Our upcoming exhibition in collaboration with Maison Martin Margiela is beginning to take shape! Centred around memory and the way reminiscence can be triggered by scent, the exhibition will feature 21 original drawings of personal memories inspired by Margiela's Replica perfumes. Jowy Maasdamme is one of the artists invited to take part and was given Margiela's Promenade in the Garden fragrance to evoke a memory. You'll be able to see the finished drawing from 28 November when the exhibition opens at 19 Motcomb Street, London.
This week saw a screening of a new fashion film by TOME at London's Hayward Gallery amongst their current exhibition of work by Ana Mendieta. The designers, Ryan Lobo and Ramon Martin were asked by the gallery to create a piece in response to the show after it was announced that their S/S14 collection was inspired by the artist.
The importance of the exhibition should not be under estimated. Ana Mendieta is an artist whose life and work has been largely overshadowed by her death. In 1985, Mendieta died after falling from a window of the Manhattan apartment she shared with her husband Carl Andre. Andre was tried for her murder, but later acquitted due to a lack of evidence. While the case failed, the murder and scandal lingered on. With her death shrouded in mystery, Mendieta's story rather than artwork, became the focal point of remembrance. Jane Blocker in particular made her disappearance the subject of her 1994 publication Where is Ana Mendieta as a means to examine the emission of female artists from the art historical canon.
In her life time, Ana Mendieta's continued aligning of the female body with the earth garnered widespread criticism as being essentialist feminism. However, this exhibition re stages her work in a new light. Gender politics were of course central to Mendieta's practice and the show highlights her complex treatment of the subject. She used pagan and shamanistic imagery as an antidote to the male centred, industrially produced minimalist work she was surrounded by. She researched these subjects intensely and chose symbols specific to particular cultures; often the Cuban Taino culture from which she was removed when her family emigrated to the USA. Her inclusion of these subjects can be more closely linked to the French masters like Matisse and Gauguin than her feminist contemporaries, and address a number of additional political and formal concerns. Particularly evocative are her Blood Sign pieces for which she covered her arms in paint and dragged them down the surface of a canvas. The piece mocks the objectification of the female body in Yve's Klein's Anthropometries when he used naked women as paint brushes for his signature blue tone.
It is amongst this seminal artwork that TOME screened their fashion film. Immersing their latest collection amongst the undergrowth on models wearing a palate of pinks and pale flesh tones, the designers pay tribute to the artist that influenced their designs. It's not the first time the team have drawn on 20th century feminist art for inspiration, they credited Georgia O'Keefe as the muse for their previous collection. By engaging with audacious, self assured and historically established female artists, TOME are creating the kinds of garments I'd like to wear.
It's your final chance to see our current exhibition at SHOWstudio Shop, The Photography of Punk. Closing on 22 November, the show sets out to debunk the caricature of punk and trace the images and objects that honed its legacy. Focusing specifically on fine art and reportage photography, the show compiles a series of images that capture both this explosive moment, and the various elements that informed it.
Bruno Barbey's iconic shot of the 1968 student riots in Paris is one of the central photographs of the show. Inspired by the writings of Guy Debord's Situationists and their assertion that the misery of social alienation and commodity fetishism had spread itself into all aspects of every day life, the students instigated a volatile series of demonstrations that lead to a nation wide general strike. Both their actions and the Situationists' engagement with the idea of the 'spectacle' were crucial in the establishment of punk values and its aesthetic. In this striking composition the spirit of insurrection is almost palpable. One figure hurls a rock while another swings a bat; the image captures a moment that has descended into chaos and rebellion.
It is this spirit that is so present in the selection of images displayed in the exhibition. From Bob Gruen's shot of Sid Vicious with the words 'GIVE ME A FIX' scratched into his chest and covered in blood during a gig in Dallas on the Sex Pistols' American tour to Jonh Ingham's photograph of a frantic performance by The Clash during their Night of Treason gig at the RCA, the imagery captures the energy the punks embodied. Soo Catwoman's cat attire and fierce stare down Ray Stevenson's lens, and the latex bondage garb worn by Siouxsie Sioux also reveal the important role of fashion in creating a visual language to deliberately shock and outrage.
From the scandalous and aggressive to the experimental and politically confrontational, the exhibition showcases the many facets of a movement that went on the infiltrate nearly all aspects of life and culture. View important works by Jim French, Jon Savage, Robert Mapplethorpe and more before the show closes on Friday.
New digital art platforms are springing up every day. From Paddle 8 to Artsy, the art world is desperately trying to find a way to translate the gallery experience online. It's not easy. The gallery system depends on very strict measures of control. The encountering of the art object is crafted in itself and maintaining the primacy of the original copy is key. But breaking down the domination of the white cube is not by any means a new concept and the de materialisation of the art object has been a recurring theme for nearly 50 years. While the distribution capabilities of the internet are antithetical to the standard one on one art experience, the potential in the digital sphere is too great not to try to harness. Art:I:Curate attempts to merger these two worlds together. They're creating an online community of artists and curators who submit artworks to be liked by their wider followers. The most popular works are selected for physical exhibitions, mostly in London and New York and so potentially you can have the best of both worlds. The initiative has also cleverly engaged with art professionals through their Curated By feature. Every 2 days, a new curator, writer or artist is given free reign to post imagery to Art:I:Curate's home page and their respective social media sites.
This week, I've been asked to be one such curator. I began posting yesterday and shared a number of artworks that have featured in SHOWstudio's gallery venture, the SHOWcabinet. We also tread the fine line between a physical and online space with a format that avoids the traditional white cube and is always supported by informative digital content. I've showcased a fantastic collection of artists and designers that we're really proud to call collaborators, including Iris van Herpen, Una Burke and Tobias Klein to name just a very few. And for my second day of curation, I've decided to propose a mini online exhibition titled Grey Matter which thinks about photography and film as sculptural mediums. The selection of images includes predominantly emerging London artists like Ella McCartney, Alex Ball and Sophie Clements, interspersed with some major heavy weights like Alina Szapocznikow and Phyllida Barlow. The works chosen engage with sculpture and photography simultaneously, and so lend themselves to a digital presentation and play around with this idea of shared space.
The curation ends today, so take a look!
Yesterday, Rhizome hosted their first international Seven on Seven conference at the Barbican's new Milton Court venue. The event pairs 7 contemporary artists with 7 technologists who are given just 24 hours to devise a project, which they must present to an audience in its raw state on the following day. Having gathered momentum in New York, the initiative takes steps to cultivate the use of technology within creative practice at the highest level. The organisation is a media-art affiliate of the New Museum in New York and it's a partnership that yields a fine crop of artists. Recent exhibitors at the museum bolstered the roster including Turner prize winner Mark Leckey and Haroon Mirza (who unfortunately couldn't make his presentation). They were joined by less established but equally engaging artists including Cecile B Evans and Aleksandra Domanovic. The technologists also boasted impressive resumes like Alberto Nardelli of Tweetminster and Smari McCarthy of IMMI.
Our attention was focused very much on creative software developer Ryder Ripps. Associated with a particular group of creatives that could equally inhabit the role of artist or technologist including Ryan Trecartin, Brad Troemel and Olia Lialina, Ripps' presentation was by no means hampered by the absence of his partner Mirza. Ripps developed a website called aboutwhateveritis.com that allows users within 0.1 miles of one another to post messages anonymously to its home page. Determined by geographical proximity, it is the kind of tool that could allow free discussion on an art object in a gallery or conversation on a film in a cinema or indeed allow audience participation during a presentation as was the case here. The site was inspired by his dad's reply of 'People don't look at one another any more' when he asked if the world 'sucked' before the internet. In one way, Ryder's solution perpetuates the same behaviour Mr Ripps laments, in another it facilitates an initial connection. Crucially it is democratic in its nature, all participants are stripped down to an equal footing, encouraging involvement and engagement with art objects displayed in institutions. Or indeed it can be used for anonymous gutter talk, 'Ryder Ripps is hot' typed one enamoured audience member.
Ryder was in the minority having produced a functioning product at the end of his somewhat one sided collaboration. The other pairings came up with various methods of intervening with major digital platforms. Alice Bartlett and Cecile B. Evans' app Entropy randomly adds users to your twitter feed. They claim unexpected behaviours help you to allude algorithmic categorisation and will scramble the type of tailored advertising you receive. Why? They say 'just because it's annoying'. Jonas Lund and Michelle You developed eeeeemail.com, which sends an already sent email from your inbox to a random contact. Reminiscent of Miranda July's inbox exhibition We Think Alone where members sign up to receive 20 previously sent emails for 20 weeks from its collaborators, the project removes any original context and reveals the various ways one might comport themself through their correspondence.
One of the most illuminating talks came in fact from the introduction by technologist Jamie King. His musings on ownership and value in the digital sphere laid bare the decreasing 'cost' of data sharing and the turbulent challenge to instill and maintain 'value' in an easily transferable creative product. His series of documentaries Steal this Film is a technological re imagining of Abbie Hoffman's 1970 book Steal this Book that examines piracy, grass roots distribution and file-sharing and encourages fresh thinking on the concept of intellectual property within this realm.
Rhizome is an important and worthwhile venture, recognising the potential one day can hold and pushing leading creatives to make technology and artistic practice co habit. Looking forward to the next one.
Emerging fashion illustrator Josie Hall popped into the studio today to show us her intricate line drawings of designs from Spring/Summer 2014. We liked them so much, we've invited her to cover Collections for us next year!
Nick Knight continues his series of interviews Punk: Photography today with a call to Ray Stevenson. They discuss one of punks most enduring images, Stevenson's portrait of Soo Catwoman.
The photograph presents an unusually alluring vision of a movement that valued everything depraved and degenerate. Gazing directly down the camera lens, Soo Catwoman's prerogative was to dress in a way that would provoke and aggravate- she shaved her hair to look like cat ears, flaunted multiple piercings and dressed in the expected seditionaries apparel. Stevenson reveals however that it had the exact opposite effect on him and in fact, he was held in thrall of her look. This reaction seems to have been shared, with the image gracing the covers of multiple publications internationally. In the interview, Stevenson reveals details about this shoot that was commissioned by Malcolm McLaren and contemplates the punk legacy.
A print of this image is being displayed as part of SHOWstudio's current exhibition The Photography of Punk and is shown alongside work by Robert Mapplethorpe, Jon Savage and more. The prints are all available to buy from SHOWstudio Shop.
The interview series continues next week when Nick Knight speaks with Jon Savage about his photographs of West Kensington and Judy Linn who photographed Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith in the early 1970s.
Since 1846 Savile Row has been synonymous with the most meticulous men's tailoring in the world. Much of the street's reputation rests on the ability of the men and women who create the patterns from which suits are made. From 20 precise measurements, a Savile Row cutter makes a bespoke card pattern for each and every client, from which a flawlessly fitted suit is made. The pattern is named, kept and filed, it can be altered and reworked over time, mimicking the changes in the body of the client.
In many of the Row's long term relationships, a pattern may stay in house right to the bitter end and only when an individual passes away are the patterns no longer of use. But what remains is a perfect trace of a body which disappears. Prior to the dominion of the tailors, the street had been occupied by doctors and surgeons who swiftly moved on to Harley Street when the suit makers descended. So from one stitcher, to another, the area is inextricably linked with a habit of de constructing bodies in one way or another.
It is the relationship of these patterns to the body, traced out in finely constructed yet fragile cuttings that so fascinates artist Hormazd Narielwalla. Studying for his PhD at the London College of Fashion, Narielwalla's practice has lead him to uncover a range of patterns that have been discarded for this very reason. Their bodily counterpart has died, and due to the bespoke nature of the craft, the pattern is rendered redundant. But in these cuttings, Narielwalla finds a connection with bodily matter that is reduced down to its simplest components. Using surgical precision, Narielwalla breathes new life into them by reading them in a similar way to the artists linked with cubism and abstraction. He creates collages which pick out shapes that trace the body as a surface. Narielwalla's studio is crammed full of these patterns, and the Savile Row cuttings are accompanied by vintage lingerie, Victorian mourning dress and military uniform patterns. Each will be appropriated by Narielwalla into collage and sculpture finding new ways of rendering the physical body.
SHOWstudio Shop will soon be offering a selection of Narielwalla's intricate collages for sale. Watch the blog to find out when they will become available to buy.
The SHOWstudio SHOWcabinet will be transformed this September when we open an exhibition dedicated to exploring the images and objects that defined the punk aesthetic. Curated by Nick Knight, the show includes artworks by Robert Mapplethorpe, Tom of Finland, Jim French and Jamie Reid, photography from Ray Stevenson, Judy Linn, Jonh Ingham, Bob Gruen and Dennis Morris, and personal effects from key punk players, including Vivenne Westwood, Malcolm McLaren, The Clash and more.
The punk aesthetic was coined by relatively few individuals who found inspiration in the detritus of the streets and the deprived working class. The spirit of DIY that infiltrated all aspects of the punk ethos instilled a sense of opportunism in its participants, it encouraged a frank individualism which momentarily allowed a power shift from the privileged few to the impoverished many. While the life time of punk was fleeting, the tenacity with which it attacked the establishment has left an indelible mark on subsequent creative output. It is this that we intend to explore in the show.
A key series of photography arrived today from journalist and photographer Jon Savage. Titled Uninhabited London, the series presents a picture of West Kensington in the late 70's. Savage recognised the impact that the desolate London landscape had on his contemporaries at this time, and documented his surroundings from Westbourne Park Road to Shepherd's Bush spur. He has linked the environment with punk explicitly, saying 'The hyper-speed velocity of the Clash’s early live shows were, in part, an indication of the energy that came from seeing London’s dereliction as an opportunity: the forgotten city as playground.'
The series sets the scene for our upcoming show which opens Wednesday 4 September. We'll reveal further artworks to be included soon.
Iris van Herpen's beautiful water dress will be on display to the public for the very first time this June as the central piece in our upcoming SHOWcabinet exhibition. Opening on Thursday 6 June, the exhibition will showcase both the dress and the film that was made during Splash, a creative collaboration between van Herpen, Nick Knight and Daphne Guinness. The whole process was streamed live on SHOWstudio.com over a 7 day broadcast, and now we're displaying the pieces themselves at our headquarters at 19 Motcomb Street in London.
In van Herpen's work fashion, science, art and technology are not separate subjects, but flow from a single source. And so accompanying her work in the cabinet are art works and fashion items that make the same leaps to break down the divisions between disciplines. The artists included are informed by art history, science and nature equally and present works created through meticulous and repetitive crafts. They find their inspiration in natural wonders- spirals, skeletons, waves and wings, where science and art collide.
The artists featured include Iris van Herpen, Nick Knight, Geoffrey Lillemon, Salvador Breed, Kris Kuksi, Tobias Klein, Michael Hansmeyer, Kate MccGwire, Philip Treacy, Jordan Askill, Isaie Bloch and Irene Bussemaker.
Iris van Herpen has completed the second day of her LiveStudio and the water dress is beginning to take shape. During today's broadcast van Herpen has revealed various details about her working processes, her inspirations and her wish list of collaborators! Geoffrey Lillemon and Salvador Breed have also been answering viewers' questions and giving an insight into their editing and recording methods. If there's something you've been wanting to ask any of them, now's your chance. You can scroll to the bottom of the project page and submit your questions there. We're live again tomorrow from 11.00 BST for more Splash!
Join SHOWstudio again from 11:00 BST today when Iris van Herpen will continue creating her new 'Crystallization' dress. Having selected a stunning image from Nick Knight's shoot on Tuesday, van Herpen will be meticulously re-creating the splash of water that descended upon Daphne Guinness. We will also see and hear more from artists Geoffrey Lillemon and Salvador Breed who will be using Knight's footage to create an animation and sound design to accompany the dress. Put your questions to each of them at the bottom of the project page now. We will be asking them at 11:00 BST, 14:30 BST and 17:00 BST live online today!
Day one of Iris van Herpen's LiveStudio Splash! is complete. After selecting the image on which she will base her garment, van Herpen has set about creating her latest piece from scratch. Tune in again tomorrow from 11:00 BST to see her progress and put your questions to her now.
Iris van Herpen has selected the frame that will determine her new creation. Taken from the thousands of stills captured during yesterday's shoot, the image depicts cascades of black and clear water as they cover Daphne Guinness' silhouette. It was chosen during an intimate talk between Nick Knight and van Herpen broadcast live this morning on SHOWstudio.com. Van Herpen has now begun her newest design and we will be streaming live until 17:30 BST today. She will be taking questions from viewers throughout the stream so put yours to her now on the project page!
Today marks the start of Iris van Herpen's much anticipated LiveStudio Splash! Nick Knight captured high speed footage of Daphne Guinness being splashed with water during an incredibly exciting day of shooting at Park Royal Studios yesterday. Now, van Herpen will chose a frame from the footage as inspiration for her newest design. We're broadcasting the entire process from start to finish live over the next seven days. Tune in from 11:00 BST today, 3 April, to see Iris reveal her craft and put your question to her via the project page now!
Nick Knight has captured high speed footage of Daphne Guinness being splashed with black and clear water for Iris van Herpen's upcoming LiveStudio. Guinness looked positively statuesque as the streams of water covered her. Tune in tomorrow to see van Herpen use the footage to create her water dress.