Wednesday 10 December 2014

Weds 10th Dec: Julie Verhoeven: "Whiskers Between My Legs" at The ICA

Yesterday Julie Verhoeven opened the doors to her new exhibition "Whiskers Between My Legs" at The ICA set in the Reading Room Space of the Gallery.  My photos here are zoomed in details of the complete immersive installation which feels like you have perhaps entered a ghost-train grotto dimension of her studio.  Hangers are flung around mid-air as if Faye Dunaway's impersonation of Joan Crawford has ripped thru like a tornado from Mommie Dearest.  Loo roll is unravelled in trails like the Andrex Puppy has fled the Minotaur thru the labyrinth.  These cobwebs of pound shop paraphernalia bind together her beautiful soft sculptures of embroidered, appliqu├ęd, quilted, padded and stuffed props.  Each surface is re-textured with paint, glitter, vinyl or trimming.  When you emerge back out of the catacomb of kaleidoscopic colour you can buy a piece from the ICA shop to sprinkle a dash of the psychedelia into your own home interior (Julie's answer to the scatter cushion "Rainbow Rim" or "Touch Of Rasta" )
Her new fashion film is screened on monitors framed by loo seats, lifting the lid to its latest couture solution since Leigh Bowery's "Alternative Miss World" costume.   The film uses her signature tissue-box style signifiers to question the social status of femininity and how its represented in popular culture.   It looks visually lush and questions perception of taste, especially with the hilarious soundtrack of disco clips and Abba's Voulez Vous................... visit the show before the 18th Jan to get your dose of marvellous medicine to the mainstream. 
Head over to photogher Annie Collinge's site to see her portrait series of Julie here.

Tuesday 9 December 2014

Tuesday 9th Nov: 89:14 – A Street Style Journey

Fashion curator Tory Turk's latest show has focused on A Street Style Journey from 1989 to the present day 2014 at The Londonewcastle Project Space.  "89:14" is an interactive comment on street style featuring outfits styled by a selected group of contributors such as Johnny Langer from Man Like Me who put together one of his signature 90's inspired looks with Reebok Classics and a shirt given to him by DELS.  Here is also the Astrid Andersen look with Clark's Wallabees conceived by Ellar Dror and Skepta's look which he personally came to the gallery to dress on the mannequin himself!  
Alongside this showcase was an installation of a teenager's bedroom for "What We Wore" to be in residency with their new book of primary sourced street style photography.   Here are authors of the people's style history, Nina Manhander and Eve Dawoud with designer NOKI.  
Publications were a theme of the show with a "Pop-Up" Hyman Archive of periodicals such as The Face, DAZED & CONFUSED and NME.  I went down to a special event to see photographer Ewen Spencer giving a talk on his career of infiltrating youth movements to capture the moment on film.  These initial projects for the afore mentioned magazines made him the official photographer of the emerging Garage scene thru to Grime.  He screened his recent retrospective film "Open Mic" and signed copies of his self-published book from the series.  Head over to his site to see more work including his UKG and Brandy & Coke.  

Monday 8 December 2014

Monday 8th December: Algiers Atmosphere

This is a mix bunch of my pictures from Algiers which includes an opening at the Museum of Modern Art .......... a concert of Algerian "Rai" musician Khaled........ followed by a dance in the nightclub under the capital's Independence monument (Maqam Echahid) where Khaled first started his International career by singing on the cabaret circuit.

Monday 8th December: Colour & Craft in Algiers

Amongst the many things that I learnt last week in Algiers was the revelation that my favourite and most-worn rik-rak top is infact a traditional Berber costume from Algeria!!!  It is a top that I made from a dress I hacked apart, purchased 2nd hand from a charity shop in North London!  I wore it on the first day of the workshop and instantly found out it's origin.  Serendipity or what?!!  Here are some examples of that technique from our research trip in the city.

Monday 8th Dec: Teaching Durar with CDA in Algiers

Last week I travelled to Algiers in North Africa to teach at the Fine Art School as part of the CDA initiative which also took me to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia last year.  The non-profit scheme has been set up to promote dialogue between creative sectors in different countries through the development of a new platform dedicated to innovation. "In supporting the creative community, CDA enhances the local culture in envisioning a diverse creative economy that is an integral element of modern society".  For the new project called "Durar" the course started in Algeria and is now continuing on to Tunisia and Morocco.  I started off the scheme with a workshop on "wearable accessories" to inspire the participants in conceiving a piece that combines traditional craft and material but in a new contemporary outcome.  For this we visited local artisans and the historical museum to see the origins of their heritage and talent.  Above you can see some of the students who came together from different regions, cities and even countries to take up the offer of this unique opportunity.  Over the next few weeks they will coordinate with a specialist technician to develop the design from which we will choose a winner to be awarded sponsorship to produce the final article.   To be continued............
Special thanks to The British Council for funding my trip to make this all possible!
Here are my snaps of the beautiful buildings of the fine art school which is set at the top of a mountain overlooking the capital and the bay so the view has the sea meeting the sky above the open courtyard planted with bird-of-paradise flowers, hibiscus and bougainvillea.