst and Takashi Murakami is actually helpful to a buoyant market because more people can participate at various price levels. This paradox is exemplifed by Warhol, last year’s bestselling artist at auction ($427.1m). His career output numbered more than 100,000 pieces across all media, but you can still buy a Polaroid photo by him for a few thousand dollars from the estate via the Christie’s online-only auctions. Maybe everyone is famous for 15 minutes now, but some, like Warhol himself, have certainly managed to hang in there longer than others. Today’s art circuit is a frenetic social whirlwind in which collectors, critics, gallery and museum workers, and a growing handful of celebs (which never hurts in attracting attention), crisscross the globe attending the same auctions, fairs, biennials and openings. Couple this mobility with the art world’s pack-like instinct to hunt, gather and hoard and you have the recipe for a everrising souffé of collectors.
However, there is a caution, even scepticism that permeates this new art world order, especially in certain sectors of the fnancial markets and critical circles, though certainly not the hedge funders who comprise a particularly notorious band of buyers. Prices for contemporary artworks by new artists will obviously fuctuate more than those of established names and it’s a game of musical chairs as to which artist will occupy the current market hot seat and which will (inevitably) fall by the wayside, so buyers can be understandably cautious. But I never thought I’d see a time when (some) historically canonized modern and classiccontemporary art is actually cheaper than the work of today’s trendy young things. I’m not quite sure things have ever been like this before, not to this extent anyway. It’s a topsy-turvy world, but a fun and wild ride at the same time. What will the rest of 2014 bring? There is too much money wafting around the global economy that won’t simply evaporate, at least for the foreseeable future. There will always be shifting groups of artists who fall in and out of favour over time, and some countries will be self-correcting unduly high prices while others fourish and take up the slack. Yet money breeds (more) money and the loot is not sitting idly by – a chunk is being invested in art and, contrary to popular belief, it’s not going to stop happening anytime soon. On the downside, even the most sought-after art exists in a largely illiquid marketplace and the lack of scarcity associated with the continued production of art by living artists can sometimes be taken too far (even for me). But art reinvents itself every day and I for one don’t seem to have a problem fnding something to buy at the same (alarming) frequency. Today’s latest currencies are Bitcoin and Art Money; but let’s be clear: the passion for art is inelastic, deep and longstanding with or without the spectacle of money, and it always will be.
Opposite: Warhol’s ‘Diamond Dust Shoes’ on display (top) and (bottom) the sale itself at Christie’s, Shanghai, 2013; (centre) Polaroid self-portrait by Warhol on display at Christie’s New York before online sale. This page, from top: a physicist is played the sounds of one of the experiments at CERN by Bill Fontana; Fontana in the tunnel of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.
The Sound of Time Pioneering sound artist Bill Fontana has been listening in on the private sound world of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, and what he has heard has amazed everyone there. Michael Brooks reports from the frontiers of science and art.
afp/getty. © an tu/epa/Corbis. miChael fontana.
hat is music to your ears? Almost certainly not the same as leading American sound artist Bill Fontana hears. Fontana, who began composing music in the 1960s, has since the mid-1970s been creating pioneering site-specifc sound sculptures all over the world. From his work Distant Trains (1983), in which he transposed live sounds from the main railway station in Berlin to the site of the demolished pre-war station, to Sound Island (1994) which broadcast the crashing of waves to drown out the noise of traffc at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, to the recent Acoustical Visions of the Golden Gate Bridge (2012) relaying the sounds of cars crossing the bridge, Fontana explores the sounds of nature and
human activity, often in real time, demonstrating his belief that “all sound is music”. In the summer of 2013, Fontana brought his pioneering acoustic ‘vision’ to bear once more on the high-tech Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva. Fontana was chosen for a two-month residency at CERN as part of the Prix Ars Electronica Collide@CERN, the resulting work of which will be showcased at the Ars Electronic Festival in Linz, Austria later in 2014. If you were one of the thousands of visitors who passed through CERN in 2013, you may well have seen the lean, grey-haired Fontana, surrounded by amazed scientists, doing unlikely things amongst the structures and machines there. From knocking on pipework and recording the outcome, or playing weird sounds from a portable stereo as if broadcasting to the machines, Fontana explored the acoustic possibilities of this singular and extraordinary environment. For Fontana, “sound is a description of the space you are in.” His attempts to describe the spaces at CERN involved putting tones into the heart of the equipment and listening to how they travel. Because the different materials transmit sound at various speeds,
creating what he calls a “science fction” effect, he is entitling the project Acoustic Time Travel. Fontana frst made some initial experimental forays into the CERN architectural landscape, and the results were immediate and extraordinary. After recording sounds from the LHC, Fontana went back into the tunnel where the beams are circulated to smash together the subatomic particles. There, he broadcast the sound through the tunnel, attempting to “acoustically excite” the collider. The team of researchers heard an eerie echo that surprised them all – it was as if the sound had travelled round the 27km circumference of the ring. Fontana records not just sounds as we would hear them, but all kinds of resonances. To do this, he employs an array of accelerometers similar to the devices engineers use to measure vibrations in buildings. These are used to convert signals to audible sounds. The project has been, in many
ways, an alternative means of access to some of the most diffcult science of our time. Few of us are able to understand the physics of how particles interact to form, annihilate and reform new particles, but listening to these sound sculptures creates a sense of awe and wonder that is just as profound as that experienced by the scientists who use the machines to revisit the moment of creation. When the researchers hear Fontana’s rendering of the sounds of their machines for the frst time, they rediscover their own awe at the sub-atomic world. Fontana will be discussing his work at the LHC during the Abu Dhabi Arts Festival in late March. Acoustic Time Travel will be presented at the Ars Electronica Festival later in 2014.
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Art Agony Uncle Confused about art? Kenny Schachter has the answers.
I recently inherited US$2 million. I already earn a decent living, so would like to invest about $1m of this windfall in art to decorate the walls of my 24th-foor apartment on the Upper West Side. I have no art worthy of the name, the decor is 1990s-minimal, and I want to be mindful of the art’s investment value – but it also needs to look good! What would you suggest? TN, New York City
Please help. My eight-year-old daughter did a rather fetching drawing that I framed and placed on my desk at work. My top client asked if it was by the Indonesian artist Yunizar and, half joking, I said it was. Now he wants to buy it and is sending round someone from Christie’s to value it. What do I do? JP, Geneva
There are a few appealing and valid strategies to adopt here: you could roll the million into one great picture by an established artist or take a scattershot approach and get hold of as much work as you can by emerging artists and hope some of the spaghetti sticks to the walls. In the one-stop-shop, you could easily spend all the money on a single Rudolf Stingel painting. I’d go for one of the sumptuously textural abstract works of his in silver or gold that are loved by institutions and collectors alike. There is always Wade Guyton, too, a hot, hot, hot 42-year-old with recent major museum shows. His unconventional paintings are made using a computer and giant Epson printer. Trust me, they are better than they sound, with images of distorted letters or monochromatic blacks, whites and greys – all covetable. In the younger set, and still relatively affordable at prices from £5,000 to £50,000, there is a school of barely there mark makers characterized by a haphazard nonchalance. There are the geometric abstractions of Los Angeles-based Nathan Hylden; the see-through stained, dyed and painted canvasses of Ayan Farah born in the UAE, now living in London; or both strands of Houston artist Mark Flood’s work: the punk-favoured text pieces or the decorative pattern paintings. Rather than looking to hit home runs, you could also consider smaller works or drawings by already embraced stars. The herds tend to think over-the-couch sexy instead of informing their decisions historically. Try works on paper by canonized artists such as Gerhard Richter, who did pencil drawings; Sigmar Polke, who made paintings on paper; or Rosemarie Trockel’s collages.
Lie like a rug and go for the cash and glory. Just kidding – but, seriously, nowadays the market yearns after what is hot and young, so why not feed the beast? And what is newer-than-the-new or more emerging than an artist who happens to be eight years old? On a more realistic note, however, people tend to think the art world is unregulated, but that is a fairy tale; if you misrepresent a material fact in a commercial transaction you have committed fraud in any feld and will serve prison time. You could, if you were as good as New York’s oldest gallery Knoedler, get away with selling fakes, fooling even seasoned collectors and experts alike, and for decades – but sooner or later it all catches up. Jail is no joy for anyone and probably worse for someone heavily into aesthetics. Taking the high road in just such circumstances, having children so uniquely talented, I curated an exhibition, ‘Friends & Family’, with my four, ages nine to 15. It commingled the art with our peers (mine and theirs) and more historically established artists. The response was immense, after the dust settled from the Tracey Emin getting knocked over at the opening that is, but let’s leave that tale for another time. The experience of working together as a family was among the deepest and most moving I’ve had and we even managed to sell some of the kid’s art to boot.
Being your own curator. You’ve seen enough art, in enough places, to know more than the big names. And it’s sooo satisfying.
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Email your art dilemmas to firstname.lastname@example.org
New art fairs. The Friezes, the Basels, Dubai and São Paulo should be all you ever need. So enough with the new ones already.
Miguel de guzMán, lnA.
raising the roof ould they still call me a diva if I was a man?” Zaha Hadid’s rhetorical question has become almost as famous as some of her buildings. When MAK, the Austrian Museum of Applied Arts/ Contemporary Art in Vienna, held a retrospective of Hadid’s work just over a decade ago, attendants wore the Projects for Madrid’s phrase emblazoned on T-shirts. Arts Area by María Langarita (clockwise Warming to her theme, the architect from top left): LED whose work includes Action Façade, Guangzhou Opera Plaza de las Letras; House, the aquatics La Cosa, part of La centre for the Serrería Belga (The London Olympics Belgian Sawmill). and the Heydar Aliyev Centre in Baku, told CNN last year: “If you’re a man you’re seen as someone who’s tough and ambitious. But when a woman is ambitious it’s seen as bad.” Hadid’s success has been remarkable but she has long been the exception. Ask most people, even those with an interest in the subject, to name
Zaha Hadid may be the only female ‘starchitect’, but now there’s an array of women architects making waves around the world and changing the face of the industry. Words by simon brooke Illustrations by Lauren crow
two or three other female architects and they’d probably be stumped. “But Zaha is not the only successful woman working in architecture,” points out Christine Murray, editor of the Architects’ Journal. Quite. A quick glance at the shortlist for the Journal’s Women in Architecture Awards, founded in 2012, reveals an inspiring array of female talent in the feld. They may not all be household names, but one you’ll certainly hear more of now is that of this year’s winner, Francine Houben of the Amsterdambased practice Mecanoo. And while there was only one winner at the glittering ceremony at The Langham hotel, London, all the 129 Baku.
shortlisted women have won plaudits for their work in improving the environments in which we live. Angela Brady, a past president of the Royal Institute of British Architects, believes that women bring particular talents to architecture. “It’s often said that women design from the perspective of using the spaces – from the inside out – and that men design from the outside in and are more interested in the external appearance of their buildings. I think there is some truth in that,” she says. “I advise women to be themselves and use their skills and show they know their stuff as well as any man – if not better.” As Murray also observes, “It’s inspirational to read and learn about women who are making great architecture.” So with that in mind, we take a closer look at the celebrated names shortlisted for this year’s Woman Architect of the Year Award.
Projects by María Langarita (top and bottom): the Lolita roadside restaurant, Zaragoza; (centre) Nave de Música, the temporary home in Madrid for the Red Bull Music Academy.
Co-founder of Langarita-Navarro Arquitectos, Madrid Major works: The studios and offces of the Red Bull Music Academy and the renovation of what was known as the Belgian Sawmill, an industrial facility built in the early 20th century in Madrid. Last year the frm received a Special Mention in the Mies van der Rohe Award, and the AD Heineken Award for New Talents. Style: Where does sculpture end and architecture begin? It’s diffcult to tell with María Langarita’s use of steel girders, fuid structures and brightly coloured murals. Philosophy: “I like to debate, to scrutinize, to make ideas visible. Right now we are involved in several adaptations of existing buildings or systems which is an exciting challenge for us and also the topic of our main academic research.” She says: “This career is not easy for anybody but I come from a part of Spain, Aragón, which is known for having stubborn people. Since I was a child I have always been an avid reader, especially of history, thematic encyclopedias and illustrated popup books. As I see it, architecture travels through history as a time-ship. Every architect is unique – in my case, I’m an artist-architect who happens to be a woman. But I’m also an ambitious professional who’s Latin and European. A variety of different approaches to architecture is marvellous and women being architects increases that. Increasing diversity is vital to culture and culture is vital to humanity.”
Miguel de guzMán. luis diaz diaz.
This career is not easy but I’m from a part of Spain which is known for stubborn people.
Contemporary homes designed by Adriana Natcheva (from top): Artist Studio 1, Kensington, London; Cedar Mews, Geoffrey Road, London; and Zog House, Queen’s Park, London.
© JaMes Brittain/www.JaMesBrittain.co.uk.
Co-founder of Groves Natcheva Architects, London Major works: Calmia Shop & Spa in Marylebone, London; library for a private house, Chelsea, London; headquarters for Concremat in Rio de Janeiro. Style: Clean lines and an unfussy style that celebrates natural materials such as polished wood. Philosophy: Natcheva takes the view that some architects bend materials to their own ideas and others let their ideas be bent by materials, but for Groves Natcheva, architecture “must have the richness of the life it encloses”. This can be seen in her work, which features infuences and materials from nature. “I wanted to make things not just to live with but also to live within, mirroring the divide between the things that satisfy one’s desires and those that drive them.” She says: “It’s an architectural vice to care more about the object you are creating than the subject that is meant to inhabit it and I think men are more prone to that. Being a woman in architecture is an advantage. Women bring a spark and a sensibility of a different kind to architecture.” 131 Baku.
Which project am I most proud of? I really cannot say. It is a bit like asking which lover you liked best.
Projects by Francine Houben: (top) an artist’s impression of HOME, the new arts and cultural centre in Manchester, due to open in 2015; (below) the central staircase of the new building for Amsterdam University College.
Founding partner and creative director at Mecanoo, Amsterdam Major works: Her portfolio ranges from the small – a chapel built on the foundations of a former 19th-century church in Rotterdam – to the grand, with Europe’s largest library, opened in Birmingham last year. She is currently working on the Wei-Wu-Ying Centre for the Arts in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, due for completion in 2015, the Dudley Municipal Offces in Boston, Massachusetts and the HOME art and culture centre in Manchester, UK. Style: Houben uses striking colours and shapes that contrast with the elegantly simple outlines. Philosophy: “We value a balance between masculine and feminine, emotional and rational, intuitive and analytical and these themes are also evident in the work of Mecanoo,” she says. “I call it a symphony orchestra.” She says: “Which project am I most proud of? I really cannot say. It is a bit like asking which lover you liked best.”
AAron & eSto. Sumner & View.
Brunetti. Alex de rijke.
Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara’s School of Economics building for Universita Luigi Bocconi in Milan.
Yvonne Farrell, ShelleY McnaMara
Co-founders of Grafton Architects, London Major works: Their proposal for the University of Limerick Medical School was shortlisted for the Stirling Prize, and with their design for a new fagship building at Kingston University they secured their frst UK project against stiff competition. They have been also been shortlisted to design a new £90 million Global Centre for Social Sciences at the London School of Economics. Style: The Grafton duo make raw concrete walls and blocks look as if they’re foating. Philosophy: Inspired by a fascination with art, culture and people, they recently told the Architects’ Journal: “The older we get, the more we are convinced of the importance of architecture, both for itself and for the possibilities of benefting society.” They say: “We love architecture’s synthesis of being an art form that works and that has a job to do. We love architecture’s ambition to span both need and meaning. We feel it is important to remember that architecture is commissioned. We are a profession that needs to listen, to hear what is being said.”
Co-founder of dRMM architects, London Major works: The multi-award winning No. One Centaur Street, an apartment building in London whose fexible layout and live/work accommodation is, quite literally, a concrete expression of Morgan’s core beliefs. Style: Crazily zigzagging stairs and walkways, walls set at an angle and strangely soothing asymmetric frontages – Morgan’s wit belies her very humanorientated, practical approach to buildings. Philosophy: Morgan is convinced that architecture is inextricably linked with politics and social policy and sets high store by the ability to communicate and negotiate. “I was taught to believe that anything is possible,” she says. “I’m not a registered architect. I studied 3-D design and architecture and started a collaborative practice, believing no one should have to live, work or play in an environment that is not as good as it could be.” Last year, Morgan was elected president of the Architectural Association, only the fourth woman to be so in its 166-year history. She says: “I have learnt that it is not only about advocating putting money into design, but society making the right educational and political decisions frst. Being an optimist it seems easy to improve any environment if we really want to. I think women are less likely to succumb to big architectural gestures, yet they are responsible for some of the most powerful buildings to be seen. Perhaps that refects a different kind of confdence, one that’s more subtle and understated.”
Two contrasting projects by Sadie Morgan: (above left) the exterior of St Albans Academy, in Birmingham, UK, and ‘Endless Stair’, a playful Escher-like sculptural structure, outside Tate Modern in London, 2013.
Buildings for the arts by Kirsten Lees: (main image) Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute, in Troy, New York; and (inset) the Caixa Galicia Art Foundation, La Coruña, Spain.
aaron & esTo. suMner & View.
Partner at Grimshaw, London Major works: Responsible for leading and promoting the frm’s Arts, Heritage and Culture sector, Lees was also the Project Architect for the award-winning Caixa Galicia Art Foundation in La Coruña. Style: A dramatic use of space with suspended walkways and balconies as well as unusual textural walls surfaces are typical of her work. Philosophy: Lees is committed to environmentally conscious design and is currently leading Grimshaw’s masterplan for a sustainable town extension in North Harlow in Essex. She’s particularly interested in physical planning and urban regeneration. “During a gap year between school and university, while I was living in Barcelona, I fell in love with the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion and this clinched architecture as a career choice,” she recalls. She says: “In many ways architecture was a natural choice; my parents were both art teachers and I spent my childhood practically on a building site as we refurbished a house in the country. Architecture is a tough profession, whether you’re male or female. But I have a fantastic and diverse portfolio of projects across all scales and a wide range of sectors, including sports, learning and the arts. I’m also fortunate in working with some amazing and enlightened clients and an extremely talented and enthusiastic team of young architects.”
Projects by Roisin Heneghan (from top): Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre Antrim, Northern Ireland; the forthcoming Palestinian Museum in Birzeit; and the Pavilion of Ireland at the Architecture Biennale 2012, Venice.
The shortlist for the Emerging Woman Architect of the Year Award. AngelA DApper of Denton Corker Marshall has been in charge of the design of the critically acclaimed visitors centre at Stonehenge as well as working on regeneration projects in the City of London. ArAntA OzAetA COrtázAr
Co-founder of Heneghan Peng, Dublin Major works: Commissions so far include the Grand Egyptian Museum at Giza, Egypt, the Central Park Bridges for the 2012 London Olympics, the headquarters of a satellite company in Saudi Arabia and, most recently, the National Centre for Contemporary Arts in Moscow. Style: Buildings apparently assembled like Jenga blocks, bright colour schemes, facades with distinctive patterns – Roisin Heneghan’s work has a fantasy element. Philosophy: Even in a sector that rarely recognizes national borders, New Yorkfounded and Dublin-based Heneghan Peng is quite remarkably international. As such, Heneghan is interested in cultural difference and how it effects the way in which she and female colleagues are treated when they work abroad. Despite her success with large projects, Heneghan’s wish is to work on a small airport: “I’d like to design something that recreates the days of elegant travel.” She says: “I was at a meeting with a new client and I was just pouring myself some tea or coffee when a guy came and said ‘Oh, hello, you’re our lady architect’. People do still make certain assumptions when as a woman you’re working in a group on a project.”
co-founded the Spanish practice TallerDE2 while still a student. Working extensively across Europe, her projects include an award-winning child-minding centre in Selb, Bavaria.
DAisy FrOuD of the London practice AOC, is an Academician of the Academy of Urbanism and an accredited Building For Life assessor. She leads the frm’s participation arm, specializing in helping various voices to contribute to the design process.
HAnnAH COrlett runs the architecture team at Assemblage, working on projects with Will Alsop and Níall McLaughlin, including Peckham Library, winner of the Stirling Prize in 2000. HAnA lOFtus of HAT Projects,
Colchester, has designed buildings ranging from prototype low-cost homes to the award-winning Jerwood Gallery.
WiNNEr JuliA King, a PhD student at London Metropolitan University’s Architecture of Rapid Change and Scarce Resources Department, designed and built a sewer for 322 lowincome houses in New Delhi. niCOlA rutt of Hawkins\Brown has a varied and impressive portfolio of projects under her belt, including Kingston Business School at the University of Kingston in Surrey. yeOryiA MAnOlOpOulOu
is a co-founder of AY Architects, who were responsible for the Montpelier Community Nursery in north London, a winner of several prizes in 2013, including a RIBA National Award and the Stephen Lawrence Prize. 135 Baku.
t frst, customers in Baku would not try my dishes. They were simply too unfamiliar.” Martin Quintana, the head chef at Baku’s Latin American hot spot Pasifco, crumples his brow in puzzlement. “I thought, ‘What can I do?’ So, I looked at what people eat here, and started mixing Latin American ingredients with popular local ones, like sour cream.” Gradually his customers would try these new dishes, and now they can be regularly seen enjoying grilled prawns with rocket, spinach, toasted almonds and roasted tomatoes, or the classic Argentinian lomito, a tenderloin steak served “straight from the grill onto the plate with all its juices”. To establish a new restaurant in a foreign community is always diffcult but, Quintana tells me, his biggest accomplishment here has been to build his team of chefs. At frst the only common tongue in the kitchens was Pasifco’s dish names, orders for which he would “shout out or sing” while his “lions” – he describes himself as the ringmaster – selected the right ingredients from cards with English on one side and Azerbaijani or Russian on the other. Now, after two years, Quintana’s four chefs and himself have learned enough of each other’s languages to communicate well. Prior to coming to Baku, Quintana was in Chile working
under another Argentinian chef, Walter Leal, in Antofagasta. Under Leal’s perfectionist eye for a decade, Quintana learned to be meticulous in his food preparation and presentation. “Leal taught me all the Latin American methods I use now.” Leal had heard from his friend, the chef Martin Rapetto in Baku, who was involved in developing a three-foor restaurant complex overlooking the Caspian Sea, that he needed a Latin American chef to run the top foor. Quintana jumped at the opportunity. “When I arrived,” he recalls, “Martin watched me cut and place the meat on the plate and said, ‘Ah, you have Walter’s hands’.” Quintana’s journey to becoming a chef began early when he was a young teenager. After school he would make the family dinner, impressing his mother so much that she urged him to go to cooking school. “My father was also a good home chef,” Quintana remembers. “We would go to the market and he would show me how to choose the best meat and on Sundays we would cook steaks over charcoal.” Quintana has come a long way from family barbecues to heading one of Baku’s trendiest restaurants. How has he made Pasifco’s menu so popular? “By learning about new ingredients and watching other chefs,” he says. “Then I experiment in the kitchens. Some ideas go in the bin, and some work. It’s the ones that do work that make it onto the menu and that you get to enjoy – hopefully – when you sit down at Pasifco.”
emil khalilov. portrait: natavan vagabova. tofig babayev. corbis.
Bringing Latin American food to Baku’s slick new lounge-diner Pasifco was never going to be easy for chef Martin Quintana. He tells Jo Burge how he did it. dining out.
In Baku there are all kinds of cuisine: Japanese (below, at Masu), Chinese, Lebanese, Italian, to name just a few. I like to eat at different restaurants all over the city to see how other people create their food.
StRolling along the BulvaR.
When he’s not in the kitchen, he is …
You could easily spend an entire summer’s day on the seaside boulevard, known as the Bulvar, walking and thinking and staring at the Caspian. There’s plenty of entertainment there, too, as well as shopping and places to eat and drink.
Relaxing at icheRi SheheR.
After a long day working in the kitchens, where it’s so busy I’m just running and running, I like to change out of my chef’s whites, go to the Old Town and fnd a place where I can sit and look out over the Caspian Sea, and just breathe. It’s so calming, it’s like meditating.
Skiing at Shahdag.
You can reach the winter complex by car from Baku in just two hours – it’s amazing to have both the snow and the beach so close! I’ve skied a lot in the past in Argentina at Bariloche. As I don’t go back often, I like to go skiing here whenever I can.
catching a play oR a conceRt.
I love listening to classical music, especially Beethoven. You can catch plays, operas and other performances at the Azerbaijan State Russian Drama Theatre, which frst opened in the 1920s.
The Amazon-styled interior of the bar and dining-room of Pasifco. 137 Baku.
Eye on the World
John Stanmeyer (USA), ‘Signal’, VII agency for National Geographic (top left); Christian Ziegler (Germany), ‘Bonobos - our unknown cousins’, for National Geographic Magazine (centre left); Peter Holgersson (Sweden), ‘Nadja Casadei - Heptathlon and Cancer’, (bottom left); Carla Kogelman (the Netherlands), ‘Ich Bin Waldviertel’ (above).
Now in its 57th year, the World Press Photo Contest celebrates the art of photographic storytelling without borders.
Carla Kogelman captures the embrace of two sisters, Hannah and Alena, in the village of Merkenbrechts in Austria. Kogelman’s story won frst prize in the observed portraits category, just one of the awards in the latest World press photo Contest announced in February. other winners included photographers from Argentina, Azerbaijan, Germany, sweden and the usA.
peter Holgersson’s photo of the athlete and cancer sufferer Nadja Casadei and Christian Ziegler’s shot of a bonobo were among them, but it was John stanmeyer’s captivating image of African migrants in Djibouti trying to fnd a cheap phone signal from nearby somalia that won the prestigious World press photo of the Year. worldpressphoto.org
The High Life
Where is it?
In the secluded, mountainous north of Azerbaijan, among deep valleys and snow-topped ridges, lies this hillside village. The area, near the Russian border, has been inhabited for some 5,000 years and today remains largely devoid of modern infuences.
What’s it like?
It offers a chance to reconnect with the simpler things in life. Locals commonly refer to Xinaliq as a mini Nepal and, at least visually, it is obvious why: the brightly dressed locals, wrapped in garments of thick homespun wool, stand out like wildfowers against the muted tones of the mountainscape. And there’s a good reason they are swaddled in layers of insulation. At an elevation of 2,300 metres above sea level, with a chilling wind that occasionally descends from the surrounding mountains, Xinaliq
requires its guests to pile on the thermals – that is if they prefer to return with a glow of health, rather than one of windburn. Despite this, it is a very serene environment – but don’t expect spa treatments. There’s no running water in the village; there is, however, 3G. The majority of its 2,000 residents are shepherds and weavers, so there is always the opportunity to buy some truly distinctive alpinewear from the children and old ladies who sell hats and socks in the village square. Every year, in preparation for the winter months, the beatenearth roofs of the square, grey-stone homes that perch in a higgledy-piggledy manner up the steep slopes are covered in pyramid-shaped piles of hay to act as lagging. Given that they’re not secured by anything, it seems rather miraculous that they stay put. Plus, it makes the village look like something out of a fairy tale.
Xinaliq is the highest, most remote village in the wild Caucasus mountains of Azerbaijan. This ancient and little visited place even has its own language. What to do?
Xinaliq has a museum, which is a cavern of curiosities. Ancient stones engraved with the Koran, piles of yellowing books and dusty samovars are crammed together on shelves buckling from the sheer weight of objects. The black-and-white photographs on display suggest that the village hasn’t changed much over the past century, although the wedding tradition of collecting the bride-to-be from her house by a troop of heavily armed men has, reportedly, been abandoned. Hikers regularly use the village as a base for treks into the nearby national park (permission is required from the Ministry of Ecology). Guides, on hand in the
Xinaliq is high in the Caucasus mountains that both separate Azerbaijan from Russia and form part of the defining identity of the nation.
village, are a must; one green slope looks a lot like another, especially when darkness falls. The sheep, however, always know when it’s time to head home at the end of the day. Listen out for the sound of their bells, ringing out over the mountains, which is the cue for hikers to return as well.
Where to stay?
There is, quite literally, just one place to stay – at Zaur’s house. Once known as Badal’s (Zaur’s father), it’s one of the very few two-storey homes in Xinaliq. Giggling children and a gold-toothed grin from the proprietor greet visitors who knock on the green steel door. The wooden staircase up to the rooms is polished to perfection and decorated with lovingly tended plants. Zaur is always ready with a steaming lamb plov and homely hospitality. It may not have a power shower, but where else can you start your morning with unspoilt views of the Caucasus?
words by caroline davies.
the artist: Beneath
am, by profession, a dermatologist, having graduated from Azerbaijan Medical University in Baku. I’m in the third generation of doctors in my family. However, since early childhood I have always had a desire to paint, so one day I decided to follow this calling. My frst solo exhibition was held in Baku at the Qiz Qalasi Gallery in 2007, and then, in 2010, I had an exhibition in Moscow at the M’ARS Centre for Contemporary Arts. A lot of my works are done on tree bark and wood panels, or made from clay and sand as I like to paint on uneven surfaces. Even when I paint on canvas I like 142 Baku.
to create a worn effect. I also have a series of works depicting the decorative patterns of Azerbaijani carpets, which, now that I live in Moscow, remind me fondly of Baku. I plan to expand this series. I like to visit museums, old castles and churches where I always take photos of frescoes, wall paintings and so on. This is where I fnd inspiration for my pictures. My art is the embodiment of my fantasies and a desire to constantly experiment with colours, textures and surface fnishes. It refects my soul and my impressions of the world around me. Those who know my work describe it as having a warmth and positive energy, which pleases me immensely. This summer I aim to have a show in Baku, and I may exhibit in Istanbul, too, but frst I need to produce more work! In Moscow
portrait by Dasha yastrebova.
Hamida Malikova in Moscow with a few of her artworks, (from left) ‘Zebra’ (2011), ‘Lamborghini’ (2010) and ‘Male Silhouette’ (2010).
Textures and patterns fascinate Hamida Malikova, and drive her to experiment with all sorts of unlikely surfaces in her quest to give shape to her fantasies.
‘Birds’ (2012), oil and acrylic paint on wood panel.
I collaborate with the GUM gallery. I regularly show my new works on Facebook and Instagram, and I hope to have my own website later this year. The artist I admire most is Baku-born Tahir Salakhov. He lives and works here in Moscow and has led the way for painters in Russia and Azerbaijan since the 1950s. He is an undisputed authority for me.
‘Persimmons’ (2012), oil and acrylic paint on wood panel. 143 Baku.
e may be living in a digital era, but a piece of fabric dyed in various colours is still among the most potent, and provocative, symbols of our collective identity. Flags are used by nations and clubs, global organizations and local community groups. We may most commonly associate them with countries, but their existence long predates the establishment of nation-states. One of the frst identifable fags (made of bronze, not fabric, so more of an ensign, but squareshaped and tied to a pole) is about 4,500 years old and was discovered by archaeologists in Iran – buried not far from modern-day Azerbaijan. Observers of humanity can gauge the passions that fags elicit by probing what would happen if they were banned or destroyed. In 2006 the US Senate failed by one single vote to pass a constitutional amendment, already passed by the House of Representatives, that would have made the burning or desecration of the Stars and Stripes a federal offence. More than 150 years after the Civil War, residents of the American South still proudly fy the Confederate fag – and there is national
Flying the Flag
outrage when it is displayed outside public buildings, as it was outside the Virginia State Capitol last year. In Germany the swastika is still banned. Meanwhile when countries gain, or seek, independence the symbol of those pressing for it is always a fag, fown at rallies, demonstrations, conferences or in the battlefeld, depending on the nature of the struggle. I have extremely slight experience with the issue of fags and the passions they raise. When I was a student at Oxford University, I was ashamed to see that my college placed the hammer and sickle
year, when the Soviet Union itself collapsed. And out of that particular evolution emerged the new nation state of Azerbaijan (as well as 14 others); unlike many other former Soviet republics, Azerbaijan had known independence, albeit feetingly, before, during the Russian Civil War 70 years previously. Today’s Azerbaijani fag – banned during the hammerand-sickle era beloved of my former Oxford comrades – was recognized in 1991. According to the government, the three stripes are all equal in width and length: the blue
A piece of fabric dyed in various colours is still among the most potent, and provocative, symbols of our identity. of the Soviet Union (this is when the country was still intact, just) on its own student union fag, fown at demonstrations and the like. I tabled a motion at a student meeting suggesting that fying the symbol of Lenin and Stalin on our fag was no better than fying a swastika. My motion lost, and the hammer and sickle remained – until the following
stripe denotes the country’s Turkic heritage; red is for the modernization of society and development of democracy; green represents belonging to an Islamic civilization. On the celebrated seafront of Baku, you can’t fail to notice an enormous fag futtering from a 162m-tall pole. A symbol of considerable confdence in the era to come. —Darius Sanai
The Maiden Tower
any theories and myths surround the Maiden Tower – was it a fortress, a temple for fre worship or an astrological observatory? No one is certain. And what about the legends? Two, in particular, have become ingrained in the local psyche. The frst is a love story between a princess and a fsherman. Every day the fsherman came to the Maiden Tower to see his beloved. His belief in this love granted him the power to walk on the water’s surface. On one occasion, though, as he returned across the water, some doubt crept into his heart. Immediately, he began to drown. From her lofty view atop the tower, the princess saw him struggling, and she jumped into the sea to rescue him. Sadly, they both met their end there, and the Maiden Tower became a symbol of love and purity. The second tale concerns Anahida, the goddess of water, who was sent to give water to the people. Two angels, Marut and Harut, also came to earth but fell in love with her. On declaring this to her, she confned them to the tower’s well and returned to heaven. There are ancient Eastern temples in honour of Anahida and sacred places in this part of the world are commonly named Maiden Tower. During excavations an ancient bronze fsh sculpture with a dolphin head, denoting the sacred animal of the sea god, was discovered at the base of the tower. Some theories hold that this proves the tower was, at some point, a temple to the water goddess. At 30m high, with 5m-thick walls and a well in its centre, the structure was built as part of the old city wall at a time when the Caspian Sea lapped its base. It now sits further inland at the edge of Baku’s Old Town and is a major tourist attraction. Visitors climb its narrow, winding staircase, stopping on each landing to marvel at the new interactive historical exhibitions, before emerging into open air. It may still baffe all who visit, but the 360° view from the top – over the Old Town, the shining, modern city and the sea – is crystal clear.
illustration by anna marrow.
It’s been Baku’s most recognizable landmark for 900 years, but who built this mysterious edifce and why does it remain the stuff of legend, asks Abbie Vora.
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THE ILLUSTRATOR: By Leyla Aliyeva
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In the Zone
Street-style blogger Omarov aguilar snaps the collectors at Zona Maco, Mexico’s premier art fair. LiLi carPintEyrO
Designer, Mexico. Which country is producing great art at the moment? Germany. What sort of artwork do you want to add to your collection? Painting. What would you like to purchase at this year’s Zona Maco? Armando Romero’s painting Aliens Visit Hell. Which artist is everyone talking about at the fair? Armando Romero (above) Should art be outrageous or understated? Outrageous.
Producer, Mexico. Which country is producing great art at the moment? USA and Mexico. What sort of artwork do you want to add to your collection? Painting. What would you like to purchase at this year’s Zona Maco? Victor Castillo (all pieces). Which artist is everyone talking about at the fair? Miss Van. Sum up your collection in three words. Figurative, fresh, colourful. Should art be outrageous or understated? Outrageous.
omarov aguilar, messthisdress.com. ©zuma press inc./alamy.
Chef, USA. Which country is producing great art at the moment? Mexico. What sort of artwork do you want to add to your collection? Sculpture. What would you like to purchase at this year’s Zona Maco? Héctor Zamora. Which artist is everyone talking about at the fair? Pedro Reyes (above). Sum up your collection in three words. Social, intervention, social sculpture. Should art be outrageous or understated? Understated.
Artist, Spain. Which country is producing great art at the moment? Germany. What sort of artwork do you want to add to your collection? Contemporary, 1950s and 1960s abstract paintings. What would you like to purchase at this year’s
Zona Maco? Lucio Fontana paintings (below). Which artist is everyone talking about at the fair? Heinrich Ehrhardt. Sum up your collection in three words. Well-installed, abstract, successful. Should art be outrageous or understated? Outrageous.
The Excelsior Hotel Baku is a beautiful ďŹ ve-star luxurious hotel in Baku city. It combines tradition and innovation with modern luxury and a touch of antiquity. The hotel is furnished with a melange of classical architecture and contemporary design elements. Being conveniently located near the cosmopolitan downtown area of Baku, the Excelsior Hotel oďŹ€ers easy access to business, shopping and entertainment centres. Heydar Aliyev International Airport is only 20 minutes away fom the hotel.
my art: A Case for Craft Ramesh Nair, creative director of Bernard Arnault’s boutique malletier Moynat, has eclectic taste in art and design. What was the first work in your collection? It was an ink drawing by Bikash Bhattacharjee, the artist who is said to have brought realism back into Indian art. What does your art collection say about you? My taste for art is born of my affnity for a concept frst, and then an appreciation for its details. Art inspires my work and I consider craftsmanship to be an art form. How do you display your art? I have done up my apartment in Paris very eclectically with a mix of vintage design and modernist art, with many old Indian temple lamps that I collected in Kerala. I prefer bare walls, so my art is at foor level leaning against the walls. What art in your home gets people talking? I have a couple of early 20thcentury photographs. One is of an ancestor of mine, the Maharaja of Cochin. The other shows the village school started by my grandfather. Both get noticed, mainly I think because they evoke a world that has disappeared.
© philadelphia museum of art/corbis. philippe fuzeau.
Have you made any impulse buys? Do you regret any? Most of my art purchases have been impulsive. For example, I was walking by a gallery in Florence and I saw a minimalist Arte Povera piece by Andrea Brandi. I bought it without a second thought. No regrets. Which designers’ work do you collect? I enjoy the work of the Memphis Group, especially Ettore Sottsass (pictured). I also recently bought a one-off console by Achille Castiglioni and Michele De Lucchi. Which artists do you admire and would like to collect? I love Mark Rothko and Joseph Kosuth. I dream of owning a Caravaggio – I never will, but that’s what dreams are for.
moynat.com 153 Baku.
Giving American classics an haute twist, Alov steakhouse – newly opened in the Flame Towers – is as slick as they come. Lobster mac ’n’ cheese, anyone?
An illuminated curved wall displaying hundreds of bottles of wine greets you as you enter the newest swanky restaurant to open in baku. Alov, a steakhouse with adjoining jazz bar and cigar lounge, also has a 170-bin wine list featuring the likes of Château Margaux and Opus One. Given its location on the ffth foor of the Fairmont hotel in the Flame towers there are wondrous views of the buzzing metropolis and the Caspian Sea. the decor is all dark woods and neutral tones, with flashes of red to signify the connection to Azerbaijan as the “land of fre”. the American-inspired menu by multi-award-winning chef Orkan Mukhtarov features premium beef such as wagyu (cooked however you like it), alongside french fries prepared nine different ways. Other highlights include the lobster cobb salad and a faming baked alaska dessert – ftting, really, considering ‘alov’ means fare in Azerbaijani.
fairmont.com/baku. 155 Baku.
Fly to Baku
The world tour of the international art show finishes in its hometown. After more than two years on the road showing in cities such as London, Rome and Moscow, Fly to Baku fnally came home. The exhibition, which has introduced Azerbaijani artists such as Adil Yusif, Farid Rasulov, Faig Ahmed, Tora Aghabayova and Aida Mahmudova to an international audience in a series of glamorous openings, returned to a warm welcome this December.
Aida Mahmudova, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva & Arzu Aliyeva.
Fakhriyya Mammadova & Emil Topchiyev. v v.
Sweetheart locks brings a little love to Baku’s centre. Baku celebrated St Valentine’s Day with a romantic art installation at Port Baku. The Love Tree was a place for couples to secure padlocks, usually engraved with their initials, as a sign of their never-ending love. Musicians serenaded the crowd as young and old queued up to show their affection. 156 Baku.
Nargiz Aliyeva & Museib Amirov.
Aida Mahmudova, Leyla & Arzu Aliyeva.
The Love Tree
Artists for Africa
Things turned a little wild at this year’s annual ARC gala auction.
Whitney Larkin & Thomas J McGrath.
© vIctorIa and albert museum, london. khodakovskIy/www.fotus.ru. majId alIyev. jonathon ZIegler/PatrIckmcmullan.com
Robert Sibson & Anne Koch.
The African Rainforest Conservancy (ARC) annual Artists for Africa beneft, held at The Bowery Hotel in New York City in January, welcomed guests, including Cassandra Seidenfeld and Morgan O’Connor, with entertainment including a Zulu song. All were eager to hear who had won the honour of being named after a newly discovered species from the Tanzanian rainforest. Because once you have a beetle named after you, there is little left to achieve.
Mark Molle, Felicity Sargent & Galeb James.
Sam mW Wathen & Quentin Jones.
Suzanne Murphy & Cassandra Siedenfeld.
Morgan O’Connor. or or.
Abigail Alathea & Brandon Coburn.
The Jameel Prize show opens in London.
W qas Khan. Wa
The art world gathered at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum last December to celebrate the opening of the third Jameel Prize exhibition. This international award celebrates contemporary art and design inspired by Islamic tradition with this year’s shortlisted artists including Moroccan-born Mounir Fatmi, Waqas Khan from Pakistan and Faig Ahmed from Azerbaijan. The winner was Dice Kayek, the Turkish fashion label established by sisters Ayse and Ece Ege. The exhibition runs until 21 April 2014 at the V&A.
A se & Ece Ege. Ay Rachid Koraïchi & Mr and Mrs Martin Roth.
London’s art elite attended the American artist’s openings in Mayfair this February. The infuential artist George Condo was in London for the openings of his most recent shows at the new London branch of New York’s Skarstedt Gallery and at Simon Lee Gallery. The city’s art connoisseurs, including Nick Rhodes and Paloma Faith, gathered to admire Condo’s latest ink drawings and paintings. Part Disney, part nightmare, part Picasso, Condo describes his pieces as ‘psychological cubism’.
Heather Kerzner, er, Jo Manoukian er & Ha Hayley Sieff.
George Condo & Simon Lee.
Nick Rhodes & Nefer Suvio.
Jenny enny Halpern Prince enn & Ryan Prince.
david m. benett/getty.
Caitlin Curran & Miles Aldridge.
Sochi Olympics Looking forward to the 2015 European Games, at the Winter Olympics. If the end of the Winter Olympics has left you burning for more, youâ€™ll be cheered by the news that the frst European Games are only a little more than a year away. The Baku 2015 organizing team hosted a dinner at Sochi at which guests included Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, and former president Jacques Rogge.
Yulia Zlobina Konul Nurullay lla eva. llay & Alexei Sitnikov.
Hasan Arat & guest.
The steakhouse and jazz bar opens at the Fairmont Baku in the Flame Towers.
Jamal Khasayev, Rufna Khasayeva & Samir Aliyev.
khodakovskiy/www.fotus.ru. majid aliyev. emin mathers.
Sabina Minzeyn & Kamran Garalov. v v.
Emin Rasulov & Natalia Golumb.
It was a hungry crowd at the opening of Alov, Fairmont Bakuâ€™s new steakhouse and jazz bar. Presided over by the everwatchful Orkan Mukhtarov, a multiple gold award winner of the International Gastronomy Festival, the menu is an all-American feast of lobster cobb salad and premium-cut steaks, plus it boasts the largest wine list in Azerbaijan. 159 Baku.
past. Now we’re looking into the Turkish television market, which I fnd very exciting. I did, however, manage to buy an exquisite Azerbaijani carpet, which now lies proudly in my dining-room at home in London. Undoubtedly the highlight of the trip was the performance in the Centre’s grand concert hall, held especially for Zaha’s guests before her gala dinner. The traditional singers, musicians and dancers, swirling around in colourful national dress, were breathtaking. It was quite an introduction to such a vibrant culture.
Andrea Wong is president of international production at Sony.
interview by caroline davies. rex/view pictures. diane bondareff/polaris/eyevine.
Tabula Rasa 160 Baku.
try to be adventurous as often as possible, so when I received Zaha Hadid’s invitation to the offcial opening of the Heydar Aliyev Centre (above) in Baku I leapt at the chance. How often does one get invited to Azerbaijan? It required tight planning, however, as I had an important meeting to attend in New York the morning after the event. It was a close call, but I made both! My fight from London landed in Baku the day before Zaha’s party, so I was able to spend a bit of time in that amazing city. The architecture is beautiful, and what has stuck with me most is the image of the illuminated fames licking the outside walls of the Flame Towers, within which I stayed, at the Fairmont hotel. The Hadid-designed Heydar Aliyev Centre was also spectacular, with its pearlescent sweeping curves. Sadly, I didn’t fnd time to watch any Azerbaijani television while I was there – I always like to check out the local programmes, wherever I go. Building a television industry in a country is a long and complicated process; it is something I’ve been involved in with Sony in the
Dior Boutique Nefchiler 105, Baku â€“ 994 12 437 62 02