Dinos Chapman and Nick Knight’s collaboration ‘Agathe and Seraphine’s House’ goes on show today in Gagosian’s Davies Street gallery. Inspired by photographs Chapman found on his daughter’s camera of her own doll’s house and Café Flesh, the surreal porn film by Stephen Sayadian, the final print reveals a dark imaginarium of shadows and seduction. Lily Donaldson appears as the doll in various guises and gowns, she is both playing and played with. Accompanying the piece is a major installation which was used in the making of the piece. It is a life size model of one of the rooms in Agathe and Seraphine’s original house and contains, amongst other things, an enormous purple, polystyrene cat, amputated mannequin limbs and a mammoth baby blue egg crate, all of which sit amidst techni colour lighting and smoke. Looking in on the house, its as though reality is unraveling, and we have been granted a peep hole through Lily’s looking glass. Posters of the piece will be available from the gallery and the first 100 are signed by Dinos and Nick. Garage magazine, which featured the piece earlier this month will also be on sale. The show runs until Wednesday 21st September.
Peter Jensen and Julie Verhoeven graced SHOWstudio Shop this morning for a wonderfully giggly Cafe Conversation. We took the opportunity to have him sign 5 copies of his very special new book. Published to coincide with the occasion of the exhibition Peter Jensen's Muses at the Denmark Design Museum and in advance of the Victoria and Albert's latest Fashion In Motion, this book catalogues Peter's unique working process and his multitude of multi-dimensional muses. Unique, highly changeable, perplexing, this book unfolds his process from inspiration to creation. Whether taking his aesthetic cue from cosmetics tycoon Helena Rubinstein, disgraced Olympic skater Tonya Harding or soul singer Nina Simone, Jensen's tongue-in-cheek sense of chic prevails, as evidenced by this tome mapping ten years of passion for fashion. The signed copies will be available from SHOWstudio Shop, 1-9 Bruton Place, W1J 6LT or online at showstudio.com/shop.
If not currently in Miami, we think we gave the art world a reason to make their way down to our Bruton Place headquarters last night. Opening our doors to unveil our latest exhibition, In Your Face, we brought together important works by Marina Abramovic, Douglas Gordon, Santiago Sierra and Raymond Pettibon alongside exciting emerging artists such as Tim Shaw and Stephen Doherty, the show explores portraiture at its most confrontational.
Last night, guests manoeuvred around littlewhitehead's 'Any Last Thoughts' - an alarming life size sculpture of a man tied to a chair with a hood over his face to then be confronted by two statuesque real-life models wearing Debra Baxter's 'I'm going to realign your chakras mother*******) and Shaun Leane's silver mouth piece created for Alexander McQueen's Autumn/Winter 2000 collection 'Eshu'.
Re engaging with the salon hang, there are a multitude of works on view. A rare still from Luis Bunuel's iconic collaboration with Salvador Dali 'Un Chien Andalou' hangs alongside Polly Morgan's 'Dead Heads', Lucy and Bart's 'Hook and Eyes' and Nancy Burson's composite faces 'Warhead', 'Androgyny', and 'Mankind'. There are works from Franko B including photographic documentation of his early performance work in the Tate's Turbine Hall as well as a later series 'I Still Love'. Downstairs in our black room, Marina Abramovic's arresting video 'AAA-AAA' sees Marina and her then lover Ulay screaming into each other's mouths for 9 minutes.
The exhibition is on view until 4th February 2012 at 1-9 Bruton Place and is well worth a visit.
The art of butterfly collecting or 'lepidoptery' is well over 300 years old and holds its own place in European cultural history. The concept of preserving the exotic or unusual in 'curisoity cabinets' is a pre cursor to the development of our modern idea of the Museum. Artefacts which tell a story are boxed up and put on display to explain the subject or historical discourse they belong to.
Alister Mackie has playfully and very cleverly utilised this aesthetic to describe a part of his own history. From butterfly to 'Black Tie', this piece showcases a number of bow ties that he has collected throughout his career. Bow ties from established menswear brands are showcased alongside equally beautiful ties by unknown designers in a wunderkammer for this fashion staple. A geometric Austin Reed tie, a silk tie by Lanvin, and a tie from the Louis Vuitton on the Champs Elysees is neatly placed amongst a vintage American tie, a black velvet tie from the 1970s, and other bow ties of varied designs from the middle of the century. Collected from flea markets and designer boutiques in London and Paris, 'Black Tie' is a hand-selected display, each pinned and labelled with scientific precision.
SHOWstudio Shop was delighted to show Mackie's first 'Black Tie' piece as part of our Blackwhite exhibition last year, and now he has delved back into his collection to produce three more. All are available at SHOWstudio.com.
Harold Offeh and Eloise Calandre are in SHOWstudio as we speak testing and perfecting their performances which will take place at 13:00, 15:00 and 17:00 GMT today. Exploring the possibilities of portraiture, the pair have composed three pieces which will be streamed live on SHOWstudio as a counterpart to our current exhibition In Your Face.
The first piece at 13:00- Smile sees Offeh transform a familiar and pleasant expresssion into a painful 34 minute endurance task. At 15:00 we'll see Calandre using her own face as a screen for a re-projection of her features and finally from 17:00 GMT, Offeh will build on his existing body of work Covers, recreating the cover of The Rolling Stones' Exile On Main Street by appearing as '3Ball Charlie', a thirties freakshow performer.
Tune in at 13:00 when it will all begin!
Eloise Calandre and Harold Offeh are gearing up for their second performance of the day. This piece sees a film of Calandre's face projected back onto 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.
Streaming live now.
Our third and final performance from Harold Offeh and Eloise Calandre commences at 5pm today. Offeh will expand his series of video works 'Covers'- two of which are currently on show as part of our exhibition In Your Face.
In 'Covers' Offeh re 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 he will add to the series with 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. Offeh will re stage the cover in his performance at 5pm today but in a comical twist, replaces the balls with gobstoppers.
By using the primary mediums of popular culture- photography and video, Offeh and Calandre unravel complex ideas of race, identity and desire. Tune in to SHOWstudio at 5pm today to see this iconic image re made.
SHOWstudio Shop has been reborn Parisian, as a Pop Up inside the 147 year old ‘grands magasin’ Le Printemps to accompany Nick Knight's Visions Couture window displays.
Yesterday, people waited at the entrance in order to be the first to see the unique items now on offer across the channel. And who can blame them- with a roster that includes Nick Knight, Daphne Guinness, Gareth Pugh, Giles Deacon and Peter Jensen, the pop up affords the unprecedented opportunity to own a true piece of fashion history. Peter Philip's beautiful Mickey Mouse mask used during an Irving Penn shoot sits alongside Nick Knight's innovative 3-D sculptures of Daphne Guinness from the Visions Couture project. Creations by Craig Lawrence, Judy Blame and David Bradley feature with films that document their making live here at SHOWstudio. Gareth Pugh's covetable Monochrome scarf (excellent Valentines gift?!), Silver Cube and Carson's Arse are all there.
We'll be keeping track of how everything progresses via our facebook and twitter pages so like and follow us to keep up to date with the latest from SHOWstudio Shop, Paris!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.