Does it feel like Indian summer in the place you’re now? In my place it does: the temperature is slightly above 20 degrees, the sun is shining, and the wind is like a sea breeze (though there are no yachts in sight, just cars on the jammed-up roads). The weather might be playing games with us — why, actually, when it occurs to our benefit… This time positive news only — no cancellations or postponements of the events (hopefully, most of them have been left behind), just openings, inspiring projects, and bombshells. Jump in!
P H O T O G R A P H Y
David Bowie’s friend to reveal his photographs at upcoming exhibition
Who doesn’t know David Bowie: singer, songwriter, and actor, he managed to take over the world with his extraordinary appearance and extravagant looks (the latter rather served as a framing for the former). As a boy (back then he was called by his real name David Robert Jones) he used to make friends with Geoff MacCormack — the future vocalist and composer, better known as Warren Peace. So where am I going with that? It’s Geoff MacCormack, who is opening the next exhibition focused on Bowie’s persona at the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery (Brighton, UK).
Titled as Rock ‘n’ Roll With Me Bowie/MacCormack 1973-76, the upcoming show is set to cover the three-year tour of the two including scenes from the Trans-Siberian Railroad journey and shooting of the The Man Who Fell to Earth. The organizers also promise some intimate shots testifying close friendship between Bowie and MacCormack as well as a short movie on their trip to Moscow in 1973 for the Victory Day parade. The exhibition will last from October 17, 2020 till June 06, 2021, tickets will be available from October 02. Get ready to see a few photographs of David Bowie never made public before (while anticipating the enthralling visit, you can study MacCormack’s rich photo archive on his website).
F A S H I O N
Trans, disabled, and new face of Moschino — meet model Aaron Philip
The story of the 19-year-old Aaron Philip, on the one hand, is not to be envied (the girl was born with cerebral palsy), and yet could be viewed with admiration. In 2018 at the age of 17 Antigua-born Philip signed a contract with Elite Model Management. Since then, being a fine specimen of the minority group (black, disabled, and defying herself as a trans), she was featured in such glossies as British Vogue, Vogue Italia, and Paper Magazine, also modeling for Collina Strada. The young model seems to be conveying the message, which is quite straight and strong:
‘My future plans are to progress in my modelling while celebrating my sense of self and carving a space for my communities in the fashion world’. (Aaron Philip)
And it feels like currently she has a window of opportunity to make her statement. The celebrated Italian brand Moschino has invited Aaron Philip to star in its black-and-white Fall/Winter 2020 campaign. This comes to be the model’s solo major debut in high fashion. Congratulations, Aaron! And good luck, we’re excited about what’s coming next.
C O N T E M P O R A R Y A R T
Urs Fisher’s installation to add fresh light to artworks by Max Ernst and Yves Tanguy
The task: how to represent the art by the acclaimed masters from the past in a new light? The check answer: marry them with a living artist. A mesmerizing postmortal collaboration has been recently presented by the NY-based gallery Nahmad Contemporary. Famous paintings by the 20-century surrealists Max Ernst and Yves Tanguy have been set against a wallpaper installation by Urs Fischer, who is 47 now and lives in Switzerland.
Mysterious foreboding and biomorphic forms appearing in the works by Ernst and Tanguy are perfectly complemented with Urs Fischer’s graffiti-like Gap-toothed City installation, a gloomy portrait of the Big Apple. The desolate and distant New York of today vs the wake of the first World War in Europe — a kind of unexpected intersection of feelings, isn’t it? The SUPERUNKNOWN exhibition will last at Nahmad Contemporary till November, 5. Save the date and set aside some time for a visit!
C I N E M A
Next movie by Wes Anderson to start filming in early 2021
While we are still waiting for The French Dispatch release promised for so long, Wes Anderson is about to start shooting a new film. May it be a follow-up to the unfinished work (which trailer Timothée Chalamet fans would gladly see over again and again) or quite a separate story, is rather unclear: film critics say only that the plot is romantic, the chosen location is Rome, and the casting is already in full swing.
Also some parts of the production are claimed to be live-action with a few stop-motion animated sequences mixed in. Yet having no idea what kind of a Mediterranean love story the legendary filmmaker has in mind, one can’t help but marvel at Anderson’s sense for Italian culture. Just take his short film for Prada called Castello Cavalcanti (produced by Roman Coppola, 2013). Hopefully, this time it won’t take too long to wait — at least, Wes Anderson is reported to begin filming the novelty in spring 2021.
A R T & T E C H
Explore heritage of Sol LeWitt together with new Microsoft app
Sol LeWitt worked as a night receptionist at MoMA first, among his colleagues were Lucy Lippard, Dan Flavin, and Robert Ryman. Not only did he manage to become an artist himself, but also to contribute greatly to the acknowledged breakthrough that happened in the world of arts in the 60s. Father of minimalism and conceptualism, a big creator and thinker, Sol LeWitt’s figure is certainly worth attention — this time Microsoft plays tribute to the great artist announcing a new app on his life and creative biography.
Would you like to take a 360° tour of the artist’s famous studio in Chester? Or, perhaps, you might like the idea of learning more about Sol’s artistic practice, discovering his previously unreleased interviews and coining facts about his works? Whatever you choose, the new Sol LeWitt app developed by Microsoft in collaboration with Sol LeWitt Estate (headed by the artist’s daughter) provides you such an opportunity. If you feel like going for more, try unlocking special content by Microsoft Azure Al. More details are available on the company website.
And don’t forget to subscribe
Coat – Hugo Boss; Shirt – Massimo Dutti; Tie – Canali; Head accessory – Petri Atelier; Jacket – Zara
Dress – Petri Atelier; Head accessory – Petri Atelier
Shoes – Gianvito Rossi; Pantyhose – Pierre Mantoux; Jacket – Petri Atelier; Head accessory – Petri Atelier
Yellow costume – Banana Republic; Head accessory – Petri Atelier
I r i n a R u s i n o v i c h
Hi Lia! Thank you so much for taking time for us!
So please tell a little bit about yourself and your artistic background?
I am a visual artist with German roots, grew up in North Italy and now live and work in London. I studied Fine Art and experimental Film at the Städelschule in Frankfurt, with an Erasmus semester at the École nationale supérieure des beaux-Arts in Paris, before coming to London to complete an MA in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins.
I work with a variety of media, at the moment mainly drawing and moving image, exploring surreal ideas emerging from every day life. Food in its widest sense is the ongoing theme, which informs my work in various ways: from the plant or animal origins to its preparation and consumption…
I am currently working on a new venture called “Spaghettirain”, which are printed homeware inspired by food and the weather…The name comes form one of my drawings, which sparked me to translate my work into new mediums and bring it back directly to where the ideas come from – the home. The shop will be online soon. You can follow Spaghettirain on Instagram to get updates and see the new developments of this project.
Was there a pivotal moment when you decided to follow your passion?
Not really… I grew up in an artistic family, both of my parents are stage and costume designers in theatre and they made it very clear to me, that following your passion is the only way forward… As most young children, I have always really been into drawing/painting, but I thought of “becoming an Artist” of something quite cheesy (I love this expression, the first time I heard it was from Mark Lecky, my professor at Art school in Frankfurt) and somehow a bit pretentious. At first I wanted to become a film director, growing up near the Swiss border I used to obsessively follow the Filmfestival in Locarno. Later I applied to the film class at the Städelschule in Frankfurt as a starting point. The school was very free and open minded, so I was able to experiment with all sorts of things, not just film – and I was hooked – Art gives you the freedom to do whatever you want …
Do you have a routine or rituals as you work?
It depends on the work. Drawing takes up a lot of time and can be quite meditative, so I often listen to the radio, which gives me a good balance of focus and distraction. Music can influence the work and I quite like the randomness of radio.
When I shoot or edit video I need mental space and no interruptions, even though I am open to chance effects, so I sometimes allow things to happen, like a child or cat wander through a scene.
Do you have a favourite photograph or painting, which inspires you?
It’s hard to pin it down to one image, but one image, or rather a series of paintings, which I find incredibly inspiring, especially considering that they have been created more than 400 years ago, are Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s fruit and vegetable Portraits of the Seasons, in particular Summer (1563). I actually love all of his portraits. He also painted a series of the four elements with portraits made out of various fish types to represent water, animals to represent the earth, burning wood for fire and a variety of birds stand for air. They are a bit grotesque and absolutely beautiful at the same time!
What visual references do you draw upon in your work?
All sorts of things, from street art to vintage illustrations of cookbooks from the 50ies to scientific drawings and medieval book illustrations. I always keep an eye out for the unusual. I love the old and the mysterious, so flea markets and antique shops are my thing, as well as visiting old castles and looking at hidden details…
If you could be born in another period of history, when would it be?
I guess I have been brought up fantasising and dreaming about gone by eras due to my parents’ theatre work. I have a weakness for nostalgia and there are only a few things I love more than a costume ball. So my impulsive response would be Rococo… but just for a few weeks if I could time travel…
But I would definitely choose to be born in 1981 J
What is your greatest indulgence in life?
My indulgences are of course food related… they range from the first freshly ground coffee in the morning (without kids!), lazy family brunches on weekends, my husband’s delicious homemade cocktails, to the occasional high tea extravaganzas. The way to my heart is certainly “through the stomach”…
Best advice ever given?
At a studio visit as a student in Frankfurt the artist André Butzer said to me, after looking at a “crazy” installation I had made out of cut off tree parts painted with red nail polish, “Do even more, make everything yours, create a whole world”. He was so motivating and inspiring and that’s what I kept doing with my students whilst teaching, and not just students actually, I think it is really part of live to get inspired and inspire others, to give and take so to speak. So the best advice was to be bold and take risks… and if you can’t always do it yourself for various reasons, inspire others to do it!
She used to roam across the matchstick factory as a child, having left for a world trip with her family at 13. She usually mixes up words (finding herself quite dyslexic) and prefers visual narratives to the verbal ones. An amazing girl coming from a distinctive background, Alma Haser has decided to turn her life into art and magic. Learn more about her cubist, origami-structured works today.
01. From the ‘Cosmic Surgery’ series. Courtesy of the Artist_
Alma Haser was born to a rather creative family of a painter and a sculptor in the Black Forest (Germany). Her parents used to work on the territory of a matchstick factory in turns, thus, Alma and her brother were often on their own, making up and playing games and exploring the world around them. The artist recalls, it was her wild and free childhood that really shaped her.
‘We were very much given the freedom to experiment and use our imagination, which I believe is the bedrock of my practice now.’ (Alma Haser, from the interview with AnOtherMagazine, 2018)
03. From ‘I Always Have To Repeat Myself’ series. Courtesy of the Artist_
04. From ‘I Always Have To Repeat Myself’ series. Courtesy of the Artist_
Alma Haser got acquainted with photography while traveling around the world with her mum and her brother over 6 months (instead of attending middle school in the interim). She didn’t lose much, though. During the trip she tried shooting and modeling (for her mother, who is a keen photographer as well). Alma’s rising interest in the world of visual arts resulted in her entering Nottingham Trent University, where she graduated with a BA (Hons) degree in Photography in Art Practice in 2010. Fairly predictable, the artist tried using Photoshop during her studies, but realized soon, it wasn’t the only (and the best) way to manipulate the picture.
‘I preferred to do things by hand and assemble the picture off screen. It’s not perfect, it’s not crisp and clean, and that’s what I like about it.’ (Alma Haser, from the interview with AnOtherMagazine, 2018)
05. From the ‘Cosmic Surgery’ series. Courtesy of the Artist_
06. From the ‘Cosmic Surgery’ series. Courtesy of the Artist_
Having spent much time experimenting with self-portraiture, Alma liked the idea to bring other people in photograph. Thus, in the majority of her projects the artist focuses on creating multi-layered portraits. In her work Alma Haser combines such craft-related techniques as weaving, folding, cutting, stitching, and painting, finding them surprisingly relevant for contemporary photography.
‘I love making things, so I’ll often add other elements before, during or after taking a picture.’ (Alma Haser, from the interview with Photoworks, 2016)
07. From the ‘Cosmic Surgery’ series. Courtesy of the Artist_
08. From the ‘Cosmic Surgery’ series. Courtesy of the Artist_
Fascinated with Japanese culture and origami, in particular, the artist integrated paper folding into her creative process. For instance, in her debut series Cosmic Surgery Alma transformed parts of the subjects’ faces to place them back with a complicated modular construction. Re-photographing the final composition, Alma Haser received a completely different image, uncanny and futuristic in a way. Interesting enough, it’s the younger generation only, not their parents that the artist exposes to such kind of a metamorphosis. Why so? Here is the answer firsthand:
‘The people in the photographs represent the next generation from us — the ‘alien people’. The mother and father (the first generation) aren’t defaced, but the others (the next generation) are. Cosmic surgery is a playful statement on that.’ (Alma Haser, talking about ‘Cosmic Surgery’ series in the interview with Metal Magazine)
09. From the ‘Cosmic Surgery’ series. Courtesy of the Artist_
10. From the ‘Cosmic Surgery’ series. Courtesy of the Artist_
By the way, the title of the series Cosmic Surgery is a wordplay itself. And not just a play, but a play based on a slip. Alma misspoke the word once while discussing the topic of cosmetic surgery with her parents… and decided to name her project after that! The amazing thing is, Alma Haser managed to find her dyslexia a more useful way, fulfilling her artistic narrative with visual puzzles. Intentionally mixing up elements of the works, each time she arranges a new picture and new meanings.
11. From the ‘Twins’ series. Courtesy of the Artist_
Another series by Alma Haser really worth noticing is Within 15 Minutes, which is puzzle-based in the true sense of the word. To back the story a bit up, Alma has always been amazed by twins — their external identity and closeness to each other. She even devoted one of her prior series to this phenomenon, shooting two girls who, though not being sisters, experienced their made-up affinity posing together.
‘Intrigue and mystery need to be strong. It’s far more interesting to look at a portrait which doesn’t tell you everything all at once.’ (Alma Haser, talking about ‘Within 15 Minutes’ series in the interview with Visura, WPO, 2020)
12. From the ‘Twins’ series. Courtesy of the Artist_
For Within 15 Minutes (a time range during which twins are born) the artist photographed real twins to cut the portraits pictured into puzzles and blend them into each other a bit. Thus, we still have a couple of perfect pictures of twins, but there is something bizarre about each of them: e.g. three nostrils or a narrowed eye on the face. Sounds like an automatically generated image, right? Well, almost — in the series Alma intends to reverse the process of gene transfer, demonstrating how different, actually, twins can be.
13. From the ‘Within 15 Minutes’ series. Courtesy of the Artist_
There is also a project in Alma’s practice that stands out because of the focus suddenly shifted… to plants. In Pseudo the artist refers to plants as a metaphor for the fake, strongly believed to be true. Plants as a distillation of nature yield us a highly authentic experience, however, it’s plants again that people so often try to imitate. Here Alma Haser skillfully draws a link to the way we interpret and respond to information.
‘It relates to the way we hear, read or see things on the news. We tend to cherry-pick things we think we can trust and believe in’.(Alma Haser, talking about ‘Pseudo’ series in the interview with AnOther Magazine, 2018)
Speaking on the whole, Alma Haser is recognized (and loved) for her paper aesthetic, which has something of a gloomy mystery and a bedtime story at once. So contradictory and complex is Alma Haser herself as an artist.
16. From the ‘Pseudo’ series. Courtesy of the Artist_
17. From the ‘Pseudo’ series. Courtesy of the Artist_
18. From the ‘Pseudo’ series. Courtesy of the Artist_
P.S. Obviously, Alma’s projects mentioned above haven’t been left unnoticed — the artist received 3rd place People’s Choice Award for Cosmic Surgery series at the Foto8 Summer Show in 2012. Her Within 15 Minutes series debuted at San Francisco PHOTOFAIRS and was on display at Photo London in 2018. In addition, British Journal of Photography called Alma Haser one of the best graduates in Photography in 2010.
Marigold and French Blue will rule the upcoming New York Fashion Week, Miyazaki works to get inside the museum’s walls, while art by another artist has elicited many controversies… What else is new in the art world this week?
F A S H I O N
Pantone announces colour palette for SS/2021 NY Fashion Week
You’ve probably heard that 2021 colour of the year is Al Aqua. Annually chosen by the Pantone Colour Institute, the shade should capture the spirit of the period as well as set the tone for the world leading couture houses. This time it’s SS/2021 New York Fashion Week that is going to benefit from the Pantone careful pick. The upcoming fashion show definitely won’t do without its main shades: Marigold, Cerulean, Rust, Illuminating, and French Blue, all of which have either been featured on the runways or spotted on celebrities in 2020.
The other principal colours include Green Ash, Burnt Coral, Mint, Amethyst Orchid, and Raspberry Sorbet. The Pantone Institute experts traditionally recommend a few core classics to mix the standout shades with: for instance, Butter Cream or Ultimate Gray. According to the Pantone direction, the colour palette selected for SS/2021 NY Fashion Week is designed to be both relaxing and energetic, so that we all could recharge our batteries and feel some optimism after the challenging times of the pandemic.
C I N E M A
‘Body of Truth’ featuring Marina Abramovic, Shirin Neshat, Sigalit Landau, and Katharina Sieverding released
The film Body of Truth is a very feministic work (in the best sense) both written and directed by Evelyn Schels, who filmed the Georg Baselitz documentary in 2013. The official release date is September 10 (Germany).
The four main characters, performance star Marina Abramovic, film director Shirin Neshat, multimedia artist Sigalit Landau, and self-portrait photographer Katharina Sieverding, who actually play themselves, tell their stories of political confrontation against the war, violence, and suppression. The statements are different as well as the women’s biographies, however, the main weapon is the same: the artists’ own bodies.
‘The mind can lie, the mind can mostly lie, but the body never can lie’ — says Marina Abramovic about the film. Sigalit Landau shares the position, admitting she trusts her body more than her mind. In the film Landau immerses a barbed wire in the salt wire, thus, seeking ways to crystallize her story physically. Shirin Neshat acts more drastically, showing writing on the faces of Iranian women as the only visible part of their skin… and a battlefield for political ideologies. In her turn, the film director Evelyn Schels says no previous knowledge is required to understand the work, it’s all about the emotional perception.
New museum of motion pictures to open with Hayao Miyazaki show
The new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles is to open on April 30 with a fascinating retrospective of the famous Japanese film director Hayao Miyazaki. His animated films, such as My Neighbor Totoro, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Kiki’s Delivery Service will be carefully incorporated into the space of the exhibition.
‘Miyazaki has the talent to combine to create movies that are both entertaining, but if you want to take a closer look, also very meaningful and relevant for our own lives’. (Jessica Niebel, the exhibition curator)
The visitors will have a chance to explore some materials from the production process, including concept drawings and storyboards (that what Miyazaki usually uses instead of a script). The show will also feature 3D installations, which aim at immersing the viewer into the animated worlds of the cartoons. The exhibition is designed as a 7-part journey, so get ready to follow the character’s voice and slip into a daydream. A bit closer to the ground, but still amazing: many works exhibited will leave Japan for the first time and stay in the Museum for about a year because of their fragility.
A R T
Berlin Art Week runs from September 9—13
The major annual cultural event Berlin Art Week organized by Kulturprojekte Berlin fortunately takes place this year. During the 5 days, from September 9—13, visitors will gain a chance to join talks, performances, contemporary art fairs, biennales, and many other appointments (the program is particularly rich). The participating venues are just amazing, take at least, ℅ Berlin, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Nationalgalerie, and Tempelhof Airport.
Since you are there, there are a couple of events definitely not to miss. First, the Berlin Biennial for Contemporary Art — taking place every two years since 1998, the Biennial runs from September 5 to November 1, 2020 for the 11th time. The Berlin Biennial has the nature of an art contemporary lab and a space open for experiments with the latest art trends. About 130 participants are on the list. The other noteworthy event is the POSITIONS Berlin Art Fair (September 10—13). Running at Tempelhof Airport Hangar 3-4 each year, the art fair gathers collectors, galleries, and artists in one place to offer them a liberal discursive platform and a perfect meeting place.
Artwork by Erik Kessels criticizing plastic surgery called into question
Destroy My Face is a new artwork by the Dutch artist Erik Kessels, which consists of algorithmically generated images of female faces that have undergone plastic surgery. Kessels invited skaters from Pier15 Skatepark to destroy the faces while riding on the installation, which the latter gladly did. On the BredaPhoto Instagram account some posts have emerged saying: Status after one day skating!.
However, not everybody appreciated the idea of the artwork. A group of artists, designers, and other creatives have recently sent an open letter to the board of BredaPhoto and Pier15 Skatepark, calling for Kessels’ explanation. The opponents criticize the way Erik Kessels highlights the issue as an artist, finding it sexist and violent.
Autumn has come unnoticed… Did you see that? That means the strangest summer of our lives has been left behind, yet we have no idea what’s coming next. Joking, for sure — summer (of any kind) has always been my favorite season, and early autumn doesn’t yield much to it: it’s usually warm, sunny, smells like a new beginning, and has so many openings. For example, the famous Linz-based Ars Electronica festival welcomes its visitors just in a few days, while probably the first-ever makeup museum in New York seeks your attention (bring yourself and let your friends know). Discover the other news and enjoy our selection of professional opportunities from the latest Art Digest:
F A S H I O N
Makeup Museum opened in New York
Yes, you heard it right — it’s a real museum, not a makeup studio or other sort of a promotional activity.
Based on the collection of the famous makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin, the Museum features an extensive digital archive that sheds a light on the history of beautology. By the way, it’s been 10,000 years since people started wearing makeup, did you know that? If you feel like visiting the place, take care of the tickets: the ongoing debut exhibition focuses on the makeup era of the 1950s’ in America.
Kevyn Aucoin (1962—2002) is probably one of most famous names in the makeup industry. In the 80-90’s the artist ‘sculpted’ looks of many celebrities (Madonna, Cher, Tina Turner are among them) and top-models (e.g. Claudia Schiffer, who has recently been announced to curate a fashion photography exhibition, Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell). Interested in makeup since early childhood (back then Kevyn tried putting cosmetics on his sister), the artist decided to follow his dream and made a fascinating career, collaborating with Vogue and Allure, working with Revlon, Shiseido, and finally launching his own brand, Kevyn Aucoin Beauty, in 2001. Many colleagues say Kevyn Aucoin was ahead of his time and, thus, pioneered the industry, bringing makeup out of the shadows, making it more accessible and yet very desirable.
C O N T E M P O R A R Y A R T
Keith Haring’s personal art collection at Sotheby’s
140 works from the personal collection of the Keith Haring will be auctioned off at Sotheby’s from September 24—October 1. The works include those by Andy Warhol, Jean Michel-Basquiat, Roy Lichtenstein, Kenny Scharf, and other famous contemporaries of the artist, either bought by or gifted to Haring. The sale, which goes under the title Dear Keith: Works from the Personal Collection of Keith Haring, might be called charitable: the money raised will be donated to the New York City LGBTQ+ center.
‘Art should be something that liberates your soul, provokes the imagination and encourages people to go further’. (Keith Haring)
And the proceeds might be enough! The most expensive painting, Warhol’s 1983 portrait of Haring, is expected to bring between $200,000 and $250,000, while the cheapest lots range from $100. Remember, Keith Haring (1958—1990) was a prominent American pop-and street artist, whose graffiti-inspired works contained many allusions to the same-sex relations. Thus, Haring tried to draw public attention to such problems as homophobia and AIDS. The cruelest joke is that the artist himself died of the AIDS-related complications, just like his close friend and lover, artist Jean Dubuffet. Keith Haring managed to elaborate a widely recognized visual language that still serves as a call for social activism.
Ars Electronica opens September 9
The legendary art festival takes place from September 9—13 this year. As usually, in Austria, Linz, but not only — more than 120 locations around the world will host Ars Electronica activities, which guests will be able to watch online. Running under the theme In Kepler’s Garden, the 2020 festival focuses on new communication channels as well as specially intensive and highly individual experiences, which most of us have faced during the pandemic.
‚We’re not excited about technology, we’re excited about what we can do with it.‘
(Gerfried Stocker, Artistic Director of Ars Electronica)
Ars Electronica is the pioneering festival for art, technology, and society, which was established in the far 1979. Annually a couple of dozens artists and scientists meet up in Linz to discuss the prospects of the digital future and present some groundbreaking projects in the field.
O P P O R T U N I T I E S
Art opportunities for September 2020
Entering autumn with a safe list of some attractive ops sounds as a good idea, doesn’t it? Artwork Archive is as usually glad to offer young artists a rich variety of international fellowships, competitions, and exhibiting options, deadline for which expire this September. It’s up to you whether to seek creating a perfect street photography for the New York Center for Photographic Arts (NYC4PA) or apply for SERF+ COVID-19 Relief Grant. Don’t be afraid of trying, and luck will be with you!
P H O T O G R A P H Y
Meet LensCulture Critics Choice Award 2020
LensCulture is famous for granting aspiring photographers with opportunities to display their works and make a statement. Each few months artists can apply for a new award nomination, and LensCulture Critics Choice Award is, arguably, the most captivating one.
Members of the jury panel, all big names in the field of photography, each selects a work and gives a critical explanation to one’s choice. Those artists, whose works have been chosen by more than one critic, enter the Top Ten and win a $1000 cash grant. Among the jurors are, for instance, Jim Casper, LensCulture Editor-in-Chief, and Cory Keller, Curator of Photography at SF MOMA.
71 Self-Portraits in Isolation by Daisy Noyes. Selected by Cory Keller, Curator of Photography at SF MOMA. Photo_ Courtesy of the Artist_
Mother Earth by Ola Zdeb. Selected by Khalifa Al Obaidly, Director of Photography Festival at Qatar Museums. Courtesy of the Artist_
Concrete Flowers by Vanja Bucan. Selected by Jim Casper, LensCulture Editor-in-Chief and publisher. Courtesy of the Artist_
AT THE INTERSECTION OF FORMS
Photography & Producer – Vlada Plekhanova @vlada___plekhanova
Wardrobe Stylist – Anna Kirilova @anechka_kirillova
Makeup – Anastasia Sova @dr.sovaa
Hair stylist – Marina Koskova @marykosmos_
Creative Director, Artist, Model – Daria Goncharova @ejikovich
Set-design – Vlasta Chebodaeva @amavlasta
Ceramic – Lena Medvedeva @nezhno.ceramics
Assistant – Viktor Plekhanov @plehanovviktor
And here we are back with the column In Focus, where we talk about outstanding photographers and their projects. Richard Renaldi is on the air today.
Richard Renaldi’s works are primarily about the personality and her character. Renaldi calls himself a photographer’s photographer, explaining that both outward and inward looking are equally important for him. Portraits are definitely the artist’s strong virtue and passion, though considering his creative approach, Renaldi might find a landscape shooting an intensive communication process as well.
‘<…> the camera is an extension of the eye that legitimizes that stare’. (Richard Renaldi, from the interview with LensCulture, 2020)
From ‘Pier 45’ series. Courtesy of the Artist_
From ‘49_50’ series. Windward Beach, O‘ahu, HI, 2007. Courtesy of the Artist_
Richard Renaldi was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1968. He took up photography at the age of 18. Having given up the opportunity to join family business, the young man entered the Fine Arts Faculty of New York University to study photography. In the 90’s Richard Renaldi tried working as a photo researcher at Magnum — that’s how his interest in portraiture was shaped.
‘<…> I saw a lot of photos in a reportage style, and I think that inherently gave me the desire to slow things down and engage with my subjects. I could really dig into what it meant to make a portrait of a stranger on the street’. (Richard Renaldi, from the interview with LensCulture, 2020)
From ‘Typology of the American Teenager’ series. Ashley and Ashlee, 2004. Courtesy of the Artist_
From ‘Typology of the American Teenager’ series. Josh and Lindsey, 2012. Courtesy of the Artist_
From ‘Typology of the American Teenager’ series. Bianca, Shailah, Kayla, and Ashley, 2011. Courtesy of the Artist_
As mentioned above, Richard creates a lot of portrait projects, five of which have been turned into books. Upon his first series, Figure and Ground (2006) the artist worked for 7 years, shooting sceneries and people all across the US with his 8×10 camera, thus trying to portray the American landscape, both natural and social one. In the Fall River Boys (2009) Renaldi explores the category of young men from the so-called small city in Massachusetts. Again here the photographer shows interest in human nature and the way it’s revealed in a surrounding and/or a relationship.
‘In the moments where I haven’t been making work I end up feeling quite restless and the only way to alleviate that is to make art’. (Richard Renaldi, from the interview with LACPhoto)
From ‘Fall River Boys’ series. Raymond and Jeffrey, 2002. Courtesy of the Artist
From ‘Fall River Boys’ series. Shane, 2006. Courtesy of the Artist
His homage to New York nightlife Manhattan Sunday (2016) and autobiographical I want your love (2018) have reached out to the hearts and minds of people, but it’s the project Touching Strangers (2014) that became the artist’s trademark.
‘If a portrait has a narrative, I’m usually drawn to it. I don’t necessarily mind if something is staged, but when things start to feel too artificial, I think it’s a crutch’. (Richard Renaldi, from the interview with LensCulture, 2020)
It took Renaldi 7 years to produce about 70 images depicting strangers in various parts of the US paired up quite randomly. At least, for them — we can only guess what inspired Renaldi, but for the models from the streets the decision was a complete mystery and a big surprise. The task sounded simple and, at the same time, hardly feasible: to pose together with a stranger like if you were lovers/relatives/friends (put the right word here). Actually, some of the participants easily catched on, while others seemed to be confused and couldn’t get into character.
From ‘Touching Strangers’ series. Jacqueline and Halle_ Columbus, OH, 2011. Courtesy of the Artist
From ‘Touching Strangers’ series. Nathan and Robyn_ Provincetown, MA, 2012. Courtesy of the Artist_
From ‘Touching Strangers’ series. LeAsia and Rebecca_ New York, NY, 2013. Courtesy of the Artist
However, it’s not about judging how well Renaldi’s models fit in the created picture. Perhaps the project Touching Strangers might encourage us to think of the possible narratives that could be taking place in someone’s life — something you can never be sure about looking at strangers. Is this charming girl in love? She’s lighting up with joy. Or: those two look like brothers, so alike. And hundreds other guesses like that in a day.
From ‘Touching Strangers’ series. Cheyene, Charlie, and Omarian_ Cincinnati, OH, 2014. Courtesy of the Artist
From ‘Touching Strangers’ series. Alfredo and Jessica_ Queens, NY, 2011. Courtesy of the Artist
From ‘Touching Strangers’ series. Hunter, Margaret, and Abigail_ New York, NY, 2013. Courtesy of the Artist
Exhibiting frequently (his solo projects run worldwide, including but not limited to, Robert Morat Galerie in Hamburg, Yossi Milo Gallery in New York, and Fotografins Hus in Stockholm), the artist willingly shares his expertise with emerging photographers. His schedule is full of workshops, and he seemed to enjoy teaching. However, Richard Renaldi admits, he can’t give any magic formula on how to approach strangers, though his students just crave to learn that. It’s about making people relax and one’s own experience — the only tip the photographer is ready to sign.
From ‘The Grand Show’ series. Miami Beach, FL, 2011. Courtesy of the Artist_
From ‘The Grand Show’ series. Coconino County, AZ, 2013. Courtesy of the Artist_
What’s more remarkable, perhaps, is Renaldi’s own attitude towards his work and the photographic medium. The artist says he has never been close to giving up photography, though it’s quite a common story in the artistic milieu. Despite admitting the complexity of a career in photography, Richard Renaldi finds such a way valuable and enriching. And here is what he advises his aspiring colleagues (better make a note):
‘Most important however is finding your voice and honoring it. Listening to the work you are making and nurturing it for its own sake not necessarily in the pursuit of some immediate goal’.
(Richard Renaldi, from the interview with LACPhoto)
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Body Chain – Jewelry by Temper (no Instagram or Website)
Dress – Malene Birger (@bymalenebirger)
Body Chain – Dino Alves by Gonçalo Ghira (@ghira_official) Earings – Beatriz Jardinha (@beatrizjardinha)
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Earings – Beatriz Jardinha (@beatrizjardinha)
Shirt – Dino Alves (@dino_alves_eu) Earings, Bracelet and Ring – Swarovski (@swarovski)
Body Chain – Jewelry by Temper (no Instagram or Website)