Preparations are almost complete for Nick Knight to shoot Daphne Guinness for Iris van Herpen's LiveStudio Splash!. Four high speed cameras are arranged around the corners of the studio and will capture the structure of the water as it wraps itself around Guinness. The footage will not only be used by van Herpen to create her newest Crystallization dress, but will also be the material for a new film by Geoffrey Lillemon and sound design by Salvador Breed. Lillemon and Breed, together with Joost Korngold, are the artists behind van Herpen's recent couture teaser film Voltage which depicted an undulating metallic mass set amidst the Palace of Versaille. You can put your questions to Iris, Geoffrey and Salvador now to be answered during tomorrow's live broadcast!
Today Iris van Herpen, Daphne Guinness and Nick Knight begin Splash!, SHOWstudio's most ambitious LiveStudio to date. Preparations are underway at Park Royal Studios where Nick Knight will shoot Daphne Guinness on four high speed cameras while she is splashed with clear and black water. The footage will be used by Iris van Herpen during a seven day live broadcast, commencing tomorrow, in which she will create a new Crystallization dress. The dress is an evolution from her 2010 collection, which saw models wearing garments created from clear plastic moulded into the shape of splashing water. Van Herpen will guide us through the process while answering questions from SHOWstudio viewers. We will be blogging throughout the day today with behind the scenes images and live updates. Tune in tomorrow from 11:00 BST to see Iris scour the footage for the frame that will determine her latest design, and be sure to put your questions to her now!
Una Burke has collaborated with SHOWstudio on a fashion film to be released alongside her upcoming SHOWcabinet at our new headquarters at Motcomb Street. Centred around the potential in prosthetics to adorn, equip and enhance, the cabinet will feature Burke's signature leather sculptures alongside art works and garments by Kat Marks, Paddy Hartley, Ana Rajcevic, Dai Rees, Kyle Hopkins, Aimee Mullins and Betony Vernon. Today, we shot an exclusive fashion film directed by SHOWstudio's head of fashion film, Marie Schuller which brought Burke's latest sculpture subtley and surreally to life. The film and exhibition launch exclusively with SHOWstudio on 17th April 2013.
Daphne Guinness kick started SHOWstudio's new gallery venture, 'SHOWcabinet', with a fantastic launch party last night. People queued in the cold to catch a glimpse of Guinness' gorgeous installation. Mimicking the characteristics of a renaissance cabinet of curiosities, the SHOWcabinet features various items and artefacts which reflect Guinness' oeuvre and offers each of them up for sale. From her renown collaboration with jeweller Shaun Leane on the spell binding white gold and diamond glove 'Contra Mundum', to her scent, her favourite Diptyque fig candle and her heelless shoes by Norikata Tatehana, the cabinet offers an insight into the world of this fascinating artist, writer and muse.
The launch yesterday evening was attended by the fashion elite. Guinness herself wore a Gareth Pugh Black Leather Cage Jacket which reflected the one which had also been installed in the cabinet. Pugh was present as well as Phillip Treacy, Anna Trevelyan and Atsuko Kudo. Noritaka Tatehana flew in from Japan to celebrate the launch, and Hamish Bowles and Bella Freud were also there to explore our newest venture. The musical contingent was represented by the stunning Shingai Shoniwa, the lead singer of the Noisettes, and producer Pat Donne.
If you weren't there last night, make your way to SHOWstudio's new premises at 19 Motcomb Street, Belgravia to see the SHOWcabinet for yourself. Daphne's installation will be open until 20th March. And most of the treasures on view are for sale. Don't miss it.
The wonderful Daphne Guinness is the first artist to participate in SHOWstudio's new gallery venture - the SHOWcabinet. Newly located in Belgravia's iconic Pantechnicon Building on Motcomb Street, the cabinet plays host to an array of items from Daphne's world and will be open from Thursday 21st February.
Over the past twelve years, SHOWstudio.com has collected and collated an array of wonderous and awe inspiring online content from filmmakers, writers and cultural figures. Through moving image, illustration, photography and the written word, the website provides a dynamic archive which reflects the endlessly changing creative sphere that it operates within and documents. We now intend to reflect this online wunderkammer within our physical space. The SHOWstudio SHOWcabinet manifests itself as part cabinet of curiosities, part commissioned installation space. Each month one artist or designer will be commissioned to create a piece which adheres to the dimensions of the central compartment of the cabinet. From tailoring to taxidermy, millinery to photography, the initiative provides a unique platform for artists from all disciplines.
Initially conceived of in Renaissance Europe, the curiosity cabinet or wunderkammer was originally a room rather than a piece of furniture. It housed objects and artefacts that defied easy categorisation and was often complete with exotic items from seemingly disparate and unrelated topics. It housed objects as diverse as historical relics, botanical specimens, works of art and scientific implements and presented a romantic vision of a dynamic and ever transforming world. The SHOWcabinet will embrace these characteristics and showcase the most innovative and diverse objects and artefacts from the worlds of fashion, art and beyond.
Our debut SHOWcabinet is centred around The Honorable Daphne Guinness. On the shelves Guinness launches her debut single 'Fatal Flaw'. Released as a limited edition 7-inch vinyl with unseen artwork by Nick Knight and penned by Guinness herself, this considered track affords unparalleled proximity to this elusive icon. Alongside the vinyl sits Guinness' armoured glove, anchoring her cabinet's central themes of beauty, brutality, revolution and romance. Created in collaboration with famed jeweler Shaun Leane, and titled 'Contra Mundum' or 'Against The World', this handcrafted, intricately made objet d’art took five years to complete and is perhaps one of the most technically advanced pieces of artisan jewellery in the world. A rare 17th century copy of Shakespeare’s tragedies is also unearthed next to a collection of Shelley's poetry and Pancha Tantra, a limited edition book of Walton Ford's illustrations. Other items, like a Diptyque Fig candle (her favourite), and the perfume Guinness created in cooperation with perfumer Antoine Lie and in collaboration with the house of Comme des Garcons add another dimension to the installation. Daphne’s love of the zodiac is also expressed with an arrangement of scorpions behind glass – precisely assembled by Guinness to represent her own star sign. Iconic designs created by Gareth Pugh and Norikata Tatehana also appropriately mingle in Guinness’ cabinet, representing the high fashion she has always championed.
The following cabinets feature leather designer Una Burke whose installation will revolve around prosthetics and couturier Iris Van Herpen who will create one of her signature water dresses in one of SHOWstudio's most ambitious LiveStudios to date.
The SHOWcabinet opens this week and visitors can see Daphne Guinness' installation from Thursday 21st February from 11am at 19 Motcomb Street, Belgravia, SW1X 8LB.
In their very first collaboration, Little Angel Theatre and Kneehigh's production of A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings brings Gabriel Garcia Marquez's fable to life with a 100 strong cast of puppets. This whirlwind and fantastical tale follows the fortunes of the inhabitants of a rural English community after a winged seraph crash lands in their village.
Opening with the surprise arrival of the man in a beautifully violent storm which rocks their windswept coast, this celestial being mysteriously clears the town of its plague of crabs and prevents a local boy from a seemingly inevitable death. An emaciated, fragile figure bestowed with enormous, ethereal wings, he is quickly imprisoned by the villagers in a chicken coop as they spy a lucrative opportunity in offering out his extraordinary services.
Even incidental characters were well rounded and playfully depicted. Particular favourites were 'Barnardo the Backward, whose head was turned by a woman and now he only sees where he's been', and the little blue boy who journeys by bicycle, boat and hot air balloon to report news of the town's fortune to the ever illusive 'His Highest Eminence' who ultimately commands the same blindness to the being as the villagers themselves.
The language is wonderfully lyrical with playwrite Anna Maria Murphy offering a script which rang true to the magical realism rooted in the original story. She delivers a true-to-life narrative punctuated by moments of whimsical, often symbolic, fantasy described in the same matter-of-fact tone.
The play is a scathing if not sometimes simplistic satire of organised religion and superficial commercialism and exposes the exploitation of the weak or vulnerable that both are guilty of. All in all, a wonderful parable reminiscent of Hebrews 13:2 “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Go and see it.
A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings runs until the 19th January at Battersea Art Centre.
Claire Barrow created this customised vintage biker jacket during the first LiveStudio of our Flora season. Programmed to coincide with our Flora exhibition, for which Nick Knight ventured into the world of the 'hand rendered' with a series of pieces that were manipulated manually post-printing, there seemed no-one better to join us than Barrow with her painterly techniques and flora-inspired designs. The designer was live on camera for two days, and customised the jacket with an array of roses painted from life.
Barrow created her design specifically for Faris Badwan, vocalist of British rock quintet The Horrors. Badwan's lyricism and look share Barrow's affinity with post punk culture and made him the perfect model to bring the creation to life in front of Nick Knight's camera on the final day of the broadcast.
We are now so delighted that the fruit of Barrow's labour is now on view at Shop as part of our current exhibition 'Flora', and that it is available to buy exclusively from SHOWstudio. Get yourself a wearable work of art now!
While the GIF file format is twenty-five years old this year, it has recently gained considerable traction in the digital sphere. It is a format frequently utilised by SHOWstudio to animate our website or Tumblr pages, as well as often appearing in the wider practice of Nick Knight and other established artists. Most notably, Knight creating a heart breaking ode to Lee McQueen using the format, pictured above.
In his second recent collaboration with Paddle8, Knight will exhibit this piece as part of an online editorial project which features a curated selection of GIFs created by invited artists. The piece will feature alongside work by Adam Dugas, Casey Spooner, Spencer Sweeney, Jim Drain, Naomi Fisher and Nicolas Fernandez, among many others, together with a range of contextual materials on the history of the GIF itself.
In celebration of the project, Paddle8 and Tumblr are also hosting an online call for submissions of GIFs from Tumblr's vast, international blogger community -- culminating in a physical exhibition of selected GIFs on view during Art Basel Miami Beach in December. So, if you think your creations can compete with the best, submit your GIF via Tumblr from 17th October through 7th November 2012.
Even the pouring rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of those who attended the opening of Nick Knight’s highly anticipated solo exhibition at SHOWstudio Shop on Thursday night. Debuting two stunning bodies of work the exhibition showcases Knight’s continued fascination with the still life and flora.
Knight is showing his first limited edition portfolio, aptly titled Flora, which contains 15 arrestingly beautiful portraits of botanical species selected from the Natural History Museum’s herbarium. Knight spent three and a half years capturing the various specimens archived in the museum's collection and the result is a carefully composed but daring selection of photographs that map the presence of flora in our society.
Alongside Flora, Knight is also presenting an entirely new body of work that reveals the strides forward he is taking in the very medium of photography itself. Again using specific floral still life compositions, Knight has manipulated his images after they are printed. By using a highly experimental and fragile printing technique, each piece is manually exposed to heat and water before it dries resulting in a series of unique works that can never again be reproduced. What we are presented with is a hauntingly beautiful series that continually oscillates between photo and painting.
The show is open today and continues until the 21st December at SHOWstudio Shop which is located at 1 - 9 Bruton Place, London, W1J 6LT. Stop in now to see Knight's most experimental works to date.
In the run up to the much anticipated opening of our exhibition Flora, Nick Knight and SHOWstudio are teaming up with Paddle8 and Instagram to showcase images from Knight's summer holiday.
Following on from a season of groundbreaking online coverage of fashion month which included an extensive series of panel discussions streamed live over the internet, SHOWstudio are now joining forces with Paddle8; the web platform that is transforming the art market. Already boasting online exhibitions by Marina Abramovic and collaborations with the Royal Academy, Visionaire and Armory Art Fair, Paddle8 is not just another website trying to take art commerce online. It is augmenting the traditional gallery model by leveraging technology to allow members to view, research and acquire art works with the speed and ease that the internet affords. Never far from the zeitgeist of innovative onine ventures, Knight will utilise Paddle8 to feature his Flora portfolio online alongside his solo presentation of the work in the upcoming SHOWstudio Shop exhibition.
To celebrate this partnership, he has also collaborated with the site on a very intimate project. Beginning tomorrow, Paddle8 will reveal one of Knight's holiday instagrams each day over the coming two weeks. Knight's instagram feed is very much a shared visual diary capturing everything from high profile guests to everyday objects he encounters. The result is a constantly renewed collection of images that is eagerly consumed by his 25,000+ followers. In this very special collaboration, Paddle8 will showcase dramatic images of the Cornish landscape that offer up a taste of Knight's continued fascination with nature and botany.
To see these images visit Paddle8 each day over the coming fortnight and let us know what you think via facebook and twitter. You can also see Nick Knight's solo exhibition 'Flora' at SHOWstudio Shop, 1-9 Bruton Place, London from 11 October.
Last week SHOWstudio played host to four contemporary Chinese artists for a discussion on the Gao Brothers' The Execution of Christ.' This hugely engaging conversation not only shed light on the art work, but also gave a unique insight into the current situation in China and the limitations that are imposed on creative activity there.
Sheng Qi, Le Guo, Haili Sun and Voon Pow Bartlett joined Shop's very own Carrie Scott and talked candidly of China's recent history. With the Gao Brother's piece as a suitable backdrop, topics covered included the cultural revolution, China's open door policy, university education and surveillance on creative production. The footage is now available on demand at SHOWstudio and you can see the Gaos' infamous sculpture here at SHOWstudio Shop, 1-9 Bruton Place, until the 31st August.
All of us at SHOWstudio Shop were over awed when we were offered the opportunity to exhibit one of the Gao Brothers' most seminal works The Execution of Christ at our Bruton Place gallery in Mayfair. A monumental, bronze sculpture, the piece epitomises the term 'political pop' depicting a firing squad of seven Chairman Maos pointing their rifles directly at a figure of Jesus.
The Gao Brothers have consistently produced highly politicised work, which tackle subjects of oppression, violence, hypocrisy and authoritarianism, most commonly through these grandiose visual narratives. However, this has not been an easy trajectory to follow, particularly under the strictures and censorship imposed by the Chinese authorities throughout their career.
Art has a long engagement with politics and this piece makes clear reference to some of its most important predecessors. The composition is derived from Manet's The Execution of Emperor Maximilian (1867-1869) which was produced as a direct reaction to the Napoleonic wars and provoked a harsh political backlash. We might also think of Goya's The Third of May (1808) and later Picasso's Massacre in Korea (1951) which were also hugely controversial for depicting the firing squad as a political tool. The Gaos deliberately draw on this motif and have transposed it to meet their own ends.
In one respect, the piece embodies a situation particular to China. Communist authoritarianism and mass identification, depicted through the many faces of Mao and his intense control over the composition, is intermingled with an infiltration of Western aesthetics and rapid commercialisation primarily in the use of a recognisably Western trope in the firing squad as well as the inclusion of the central figure of Christianity and finally the monumentalising effect of using bronze on this scale.
It is this political backdrop and the control it exerts over artistic production that we want to probe in our live discussion here at SHOWstudio today. We have invited some of the most influential artists and writers on the subject to join us in the gallery and will stream their conversation on the topic live online.
The Gao Brothers have suffered at the hands of the Chinese authorities- not only through the censorship of their work, limits on their practice and the closing of their exhibitions, but also on a personal level when their father was taken away and never returned, the Gaos believe he was executed. It is difficult to imagine working in such an environment, and though the speakers that join us today have now relocated to live in London, they do have an insight into the situation at present in China which seems so distant to us here. In streaming their conversation live from the gallery today at 1400BST, we hope to unpick the meanings embedded in The Execution of Christ, and also to examine the wider context from which it has come. The speakers include contemporary artists Le Guo, Sheng Qi and Haili Sun and academic Voon Pow Bartlett. Tune in to see this dynamic conversation unfold live on SHOWstudio today at 1400BST.
We have a new addition to SHOWstudio Shop's current exhibition Death courtesy of Rose Robson's hugely successful LiveStudio 'Murder of Crows' which took place over the past two days. The finished piece is now on display in our gallery at 1-9 Bruton Place in London.
Robson gave us a unique insight into her method of taxidermy during her residency, demonstrating both the laborious, technical elements of the craft alongside her own creative flair in the composing of a new form. While going through the grotesque process of skinning, Robson actually revealed to us the huge spectrum of colour that naturally cover these birds, and that she uses as her palette. Irridescent blues, greens and purples glowed in what Robson described as a 'halo' around the feathers in our daylight studio.
Robson has not only mastered this traditional craft, but has developed her own version of it. Simultaneously we are confronted with the grotesque and the beautiful, the macabre and the carnivalesque. The final effect is spellbinding, and well worth a visit to the gallery to see in the flesh. We are also now offering it for sale as part of Shop's continuing effort to give the opportunity for people to support and invest in the most promising young artists at a pivotal stage in their career.
The exhibition is open Monday to Friday 11.00am until 6.00pm and features work by the Gao Brothers, Claire Morgan and now Rose Robson. For sales enquiries please contact Niamh White.
A faint perfume lingered in the air yesterday evening when a new sculpture by Korean artist Meekyoung Shin was unveiled. The piece stands on the central plinth in Cavendish Square and recreates an equestrian statue of the notorious Duke of Cumberland which had previously resided in the same spot, but was removed in 1868. It is not however fabricated in bronze or marble as might be expected, but instead has been crafted entirely from soap. Now re invigorated, the piece demands all the majesty one could imagine of its original.
What is really interesting about this work and its positioning, is the attention it draws to a continued disparity in Eastern and Western art historical concerns. Here in the West, we place an emphasis on permanence. Our most treasured historical figures are immortalised in imperishable materials which have been endowed with an inherent superiority. In contrast, Eastern philosophy focuses on the transient, the ephermal and the passing. Shin's use of soap allows her to give the appearance of permanence, in an impermanent material and in doing so examines and questions the implications of both. Where the sculpture stands in Cavendish Square unprotected from the elements, it will gradually fade and weather. What is usually a spectacle of grandeur and continued presence, is transformed into a study in disappearance. Shin cleverly toys with our experience of time. Even the most robust of statues diminish over hundreds of years, but here just one year will reveal the transformation of matter as it perishes, leaving a floral scent as it fades.
Meekyoung Shin's 'Written in Soap: A Plinth Project' opened yesterday and will remain in Cavendish Square over the next year. Its well worth a visit in this glorious weather.
SHOWstudio debuts a brand new interview for our In Your Face series with internationally renowned contemporary artist Vito Acconci. Famous for visceral pieces including his controversial work Seedbed, in which Acconci masturbated under a ramp in New York's Sonnabend Gallery - the visitors exciting his autoerotic fantasies, Acconci has received wide-spread acclaim for his ability to transform the viewer into a participant in his work. He has worked across various mediums, from live performance in the sixties and seventies to film, video and architecture in his more recent works. He was interviewed by journalist Nicolas Niarchos in New York, the city where he was born. This is a candid and considered discussion of everything from Acconci's early career as a poet to the intentions and inspirations behind his most famous works and his general approach on art. Watch the interview in full here.
Harold Offeh and Eloise Calandre's series of performances 'In Your Face I See Myself' were streamed live at SHOWstudio as part of our In Your Face season of events are now available to view on SHOWstudio.com.
The first, 'Smile', is a re-staging of one of Offeh's earlier pieces in which he maintains a smile for as long as physically possible. Streamed in harshly graded black and white, the performance is reminiscent of a Warholian examination of this exterior expression. As time moves on, the smile becomes a trace of itself, the physical strain on the facial muscles becomes apparent and it is no longer an indication of happiness. The startling alterations in Offeh's face throughout the duration of the piece force the viewer to contemplate their associations with the captured smile and their relation to it. From the utter vacuity of a practiced, camera oriented smile to the snapshop image fit for a private diary, Offeh's piece probes both the pictorial surface, and the psychology of his portrait.
The second, visually arresting performance sees Calandres's motionless face used as a screen for a re projection of her face. Simultaneously moving and stationery, the effect is a baffling image where her features are changed and distorted. Continuing the exploration into the capabilities of portraiture this piece challenges the idea of a fixed sense of self.
For the final performance, Offeh creates an additional piece to his already critically acclaimed 'Covers' series. In 'Covers' Offeh creates iconic album covers by staging them as durational performances, and casting himself as the main subject. Previous pieces in the series have seen Offeh as Grace Jones on Island Life, The Ohio Players, Honey and Funkadelic's Maggot Brain, and now we see his appropriation of the cover of the Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street.
This cover featured '3ball Charlie', a freakshow performer who worked the sideshows of carnivals. Charlie would stuff a tennis ball, a golf ball and a billiard ball in his mouth whilst whistling a tune, juggling and balancing on top of several other balls. By using the primary mediums of popular culture- photography and video, Offeh and Calandre unravel complex ideas of race, identity and desire.