Archive for October, 2011

We Found Joy!

Sunday, October 30th, 2011

The latest fashion film titled Deep In the City by Director’s Luca Finotti and Mariano Vivanco for Diane Pernet’s ASVOFF.

The fashion film, is a dream about the night .the night world meets the world of fashion. statuesqu beauties of the night, and personalities come together in a fast-paced colorful, glamorous and fun. the naked bodies are mixed with haute couture dress, antique chic mix of new visual languages , to relive the night of the big New York party, so fast you’d never end.

‘Poses’

Sunday, October 30th, 2011

“Poses” is an artistic observation and criticism of the absurd and artificial world of glamor and fashion magazines, particularly the distorted image of women in fashion magazines that do not represent real women.

Using the impossible positions of fashion editorials, a group of real women to move these poses everyday scenes: the tail of a museum, supermarket or a traffic light, causing the reaction of the audience.”

This is a humorous film by Yolanda Dominguez but while the industry is held to account, one does have to wonder if fashion photogrpahy has a duty to portray realism, a question that is muddied by the use of real women and the quest for diversity in female representation.

faceCULTURE

The Alien and the Natural

Saturday, October 29th, 2011

Roy Brown’s recent series of drawings represents the feminine in the masculine/feminine divide, regular motif’s that can be found in his work. This is where fluid and soft pencil strokes form faces of an entirely different feel to the willow masks previously shown on this blog, yet these are equally as intricate. As opposed to building upon the face, in this work Brown strips down our visual expectations and beyond skin to expose the maze of muscle beneath, the influence of the physicality of nature beginning to appear more like an entangled network of vegetation. One can easily be put in mind of science fiction creatures represented in The Quatermass Xperiment (1955), and DC Comics creation ‘Swamp Thing’, which makes more than a nod to the constructed bodily representations of ‘Mother Nature’, Gaia and folkloric references to the Green Man. Looking at Brown’s inspiration there is an awareness of hidden ritual and the purposeful use of a masks, physical or metaphorical, to allow a separate channel in our lives. In any case it is a well formed exploration of the unification between alien and natural, the future and the past.

Keiron LeVine

 

No pain, no gain…

Saturday, October 29th, 2011

As stunning as the catwalk collection for Louis Vuiton Spring 2012 was, one could only gasp in awe when the attention focused on the footwear. This was either a reality check or a very clever poke by the team at the ideal of perfection. For my money, the jury is out.


All images as seen on Style.com.

faceCULTURE.

A drop in the ocean…age as a symbol of diversity

Saturday, October 29th, 2011

This certainly is an engaging video celebrating diversity and how the media has begun to approach envisaging bodies of all ages, gender and physical abilities, however Cindy Joseph is a drop in the ocean. I am also concerned that what we are encouraged to celebrate is how young she looks for her age. What we need is a tide of media images and a more honest approach to the beauty within all aspects of our corporeality.

faceCULTURE

Pinch Me, I’m Dreaming.

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

As of the 14th of September, icon of the avant-garde, designer Walter Van Beirendonck is exhibiting a large scale collection presenting his career to date at the Antwerp Fashion Museum. The title Dream The World Awake is indeed highly appropriate as the collections, silhouettes and garments at first appear chimerical yet the reality of his concerns hit home once the concepts and theories behind  Van Beirendonck’s work are unearthed.  At the heart of his work is an honest interpretation of society viewed through bursts of colour, extraordinary shape and apparent shock tactic. (more…)

D is for Donut

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

A collection of Boo Ritson’s work, showcasing an array of prints, some well known and others rarely seen, has been unveiled at Southampton City Art Gallery in collaboration with Poppy Sebire.  What is immediately striking about the work is how the viewer is thrown into a void between the real and the fake, consequently making it difficult to judge if these portraits are in fact human sitters or simply a representation in the form of painted mannequins. This uncertainty fuels a tension, an almost eerie atmosphere filled with doubt as you gaze upon each image, until you realise that the vast majority are in fact human canvases where Ritson has drenched the models in emulsion paint. This alternative process of paint and painter creates an extra dimension of performance, and with the photography having to take place before the paint dries, decisions must be made swiftly. Though of course the heavy layers of emulsion are a distraction from the reality, the smudges and imperfections they create reflect an honest perception of human nature while simultaneously presenting a vision of how we build up fake ideals and gloss over the natural, or the indeed the truth. A similar approach can be seen in the recent Lernert & Sander: Natural Beauty post, suggesting that the questions raised over the real and the natural is placing the body as spectacle once more within an arena for debate.

Seductively arranged,  highly saturated American iconography and caricatures embodied in works such as ‘The Slot Player’ – 2006 and the sweet fast food sensation of ‘Donut’ – 2007, the show is a rather personal collection that is relative to Ritson herself,  where the suggestion of the uncertainty between what is real and what isn’t is always present.  This intriguing series of prints fixated on American culture can be seen until 2nd January 2012.

Keiron LeVine

‘The Rebel Sell’ has been perfected

Sunday, October 9th, 2011

Touching on themes of the monstrous and grotesque in fashion and Character Culture, the latest SHOWstudio project, Monster Ball, by Nick Knight and Ruth Hogben for Lady Gaga’s world tour, continues to engage in the chanteuse’s themes, exploring the boundaries of style, gender, masquerade, deviance, difference and the human body. However a blog titled Dancing with Machine Guns, made this interesting point…

The “transgressive” tactics employed by Gaga produce what Michel Foucault might call an “incitement to discourse”—igniting blog posts, cultural criticism, theory which effectively produces the image of Gaga and generates value, meaning, and interest in her project while transgression-as-capitalist tactic remains obscured.

There are those that find Gaga enticing myself included, she has a message to promote and has become the mistress of subverting her appearance and femininity, however her record company is also selling us a lot of product. If you choose to listen to her, it comes at a price.

faceCULTURE

Worlds of Wonder

Saturday, October 8th, 2011

The work of Robert Bianchi immediately immerses you in another world, a future world where humanity has been stripped down to its barest form. What we would view as a regular environment is cast aside in favour of a struggle between utopia and dystopia, evoking a sullen atmosphere coinciding with the feel of liberation and evolution. Crowds of the incredibly familiar human body are morphed into structures resembling plant life, towering over other creatures.It is interesting that in this apparent evolution we have become entities of another order, perhaps one that we originally assumed to be less complex. On the other end of the scale, whilst looking at other Bianchi imagery, we can view his world as if through a microscope, relating our bodies to that of the molecular structures which embody life itself. Returning from such a miniature scale, we find ourselves intertwined within triptychs or diptychs of human and orchid, the highly symbolic and synonymous with reproduction. These windows into the world of Robert Bianchi have just been added to the permanent collection of The Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro (The Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro).

Keiron LeVine

 

Starglider

Friday, October 7th, 2011

Contemporary artist Roy Brown recently exhibited a diverse range of highly intriguing work in Kingston’s Toilet Gallery; an artist run space that as the name suggests is a converted public convenience. The gallery sees a high turnover of exhibitions with Brown’s work recently taking residency this September, this however does not detract from the impact of his creations. Highly appropriate, considering the exhibition space, is the strong gender divide that is found in Brown’s work; on the one hand you see elegant hand drawn images with a subtly soft yet powerful use of colour and on the other, a series of structural willow masks that would not be out of place in a Bulgarian ‘Kukeri’ masquerade. The masks themselves are formed from willow so of course we are put in mind of the age old correlation between man and nature, in particular the tribal and the shamanistic.  And though we as humans develop further and further it is true to say that this natural influence is closer than sometimes realised to act as a constant source of inspiration. In the same way that we as cultures, tribes, individuals and artists are drawn to such earthly materials it is interesting to mention how the willow had a similarly alluring affect on Brown’s pet cat Rufus, tempted by the scent of this organic material as the masks were constructed.

When it comes to the term ‘mask’,  words such as protection, performance, ceremony and disguise are all attributed to these inanimate constructs that sit upon the face. a notion that Brown so poignantly explores. This desire to transform our very being into an alien life form is enduring and though we may not always call upon such blatantly natural material, it will of course continue. This is signified in Brown’s work by a simple nod to the future in the form of rather clinical attire, carrying a heavy contrast with the willow sculptures, while the imagery appears as deeply connected with tribal ritual as it is to science fiction.  To combine these apparent opposites is to form a solid point about human nature in that our evolution as a entity can’t escape our desire, and even need, for altering our current form.

Keiron LeVine