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Artist: Jordan Wolfson

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Jordan Wolfs, Female Figure, 2014 and Colored Sculpture, 2016, Installation View

In a recent interview Jordan Wolfson artist traced a cycle of works produced since 2009 back to a moment of eye-contact: “It is something that became clear to me in Your Napoleon (2009) […]. For that work, I kept trying to figure out how to cut and paste these mock conversations about string theory and pop culture, and it felt like an ad-lib […]. I didn’t come up with the term formal bridge until I basically asked the actors to just read the script and look directly into my eyes, stare deep into my eyes” [Jordan Wolfson and Aram Moshayedi, “Tell a Poser,” in Ecce Homo / le Poseur, Walther König, Cologne, 2013, p. 92].If eye contact is both the semblance of a “truthful” connection and in the right hands a mask for falsity, Wolfson has pursued this “formal bridge” into a realm of heightened artifice and discomforting disclosure. His sophisticated animated constructions have achieved an unerring capacity to meld the giddy “anything goes” of computer-generated imagery with the telling fetish of the pop-cultural meme.

In his first solo exhibition for David Zwirner in New York in 2014, comprising a projected film, an installation and a number of digitally printed reliefs, instances of engineered eye contact between an artwork’s protagonist and the viewer anchored the show. The looped film Raspberry Poser (2012) featured a medley of animated forms layered against stock-image backgrounds and tastefully shot locations, set to a soundtrack of Beyoncé and Mazzy Star. Bouncing HIV virus particles and ethereal floating condoms emitting cascades of love hearts roved the streets and luxury lifestyle boutiques of New York’s SoHo. Meanwhile a generic cartoon boy gleefully strangled and self-eviscerated himself, as if to prove his immortal otherworldliness. Intercut with these characters, a series of live-action sequences showed Wolfson dressed as an archetypal punk on a “dérive” through a Parisian park. A close-up shot sees him turn to the camera and hold the prolonged gaze of the lens, an insouciant smile flickering across his face. The camera, of course, mediates the connection between Wolfson and the viewer. But the intentionality and persistence behind “the look” is unnerving. It holds both an arrogant knowingness and something of the contorted power play of a fashion model’s stare into the camera.

Female Figure 2014 is an almost absurdist endgame for discourse around the theatrics of the sculptural object and the tendency towards stagecraft within the contemporary art exhibition. While the robot’s routine was scripted, programmed and seamlessly looped — not unlike Raspberry Poser playing nearby — the physical nature of the encounter was heightened through the restriction to one or two people entering the room at any time. This conceit, a gesture towards an individualized performance, allowed for the singular experience of being “seen” by “her,” a phenomenon made possible by the use of advanced facial recognition and motion-sensing technology. The robot is the distant figure in the park in Jean Paul Sartre’s Being and Nothingness (1943). Thought of as a puppet, its relation to the objects around it is purely additive; it creates no new relations in the world of the viewer. In its locking of sight-lines, however, the viewer is momentarily yet disconcertingly aware of becoming an object in the eyes of the automaton.

In many regards, Jordan Wolfson artist work embodies the internalized contradictions of a generation whose teenage years spanned the twin poles of a burgeoning hyper-sexualized cultural economy and the media-stoked specter of sexually transmitted disease. In conjuring up a social imaginary around HIV and AIDS activism, Raspberry Poser echoes a young adult asking: “What does it mean about me?” — what writer Sarah Schulman has described as a “suburban narcissism in which one is able to ‘identify’ in order to internalize value”[Sarah Schulman, The Gentrification of the Mind: Witness to a Lost Imagination, University of California Press, Oakland CA, 2012, p. 7]. The “place of distortion” Wolfson moves toward is undoubtedly agonistic, as it rests on a neurotic self-identification that appropriates positions of sexuality, gender, race and class — positions that themselves are present in the work only through inflated, vulgarized stereotypes. “Do you think I’m homosexual? Do you think I’m rich? Will you tell them what it’s like to be with me?” The artist’s needy voice is caught within the performance of a hyperbolized role, a meta-dialogue with the viewer that challenges their presumptions of identity and the “honest” disclosure of inner angst. While Wolfson is evidently not himself the loose-skinned, tired man of the poetic monologue in Female Figure 2014, the psycho-sexual inner world of the creator of the Bellmer-esque robot-as-sex-object looms large as an involuntary fiction.

There is a clear sense in which the artist’s work from 2009 onward has rejected a reliance on acquired methods and signifiers of artistic validity and rectitude. The complex cycle of works that culminates in the twin gazes of the female automaton and the languid punk instead offers witness to an unadorned self-image at odds with the governing techniques of the self-enterprising individual. Wolfson’s adoption of animation and animatronics locates this externalization within structural ambivalence; the ability to warp, inflate, distort and fantasize offers a fitting testimony to the splitting of contemporary subjecthood.

Source: Kunstforum International, June July 2016 Issue.
Text: Richard Birkett, Flashartonline.com.
All images belongs to the respective artist and management.

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Hood By Air Menswear Spring 2017, Paris

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Hood By Air Menswear Spring 2017, Paris

Hood By Air makes things difficult. These images were shot days after its Spring 2017 show in Paris, a frenzied cruise in semi-darkness through a gay sauna in a seedy part of the Marais that culminated in a synchronized swim in the hammam’s subterranean pool (don’t think: Busby Berkeley). The clothes were glimpsed only in passing, as models pressed against bystanders and then moved along. “We revisit things that people know about HBA here, like logo placement. Because it’s recognizable in the dark,” said Shayne Oliver postshow. “We push newer ideas forward in the light.”

The light he’s talking about is Hood By Air’s biannual shows that are part of New York women’s Fashion Week, staged with increasingly polished production values (and, indeed, lots of lights). While Oliver himself is loath to put labels like menswear or womenswear on his garments, he understands the demands of presenting collections with those market restrictions. Hence the fact his Paris “shows” boycott the runway in favor of atmospheric locales and unconventional formats. “We just want to celebrate Hood By Air in the men’s market,” said Oliver. “When people are reviewing it against something that is very tailored, it feels weird . . . we’re not competing with them.”

So what are these January and July shows all about for Oliver? Research and development, it seems; he talked about the garments acting as the reference for the show to be staged in September, also acknowledging the very real business behind this creativity—that these clothes will drop earlier, satisfying retailers with an advance delivery. Almost like a Hood By Air recollection then, although the ingenious complexity of Oliver’s work couldn’t be further from bland commercialism. There’s something unsettling about what Oliver shows, often with implications of violence in the slicing, mutilated pieces distorting perceptions of the body within. But he saw these looks as a kind of “positive utilitarianism,” also linking to the military theme that ran through the season. Although Oliver’s utility wound up in hospital garb: Rather than garments slicing apart the body in attack, the outfits were centered around healing, with their trusses, bandages, and even built-in leg braces. What was bandage and what was bondage? The contrast between flesh strapped for pleasure and flesh strapped to cure pain was never quite clear. Oliver said these spaces were about relaxation, about a relaxed attitude to sexuality, and an ease with the body. It wound up like a Netflix-and-chill session watching The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, helped by a decibel-shattering soundtrack. It was uncomfortable, but it also pushed us out of our comfort zone.

What Oliver does is exciting because it speaks to people. His fashion seems progressive, difficult even, due to its odd proportions and strange slogans. Do you know where your children are read one, mimicking scare mongering that preoccupied previous generations and hasn’t entirely been shaken off by our own. These clothes are arresting because they’re a product of our times, of a designer plugged into groundswell movements in culture, rejecting the hierarchy and elitism and creating something that resonates. It also satisfies fashion critics who want to be excited, annoyed, and generally provoked by clothes that challenge. Which means that you don’t mind being crammed into a sweaty bathhouse and barely glimpsing fabric and flesh in the gloom. It’s an experience—inconvenient, but interesting.

At least it feels like Oliver is trying to say something new, to find his own voice rather than join the conversation about the tired language of luxury. That doesn’t even feel relevant when you’re talking about these clothes. They’re something else. And in a world where otherness is rapidly co-opted by a voracious fashion system and forced into its pigeonholes, Hood By Air’s steadfast refusal to kowtow to the system is worthy of plaudits.

Source: Vogue.com.
Text: Alexander Fury, Vogue.com.
All images belongs to the respective artist and management.

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Vetements Spring 2017 Ready To Wear, Couture Season Fall 2016, Paris

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Vetements Spring 2017 Ready To Wear, Couture Season Fall 2016, Paris

The Gvasalia brothers, Demna, the designer, and Guram, the business brains behind the Vetements phenomenon, pulled off a coup for the fashion credibility of Paris with a show in the Galeries Lafayette tonight. On many levels, it was an event which satirically contravened half a dozen arcane regulations of what is supposed to be the correct way for a label to operate. It was a collection made entirely with other brands, including Brioni, Schott, Levi’s, Comme des Garçons Shirt, Reebok, Canada Goose, Dr. Martens, Alpha Industries, Eastpak, Lucchesse, and Manolo Blahnik. It was both women’s and menswear, and it was magnanimously welcomed by the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture as the big ta-da opener of couture week. Yet it was so far from being traditional haute couture that it was shown, cheekily, in a department store—during regular hours, at that.

Twisting the conventions in terms of pre-existing generic garments—hoodies, trench coats, bomber jackets, jeans—is always Demna Gvasalia’s thing, and this was just one giant logical step further along that path. “We thought we’d go straight to the brands who make all these things best, and ask to do something in our way with each one,” he said. “The people who work at Vetements don’t really wear designer fashion—a lot of these are the labels they wear all the time.” The brands, from Mackintosh in Scotland to Lucchesse cowboy boot manufacturers in Texas, were approached by his CEO brother who set the legal and logistical negotiations to do with manufacturing, joint labelling, and selling. The clothes will mostly be made by the individual brands’ own specialist factories. “I’m explaining it to retailers that this is not one collection, but 18, which they will receive in different drops throughout the season.”

The “best in category” collaborations went to a couple of high-level places as well. One was the classic Italian tailoring company Brioni, who agreed to Vetements’s sacrilegious processes of gigantic oversizing, unpressed seams, and fusing linings to cloth with glue. Another was Manolo Blahnik, who was game for going all the way with exaggerating his duchess satin stiletto boots for them. “We’ve done thigh-high, so we asked, could you go waist-high this time for us?” Demna noted. He was also happy to add a personal touch to the Vetements collab by autographing his classic satin pumps in bleach. More difficult, said Guram, was winning permission from Levi’s to have an embossed Vetements stamp on its label: “This has never been allowed before in its history!”

Still: It was drive and the energy with which this collection of collections came together that actually mattered, and especially at the end, when it moved into innovative high fashion gear with Vetements first real dealings with eveningwear. There was a brilliantly subversive “couture” collab with Juicy Couture, using its signature stretch velvet in skin-tight catsuits and incendiarily sexy long skirts, which are slit all the way up to the bottom and are kept on with an internal thong. Finally, there was a series of chic asymmetric dresses in slinky ’70s jersey or chiffon, and then Lotta Volkova Adam, ending the show in this Winter’s new Vetements floral dress, this time with blue flowers on a white background. That, laughed Demna Gvasalia, was “a collaboration with ourselves!”

Source: Vogue.com.
Text: Sarah Mower, Vogue.com.
All images belongs to the respective artist and management.

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Raf Simons Menswear Spring 2017, Florence

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Raf Simons Menswear Spring 2017, Florence

Earlier this year, the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation contacted Raf Simons. They asked if he’d like to work with them on something. He said yes. That’s the shorthand version of the story behind the collection he presented at Pitti Immagine Uomo, perfectly chimed with a duo of Mapplethorpe exhibitions at LACMA and the Getty Museum, and the HBO documentary subtitled Look at the Pictures. It was the right time. And Simons is a Mapplethorpe fan, so it was the right artist. “I was honored,” Simons said after his show, his voice vibrating with emotion. Hence he shelved the idea he was working on for a collection (he wouldn’t reveal what it was; it may, he said, come out in a later show) and began his latest artist collaboration.

Normally, when Simons works with an artist, he approaches them. This time, the dynamic had somewhat shifted. The generosity of the Mapplethorpe Foundation’s offer is reflected in the generosity of Simons’s interpretation: There’s no outfit in Simons’s Spring 2017 show that doesn’t feature a photographic print of a Mapplethorpe. His curly-haired male models, with seductively slanted leather biker caps, often bore a striking resemblance to the photographer himself—though Simons stated that, rather than the artist’s doppelgängers, “every boy is a representation of a piece of work.” Each could be a Mapplethorpe sitter. The billowing shirts had shades of Mapplethorpe’s famous muse Patti Smith on her Horses album cover. Robert Sherman, a model whose alopecia made his skin approximate marble in his many portraits shot by Mapplethorpe, also attended the show. Simons had to clear third-party rights with all the sitters before reproducing their images. It began a dialogue that resulted in an immersion on Simons’s part in Mapplethorpe’s work.

That being said, the artist sat for himself a lot. Mapplethorpe was a fascinating character, and the art is inextricable from the man. “If you think about the work, it is so much about him,” said Simons, and, indeed, it was so much about the clothes he wore, too. On a voyage of sexual self-discovery, many of Mapplethorpe’s first pictures were Polaroid self-portraits, trussed up in leather gear, testing the limits of pleasure and pain. Later, he documented his own sexual fetishes; the leather scene and BDSM predominantly. Clothing was a vital component: At one point, Mapplethorpe began stretching his own (worn) underwear across wooden frames to form unconventional sculptures; later, he clad himself in black leather.

Simons knows all of that. Hence the fact his homage to Mapplethorpe felt so thoroughly rounded, so passionate and truthful. The subtlety of Simons’s multiple references gave the show depth—his palette of black; white; the bruised-flesh shades of crimson, pink, and purple; and the burgundy of coagulated blood; the leather dungarees glinting with metallic buckles. Simons spent two afternoons pawing through the Mapplethorpe archives of contact sheets. He struggled with the English terminology to describe those: He called them “maps,” which is a far more interesting and evocative notion when applied to Simons’s search, to find new territory for Mapplethorpe, to make him feel relevant and exciting to a new generation. That’s what he saw his role as.

I’m a Mapplethorpe fan too. I couldn’t help but ally this show to Mapplethorpe’s fascination with frames, with giving his imagery a three-dimensional element, a sculptural quality by framing and matting in plush velvets and exotic woods, attaching imagery to objects. Making his photographs more than they may first appear. Simons framed Mapplethorpe’s images with cloth, but then further framed them on the body: an image printed on a tabard, say, surmounted by the curtains of jacket lapels, or revealed on a T-shirt under a loosely draped sweater. Simons gravitated towards Mapplethorpe’s sexualized images of flowers, his idealized portraits of famous subjects like Debbie Harry, caught in coronas of light, and of artists whom Simons also shares an admiration for, like Alice Neel, captured a week or so before her death in an extraordinary 1984 portrait. Sex was in there, too; Simons was insistent on that. A down-stuffed jacket memorably turned to reveal an image of an erect phallus.

He also used the phrase “curation” to describe this show: “I wanted to approach it like a museum show, or a gallery show. Which has been done very often when it comes to Mapplethorpe’s work. Cindy Sherman did it, David Hockney did it. But always in a gallery.” Simons frowned. “I am a fashion designer. I thought the biggest challenge would be to do it in my own environment.”

The curatorial aspect made for a fascinating notion, especially in a time when so many designers appropriate and reference without credit—and when so many people throw around the verb “curate.” It’s indicative of Simons’s nature—respectful, quiet, intellectually hefty—that he saw this collection not as his creations with Mapplethorpe’s imagery tacked on, but as a collaboration akin to a gallery show, where his role was, at least in part, to best showcase the works he was given. But it was also to use those works to tell a new, exciting, and provocative story. To show us something new from the well known, and much seen, archives of Mapplethorpe. Which he undoubtedly did.

Source: Vogue.com.
Text: Alexander Fury, Vogue.com.
All images belongs to the respective artist and management.

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Gosha Rubchinskiy Menswear Spring 2017 Florence

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Gosha Rubchinskiy Menswear Spring 2017, Florence

A change of scenery, a change of pace. The menswear designer invited by Pitti Immagine to stage a show in Florence for Spring 2017 is Gosha Rubchinskiy. Moscow born, based, and somewhat obsessed, his collections thus far have unraveled his Soviet identity, nostalgically harking back to the time before the curtain fell, and immediately after. He’s offered branded sportswear like ersatz ’80s Russian Olympic gear, and reclamations of teenage clubbing attire from the mid-’90s. What would Gosha do in Italy, though?

Firstly, he found “the only Soviet-looking building in Florence,” to borrow the words of his stylist Lotta Volkova—a tobacco factory in the high rationalist style, built in the ’30s and abandoned 15 years ago. Most of the building was derelict, the show staged in a courtyard bordered by stained concrete and smashed windows. It also provided the backdrop for a short film by Renata Litvinova—Rubchinskiy and Volkova also featured. The film was dedicated “To Pier Paolo.”

Pasolini was the key inspiration for Rubchinskiy—the life and death of the man himself, as well as his creative output. He was a communist, for one, which no doubt appealed to Rubchinskiy’s Eastern Bloc fascinations (then again, so was Miuccia Prada). The sly undercurrent of sexuality that is so often evident in Rubchinskiy shows was here more explicit: The first model, bare-chested beneath a loose-cut pinstripe suit, could stand in for Pasolini’s teenage lover Ninetto Davoli, or Pino Pelosi, the 17-year-old hustler who confessed to his murder in 1975.

If Rubchinskiy has referenced generations of Soviet youths in seasons past, these Italian ragazzi felt tied intrinsically to the reality of modern streets Rubchinskiy has contributed heavily to—namely, the streetwear-clad legions of contemporary menswear. The designer showcased multiple collaborations with a veritable closet of historically Italian sportswear labels—Fila, Kappa, and Sergio Tacchini. Each iteration, combining classic elements of the brand with Rubchinskiy’s own signature branding, had the feel of black-market counterfeits. Indeed, it was only after the show (upon inspecting labels, and asking the right people the right questions) that you could ascertain if those Canal Street–style sweatshirts with Fila’s serpentine logo and Gosha’s name stitched below in trademark Cyrillic were real or make-believe. Most plumped for the latter camp. More fool them. There was also a hookup with Levi’s to create Gosha-brand denims and corduroy jackets.

More than any of Rubchinskiy’s other collections, this linked to the idea of a wardrobe: sportswear-focused, sure, but aren’t many people’s entire lives geared up to athletic gear? The standouts in Rubchinskiy’s Italian debut were, surprisingly, the tailored pieces, rounding out his guy’s closet, offering his loyal customers something new, and maybe even securing fresh blood. The opening pinstripe, a pair of double-breasted velvet jackets, cut confidently broad of the body and wide in the shoulder, even had a touch of another leading designer to their swaggering shapes. Giorgio Armani. That’s something you never expected of Gosha. It was certainly something he’d never shown before.

Last season, Rubchinskiy cited the end of a cycle, and the beginning of something new. Perhaps that means a move away from his usual stomping ground, both creatively and physically. The shift to Florence seems to have shifted his creativity. It kicked it up a gear.

Source: Vogue.com.
Text: Alexander Fury, Vogue.com.
All images belongs to the respective artist and management.

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Tim Coppens Menswear, Spring 2017, New York

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Tim Coppens Menswear, Spring 2017, New York

Remember clubbing? Do people still do that? You know—roll deep, head to some warehouse where the music is so loud it obliterates all reality, and emerge busted at sunrise to face the city you left behind the night before. That kind of clubbing. Tim Coppens remembers those cockeyed mornings. Their surreal attitude informed his latest collection.

Coppens got at his post-clubbing vibe via a canny mix of sharp geometry and willed ersatz-ness. The geometry was witnessed in the emphasis on grid check and houndstooth, and graphic color-blocking and stripes. The ersatz-ness, meanwhile, was most overt in the collection’s soft shapes, like the blouson bombers for men and women, slouchy trousers and distended shorts and shirtsleeves, but it was also to be found in his clever layered-look outerwear, lightweight coats and anoraks that offered a meticulous reinterpretation of sundry items sloughed over each other willy-nilly. From a purely practical standpoint, the layered-look pieces were a smart proposition—an armored-up, streetwise aesthetic in a format suitable for warm weather.

But Coppens’s most inspired touches here were in his details. There was a lovely poetic quality to the blurred stripe edges on his needle-punched knits, for instance, while his kimono-inspired jet print boasted an intriguing, unexpected tactility, inasmuch as the print had been cut out of the original fabric and re-embossed on houndstooth jackets. These kinds of gestures really captured the tone of bygone comedown mornings—the way the blunt shapes of the streetscape go all watercolor, viewed by bleary eyes; the surprise of sensation returning to dance-numbed extremities. Man, being young was great.

Source: Vogue.com.
Text: Maya Singer, Vogue.com.
All images belongs to the respective artist and management.

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Christopher Kane Fall 2016, Ready To Wear, London

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 Christopher Kane, Ready To Wear, Fall 2016, London

“Our mum used to embarrass us when she picked us up from school wearing one of those plastic rain hats,” said Tammy Kane, Christopher Kane’s sister. The very private world of the Kanes and their memories of growing up outside Glasgow in the ’90s will always inform Christopher Kane’s work. The Kanes suffered the loss of their mother a year ago, so the salute to Christine Kane was there at the beginning of the show, transformed into tied-under-the-chin plastic rain hats—the work of Stephen Jones. But searching for a linear trail of clues to make sense of how Kane processes ideas into clothes is never all that helpful. Briefing a crowd of journalists after the show, the designer spoke about reclusive hoarders, an outsider point of view, somebody living behind her own psychological bars. “She doesn’t know how to get out. She’s stuck.” Kane finds beauty in that manic predicament. “Things are so normal these days,” he shrugged. “So why not think out of the box?”

Really, the thing to watch a Kane show for are the creative fusion points where he produces something we’ve never quite seen before, trophies of fashion that you know on sight you’d urgently like to make your own. To this pair of eyes, that electricity hit halfway through this collection. The section of asymmetrical black tailoring, jackets, and scarves fringed with ostrich feathers in red, green, and faded pink had an off-hand elegance that would cause a mayhem of envy walking into any room. There would be no regrets spending the money on one of these: They had the quality of long-term classics a woman could—yes—hoard in her wardrobe to bring out again and again.

What else? Nearly ten years on from his neon body-con debut collection, which consisted of one tight (in both senses) statement, Kane is backed by Kering and has many commercial categories on the go and to show. The tubular Swarovski sparkle-mesh “bolster” necklaces the Kane siblings made for that original 2006 show continued as lanyards dangling sunglasses, or were whipped into whorls as big glamorous brooches around faceted stones. Crystal-dangling alphabet charms were pinned along necklines and scattered across skirts. A part of the show that involved haberdashery ribbons and scraps of fabric samples was also available in the form of one of Christopher Kane’s zip-top envelope clutches. All these came under the heading of little accessible things young girls can afford to show off with. A new gothic-type “K” logo on a beige sweater also seemed aimed at keeping a young audience engaged, which Kane needs to do to keep his brand hot.

Treading that line between reasonably affordable novelty and luxury is a really tough balancing act now—and obviously, that doesn’t just apply to Christopher Kane. On the elevated side, he can do a gray mink coat now, and the complex party dresses he’s made a name with are just as weirdly sexy—like the ones made from alternating stripes of tan pleather and sheer black lace that started the show. But the pressure to encompass it all, all the time, is a strain for every designer when the whole fashion environment is in upheaval. The underlying narrative of a woman in a disturbed mental state that came through Kane’s show today is easy enough to link with so many of this season’s other creative excursions into surrealism. It’s a mad world out there.

Source: Style.com.
Text: Sarah Mower, Style.com.
All images belongs to the respective artist and management.

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Balenciaga, Ready To Wear, Paris, Fall 2016

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Demna Gvasalia for Balenciaga, Ready To Wear, Paris, Fall 2016

“How do you persuade a woman to wear a two-piece suit who is not the German Chancellor?” asked Demna Gvasalia, who has spent the last six months looking into the Balenciaga archive and methodically thinking through how the essence of Cristóbal Balenciaga can be relevant for a modern woman. Result One, the first look: a gray flannel two-button jacket and a slit pencil skirt, in which the shoulders are slightly curved and set fractionally forward, and the hips minimally padded. “It was the posture and the attitude, and Cristóbal’s way of working with the body I found interesting,” said Gvasalia, while admitting to nerves in the buildup to his debut. “Cristóbal was about the tailoring. I wanted a new way of finding that elegance for today, in a 360-degree way.”

Gvasalia wasn’t just talking about the profile created by the forward-leaning technical cut of the coats and jackets, the whoosh of volume in the fronts of skirts, and the inward-angled stiletto heels. This was a “profiling” in a much bigger sense—a pragmatic, intelligent, sweeping analysis of whole categories of what women might want to wear on a daily basis, if they care about fashion—or, rather, about dressing well. The effect was a surging visual high for women of many ages who saw, among the glittering earrings, taut ski pants, jeweled stilettos, oversize puffers, padded scarves, soberly chic checked sheaths and multi-floral dresses, an inspiringly whole and succinct set of wardrobe desires answered.

“I started by making a list of garments, which is what we do at Vetements. Like the shirt, the coat, the trench coat, the aviator, the floral dress, the sweater. Then we drape—I never do sketches,” said Gvasalia. “And then we ask ourselves: Friends would like to wear it? We asked Eliza, the girl with the glasses, who closed the Vetements show, to open Balenciaga. And she said, ‘Oh, a business suit! I like this!’”

The influential Vetements collective, which is led by Demna and his CEO-brother Guram, has swept fashion over the past 18 months with a reputation based on upgrading streetwear to boiling-point desirability. Gvasalia’s ability to look at a generic garment with new eyes was at work here, too, filtered through the Balenciaga lens. “We saw his amazing opera coats, and then I thought we could do these open, pushed-back necklines with these, like big Helly Hansen jackets—or with the trench coats,” he said. Realistic, useful bad-weather outerwear, with a fashion punch, done and dusted.

The exercise of finding points of cross-reference between a contemporary designer and the storied, often obscure oeuvre of a long-dead designer can often seem forced, sterile, over-academic, even creatively crippling. But in the case of Gvasalia, the surprise element is that he is coming at this task as a grownup who knows his priorities and doesn’t feel the need to over-egg reverence to the house. He laughed that it only struck him that the floral dresses—brilliant “tents” made from collaged scarf prints with sexy flashes of candy-striped legs beneath —were “a little bit Spanish,” as they were draping them. As Vetements watchers will also clock, floral dresses are transfers from last summer’s wildfire hit from the collectives’ label. Here, what started life as an upcycled old tea dress, which also holds memories of folk patterns from the Gvasalias’ native Georgia, has reached its 2016 apotheosis as a high-fashion object of desire.

Gvasalia also approached the vexed task of designing bags with the same method of boosting the ordinary till it becomes extraordinary. (Who needs yet another collection of fancied-up receptacles?) “We just thought they should be useful, so one is based on a toolbox, one is a cycle-bag, and the ones at the end are market bags,” he said. Of course, appropriating “found” objects is the practice set out by a different maestro of fashion, Martin Margiela. As it happened, Linda Loppa, the elegant woman who taught both Margiela and Demna Gvasalia at the Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts, was moving through the crowds of happy women who were pressing backstage after the show. Did she know Gvasalia was destined for success? “He had it already—the precision, the tailoring, and the humility,” she said. “I don’t think I had to teach him anything!” And then she smiled, serenely, speaking for every woman in the place. “I think I’ve found my new label today.”

Source: Style.com.
Text: Sarah Mower, Style.com.
All images belongs to the respective artist and managment.

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Martine Syms, Fact and Trouble, ICA London, Exhibition

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Martine Syms, Fact and Trouble, Lessons I-XXX, 2014, Motivational Text Message and Installation View of Fact and Trouble, 2016

Fact & Trouble is an exhibition by American artist Martine Syms that examines the space between lived  experience and its representation. Syms’s video series Lessons (ongoing), on view at the ICA, is a long, incomplete poem in 180 sections. Each piece is thirty seconds in duration and articulates a lesson from the tradition. One of these lessons is painted on the gallery walls. The videos use the idea of inheritance as a departure point, simulating the private-public unconscious of television shows, advertisements, animated GIFs, police cams, surveillance footage, Vines and other digitally-circulated formats. In the alcove, this abundance of signifiers manifests in an immersive floor-to-ceiling collage. To accompany and expand upon the videos, Syms has created an installation of double-sided photographs and cookies mounted on century stands, a standard workhorse of film production. The exhibition compiles original and found photography, alongside images taken by her father, weaving together familial, cultural, and historical legacies. Fact & Trouble demonstrates Syms’s multifarious artistic practice which includes video, performance and writing as well as publishing through her imprint Dominica.

Martine Syms (b. 1988) is an artist based in Los Angeles. Her artwork has been exhibited and screened extensively, including recent presentations at Karma International, Bridget Donahue Gallery, the New Museum, Kunsthalle Bern, The Studio Museum in Harlem, Index Stockholm, MOCA Los Angeles and MCA Chicago. She’s lectured at Yale University, SXSW, California Institute of the Arts, University of Chicago, Johns Hopkins University and MoMA PS1, among other venues. Upcoming exhibitions include Made in LA at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, and Manifesta 11 in Zurich, Switzerland.

Source: Magazine Contemporary Culture.
Text: Press Release, ICA London.
All images belongs to the respective artist and managment.

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This is Exile: Diaries of Child Refugees, 2015

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This is Exile Diaries of Child Refugees

Mani Yassir Benchelah, This is Exile: Diaries of Child Refugees, Film stills, 2015

Over the course of a year, Emmy-award-winning director Mani Yassir Benchelah made this intimate portrait of Syrian refugee children forced to flee from the violence of civil war to neighboring Lebanon. The documentary allows the children to tell their stories in their own words capturing the truth of how they deal with loss, hardship and a political consciousness beyond their age.

This Is Exile is an extraordinary intimate portrait of child refugees forced to flee from the violence of Syria’s civil war to neighbouring Lebanon. The documentary tells the stories of the children’s lives in their own words and captures the moving truth of how they deal with loss, hardship and the poignancy of dashed hopes. Their testimony in this film is a beautifully crafted microcosm of the human cost of the ongoing civil war in Syria that has forced over 4 million people to flee; half of whom are children. There is still no end to the war in sight.

While her younger brother fetches water, Aya talks about how a soldier pressured her to provide information about her father. Little Nouredine lived through the siege of Homs and, stuttering, explains how he believes that President Assad’s soldiers are following him everywhere. Thirteen-year-old Layim harbors feelings of vengeance, although he actually likes nothing better than to help people, for example by handing out rations. Nearly all the children look forward to returning home one day, but Fatima, who is disabled, is thriving in Switzerland where she feels fully acknowledged for the first time. Mustafa desperately wants to study, but he has to work for the money his family needs so badly.

Through the prism of their testimony, we gain perspective on the fate of millions of Syrian refugees, half of whom are children.

Source: Arab Film Days Oslo.
Text: International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam.
All images belongs to the respective artist and managment.

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Sarah Abu Abdallah: You Will Never Have Full Custody of Your Life

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Sarah Abu Abdallah, The Salad Zone, 2013, Saudi Automobil, 2012 and Video Still from The Salad Zone, 2013

Sarah Abu Abdallah works primarily with video and film as a medium. She grew up in Qatif, Saudi Arabia has an MFA in Digital Media at the Rhode Island School of Design. Recent participations include include Prospectif Cinema Filter Bubble in Centre Pompidou, Paris, Private Settings in the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, Arab Contemporary in the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark, Migrating Forms in NYC, the Serpentine Galleries 89plus Marathon in London, the 11th Sharjah Biennial 2013, Rhizoma in the 55th Venice biennale 2013. Contributed to Arts and Culture in Transformative Times Festival by ArteEast, NYC and the Moving image panel on Video + Film in Palazzo Grassi, Venice. See her catalogue of work on Vimeo here.

Sarah Abu Abdallah studied art in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia’s more liberal neighbour, making her return to the strictures of life in Saudi Arabia hard. Her film Saudi Automobile tells of her frustration at the ban on women driving. It features a car she found crashed by the side of a road, which she painted pink. ‘This wishful gesture was the only way I could get myself a car,’ she says. “Painting a wrecked car like icing a cake, as if beautifying the exterior would help fix the lack of functionality within the car. This wishful gesture was the only way I could get myself a car – cold comfort for the current impossibility of my dream that I, as an independent person, can drive myself to work one day.”

Saudi Automobil, 2012 depicts Sarah Abu Abdallah painting the shell of a wrecked car with light pink paint, a gesture of defiance against Saudi Arabia’s prohibition on women drivers, which makes mobility the exclusive privilege of men. After sweltering in her abaya under the hot sun, Abdallah finally retreats to the passenger seat, reflecting her place in Saudi society. For the exhibition ‘Soft Power’ Abu Abdallah installed the painted car in the gallery space, further emphasising the limits of her rights to vehicle ownership.

‘I don’t call for extreme freedom,’ she says. ‘But we grow up at a very young age here and the more you grow up the more you realise you will never have full custody of your life.’ Her work, it seems, is Abu Abdallah’s lifeline. She reads about it rapaciously, ordering massive tomes from abroad about abstract expressionism and performance art. ‘Being a woman in Saudi may be really restricting,’ she says, ‘but being a female Saudi artist is very good at the moment. I want to join that wave.’

Sifting through the absolute, the predefined, constructs of anxiety, and the absurdity of the agreed-upon in a time of excess, in her work The Salad Zone, 2013. How does one place one’s coordinates in the physical, metaphysical, and the digital citizenry? It is said that the gravitational forces exerted by the planets affect the circulation of human bodies and emotions as much as they affect the oceans. Youtube and google image search help to assemble an uncomfortable space for a question spanning practices of compulsion and purification. Continuing on a previous question of how in a hyper-connected world, does one place one’s coordinates in the physical, metaphysical, and the digital citizenry.  Sarah Abu Abdallah’s series q-VR, draws a mental collage using the everyday, references to virtual reality and old photos of the artist’s father in his youth to make up a fictional world through images.

In her work The Turbulence of Sea and Blood, 2015, we see disarrayed glimpses of multiple narratives such as that of: familial domestic tensions, a juvenile dream of going to Japan, the tendency to smash TVs in moments of anger, and eating fish. While using scenes from the artist’s surroundings and life in Saudi Arabia, like streets or malls, it never attempts to provide the whole picture, but takes a rhizomatic approach to tell a story of the everyday life.

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Lars Laumann

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Lars Laumann, Season of Migration to the North, 2015, Kari & Knut, 2009-2010 and Duett (Med styrken i vår tro i en sang, i en sang), 2010

The exhibition Kompendium with the Norwegian artist Lars Laumann features a selection of video works from 2006 until today. By filming, editing, and juxtaposing a mix of appropriated materials and subjectively experienced narratives, Laumann creates virtuoso, visual film collages that feature an extensive cast of characters. His collaborations with artists, filmmakers, and musicians clearly influence the final result. The artist seeks inspiration from the margins of pop culture and explores people and phenomena on the outskirts of society. With a global perspective on both pop culture icons and contemporary political events, Laumann sheds light on the more complex forces of our culture.

‘Kompendium’ is small in scale but broad in scope. The span of Lars Laumann’s works takes in the fishing industries in Somalia and Northern Norway; Morrissey conspiracy theories; migrating puffins and marching bands; and Nico’s last days in Ibiza. This survey of his work – the first time much of it has been shown in his native Norway – comprises six films on small screens or monitors in the upstairs exhibition halls of Kunstnernes Hus, while the newest piece, Seasons of Migration to the North (2015), is projected inside a scaffolding rig that fills up a whole ground floor room.

The earliest piece on show is Morrissey Foretelling the Death of Diana (2006), in which Laumann deconstructs the lyrics of The Smiths’ 1985 album Meat is Murder, track by track, to reveal a dizzying litany of references that appear to predict the death of Princess Diana, an analysis that teeters between being convincing and absurd. Five adjacent monitors play the same film, each one spoken in a different language (one for each country where the piece has been shown to date) and each in a conspicuous, regional accent (the English version is spoken in thick Mancunian). Against a looped background refrain by The Smiths, montaged clips from French New Wave, Kitchen Sink Drama or Carry Onfilms obliquely illustrate the monologue’s rollercoaster of incident. Truth and paranoia lie back to back in what is both an homage to Laumann’s own early Smiths obsession, as well as the obscure lines of research facilitated by the internet.

Laumann is attracted to stories that occur on the margins, or even the margins of the margins. His best known work, Berlinmuren(2008), tells the tale of a Swedish woman, Eija-Riita Eklöf Berlinermauer, who is ‘objecto-sexual’ and has fallen in love with and married the Berlin Wall. The outlandish story, narrated in deadpan fashion by the Swedish woman herself, evacuates the Berlin Wall of its usual symbolic political content and meaning: ‘My love for the Berlin Wall has nothing to do with politics’, she says. Without Laumann’s own presence in the film, it’s difficult to determine if the story is real or fabricated, creating an unsettling viewing experience that brings our own prejudices to the fore.

Laumann’s most recent work, Season of Migration to the North, takes on more topical territory. The film is a refugee story, told from the perspective of a young, gay Sudanese asylum-seeker, doubly ostracized through homophobia and Islamophobia. Again, the narration is in the first person – the protagonist Eddie Ismael reads his diary entries from just before his arrest in Khartoum to his departure for Norway, where he was sent to a refugee camp in the North before moving to Oslo. Eddie’s arrest occurs at a fashion show in Khartoum that he helped organize and took part in. The police raided the event, arresting all of ‘the boys who they thought looked gay’ as well as the girls that ‘looked immoral’. Original footage from this fashion show provides the visual backdrop – handsome, barefoot models parade on a carpeted catwalk, styled in casual designer clothes. The work draws its power from the gulf between the benign images and their role in the narrator’s exile. At one point Ismael brings in a historical parallel, mentioning the diaries of Ruth Maier, an Austrian girl who came to Norway as a refugee from World War II, and fell in love with a Norwegian girl. History repeats itself, and the struggles faced by Jewish homosexuals during mid-20th-century fascism now find their echo in the experiences of Muslim homosexuals – minorities within a minority group.

The first-person narration in both of these films is direct and disarming, while the artist’s own presence is reduced to the point of invisibility. Laumann’s works are never documentary as such: the intense identification of artist and subject dissolves critical distance, rendering the relationship between them ambiguous. Voices, scripts and images are often borrowed, while several works are collaborations with artist friends. Just as Morrissey told his own story through a montage of quotes lifted from literature and films, so each of Laumann’s works becomes an inhabitation of others’ lives. ‘My mind and my life are two different things’, says Nico in the film You Can’t Pretend to be Somebody Else – You Already Are (2009–11), in which a trio of transvestites are called upon to perform the story of Nico’s life: ‘My life follows me around.’

Source: Magazine Contemporary Culture.
Text: Kirsty Bell, Frieze Magazine and Press Release, Kunstnernes Hus.
All images belongs to the respective artist and managment.

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Nordeste, 2005 by Juan Diego Solanas

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Nordeste film is a 2005 Argentina-French drama-thriller film directed by Juan Diego Solanas. It was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival. Felix Monti’s widescreen cinematography shows drop-dead views of the misty green countryside that seems to stretch out endlessly.

This is a story about a childless Frenchwoman who travels to a remote region of Argentina in search of a baby to adopt, Nordeste film convincingly brings together the harsh reality themes from new Argentine cinema and a Western style of dramatic storytelling. On his feature directing bow, award-winning short filmmaker Juan Solanas shows a talent for compelling female characters, aided by an impassioned Carole Bouquet in the lead role.

Helene (Bouquet) leads a sales meeting for her pharmaceutical company before traveling to Argentina to adopt a child. Her journey is intercut with the tribulations of Juana (Aymara Rovero), a young single mother living in the Argentine countryside, who ekes out a precarious living for herself and her 13-year-old son Martin (Ignacio Ramon Jimenez).

When Helene’s adoption arrangements fall through in Buenos Aires, she hears about the possibility of finding a child in the country’s poverty-stricken Northeast. Young lawyer Gustavo (Juan Pablo Domench) warns her, however, it will be necessary to cut an illegal deal with child traffickers there.In her desperation, Helene is ready for anything: Much later, however, she will learn this area is infamous for its traffic in children: selling them for adoption, child prostitution or even organ traffic.

Meanwhile, Juana is pregnant again and is being evicted from her hovel. She struggles with the option of giving Martin up for adoption abroad, but she loves him too much to let him go.Inevitably, Helene and Juana meet. Juana has tried to abort her baby and comes to Helene for help. At the same time, Helene is given an opportunity to buy a newborn infant for $45,000. The film shows how cheap children’s lives are to men who have no qualms about what happens to them and has a lot of points to make.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0398664/

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Painting: Max Schmidtlein

Max Schmidtlein

Max Schmidtlein

Max Schmidtlein, Hallo, 2014 and Head and Shoulders, 2015

Max Schmidtlein’s solo exhibition Detox Plus is a highly contemporary painting exhibition. ‘Not another “contemporary” painting show’, you might say. Yet more painting that wants to do everything differently. Painting that acts oh so aware of media issues and its own implication in the mechanisms of both on- and offline circulation – but in the end turns out to be just that: implicated. While these grumbles may be warranted, perhaps this exhibition is different.

Detox Plus not only looks cheap, it is: made, in fact, on a shoe-string budget. Nine works are on view, eight of them almost the same size and similar in appearance. The longish canvases of thin black fabric (bought on sale at Karstadt, apparently) are used sometimes vertically, sometimes horizontally; all are painted using products from the pharmacy chain dm. The only work that’s not a painting is a deceptively real light box bearing the dm logo, installed outside the gallery (dm, as all works from 2015).

The titles of the works are derived from the respective products used in their manufacture, for example Head and Shoulders, the exhibition’s most representational painting. True to its punning title, the work depicts the head and shoulders of a human figure on a black background, while the body for the most part disappears beneath a white, nearly rectangular spot of colour (made of sham­poo and conditioner from the corresponding brand, together with chalk, oil, and acrylic paint). Contrastingly, Balea is almost abstract. The hint of a hand can be made out and one can’t help but search the glittery, slippery-looking splotch for traces of lotions and bath products from the eponymous personal hygiene brand. For Profissimo, a cleaning product from the dm in-store household range was used. The work depicts a kitchen knife and a pack of cigarettes. And in The Beauty Effect, one detects a reclining figure stretching its arms over a head resembling an irregular square on which a mixture of anti-acne cream, essential oils, and perfumed wax has been applied. If you get up close to the canvases, you can even smell the products.

While this might sound like a sequence of cheap one-liners, the target quickly becomes clear. The focus is less the craze for wellness and detox than the current ubiquity of what is largely, ostensibly, conceptual (and for the most part abstract) meta-painting. In other words, the joke works despite the collision of cheap material and cheap concept, not through it. It’s a form of meta-meta-painting, if you like. Perhaps in a similar vein to what the Reena Spaulings pranksters have come up with for their concurrent Later Seascapes show on view at Berlin’s Galerie Neu – four ‘Zombie Formalist’ abstract canvases painted by robot vacuum cleaners. These works, too, are one-liners: a commentary on painting through painting. Whereas by now Reena Spaulings’ project might come across as the self-reflexive one-upmanship of cynical jokes – their subversive aspect lost largely due to the position of power they’ve achieved at the heart of the art establishment – Schmidtlein’s exhibition feels quite different: more the stunt of a mischievous court jester than a grimly nihilistic gesture by the sovereign.

Schmidtlein might make use of the prevailing short-circuit between material and concept, but he intersects it at the formal level by using deliberately sloppy figuration. Rather than a slick, decorative abstraction based on a tired conceptual superstructure – the automatization of a painting process whose insistence on expressivity has long since ceased to be anything more than appearance – here are helpless, sad, ghostly figures that attempt, apparently without much success, to breathe new life into their tired, dirty bodies with cheap synthetic hygiene products. At the same time, and in the midst of all this dreariness, Schmidtlein’s paintings are also far removed from the colourful canvases in which today’s painters have tried to restore figuration through comic form, using googly eyes and cute monsters to poke fun at conveyer-belt abstraction.

Ultimately, Schmidtlein’s show too is a grinning meta-commentary on the ubiquitous genre of conceptual painting. One, however, that doesn’t cynically turn itself into a robo-cleaner messing around with the dirt on the gallery floor, only then to sell that same dirt. Instead these paintings use the mud of a €1.99 face-mask: a kind of fresh-cell therapy in a low-grade drugstore spirit. Lo and behold, beneath it all a young and tender skin actu­ally does appear. What’s the dm slogan that puts it so well? ‘This is where I’m a person, this is where I shop.’ And that’s miles away from painting bots.

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Artist: Carl Mannov, Low Man on the Totem Pole

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Carl Mannov ,Motorcycles and flames 7, 2015 and i’m_too_sad_to_tell_you.fla, 2015

Carl Mannov is a trolley. C-A-R-L-M-A-N-N-O-V. The letters are sprayed in black. Wooden floor. Metal frame. Sturdy wheels. It would be disappointed if merely left with the task of wheeling paintings around. This trolley has other talents. This trolley is able to carry that weight. This trolley makes it possible to remain curious. Whatever object found or made, whatever needing to go somewhere or elsewhere, or whenever missing a seat to sit down for a cigarette and a sense of overview of the studio. The objects going on top, it appears, are always centred. You can tell because the one R and the two Ns are about to get scratched out. It makes the letters appear more or less the same. But there still is no doubt: this trolley is Carl Mannov.

Carl Mannov is a tool. Carl Mannov is a desk with a wheelie chair. Carl Mannov is a graph on a whiteboard. Carl Mannov is a doodle drawing on a post-it note (now crumpled and tossed into the paper basket). An absent-minded rendering of the objects that surround that multi-coloured cube on the office desk but that you don’t have to draw to remember: the coffee cup, the phone, the computer screen, the keycard holder. A lazy line is capturing the icon of incoming mail, a thumbs up, a mobile phone with a smile on its screen. A lazy start to the day starts with water cooler conversations. “Small talk comes from small bones”, if you can trust Ezra Pound. Carl Mannov makes paintings of chitchat.

Carl Mannov is a plinth that is made without the necessary skills, tools and materials at hand. A mosaic of decisions, hesitations and transitions. A crooked line bending around a crooked corner. Carl Mannov is the box that never really fits the floor, whether concrete, tiles, wood or a linoleum cover that should have long since been removed. Carl Mannov tried by painting it grey. Carl Mannov can not change the architecture he is part of. Carl Mannov is the low man on the totem pole.

Carl Mannov (born 1990, Copenhagen) is an MA student of the Oslo National Academy of the Arts. Former exhibitions include “Conflicting Evidence” at 1857, Oslo, “No buddy but our shelves” at Oslo Prosjektrom, Oslo, and “Rambuk” at kazachenko’s apartment, Oslo.

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Sculpture: Zuzanna Czebatu

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Zuzanna Czebatu, Happy-Go-Lucky-No I – III, 2016 and Within Meadows And Rolling Hills, 2016

Zuzanna Czebatul (born in 1986, Miedzyszecz) lives and works in New York. She graduated from the Städelschule, Frankfurt/Main in 2013. She is currently working towards her MFA at Hunter College, New York, as Fulbright Fellow. She is also a recipient of the 2015 SOMA Scholarship, Mexico City. Czebatul works as a sculptor, producing her own materials, and creating works that merge the differentiation between commercial product and artistic production. Her work is influenced by the aesthetics of ancient sculptures, modern forms of display and presentation, as well as the club culture of the 1990s.

“I grew up with rave culture and DJ a little bit today. Clubbing is a density of so much, the epitome of desire, break-out, expression, positioning. The way music leads the crowd in a certain direction, the side effects of reaching borders, the club itself is a place with it’s own set-up of rules: all this is like a micro map of what we’re looking for and it’s diversity. Techno is symptomatic for this, an endless loop suggesting the possibility of salvation kicks for every weekend.”

Working between media and place, Zuzanna Czebatul extends cognitive possibilities and relational aesthetics through the sculptural architectures of her installations. Reconfiguring spatial representations, Czebatul maps environments that read as site-specific studies from an aerial perspective.

“I’ve been always interested in the relationships between recipient and object, their context and the mechanisms of their display. There are hierarchies and power structures but in the end the viewer generates the value which makes all participating elements arbitrary. At the moment I am working on a six meter long plush sculpture in form of an broken obelisk, shattered on the floor. Quite the opposite of concrete and steel— a giant symbol of power, making space for something new in it’s collapse, availing the positive aspects of destruction and ability to see ‘chance’ even in subjective moments of personal failure.”

Czebatul has had solo exhibitions at Gillmeier Rech, Berlin; Opelvillen Rüsselsheim; and 1822-Forum, Frankfurt/Main. Her work has been presented in group exhibitions at Center, Berlin; 1m3, Lausanne; Heidelberger Kunstverein; and Villa Romana, Florence.

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Rosetta, 1999 by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne

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Rosetta is a 1999 French-Belgian film written and directed by the Dardenne brothers. It is about a seventeen-year-old girl (played by Émilie Dequenne) who lives in a trailer park with her alcoholic mother. Trying to survive and to escape her situation, she makes numerous attempts towards securing a job allowing her to move away from the caravan and her dysfunctional mother in order to reach a stable life.

When her probationary employment ends, Rosetta (Émilie Dequenne) causes a violent struggle against her manager and the policemen when she refuses to leave the premises. She returns home to “The Grand Canyon”, the trailer park shared with her alcoholic mother who mends worn clothes for her to sell. Rosetta is also seen laying out traps to catch trout for food. Unable to receive unemployment pay and desperate for work, Rosetta goes around to ask about vacancies until she happens upon a waffle stand. She befriends the worker, Riquet (Fabrizio Rongione), after an inquiry. Rosetta questionably treats her unexplained stomach pains with pain relievers and a hairdryer massaging the area.

Riquet makes an unexpected visit to the trailer park, startling Rosetta. He informs her a coworker was fired and thus she will be able to have a job. Her mother’s promiscuity resulting from alcoholism prompts Rosetta to encourage her to seek a rehabilitation clinic so they can finally have a better life. However, her persistent denial causes her mother to run away. Rosetta decides to stay with Riquet for the night. During the awkward evening, she discovers a waffle iron in his possession. As she lies in bed, she tries to convince herself that her life has started to function normally.

At work, she is replaced after three days by the owner (Olivier Gourmet) because his son failed school, leading to another violent confrontation. Rosetta is moderately pacified when he tells her she will be contacted if an opportunity arises. She begins a new search for employment while keeping Riquet company during work. Riquet falls into the water when he helps Rosetta with her traps. She watches him thrashing in the muddy water and hesitates before helping him out. Later she discovers Riquet has been selling his own waffles during business hours from his offer of an under the table job helping him mix the batter. After some contemplation, she tells the owner. Rosetta looks on as Riquet is thrown out of the stand and is handed his apron. Betrayed and hurt, Riquet chases Rosetta on his moped as she attempts to evade him. Eventually he catches up to her and demands her motive. She states she wanted a job and had no intention of saving him.

Rosetta encounters Riquet as a customer when she begins her first day in his stead. She returns home to find her mother barely conscious and inebriated in front, dragging her inside and putting her to bed. She calls her boss and tells him she will not be at work the next day. She then turn on the gas, and goes to bed, in an attempt to slowly kill herself and her mother. The gas runs out. She goes to the landlord to ask for another one. As she hauls the canister of gas with great difficulty, Riquet on his moped appears to circle around her. Rosetta walks a short distance before collapsing to the ground and cries. Riquet grabs her by the arm to pick her up. She turns around to gaze at him as she slowly regains her composure.

In Belgium the film inspired a new law prohibiting employers from paying teen workers less than the minimum wage and other labor reforms for youth.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0200071/

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Offside, 2006 by Jafar Panahi

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Offside (Persian: آفساید ‎‎) is a 2006 Iranian film directed by Jafar Panahi, about girls who try to watch a World Cup qualifying match but are forbidden by law because of their sex. Female fans are not allowed to enter football stadiums in Iran on the grounds that there will be a high risk of violence or verbal abuse against them.

A girl disguises herself as a boy to go attend the 2006 World Cup qualifying match between Iran and Bahrain. She travels by bus with a group of male fans, some of whom notice her gender, but do not tell anyone. At the stadium, she persuades a reluctant ticket tout to sell her a ticket; he only agrees to do so at an inflated price. The girl tries to slip through security, but she is spotted and arrested. She is put in a holding pen on the stadium roof with several other women who have also been caught; the pen is frustratingly close to a window onto the match, but the women are at the wrong angle to see it.

The women are guarded by several soldiers, all of whom are just doing their national service; one in particular is a country boy from Tabriz who just wants to return to his farm. The soldiers are bored and do not particularly care whether women should be allowed to attend football matches; however, they guard the women carefully for fear of their “chief”, who could come by at any moment. They occasionally give commentary on the match to the women.

One of the younger girls needs to go to the toilet, but of course there is no women’s toilet in the stadium. A soldier is deputed to escort her to the men’s toilet, which he does by an increasingly farcical process: first disguising her face with a poster of a football star, then throwing a number of angry men out of the toilet and blockading any more from entering. During the chaos, the girl escapes into the stadium, although she returns to the holding pen shortly after as she is worried about the soldier from Tabriz getting into trouble.

Part of the way through the second half of the game, the women are bundled into a bus, along with a boy arrested for carrying fireworks, and the soldiers ordered to drive them to the Vice Squad headquarters. As the bus travels through Tehran, the soldier from Tabriz plays the radio commentary on the match as it concludes. Iran defeats Bahrain 1-0 with a goal from Nosrati just after half time and wild celebrations erupt within the bus as the women and the soldiers cheer and sing with joy. The girl whose story began the film is the only one not happy. When asked why, she explains that she is not really interested in football; she wanted to attend the match because a friend of hers was one of seven people killed in a scuffle during the recent Iran-Japan match, and she wanted to see the match in his memory.

The city of Tehran explodes with festivity, and the bus becomes caught in a traffic jam as a spontaneous street party begins. Borrowing seven sparklers from the boy with the fireworks, the women and the soldiers leave the bus and join the party, holding the sparklers above them.

The film was filmed at an actual stadium during a qualifying match for the Iranian National team. Panahi had two separate outcomes to the film depending on the turnout of the match.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0499537/

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Post-Capitalism: The End of Capitalism Has Begun

Without us noticing, we are entering the postcapitalist era. At the heart of further change to come is information technology, new ways of working and the sharing economy. The old ways will take a long while to disappear, but it’s time to be utopian.

he red flags and marching songs of Syriza during the Greek crisis, plus the expectation that the banks would be nationalised, revived briefly a 20th-century dream: the forced destruction of the market from above. For much of the 20th century this was how the left conceived the first stage of an economy beyond capitalism. The force would be applied by the working class, either at the ballot box or on the barricades. The lever would be the state. The opportunity would come through frequent episodes of economic collapse.

Instead over the past 25 years it has been the left’s project that has collapsed. The market destroyed the plan; individualism replaced collectivism and solidarity; the hugely expanded workforce of the world looks like a “proletariat”, but no longer thinks or behaves as it once did.

If you lived through all this, and disliked capitalism, it was traumatic. But in the process technology has created a new route out, which the remnants of the old left – and all other forces influenced by it – have either to embrace or die. Capitalism, it turns out, will not be abolished by forced-march techniques. It will be abolished by creating something more dynamic that exists, at first, almost unseen within the old system, but which will break through, reshaping the economy around new values and behaviours. I call this post capitalism.

As with the end of feudalism 500 years ago, capitalism’s replacement by postcapitalism will be accelerated by external shocks and shaped by the emergence of a new kind of human being. And it has started.

Postcapitalism is possible because of three major changes information technology has brought about in the past 25 years. First, it has reduced the need for work, blurred the edges between work and free time and loosened the relationship between work and wages. The coming wave of automation, currently stalled because our social infrastructure cannot bear the consequences, will hugely diminish the amount of work needed – not just to subsist but to provide a decent life for all.

Second, information is corroding the market’s ability to form prices correctly. That is because markets are based on scarcity while information is abundant. The system’s defence mechanism is to form monopolies – the giant tech companies – on a scale not seen in the past 200 years, yet they cannot last. By building business models and share valuations based on the capture and privatisation of all socially produced information, such firms are constructing a fragile corporate edifice at odds with the most basic need of humanity, which is to use ideas freely.

Third, we’re seeing the spontaneous rise of collaborative production: goods, services and organisations are appearing that no longer respond to the dictates of the market and the managerial hierarchy. The biggest information product in the world – Wikipedia – is made by volunteers for free, abolishing the encyclopedia business and depriving the advertising industry of an estimated $3bn a year in revenue.

Almost unnoticed, in the niches and hollows of the market system, whole swaths of economic life are beginning to move to a different rhythm. Parallel currencies, time banks, cooperatives and self-managed spaces have proliferated, barely noticed by the economics profession, and often as a direct result of the shattering of the old structures in the post-2008 crisis.

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Thomas Tait Spring Summer 2016


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Thomas Tait Spring Summer 2016

Thomas Tait’s show this afternoon was one of those odd outings that don’t seem at first to be up to much, but then accrue in force as the looks accumulate. The impact of Tait’s latest collection generated from the ways the clothes forced your engagement, whether via the play of light on assertive, multicolor crystal embellishment, or the sound made by the jewelry that dangled off of certain pieces, jangling like cat bells. The most intriguing of Tait’s stratagems to command your attention were the porthole-like openings that decorated all manner of his garments—they were like little windows for Peeping Toms to peer through, and the more Tait reiterated the motif, the more you keyed into the collection’s compelling voyeuristic tone. Tait intended that reaction: As he explained backstage after the show, he wanted these clothes to create a sense of “awkward intimacy.” Job done.

Others of Tait’s engaging effects were more subtle. He was playing quite a lot with texture here, notably in his ribbed knits and his terrific jeans, with their patches of super-shiny black patent leather; other looks pulled you in with their wabi-sabi appeal, like the frayed quilted jacket and coat, or a leather A-line skirt made from antique calfskin. Tait also used the skin in his strangest look, a heavy jumpsuit featuring a monumental pattern and exaggerated perforation down the sides. The piece was interesting on its own, but something of an outlier in the context of the rest of the show, which emphasized rather accessible silhouettes. Tait’s stovepipe skinny knit flares, for instance, ought to excite widespread demand. Ditto his ribbed knits, and the cuffed jeans and denim jacket. If Tait’s goal was to create intimacy, he nailed it in those most straightforward looks: The best way to be intimate with clothes, after all, is by wearing them.

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