1. by Niamh White .

    Watch our McQueen illustrations come alive in a new short film

    SHOWstudio filmmaker Raquel Couceiro has brought our Illustrating McQueen artworks to life through a series of subtle animations. Our community of artists and fashion illustrators were commissioned to create artworks that would operate as odes to important McQueen designs for an online exhibition that accompanied both our Unseen McQueen series and the Nick Knight and Alexander McQueen exhibition at our gallery in London. The artworks can now been seen in a short film that charts each look in chronological order and cites both their significance within McQueen's wider practice and the artist's technical or conceptual interpretation of it.

    The artworks in this collection range from Unskilled Worker's bright-eyed hybrid figure that appears half raven and half human to Laura Laine's rendering of femininity at its most ferocious in her pencil drawing of the rigid leather dress with horse hair fringing from Spring/Summer 2005 It's Just a Game. Each of the works are original paintings and drawings and they are available to buy through our newly launched online shop.

    Watch the film now!

  2. by Niamh White .

    Nick Knight photograph on view at Westminster Tube

    This striking Nick Knight photograph is now on display at Westminster Tube alongside a series of night-time city scenes by Cecil Beaton, Corinne Day, Juergen Teller and more, as part of TfL's current Free the Night exhibition. Large scale prints by key photographers have been installed in the vast cement alcoves within the network of escalators at the station.

    Knight's black and white image is taken from his 2011 Punkature editorial for AnOther magazine that channelled the raw energy of punk culture and merged it with the rarefied grace of the haute couture Spring/Summer 2011 collections. Model Harmony Boucher wears Givenchy Haute Couture by Riccardo Tisci in front of a cavernous wall of concrete found on a London street near to SHOWstudio's former HQ at Mayfair's Bruton Place.

    The exhibition is part of a series of events that build up to the 24 hour opening of the Tube from September this year and the photographs will be on view until Sunday 12 April. It's a great reason to look forward to your commute!

  3. by Niamh White .

    Nick Knight & Alexander McQueen exhibition is now open at SHOWstudio

    Last night we opened a solo exhibition of Nick Knight's fine art prints showcasing his dynamic collaborations with Alexander McQueen. The show coincides with the opening of Savage Beauty at the Victoria & Albert Museum and the photographs display Knight's arresting re-imaginings of McQueen's collections. We were joined by a number of the pair's closest collaborators including Erin O'Connor and Shaun Leane.

    The exhibition sits alongside our online project Unseen McQueen, a series of interviews and newly edited films from Nick Knight's archive that illuminate the process behind these images. Viewing footage of Knight, McQueen and Michael Clark shooting the now iconic Blade of Light in 2004 is a particular highlight.

    The exhibition is open to the public at 19 Motcomb Street, London, until 5 June. Opening hours are Monday to Friday, 11:00 - 18:00 GMT. Don't miss it!

  4. by Niamh White .

    Nick Knight's McQueen imagery will be exhibited at SHOWstudio this March

    SHOWstudio is delighted to present an exhibition of Nick Knight’s fine art prints opening 19 March 2015. Curated to celebrate Knight's dynamic collaborations with Alexander McQueen, and to coincide with the opening of Savage Beauty at the Victoria & Albert Museum, the exhibition showcases Knight's arresting re-imaginings of McQueen's collections.

    Similarly daring in their approach to fashion, the pair have been equally revered in their respective fields. In their hands, fashion, flesh and form were as malleable as each roll of fabric, length of film or digital file. Bodies and bodices were  slashed, structured and stitched to produce imagery and attire flung from the furthest corners of the psyche.

    Printed in monumental scale, the visual tapestries that Knight created for McQueen are being shown together for the first time at SHOWstudio’s gallery in Knightsbridge. Knight's futuristic rendering of Devon Aoki in McQueen for the cover of Visionaire 20 (1997) is one of his most enduring. The young model appears as a wild cyborg one-eyed geisha whose forehead has been sliced open and is held together with a safety pin. In a surreal twist, the wound does not spring forth droplets of blood but flowers with pink cherry blossoms. The following year, the photographer and designer produced an iconic editorial for McQueen’s guest edited issue of Dazed & Confused magazine titled Fashion-Able (1998). Unprecedented within the realm of fashion, the project featured a number of disabled models in order to challenge ideas of what can be considered beautiful. In Knight's striking compositions, dancer David Toole’s pose is one of pure strength and agility while athlete Aimee Mullins’ alabaster skin merges with fibreglass prosthesis in a display of pure ardour, accomplishment and allure. They signalled the forging of a future in which human value and aesthetic beauty are not determined in comparison to a myth of a perfect norm.

    The images featured in this exhibition are some of the most elaborate and technically engineered of the pair's generation and during an interview with Knight for SHOWstudio in 2009, McQueen revealed that he saw illuminations of his dreams and his nightmares in them. In Blade of Light (2004) Knight interpreted McQueen's vision of a bus queue of people wearing his Spring/Summer 2004 Deliverance collection being struck by a shooting comet. Michael Clark was enlisted to choreograph the moment of sheer energy of the strike and it was performed by members of his company alongside models such as Lily Cole. The resulting tableau embodies unbridled chaos and beautiful order simultaneously.

    For McQueen’s celebrated Spring/Summer 2010 collection Plato’s Atlantis, (which was the first fashion show to be streamed live via the internet and was done so on, Knight photographed Raquel Zimmerman beneath an undulating mass of snakes. Again the boundaries of the human body were blurred and the highly complex digital print on her apparel becomes almost like a second skin. In Knight's dazzling description of pattern and colouring, Zimmerman’s body, the garment and the wider natural world are synthesised into one hypnotic fantasy.

    The exhibition opens to the public on 19 March and will run until 5 June 2015. It is located at SHOWstudio Shop, 19 Motcomb Street, London, SW1X 8LB

  5. by Niamh White .

    'Faces of Conflict' features work by Patrick Ian Hartley

    Artwork by SHOWstudio contributor Patrick Ian Hartley goes on display tomorrow, 17 January, in a new exhibition titled Faces of Conflict hosted by the Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM) and the University of Exeter. The exhibition puts an unflinching focus on the the facially disfigured casualties of World War I, highlighting the ways in which artistic practice fed into surgical practice (in the work of sculptors as mask-makers or epithesists), and how radical new forms of surgery changed the context in which artists represented the face. The presentation features artwork produced in the immediate aftermath of the war by artists such as Otto Dix and Wyndham Lewis alongside contemporary pieces from Hartley, René Apallec and Eleanor Crook. These are displayed with various medical instruments, surgical documents and masks that illustrate the unprecedented innovations in maxillofacial surgery at this time. 

    While new military technology proved lethally efficient during the war, the same advancements had not been made to rebuild the shattered minds and bodies exposed to the shells ands shrapnel they spread. Physically maimed veterans were encouraged (through government policy) to remain out of the public view for fear of horrifying or provoking the masses and as such undermining the war effort. There were however, artists at this time who exposed the full horror of these mens' suffering. Otto Dix's etching Skin Graft portrays a face ravaged by mechanised warfare. Drawn with direct reference the injured men he encountered during his own service, the portrait presents a cuttingly ironic militarised man. Grotesque, ghoulish and gangrenous, the subject's suffering is glaringly depicted. Other artists paired with surgeons such as Harold Gillies in order to create ever more effective prosthesis.

    Hartley began investigating the pioneering work of Harold Gillies after his collaboration with Dr Ian Thompson in sculpting bio glass facial implants, (you can hear the pair talk about this in an exclusive interview on SHOWstudio). His research lead him to create the Wellcome Collection funded Project Facade, for which he examined the lives of a number of Gillies' patients who had undergone experimental maxillofacial surgery. Hartley embroidered military uniforms with details of each of his subject's histories using the stitching and suture techniques developed by Gillies for his surgery. For Faces of Conflict in Exeter, Hartley has revisited this project, looking particularly at one individual, Walter Ernest O'Neil Yeo. Yeo was a gunner on board the HMS Warspite and suffered cordite burns during the Battle of Jutland. He was treated by Gillies and while the surgery was entirely successful in restoring function to the eyelids, the aesthetic results were not entirely satisfactory. Gillies freely admitted that mistakes had been made at the pre-operative stage, which resulted in an infected skin graft thickening and giving the impression of a mask.

    Hartley documents the pivotal events in Yeo's life in a diptych featuring a naval uniform and a hospital gown of the type worn by these patients. Through fabric manipulation, digital embroidery, appliqué, heavy burning and branding, these pieces of apparel narrate the story of this serviceman in an incredibly intimate way. The duress under which Hartley puts each item of clothing echoes the violence suffered by Yeo's own body. This work and many others are on view, and Hartley's residency at the university continues this year. The exhibition is open to the public from tomorrow until 5 April at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery in Exeter.

    Image: Patrick Ian Hartley, From Yeo Diptych, 2014, Vintage patients gown, digital embroidery, appliqué, branding
    Courtesy Patrick Ian Hartley

  6. by Niamh White .

    Gallerist Bill Powers speaks to us for In Your Face at EDITION Hotel

    In our latest In Your Face interview, gallerist Bill Powers speaks frankly about trying to disrupt what he feels is a general dumbing down of culture: 'Everything produced now is aimed towards the mentality of a 15 year old boy... There is a widespread lack of the patience that you need to develop appreciation for things that might be an acquired taste. There's a mentality that if you don't have an immediate number one hit, that you're washed up. And that bleeds over into all arenas of culture.' Which seems odd, when you consider the same man was on the bill of judges in Bravo's recent show Work of Art - a two season series that could be described as the art world's answer to the X Factor. It would be very easy to condemn him at this point. If he's searching for a means to encourage meaningful thought on a large scale, then why engage with a television programme that reduces artistic practice to a series of challenges, rejections and finally a grand prize short cut to celebrity. Yet, I wonder if his effort to 'make everything elitist' is tied up with more of a general respect for the masses and an effort to elevate the language of mainstream culture. 'The winner's work was inspired by Ai Wei Wei's imprisonment, that fact that you see a political dissident in China on a channel that also shows the New House Wives of New Jersey felt fun, like you were sneaking something past the network.'

    He's aggressive in his opinion that the art world is not inherently intimidating and steadfast in putting the onus of the individual to engage with it, 'it's more that people lack the drive, curiosity or proactive spirit to engage. It is a false narrative to say that the art world is impenetrable.'

    You can watch the interview now on SHOWstudio alongside conversations with Hans Ulrich Obrist, John Pawson, Marc Quinn and Aaron Young all recorded at EDITION Hotel at Miami Beach.

  7. by Niamh White .

    Ryan Gander's In Your Face interview is up!

    Ryan Gander is the latest artist to join our series of In Your Face interviews. He speaks openly to Carrie Scott about the commercial aspects of Art Basel from EDITION Hotel Miami Beach, comparing its buying attendees to 'a feeding frenzy of vampires.' Gander is already on record  critiquing the work of many of his contemporaries, 'art with stars, diamonds, palm trees, skulls, smileys, any emoticon. That’s what everyone seems to be interested in, daft cliches with no real meaning, depth, integrity or conceptual rigour.' In our interview he goes further, 'Half of the art world use basic signifiers and lack basic literacy.'

    In contrast to the individuals he's referring to, Gander purposefully evades any kind of stylistic signature. It is very difficult to say 'that is a Gander' and often the work defies commodification altogether. Instead, he operates within a dialectic of story telling or folkloric traditions. Archaically, oral communication served as a means to make sense of the seemingly inexplicable forces of nature and offered a method of both counsel and remembrance. They gave communities a tool to help retain myths and legends, educate their members in certain skills and trades, and offer moral guidance. In contrast to a printed book, the spoken story has the capacity to be moulded around the concerns and interests of its audience. While fixed narratives were often maintained, storytellers might adopt a regional dialect, address a particular local issue or simply apply a new perspective to each tale according to the concerns of his or her listeners. The tools that are fundamental to oral recitation, such as gesture, speed, intonation, accent, and dramatisation, lend the tales that are told a malleable quality. Through accent inflection, break and breath, each story readily embraces and nurtures the mystical, the impossible and the anarchic, and presents a living and vibrant continuum for the passing along of knowledge. Integrating the attributes of oral traditions and spoken word into artistic practice is a means by which to push back against the frequently sterilising nature of the white cube and it seems that this is the realm in which Gander operates.

    Watch his fascinating interview now, only on SHOWstudio.

  8. by Niamh White .

    Marina Abramovic joins us for an In Your Face interview

    Performance artist Marina Abramovic is the latest creative to join us for an interview from EDITION Hotels Miami Beach. The series released this week has been revelatory in a number of ways. The careful composition of each shot frames each sitter in a crop that presents their portrait as a landscape. The severe black and white grade means that each subject's thought can be traced across the plane of their face. In our interview with Abramovic, her sense of control over her own image is more apparent than in our previous interviewees. Unsurprisingly I suppose, she is deadly still and with an unfaltering gaze to camera.

    Abramovic addresses the big questions. She speaks of her Baltic obsession with death, recounting the way in which her grandmother selected the clothes she would wear when she passed away and when she was buried. It was present in every day life, in the act of living. Having attended Susan Sontag's funeral, which she described as 'lousy', Abramovic went directly to her lawyer to ensure hers did not suffer the same fate. In the interview, she reveals the terms she specified in the contract, including the places (there will be 3 Marinas buried), the dress code and even the music that will be played. Anthony and the Johnsons are on the bill- they don't know it yet but she's quite sure they wouldn't say no. More seriously, she defines the three things she would like to avoid in death, 'I do not want to die angry, I do not want to die in fear, and I want to die consciously.' She switches deftly between playful humour to absolute profundity repeatedly.

    Abramovic's purpose is clear, 'I have been very lucky to have a strong sense of mission throughout my life. I want to lift human spirit and change consciousness- it's an incredible motivation.' This is an intelligent and unmissable interview, don't miss it. 

  9. by Niamh White .

    Artist Pedro Reyes talks to us about the political agency of art

    Continuing the notion that art should be useful, advocated by Hans Ulrich Obrist in an In Your Face interview earlier this week, we have just released a conversation with artist Pedro Reyes in which he talks about the social and political capabilities of his practice. Reyes has just opened a new iteration of his piece Sanatorium at Art Basel Miami Beach. Originating in the Guggenheim and then re-staged at documenta 13 and at the Whitechapel gallery in London last year, the piece combines theories of psychology with theatre, performance and fine art to offer a re -thought blend of therapy to visitors. Reyes explains that it is 'a performance piece where members of the public are invited to come to the gallery and speak to perfect strangers as though they are therapists. In pieces like Sanatorium, it is the participants who bring the narrative.'

    Reyes work continually seems to allow either his participants or his objects to undergo redemptive transformations. Whether it is turning automatic guns into musical instruments, creating a Peoples United Nations to address world problems through role play or presenting a cricket burger (the Grass Whopper) as an alternative to mass meat production, his artworks are imbued with his radical optimism, and indeed not just a little humour.

    In our interview, Reyes' is realistic about this optimism. He reveals the reservations he sometimes feels about the actual capabilities of art to instigate positive social change whilst simultaneously resolving these by saying 'Everything changes the world, whether it's action or in-action'. And he is gaining traction in applying his ideas to government policy. Currently he is attempting to pass a nationwide disarmament campaign to turn weapons into instruments across Mexico. If that isn't an example of art having direct and political impact, I'm not sure what is. 

    The interviews will continue to be released today and tomorrow. Look out for Ryan Gander, Martin Creed and Marina Abramovic, all coming up.


  10. by Niamh White .

    Hans Ulrich Obrist for In Your Face

    Hans Ulrich Obrist is a curator who has dedicated his life to the service of art, and he speaks vividly with Carrie Scott in our latest In Your Face interview from EDITION Hotel at Miami Beach.

    To say that the pool of reference that Obrist draws from is vast, is a broad understatement. Yet where some might claim sole authorship of their projects, he repeatedly identifies and names those who have inspired, challenged or changed his thinking. He references his early alignment with artists that, like him, have gone on to establish meaningful and long careers such as Christian Boltanski, Hans-Peter Feldmann, and perhaps most importantly Fischli and Weiss. In our newly released interview with the curator, he said 'I was born twice, once in Zug in '68, and then I was born again in '85 at Fischli & Weiss' studio.' This encounter is widely documented. The pair were creating their now seminal piece The Way Things Go and their advice seems to have helped Obrist define his purpose, 'To be useful to art.' It also marked the moment that saw him begin to take night trains across Europe to museums, galleries and artist studios that would feed his relentless curiosity and begin his chosen path.

    His projects take many forms, from the Nano Museum that was a portable frame to be filled with art that was eventually lost by Douglas Gordon in a pub in Glasgow, to the endless recordings of multiple conversations - including the centenary project where Rosemarie Trockel encouraged him to speak with artists approaching or exceeding 100 years of age or the instructive exhibitions Do It that are have been staged in more than 120 countries. And that's not to say he hasn't curated solo and group shows too, it just usually means that they find new ways to create a monograph or meanings, new formats that enable the artist and activate the artwork.

    The projects themselves are fascinating, but it's the trains of thought, the encounters and the journeys that lead to their realisation that is the real illumination. Obrist reveals these in a fast paced, encyclopaedic rendition of his life in this interview. Watch it now on SHOWstudio.

  11. by Niamh White .

    Our interview with artist Marc Quinn for In Your Face is up

    Artist Marc Quinn is the latest interviewee to be a added to our In Your Face series. We're shooting in EDITION Hotel at Miami Beach through Art Basel with some of the most influential figures in the art world.

    In the interview, Quinn speaks at length about negotiating 'the narrow spectrum of what is considered to be beautiful and what can be beautiful.' This is explicitly relevant to his work with Alison Lapper (8 Months), the monumental marble that featured on the Fourth Plinth in London and was later re-envisioned as an inflatable sculpture for the London Paralympic Opening ceremony and later shown at the Venice Biennale Foundazione 2013. It belongs to a body of work that was inspired by the fragment room in the British Museum. Quinn talks about feeling troubled by the contradiction that these broken and fractured sculptures presented. As revered artworks, they are considered sublimely beautiful while literal bodies that take these forms receive a different reaction. It provoked him to create the series of immaculately finished marble sculptures of these very physicalities, those that are not ordinarily in the realms of visibility, let alone immortalised in stone. Interestingly, he also speaks about his sculptures depicting Kate Moss in yogic poses as an anathema to these works. Instead, we have supermodel as deity, celebrity as our gods and goddesses; 'They are the rocks on which people wreck their lives in striving for perfection.'

    Quinn's self assurance in the interview is resolute. He's said it before and he says it again, Self, the cast of his head in his own blood, is according to him 'Rembrandt re-done by Beckett' and later he reveals 'Inspiration can come from anywhere, my mind latches on to certain things, works around my subconscious and emerges as a pearl.' It is rare and fascinating to hear how the artist views his work both in the present, fleeting moment, and also how it might exist in the longer scheme of things- to those not yet born, to those who won't encounter him.

    It's not to be missed, and it's up now. More in depth interviews will be released throughout the week as part of our In Your Face series from EDITION Hotel at Miami Beach.

  12. by Niamh White .

    Architect John Pawson discusses his brand of minimalism from EDITION Hotels

    In our latest In Your Face interview, John Pawson spoke to us about his architectural practice and working on his latest project with EDITION Hotels alongside Ian Schrager at Miami Beach.

    The designer talked about the path he's taken. He joined architecture school later than most, and confesses to being being too impatient to finish the course so instead left early to pursue what he really wanted to do. And he's done it well. Pawson's brand of minimalism is a study in light. Streamlined shapes, formulaic decoration and clarity are his defining features, saying 'I create rigorous simplified spaces to appreciate where space and light come from'. It seems his rigour is panoptic, and he doesn't go easy on his clients, 'The architecture demands that people modify the way they live. It is calming but also stimulating.'

    A nice aside was a revelation on letting his guard down and using photography as a therapy 'I travel, and life passes so quickly. If I take a photograph, it feels as though I have captured that moment. But of course, that's rubbish.'

    Watch the interview in full now on SHOWstudio. Later today we're releasing conversations with Marc Quinn and Hans Ulrich Obrist.

  13. by Niamh White .

    Aaron Young is our latest interviewee for In Your Face

    In our latest In Your Face interview, Aaron Young speaks with Carrie Scott about his artistic practice. Young is the epitome of the artist as celebrity. Google his name and it isn't art works you find but reems and reems of paparrazi shots of him on the red carpet. But he warned us not to have pre-conceived ideas, the work is his main concern. From rationalising his practice as being between the peripheries of painting and performance to considering what art should really be, Young engages with both the machismo and the malleability of his work.

    He is arguably best well known for the Burnouts, a series of spectacular happenings where he asked a number of motorcyclists to ride around on aluminium with their wheels lined with paint, until their tyres literally burn out or until they can't see. As the smoke emits from the engines, they in turn erase the marks made by the tyres. It's a play on action painting that is presented in a number of guises. Young elaborates on the act of making as being a performance in itself, the resulting artwork, both in its entirety and later as divided pieces, and of course the documentary film and photography footage of the event.

    He also has some strong opinions on his work Four Dots in the Painting, Close Your Eyes and Tilt Your Head Back saying, 'you can see a painting by closing your eyes and what you see - whether it's Jesus, John Lennon or Dash Snow - depends on your constitution. It is called an elliptical burn.' The action here is a contradiction in turn, you close your eyes in order to see, and what you think you see is determined by your frame of reference. In the interview, Young revels in recounting a Peruvian maid who encountered the work and had to be taken away by an ambulance because she thought she saw God, 'That's what art should do', he said. Part tongue in cheek, part bravado, it seems Young is at once playing a joke on us, and deadly serious.

    Unsurprisingly, Young cites Rauschenberg's Erased De Kooning (1953) as pivotal in the development of his thinking and it is clear to read how the multiplicity of that piece is tied up with his work- the erasure as creation, a monochrome non image residue covering the picture plane, perhaps even the machismo oedipal act of overthrowing one's authority figures. The interview is live now, and definitely worth watching in the light of Young's new show with Kukje Gallery.

    SHOWstudio are continuing to interview artists from EDITION Hotel Miami Beach throughout Art Basel. Up next is Hans Ulrich Obrist…

  14. by Niamh White .

    SHOWstudio's interview series 'In Your Face' kicks off at EDITION Hotel

    This week, SHOWstudio has taken up residence at EDITION's new hotel in Miami to continue our interview series In Your Face. With the art world descending on Miami Beach for Art Basel, we're putting creative visionaries under the spotlight in a series of challenging conversations that reveal the intricacies of their respective practices. Visually conceived by Nick Knight, each subject is captured in a beautifully composed but intensely cropped frame that focuses directly on the face. Every expression, blink, twitch, thought and recoil will be revealed in what Knight describes as a 'living portrait.'

    The interviews began this morning with a candid talk with EDITIONS' own Ian Schrager. He spoke about his tumultuous career path from comparing his first venture Studio 54 as 'Frankenstein's monster', to describing his ethos for creating lived in space saying, 'Our agenda does not start with design, it starts with social science'. He also reveals the advice he would give to his younger self. The interview will go up on SHOWstudio tomorrow, Thursday 4 December and the series continues throughout the week with luminaries such as Marina Abramovic, Hans Ulrich Obrist and Martin Creed. In the meantime, you can watch our other In Your Face interviews with Vito Acconci, Dinos Chapman and Bernard Henri Levi.

  15. by Niamh White .

    Christopher Orr's Monkey Portait

    This wonderful portrait of a monkey by artist Christopher Orr will feature in Anj Smith's SHOWcabinet exhibition at SHOWstudio. We open to the public on Friday 21 November so come and see it at 19 Motcomb Street, London then!

  16. by Niamh White .

    Anj Smith: Echo, 2014
    Limited edition etching available now

    We're currently installing the upcoming Anj Smith exhibition at SHOWstudio and, among an array of awe inspiring items that are gradually coming in, we have received this beautiful etching Echo from the artist. It is the first edition to be made by the painter in 10 years, and we're releasing it to mark the opening of the show. It's an extremely limited run, and it's available now.

    The show opens next Thursday 21 November at 19 Motcomb Street, and then runs through until 27 February 2015. Don't miss it.

    Image: Anj Smith, Echo, 2014, Zinc on etching paper, Edition 10/10 + 2AP, 12.7 x 16.2 cm / 5 x 6 3/8 inches, Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth, Photo: Todd-White Art Photography

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