Today we're shooting with our contributing head of fashion film Marie Schuller. Commissioned by the London College of Fashion in response to Rem Koolhaas' Venice Architecture Biennale, the film has been a collaboration between Schuller and MoMu curator Kaat Debo. It features a 3D printed dress that has been created by Tobias Klein, Alexandra Verschueren and Joris Debo at Materialise. The film will be released on SHOWstudio on 6 November 2014 alongside three others as part of the upcoming 1914 Now project.
Iris van Herpen's designs are often poetic meditations on materials in a state of flux. From capturing the finest drops of a splash of water wrapping around the body, to interrogating the poisonous beauty of refinery smoke or mining the dynamic forces of repulsion and attraction between magnetic forces, her garments interrogate the behaviour of the elements, often following them through a transition between two absolutes. It is not surprising then that she was selected to collaborate with Dom Perignon to mark the end of their Vintage 2004, and the 'rebirth' of its Second Plenitude as P2- 2004.
Van Herpen responded to Dom Perignon's 'Metamorphosis' with a sculpture that was revealed last night at Hus Gallery in London. Concealed within a black lair, she presented the Cocoonase. Speaking of the piece, she said “The name Cocoonase references the butterfly which softens her cocoon shell before she goes into her next stage of metamorphosis. This piece of art houses Dom Pérignon Vintage 2004, symbolically nestled inside of the cocoon structure, and its fine ribs and lines represent a one-way passage out. Cocoonase acts as a shield that protects the Dom Pérignon bottle as it prepares for its metamorphosis.”
Appearing at first be a solid titanium shell or fossilised trilobite, the piece began gradually to undulate, as though breathing. It was was submerged in ferrofluid, a black liquid that can be manipulated when exposed to strong magnetic fields so that the sculpture's tendrils would spontaneously and randomly ripple. The effect was an uncanny Kafkan creature existing in a constant state of liminality, anticipating its eventual emergence.
If you have the chance, seek this sculpture out.
© Anj Smith, Apparatus, 2012, Oil on linen, 42.8 x 38.6 cm/ 16 7/8 x 15 1/4 inches
Collection: Amrita Jhaveri. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth
SHOWstudio is delighted to announce that our upcoming exhibition is with painter Anj Smith. Opening 21 November 2014, the painter will create a 'wunderkammer' spilling with the vestiges, mementos, relics and artefacts that combine to inform her meticulously executed worlds.
Anj Smith's paintings do not succumb to easy categorisation. A single golden hair painted minutely, is as likely to appear as a rock face hacked from crude impasto slabs. While the composite elements in her works are not inherently magical or fantastical in themselves, when piled together in sheer layers of paint, they acquire a mystic quality as though extracted from hallucination, intoxication or psychosis.
Smith's painting Apparatus (2012) marks the centrepiece of the exhibition. Ethereal, androgynous and with rouged lips, her sitter's pallid complexion and soft features are crowded with facial hair, dark eye circles and blue veins. Smith's muse is exquisitely attired and has seemingly constructed an armoured veneer from found debris. Embroidered drapery is ornamented with obscure embellishments that have possibly been sourced from the surrounding wilds. Wriggling beetles and insects have been clumsily stitched into place alongside grasses, a jewelled Chanel brooch and a bonzaied corpse flower. Clawing bats nest in the hair amongst feathers, fauna and shells that are lodged precariously into place.
Smith's cabinet features a wide array of objects that have served as a reference point for her work. Richard Dadd's handwritten manuscript The Elimination of a Painter and its Subject-called the Fairy Feller's Master Stroke details the schizophrenic 'spirit' inspiration he received whilst recovering in Bedlam. Plant-inspired relics from Mediterranean temples jostle with antique pearls. 17th century Mughal masterpieces are juxtaposed with a capsule library and glittering figeater beetles fossilised in 70's neon perspex. Detritus, Smith's 2009 Liberty print, also features, alongside Philip Treacy's intricately hand carved Chinese Garden headdress and Yoshiki Hishinuma's waxed plastic wind coat. Amongst objects lent directly from Smith's studio are grains of Stromboli's black volcanic sand, a skull found on the Isle of Mull and a treasured painting of a monkey.
Smith will also release a limited edition etching to coincide with the opening of the show. The exhibition opens 21 November 2014 and runs through until 27 February 2015. Don't miss it!
To celebrate the launch of his SHOWcabinet exhibition this week, Noritaka Tatehana will take up residence at SHOWstudio on 9, 10 and 11 September 2014 to create a pair of his vertiginous heel-less shoes during a live broadcast. Revealing his process for the very first time, the shoemaker will give a step by step demonstration of the techniques used to create his gravity defying designs. Viewers of the stream can submit questions directly to Tatehana through SHOWstudio.com, so whether you want to know which university he went to, what he's inspired by or how he came to be the shoe designer of choice for Lady Gaga and Daphne Guinness, now is your chance to ask. When the shoes are complete, Nick Knight will shoot them on Daphne Guinness, a longterm champion of Tatehana, in a finale that marks the opening of the exhibition. The shoot will result in a series of editorial images and a fashion film that depicts Tatehana's latest creation.
The live studio kicks off tomorrow, 9 September, from 14:00 - 18:00. Submit your question to Noritaka Tatehana now!
SHOWstudio friend and collaborator Rei Nadal introduced us to the wonderful artist Charles Jeffrey. He illustrated the Spring/Summer 2014 haute couture collections for SHOWstudio capturing gowns from Jean Paul Gaultier to Maison Martin Margiela through a series of abstruse, colourful drawings on found detritus, torn paper and even his own chest. Jeffrey has now depicted the CSM graduate collection of Grace Wales Bonner in these fantastic illustrations. Ethan O'Connor writes about them here:
'Afrique. C’est chic. Ideas of African masculinity and its trans-Atlantic mutation is the basis upon which Grace Wales Bonner made her A/W14 collection. Depicted through Charles Jeffrey’s elegantly scratchy illustrations, the graduate collection that gained notoriety for its multi-layered approach to wearability is now translated by Jeffrey for SHOWstudio. Figures in flares amidst sandy smudges, flowery cutout borders and scanned plastic wallets combine “art materials” with visually stimulating primitivism. The setting of Bonner’s collection was a landscape which provided the flamboyance of 1970’s black dress, with the attitude of artists like Kerry James Marshall and Samuel Fosso, a hybrid of West-African ideas about being male. Noticeably, the inspiration of Jean-Michel Basquiat flutters above the heads of the illustrated models. Jeffrey’s clever, Crayola-esque idols in their mohair suits and beaded bags allow us to absorb a welcome, refreshed image of Bonner’s vision.'
SHOWstudio is delighted to announce our upcoming SHOWcabinet exhibition is devoted to Japanese shoe designer Noritaka Tatehana and launches on 10 September 2014. Lauded as one of the most important shoe designers of our time, Tatehana mines Japan's vast cultural heritage to produce shoes that re-think the very notion of the 'high-heel'. Favoured by Lady Gaga and Daphne Guinness, his soaring heel-less shoes shift the wearer's balance forward onto the toes and are elaborately adorned using avant-garde techniques that have emerged out of a mastery of traditional Japanese crafts.
Tatehana draws particular inspiration from the 'Oiran', a group of visually alluring courtesans that were present in Japan's tea houses during the vibrant Edo and Meiji periods. For these figures, appearance was paramount. Their delicately embroidered kimono, elaborate make up, towering geta shoes and mother of pearl hair pins created a veil through which to seduce their clientele. Each piece of apparel was crafted with the finest and most intricate means and each accoutrement demanded the heights of artistry.
For Tatehana's SHOWcabinet exhibition, the designer will showcase his proficiency in these traditional crafts and demonstrate the ways in which he has incorporated them into the realms of contemporary high fashion. The display will include shoes, garments, sculpture and painting that employ the arts of katazome, katakana and yuzen, in surprising and innovative ways. It will also feature new work by the artist Taisuke Mohri, whose photorealist portraits embrace both eastern and western motifs, and embrace the hybrid sensibility of Tatehana's work.
Prior to the exhibition opening, Tatehana will take up residency at SHOWstudio to create a new pair of heel-less shoes. He will demonstrate the intimate making process of his signature design during a live online broadcast. The exhibition will also mark the debut launch of Noritaka Tatehana's range of leather accessories.
Marina Abramovic is an artist that courts adoration and disdain simultaneously. While her current exhibition 512 Hours at the Serpentine gallery in London has received rave reviews, her recent collaboration with adidas on their All in or Nothing World Cup campaign has been the subject of some scrutiny. This and her high profile associations with celebrities like Gaga, James Franco and Jay-Z jar, for some, against the academic and critical work that she continues to amass.
Abramovic’s artistic career spans over 40 years. She began performing in 1973 in Serbia, and over a short time became fully immersed in what was a highly political medium. Much of the performance art of the sixties and seventies developed as a reaction against a number of factors- art institutions' involvement in the Vietnam war, the commodification of art, discrimination and elitism in the gallery and museum systems, as well as widespread gender inequality. Abramovic, both individually and in her collaborative work with Ulay, contributed considerably to this movement and has continued to tirelessly expand the field where others fell away from it.
Part of this has been to establish an archive for performance. Now the self professed 'grandmother of performance art', Abramovic has witnessed the turbulent reception and treatment of the medium throughout her career. The eighties heralded a certain amnesia that somewhat sidelined the performance art of the previous decade as an extreme reaction to an extreme time and it was largely replaced by an influx of painting and sculpture. The inevitable commercialisation of performance art took place. The editioning of documentary film and photography became the means by which these works were eventually transitioned into the market place. Theoretically, performance has also been continually re evaluated. The primacy or authenticity allocated to encountering the 'original' performance has been undermined as fallacy and the audience's original reception of the work is thought to be as mediated as any resulting footage or commentary. And so questions arise as to how to archive this medium without stagnating it. How to engage with the debate and enliven it. How to remember without assimilating into systems to which performance artists were so vehemently opposed.
Abramovic is tackling these questions. Her performance Seven Easy Pieces at the Guggenheim in 2005 saw her re-stage key performances from the 70's including Acconci’s Seedbed, Valie Export’s Action Pants: Genital Panic and Joseph Beuys' How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare. Each performance was revived in a different guise, finding relevance in a new time and living on through the flesh of their latest performer. The Marina Abramovic Institute is another step towards this. It is a centre in Hudson, New York that aims to be a home for long durational performance work. The artist came under fire for crowd sourcing the funding to open the museum, with the implication being that she was wealthy enough to fund it herself. But I'd challenge the mentality of this. By opening up the ownership of the institution and naming the contributors as founders, Abramovic undermines the very nature of an 'institution' and the hierarchy inherently associated with it. Her many founders feel an ownership and a belonging. They have an opportunity to engage with the space and shape the activities that are happening there. Abramovic is building a participatory and active community.
Marina Abramovic's collaboration with adidas is the latest project to incite confusion and some derision within the art press. It is a commercial for a pair of trainers, but it's a cerebral one. The artist takes the opportunity of the World Cup- a global phenomenon that engages more of the world's population than almost any other event, and harnesses that community to introduce them to her craft. During the film, Abramovic explains the performance in a very accessible and clear voice over. She gives the context of the piece and details regarding its relevance, drawing on the parallels she finds between performance art and sport. The message is unabashedly positive, encouraging us to find strength in togetherness, commitment and perseverance. Amidst a sea of advertising that is seemingly hell bent on both overtly and subliminally bashing our self esteem into submission, this campaign is a welcome relief.
This project and the others like it, introduce performance art to the masses and explain why it might have some application for people outside of the contemporary art sphere. This is an essential activity if the medium is to maintain the momentum it has gathered and create it's own history.
SHOWstudio will launch the first major exhibition dedicated to fine artisan jeweller Shaun Leane on 22 May 2014. The show will offer an unprecedented opportunity to delve into the psyche of Britain's leading avant-garde jewellery house and debut eight highly imaginative bespoke creations that each represent a key motif from their collections. The gallery will be transformed into a chamber of curiosities with each piece of jewellery being accompanied by an artwork, fashion piece or natural history specimen that has served as an inspiration to the house.
The show features a finely crafted single diamond tusk earring as an ode to Leane's very first creation that was first seen on Alexander McQueen's catwalk in 1994. It will also present a vibrant gem set butterfly brooch displayed alongside an original Damien Hirst painting, an elaborate pair of feather hoop earrings with a Philip Treacy hat, and a piece accompanied by the largest natural emerald in the world. An artwork by Korean light sculptor Ahn Chulhyun will inspire a new aurora ring and an antique kimono from the archive of Daphne Guinness will be the impetus for a set of statement cherry blossom cuffs.
Highlighting Leane's unparalleled ability to combine exquisite metalwork with innovative design, the exhibition will be a visual spectacle of artisan jewellery.
Image: 22ct Gold Jewel Beetle Brooch by Shaun Leane photograph by Nick Knight’s SHOWstudio
This week, SHOWstudio hosted a very special event in support of Simon Costin's Museum of British Folklore. Costin is a long term SHOWstudio collaborator and world renowned art director whose fascination with folk traditions has lead him to embark on the mission of preserving and cultivating them. At present, there is no museum dedicated to British folklore in the UK, and within an increasingly globalised and digitised world, Costin feels that it is ever more urgent to engage with and educate in these particular heritages. For the past 2 years, he has been touring the country in a specially customised caravan staging events and exhibitions that celebrate various folk customs, but now is ready to set down firm roots for this very important project. Architect Adam Richards has designed a wonderful and environmentally friendly building that could house the museum. Set amongst a grove of trees, it has been conceived as a cluster of interlinked buildings that embrace the shapes and patterns associated with the seasons. The museum's programme will engage directly with its content and encourage the people and communities involved with these traditions to shape and mould its development, switching the conventional museum model on its head.
The project now needs an influx of funding to realise this next step and is now seeking support. On Wednesday night, guests were invited to pledge to the cause, and now you can too by becoming a friend of the museum through the website. This is a wonderful cause and a unique opportunity to help initiate the preservation and investigation of these important traditions and customs.
Today would have been the 100th birthday of William S. Burroughs, one of the most visionary writers of the twentieth century. To mark the occasion, and the year of Burroughs that is being celebrated through 2014, SHOWstudio Shop will host a solo exhibition of portraits of the late author by Kate Simon. The show will mark the debut release of Simon’s Cibachrome Edition portfolio, which is comprised of 11 iconic shots of the literary master printed in the now extinct cibachrome medium. These rare photographs will be displayed alongside a selection of black and white limited edition prints. Taken over a 20 year period, Simon has amassed a critical body of work that is widely unseen and captures the many faces of one of the most illusive cultural characters of the last century. SHOWstudio will also be programming an online series of events to commemorate the author, the most exciting of which promises to digitally transport you into Burroughs' long time residence 'The Bunker'.
The exhibition and accompanying content will launch on 14 March, so keep watching the blog for more details. Happy Birthday Burroughs!
SHOWstudio Shop will host a solo exhibition of portraits of William S. Burroughs by Kate Simon to celebrate the occasion of his centenary. The exhibition will mark the debut release of Simon’s Cibachrome Edition portfolio, which is comprised of 11 iconic shots of the literary master printed in the now extinct cibachrome medium. These rare photographs will be displayed alongside a selection of black and white limited edition prints. Taken over a 20 year period, Simon has amassed a critical body of work that is widely unseen and captures the many faces of one of the most important American writers of the twentieth century.
Merging the formality of high literature with the allure of the low brow detective novel, Burroughs unapologetically addressed controversial subjects of narcotic abuse, erotic sexuality, criminality and excess in his work. The legendary persona of the author has also garnered unbridled fascination. Purposefully weaving elements of his autobiography into his fiction, Burroughs obscured readings of his own character and rendered himself inextricable from his writing. He also appears in the literature of his contemporaries in a number of contradictory guises, most notably as Jack Kerouac’s Will Dennison and Old Bull Lee. At one moment, he is a grey, anonymous spook with the capability to cast a manipulative spell over his peers, and the next he is warm, mannerly, adored, even kind.
While Simon’s portraits capture the familiar image of Burroughs with his glasses perched on his hollow cheeks, his suit, his trilby hat and often a gun in tow, they also reveal the many facets of the man. But to try and identify the secret of Burroughs’ persona would be as futile as seeking out a fixed narrative within his literature. Here, Simon’s candid portraiture embraces these various copies, simulations and projections of the writer in a show that reflects Burroughs’ own presentation of himself.
The exhibition opens on 14 March and will run through until 9 May at our Motcomb Street gallery in London. Don't miss it!
Image copyright Kate Simon
Ivan Putrov will once again celebrate the majesty of the male dancer in the latest iteration of his Men in Motion ballet. Billed for only two performances in London on 30 and 31 January, Putrov compresses 100 years of beguiling choreography for men into a concise 100 minutes. From L'Apres-midi d'un Faune by Vaslav Nijinsky to Russell Maliphant's duet Two x Two, Putrov has selected an array of classic to contemporary choreography to showcase both the relevance and beauty of male dance and the talents of the best performers of the day. Putrov pays particular homage to Le Spectre de la Rose, the first ballet to present a man in the starring role. The piece, which has its central character dressed completely in rose petals, made a controversial statement in 1911 when it premiered.
Putrov performed in London to great acclaim last year for the Pet Shop Boy's ballet The Most Incredible Thing- a Hans Christian Andersen fairy story told to the back drop of film maker Tal Rosner's wonderful psychedelic video works. He has also collaborated with SHOWstudio on a number of projects including Bring and Buy and Score.
Men in Motion is set to be a dazzling show that presents a rare opportunity to see a pivotal collection of choreography that has contributed to elevation of the male dancer throughout the last century. The performance takes place at the London Coliseum and you can book tickets now.
To coincide with menswear collections, SHOWstudio Shop is delighted to be able to make artworks by Hormazd Narielwalla available for sale. Narielwalla uses bespoke tailoring patterns from a variety of sources to create these intricate collages. Reading each pattern's web of lines, dots and numbers as complex traces of the human body, Narielwalla is heavily influenced by cubism and abstraction.
The works at SHOWstudio are composed from the tailoring patterns featured in Le Petit Echo de la Mode, a popular domestic fashion magazine published in Paris between 1897 and 1983. For efficiency’s sake, the publication layered life-sized templates of entire garments onto a single sheet of paper. Predating Futurism and prefiguring Cubism, these patterns abstracted the body to a degree more radical and precise than the highest aspirations of the 1912 manifetso Du Cubisme. It is the precise relationship of these patterns to their human counterpart that so fascinates Narielwalla and forms the fundamental basis of his work.
Historically, fashion illustration is a medium that has been continually undervalued and trivialised. Potentially due to its attachment to commercial enterprise and potentially because its subject is fashion, the work of fantastic draughtsmen and women are consistently undervalued in the market. It's an oversight that makes the medium a great collecting opportunity. If you study the work of Rene Gruau, Antonio Lopez or Erte, or more recently Mats Gustafson and Francois Berthoud, it's clear they are examples of important contributions to art history. The situation was discussed at length during a panel discussion hosted by the Fashion Illustration Gallery, Issa London and Christie's South Kensington this week. Featuring Tim Blanks and David Downton, the panel discussed the changing role of fashion illustration and the importance of instilling value in these works as original drawings, rather than constantly reducing them to the confines of printed reproduction.
SHOWstudio has been slowly building a repertoire of the most exciting up and coming fashion illustrators for the past 2 years, and we're encouraging this very interaction with the craft. We ask these artists to cover the collections as they happen, and then share their drawings immediately on SHOWstudio's Tumblr page. Even more excitingly, we are fully dedicated to championing the medium as a collectable art form and have been making the original drawings available through the Shop at affordable prices. From the gestural sketches of emerging talent Fiona Gourlay starting at £50, to the refined silhouette's of Piet Paris at £1,600, we accommodate every budget and encourage the activity of investing in this widely underestimated medium.
With the eye of the art world shifting onto these illustrators, the pieces are a perfect entry into collecting art and are set to gain attention more and more swiftly. Have a browse through these important works now and keep an eye out for the new round of drawing coming in during A/W 14 collections early next year.
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.