Art Digest (December 14—20)

By Dezember 20, 2020 No Comments

Julia Kryshevich

Art Digest (December 14—20)

You know, aside from the tech field, I don’t think anything substantially new can be ever created. Ideas migrate from century to century, popping up in the most vivid minds — they lay low for a while and re-emerge in a slightly different form. However, this is not to say, the creative process has lost its virtue. Today we need creativity more than ever as long as it’s smart and transcendent. Under smart creativity I mean projects and initiatives aimed at finding decisions in some other untraditional way (a new holiday community by the Tehran bureau ZAV Architects might be a good example of that). Well, transcendent is about pushing the boundaries, mingling various fields, thus, coming up with a unique language. Dutch National Ballet in collaboration with fashion designer Iris Van Herpen seemed to have found one… Find out more on these and other ‘new old’ projects in this week’s Art Digest! 

D A N C E 

Iris Van Herpen x Dutch National Ballet present a stunning collaboration 

Fusing dance with haute couture, immersing the human body into the world of nature… That’s the way the new piece by Dutch National Ballet called Biomimicry looks and feels like. Just imagine the most exquisite dancer JingJing Mao (one of the Ballet grand sujets, by the way) swaying and balancing on the waves of ethereal music. Her body, so strong and vulnerable, is covered with translucent flying dresses that don’t only outline the dancer’s body curves and movements but also mimic the desert backdrop.

Instead of splashing words it’s better to see the film, though. Meanwhile, here is what you might like to hear about the Biomimicry collaboration. Since 2017 the Chinese-born JingJing Mao performs solo roles on stage of Dutch National Ballet. She joined the theatre in 2010, following her dancing practice in Beijing, which the dancer embarked on at the tender age of 9. JingJing’s piece for Biomimicry was staged by Juanjo Arqués, Dutch National Ballet choreographer and young creative associate. If you enjoyed the enveloping dichotomous sound, bear in mind the names of the composers — Thijs de Vlieger, member of Noisia electronic music collective, and Lavinia Meijer, Carnegie-Hall spotted harpist. Last but very important, it’s the Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen who created the looks for JingJing Mao’s lead. Invincible in merging haute couture with a high-tech approach, van Herpen loves foreshadowing the future (and she certainly knows how to mimic it).  


Discover new YSL SS 2021 collection by Anthony Vacarello 

Serving as the YSL creative director since 2016, Anthony Vaccarello never really tried to alter the brand’s course (why should he, if his precursor Hedi Slimane had revitalized Saint Laurent aesthetics enough crystallizing its very essence). Thus, the new YSL Spring 2021 Spring Ready-To-Wear collection rather comes as a small revelation. I mean, late Yves Saint Laurent enjoyed it all in the midst of his design career: flamboyance of colour, unexpected cuts, female sex appeal everything Vacarello has gently followed, including but not limited to. The new fashion show exposes another angle of the brand’s philosophy.

Models walking across the sands of a desert, which is never-ending like time or a dream. Heeled, most parts of their bodies covered (not exposed), black, sandy, ruby palette chosen, soft tangible fabrics. Sure, Yves would accept this 2021 vision, that’s just what the couturier meant, expressing his admiration for black colour or saying: ‘We must never confuse elegance with snobbery’. The YSL woman has been initially thought to be a bit of a chameleon: appealing for those whom she wants to seduce and self-contained for the others. Vaccarello managed to convey the idea, blending it with the zeitgeist. I wanted to speak to the comfort of the ’60s and to the comfort of today’ says the YSL creative director. And we can’t agree more, in times like these it feels ok to slow down a bit (even if you still try walking in high heels). 

P.S. Finding the courage to make a small guess, we see an homage to the person of Yves Saint Laurent in Vacarello’s campaign. While a sandy African desert in the frame refers to Yves’ childhood spent in Morocco, a title in the end of the film ‘I wish you were here’ tributes to the grand couturier himself.

A C T I V I S T   A R T 

Barbara Kruger upholds Polish pro-choice protests with her iconic artwork 

Sometimes the best thing an artwork can do is to tell the truth no matter how harsh it is. Indeed, it’s the most genuine function of art. The thriving activity of the American conceptual artist and feminist Barbara Kruger was mostly left in the past century, which, however, doesn’t prevent her from standing up for what’s right this day. The artist has recently entitled Polish activists to create 100 reproductions of her famous work ‘Untitled (Your body is a battleground)’ (1989) and spread them all over the town of Szczecin. 

Kruger’s gesture is meant to support women demonstrating against the new Polish legislation, which imposes severe limitations on female reproductive rights. A big wave of protests taking place in Warsaw and other Polish cities throughout November seemed to have insufficiently affected the authorities minds on this point, thus, it’s been time for an activist art back up. Initially ‘Untitled (Your body is a battleground)’ was created by Barbara Kruger for the pro-choice march, which occurred in Washington DC on April 9, 1989. Back in that year American feminists intended to sign off on the effect of 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that declared abortion legal. In the 90s the protests erupted in Europe (involving posters featuring Kruger’s work). Almost 2 decades later, the story is sadly repeating itself. Well, good news, old methods of combating are usually the best ones, and we can still rely on them. 

A R C H I T E C T U R E 

Coloured domes by ZAV Architects to host Hormuz tourists 

No doubt, architecture attracts tourists, sometimes, in the truest sense of the word. The Tehran-based architecture studio ZAV Architects helped to address the issue of high-priced tourist accommodation on the Iranian island of Hormuz. From now on, Hormuz guests can move into one of the 200 coloured domes overlooking the Persian Gulf. Designed and built by ZAV Architects, the spacial units vary in shape, shade, and size, yet conceptually merging into a single holiday isle community. 

The architectural studio defines the project as a cultural residence, and that rings so true. All placed in the neighborhood, some of the domes are interconnected through smart passages so that one could visit his friends, a café, and a reception desk just by taking a small stroll across the apartment. The accommodation by ZAV Architects outlines the coastal curve of Hormuz and echoes its mountainous terrain, let alone the joyful winking of the domes red, blue, green, and yellow bright shades to the island’s vivid palette.  

P H O T O G R A P H Y 

LensCulture Black & White Awards sums it up 

Many photographers admit, they enjoy shooting in black and white. Is it because of b&w images looking more presentable, concise, or even expensive? Whatever the reason is, black and white photography is certainly worth watching and admiring. LensCulture just hands you such an opportunity in the end of 2020, announcing winners within the monochrome category and showcasing their works.

This year LensCulture Black & White Awards has collected works from 120 countries, selecting 39 best photographers in different nominations. Ranging from some serious documentaries and reports to more casual yet highly introspective self-portraits and street shots, the winners’ works don’t necessarily keep their time reference (b&w can perfectly cover those tracks), however, all of them carry seduction and magic to be rediscovered many years from now. Just like Thea Traff, TIME jury has put it, it’s timeless quality, one of her favorite aspects of good black and white photography, that the contestants effectively achieved this time. All those recognized by the Awards will join the New York show, details of which will be available in the coming year.

On the cover: Hormuz holiday accommodation by ZAV Architects. Photo: Tahmineh Monzavi, Soroush Majidi, Payman Barkhordari / Dezeen