22/07/2014

Pierre Charpin for Appartement N°50

Designed immediately after the end of Second World War and built between 1947 and 1952, Le Corbusier’s Cité Radieuse in Marseille is an imposing building: 137 meters long, 24 meters wide and 56 meters high, with 18 stories set on massive piloti that can house up to 3000 people. Structured as a rigid architectural grid based on a single, carefully proportioned, apartment unit, Cité Radieuse represents the synthesis of Le Corbusier’s thought, a monument to the Modern Movement and a concrete utopian dream. Unlike many similar large housing units, Cité Radieuse remains popular with its residents, mainly upper middle-class professionals and intellectuals. One of its residents is Jean-Marc Drut. Since 2008, Mr. Drut has asked Jasper Morrison, Erwan and Ronan Boroullec, Konstantin Grcic and now Pierre Charpin to furnish the interior of his n°50 apartment.

Bearing witness to a particularly visionary moment in design history, apartment N°50 sets a challenging background for any object placed within its walls and it is particularly difficult not to draw comparisons between the original Le Corbusier, Charlotte Perriand and Jean Prouvé-designed furniture and its contemporary counterparts. At the same time, it is also difficult to view apartment N°50 as a regular residence, rather than a house-shaped monument. Aware of the building’s significance, Charpin said “For me, it was clear that I didn’t want to propose just an exhibition of my own objects in a famous apartment. I wanted to do some kind of arrangement with my own objects in a way that respected the lives of the owners. The challenge was to be present but not invasive.” Differently from his predecessor Konstantin Grcic, whose choice of punk-zine prints transformed the apartment in a sterile gallery, Charpin opted for a more subtle and homely touch. By mixing limited edition objects, such as his Série Écran vases with industrially produced furniture (Desa table lights, Via shelf, Chaise Empilabile chair, Stump side table), Charpin created a visually rich project – colorful, slightly lived-in and far more authentic – silently acknowledging the apartment’s past – though bold use of colour reminiscent of Le Corbusier’s facade and rich drawings –, and its present everyday use.

Rujana Rebernjak – Images courtesy of Philippe Savoir 
21/07/2014

Style Suggestions: Summer Whites

Nothing says summer like a white on white look and this season it is a trend that has gone from catwalk to the street. Whatever your trajectory, this is your blank canvas to run with.

T-shirt: Rag&Bone, Skirt: Christopher Kane, Sandals: Ancient Greek Sandals, Ring: Maison Martin Margiela

Styling by Vanessa Cocchiaro 

21/07/2014

Germany Divided — Baselitz And His Generation

Following the end of the Second World War, Germany undoubtedly developed into a hotbed of artistic talent. Mainly focussing on meaningful and monumental painting and sculpture, German artists reflected on thorny issues of social change raised throughout the then society. The cultural atmosphere of the period – or rather its Zeitgeist – politically and physically divided by the iron curtain is the starting point of the exhibition currently on view at the British Museum rightly entitled .

Georg Baselitz (b. 1938), Markus Lüpertz (b. 1941), Blinky Palermo (1943-1977), AR Penck (b. 1939), Sigmar Polke (1941-2010) and Gerhard Richter (b. 1932) would all move from East to West Germany both before and after the borders were sealed in 1961. This would mark them as key players of an art grown breathing the collective guilt experienced by German people, while living the contrast between Capitalism of “free” West and Communism of the Soviet bloc – a collective cultural spirit which this exhibition aims to retrace.

90 works produced during the 60s and 70s by six artists, who still remain leaders of contemporary art scene, are exhibited here as evidence of the reaction of an artistic generation to the heaviness of its recent past. Without a common stylistic fil rouge, but united by an authentic spirit of sharing and exchange, along with a taste for large scale and a pronounced expressive fervor, each artist developed his own personal language. Half-composed by works on paper and canvas, the peculiar research made by Baselitz, central figure of this show, focuses on a vibrant, provocative, somehow brutal figuration characterized by strong and stylistically extraordinary gestural acts. The artist, who challenged the powerlessness of a certain kind of abstraction by inverting his paintings upside down, is particularly able in objectifying an artwork. His upside down works allowed him to go beyond the subjects and maintain his artistic approach in a period when more cerebral forms of art like abstraction, minimalism and conceptualism were imposing their rules.

Paraphrasing the curator and art historian Sir Norman Rosenthal “every great artist since the Renaissance who has lived a long time – from Titian to Poussin, from Goya and Turner to Cézanne and then Picasso and Munch – has had to find ways to deal with the need for constant reinvention. After a career of almost 50 years, Baselitz still has the capacity to shock and behave unexpectedly, as he succeeds in being both out of his time and profoundly of it.” 34 of the works on display coming from Count Duerckheim’s prestigious collection, have been generously donated to the British Museum. The exhibition runs through August 31st 2014.

Monica Lombardi – Images courtesy of the British Museum 
18/07/2014

The Future of Swedish Fashion | Part Two

Currently on show at Sven-Harrys museum in Stockholm (running through August 31), “Swedish Fashion: 2000-2015” traces the explosion of Swedish fashion creativity at the turn of the century. Among the authors represented in the exhibition, chosen by a panel of esteemed fashion professionals, are three young designers undoubtedly representing the future of Swedish fashion: Anders Haal, Leonard Kocic and Giorgi Rostiashvili.

After graduating from Beckmans College of Design in 2009, Anders Haal worked for the Swedish fashion designer Ann-Sofie Back, before founding his own brand HAAL in 2013. The first collection, showcased in Paris, featured an elaborate mix of different techniques and influences. Anders Haal, proponent of the line of thought based on reworking simple ideas, keeps the shapes clean, focussing, instead, on unconventional materials and finishes. The young designer aims to develop clothes which make the wearer feel comfortable and free.

Twenty-one-year old Leonard Kocic, despite still being a student at Beckmans College of Design where he will graduate this summer, was already awarded the Bernadotte Art Awards. The young designer, who was born in Serbia and moved to Sweden in 2003, finds his inspiration in abstract thoughts and structures. For his graduation collection, he was influenced by his mother and her look, resulting in a dark, romantic and elegant collection, made of materials like organza and silk.

Giorgi Rostiashvili was born in Georgia and after moving around to different countries such as Russia, Greece and Cyprus settled in Sweden nearly a decade ago. His work is often influenced by thoughtful observation, related to the many moves during his upbringing. Giorgi Rostiashvili’s BA-collection from the Royal Danish Academy, is called SUBSTRATUM and is inspired by the Americanization of Japan and the interesting mix of the two very different cultures. Fused with experimentation on material combinations, attention to details and craftsmanship, Giorgi Rostiashvili’s originality brought him the prestigious Danish Designers’ Nest Show award, confirming his position among young Scandinavian talents.

Hanna Cronsjö 
17/07/2014

The Red Dinosaur

Completed in 1973, the Gallaratese housing block established the name of Aldo Rossi (1931-1997). Situated in a north west suburb of Milan, the bulding is the fifth construction within a larger 440-unit complex designed by Carlo Aymonino, who invited Rossi to design Monte Amiata complex. It comprises five red buildings: twо eight-storie slabs, а long three-stories building, another three-stories slab, аnd аn interconnecting structure grouped around а central area wіth а yellow open-air theater аnd twо smaller triangular plazas. Іt іs sometimes referred tо аs the “Red Dinosaur” іn reference both tо the reddish color оf the buildings аnd the oddity оf theіr design.

According to Rossi, the form was a reference to the galleried ballatoio housing typical of 1920s Milan. The whole building is relentlessly basic and singular in its concept. The flats are arranged between parallel walls above the arcade on two or three floors with deck access. The complexity оf the skyline іs enriched by а number оf passages, decks, elevators, balconies, terraces аnd bridges connecting the buildings wіth each оther аnd providing а great variety оf pedestrian walking paths. Rossi had the idea that buildings should show the passage of time and these columns remind of the famous picture of the architect standing between the columns of the Parthenon on the Acropolis. He was interested in the form of the city and how its monuments gave it identity. For this reason, one of the distinctive element that elevates the bulding to a monument status, is the straight character of the recurrence of the septa: an almost neoclassical colonnade, with a lot of depth and shadow, as if it were an empty shell. Aldo Rossi based his work on formal logic reduction to basic elements of composition. His forms were always essential, coming from archetypical typologies, but overlaid with the imagination of the architect. He argued that buildings should be general in their form and non-specific about their function, because if they last their use will change over time.

Rossi opposes to the generic invention of the primary meaning of archetypal shapes, repetition and spatial value. The project ends here. Nothing more. Functionalism has been overthrown, just form remains. In the inside, a perspectival space, which, unlike the ground level, has no direct but only visual relationship with the surroundings. The inner space is characterized by a matrix field plan, based on the geometry of the facades. It produces a kind of hyper-relational field, capable of accomodating multiple configurations.Due to its significance and architectural correctness, Gallarate today is not just a bedroom community on the outskirts of Milan, but a space of relationships, of urbanity. While it is true that much cement was used, the extensive use of green surfaces, places of intrapersonal relationships and its impressive visual impact, make Gallarate a significant lesson in the history of architecture.

Giulio Ghirardi 
17/07/2014

The War of the Scrunchie

Inevitably, as time goes by, we repeatedly find ourselves talking about those throwback items you have sworn you would never wear again. This time around, the revival item of choice is the scrunchie: that cozy and, if read in a certain way, feminine accessory. Twenty years after its peak moment – how could we forget Madonna wearing an oversized scrunchie in Desperately Seeking Susan back in 1985 – some of the trendiest celebrities, partly supported by the fashion world itself, have brought the scrunchie back to a moment of glory. From Cara Delevingne to Suki Waterhouse, the trend is under our nose.

Taking this story step by step, we cannot but mention the origins of the scrunchie, created in Vancouver in 1984 by Jane Reid who named it “bunch bangle”. Nevertheless, the patent for the scrunchie is equally claimed by Roomy Revson, who called it “scunci”. At the time, the scrunchie was simply part of the cool uniform typical of the decade, usually paired with high waisted jeans, white socks, tennis shoes and oversized jumpers – the same we now buy at vintage stores and flea markets.

Equally loved and loathed, the scrunchie remains a tricky fashion accessory, meaning there’s no middle ground. From the hate camp, we can’t but remember Carry Bradshaw’s “Sex and The City” argument against the scrunchie: “Okay, but here’s the thing. Here’s my crucial point. No women who works at W Magazine and lives on Perry Street would be caught dead at a hip downtown restaurant wearing a scrunchie!” The fact is, even if Rag&Bone proudly ran the scrunchie on their last pre-fall lookbook, following the path of both traditional (Missoni) and fresh (Ashish) aesthetics, we are still asking ourselves which part we would side with.

Francesca Crippa 
16/07/2014

Through the Lens of Sophia Aerts

How, when and why did you decide to work in photography?
For as long as I can remember I have been fascinated by photography. Growing up I used to play with my parents’ cameras a lot and at some point I decided to study fashion photography – I don’t think I ever considered anything else.

What influences your work?
I think it is all about the places I visit and the people I meet.

How do you approach your work – how and why do you choose your subjects?
Photography enables me to discover and learn about others and myself. Nature, the people around me and my travels are my main inspiration. I look for natural beauty, innocence and personality. I love it when someone is not fussed and has an interesting personality that shows in the pictures.

Being a young photographer in our times can be pretty hard. What do you think is most important in tracing the right path?
To create what you believe in. I also think it’s really important to discuss your work with others – friends, colleagues, people in the industry – in order to get lots of feedback.

What are you doing when you are not shooting? What excites you at the moment?
I enjoy travelling, cycling around, meeting up with friends, watching films and cooking a lot.
Lately I’ve been meeting a lot of new faces and it is great to see these young girls’ enthusiasm. There is so much talent around!

Interview by Agota Lukyte – Images courtesy of Sophia Aerts 
16/07/2014

The Ford Model

Twiggy, Grace Jones, Ali MacGraw, Lauren Hutton, Kim Basinger and Beverly Johnson all have one thing in common: they were all discovered by the genious Eileen Ford, co-founder of the Ford Modeling Agency.As the only daughter of Loretta and Nathaniel Otte, Eileen Ford had an idyllic childhood. In her own words her family believed she could do no wrong, often citing it as a reason for her high confidence. Early in her life Ford would become fascinated with fashion, clothes and etiquette, but at the time could not see her passion as a stepping stone to her future career. Instead, she attended Bernard College from which she attained a degree in psychology. In college, she met her future husband and business partner Jerry Ford and started to model a bit herself.

During WWII Eileen Ford returned to New York and started working as a stylist for Sears catalogs, gaining a key sense of style. In 1946, with a baby on the way, she thought her and her husband could use some extra money so she started to work as a secretary for some of her model friends, thus, unexpectedly, giving birth to Ford modeling agency. The agency quickly became popular, offering services that no other agency before Ford had, including clothing advice and career planning. Eileen Ford is remembered as being very firm, yet at the same time, nurturing and encouraging, always taking a stand for her models’ best interest. Many remember her inviting her protégées to live with her at her New York apartment, where she would give lessons in etiquette and advice on how to adjust to the city’s fast pace. Last week Eileen Ford passed away at the age of 92. She leaves behind a legacy of modernizing the modeling industry into what it is today. Empowering models and elevating their status from just a pretty face into something more. For this and so much more including guts and perseverance Eileen Ford will be remembered and admired.

Victoria Edman 
15/07/2014

DESTE Fashion Collection: 1 to 8

As it happens, museums, galleries and exhibiting spaces in general dedicate ever more often part of their annual program to the history, industry and culture of fashion. Not by chance, institutions like the Metropolitan Museum in New York and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London have recently dedicated much of their time and energy in developing major fashion shows – met with equally great acclaim both by the critics and the public. Fashion has, indeed, become the very last form of cultural business.

Fashion curation is an emerging and flourishing field, an area of rapid growth in museums worldwide, which sees in viewers’ emotional engagement the key of its peaking popularity. But, when fashion crosses the boundaries of the art world, one main ontological question must arise: how should fashion be displayed within an art museum? An intelligent answer comes from DESTE Foundation, with its recent exhibition titled “DESTE FASHION COLLECTION: 1 TO 8” occupying the Benaki Museum in downtown Athens (on view through October 12, 2014).

Since 2007, DESTE Foundation has been conducting research on the meaning of fashion today, seeking the contribution of contemporary artists, architects and creative minds on the critical discourse around this fast-paced discipline. It is an incremental, evolving and potentially open-ended project whose main goal is to test and stretch the boundaries between art and fashion in an innovative and experimental way. Each year an artist is offered the opportunity to build a capsule collection for the Foundation’s archive and to freely re-interpret it through the means of art, graphic design, cinema, architecture, publishing or fashion itself. The project’s first edition was curated by the Paris-based graphic design duo M/M Paris, followed by photographer Juergen Teller (2008), fashion designer Helmut Lang (2009), writer Patrizia Cavalli (2010), artist Charles Ray (2011), film director Athina Rachel Tsangari (2012), architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro (2013) and photographer Maria Papadimitriou (2014). Next year will be the turn of Sonic Youth’s front-woman Kim Gordon.

This year’s exhibition assembled the first eight years of fashion experiments conducted by the DESTE Foundation in an original display designed by architects Mark Wasiuta and Adam M. Bandler, both professors at Columbia University in New York, and respectively director and curator of the school’s gallery. Through a visually catchy, but at the same time very rigorous system of moving chain walls, the installation itself reflected on the idea of fluid boundaries between disciplines, with fashion and art constantly penetrating each other’s territories.

The curatorial apparatus highlights unexpected relationships: on one hand, it revealed the differences and tensions between two disciplines by examining them separately; on the other it inscribed them within the same cultural domain. In fact, navigating through the exhibition display and its dissolving rooms – rather than limiting themselves to passive admiration of displayed objects – the viewers were asked to force themselves to reveal the cultural interpretations hidden behind each single fashion piece, rediscovering it as an original artist’s work.

Tommaso Speretta – Images courtesy of Matthew Monteith 
15/07/2014

Don’t Stop Now: Fashion Photography Next

Fashion and art, art and fashion: that’s an ever more common binomial, which keeps on offering challenging starting points for the synthesis of new visions and important contexts where different artistic experiences can coexist and dialogue. We are all used to hearing about fashion designers and brands that choose to get involved in the art world as collectors or founders and supporters of international art projects and venues; and it’s not unusual to learn of artists who put their creativity to use in collaborations for capsule collections and special edition products. The mutual and magnetic attraction between these two cosmos has existed for years, but what makes the contemporary cultural sharing really fruitful is the increasing recognition of fashion photographers, who are able to go beyond the boundaries of their fields, interpreting the urgencies of a market while maintaining a distinguishable artistic language.

Don’t Stop Now: Fashion Photography Next exhibition, arranged and co-curated by Foam and guest curator Magdalene Keaney, seems to take to stock of this situation, starting from a simple, but not always taken for grant fact: “fashion photographers are first and foremost photographers”. Fashion is always there, but it is showed in its different aspects, revealing different sceneries and subcultures, which have less to do with superficial slicks. As stated by the promoters of the show, there is a new generation of young photographers, which grew up absorbing the work of Mario Testino, Steven Meisel, Jürgen Teller or Wolfgang Tillmans, becoming, by now, undisputed talents, present in many exhibitions, fairs and art publications all over the world.

This new wave of artists follows a singular stylistic path and is, at the same time, able to stress the individual peculiarities of their work, wisely combining tradition and new technological tools. Analogue and digital confront each other, representing diverse devices to develop ideas and keep moments alive. Framed photographs, collages, polaroids, photo installations, videos and books featuring still lifes, landscapes and portraits are made to last more than a single magazine issue. The romantic and dark shots of Julia Hetta, young urban style depicted by Tyrone Lebon, formal neatness of Hanna Putz and genuine and ironic, somehow punk, always cool images by Tung Walsh and Ruvan Wijesooriya (among the others) will be on view at Foam museum in Amsterdam until September 7th. If you are around, even if you are not a fashion addict, don’t miss it.

Monica Lombardi – Images courtesy of Foam