Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Taryn Simon

Young (36-year-old) photographer Taryn Simon's exhibition drew me in, if I'm to be frank, because it was free. But upon reflection her collection, A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters, is most definitely worth paying for.

Taryn Simon with her collection. Photograph: Antonio Zazueta Olmos

The exhibition at Tate Modern, London (as well as the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin and Museum of Modern Art, New York)was produced over a four-year period (2008-11), during which Simon travelled around the world researching and recording bloodlines and their related stories. As a journalist, it was this documented style that I found so intriguing. You could see the time, research, effort and concentration that had gone into each piece.
*photo from the Guardian

In each of the eighteen 'chapters' that make up the work, the external forces of territory, power, circumstance or religion collide with the internal forces of psychological and physical inheritance.

The subjects documented by Simon include feuding families in Brazil, victims of genocide in Bosnia, the body double of Saddam Hussein's son Uday, and the living dead in India. Her collection is at once cohesive and arbitrary, mapping the relationships among chance, blood, and other components of fate.

Not only an impressive collection of candid photographs, each paragraph is an enthralling -- often heartbreaking -- story of human plight.

Friday, 19 August 2011

PushIt Magazine

A few posts I've done for PushIt Magazine...

Celine Resort Collection 2012

It’s often a difficult balance to keep resort collections suitably feminine without being overtly fluffy, yet Phoebe Philo, in her latest Cèline Resort collection, has managed the balance — through bright florals paired with edgy sharp cuts....

McQ by Alexander McQueen

Pina Ferlisi, under the watchful eye of Royal favourite designer of the moment Sarah Burton, has gone to town in the latest collection for the Alexander McQueen diffusion line, McQ. The pieces are a riot of colour and experimental shapes...

Aquilando.Rimondi Autumn/Winter 2011

Dolce and Gabbana, Victor and Rolf, Basso and Brooke… sometimes the match of two minds can produce magical results, and Italian design duo Aquilano.Rimondi are proving their worth to take their place in the perfect pairings hall of fame...

Enjoy x

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Blog favorites Emin and Ofili to design Olympic posters

YBA’s Tracey Emin and Gary Hume are amongst twelve artists selected to design a set of posters for the Olympic and Paralympics Games in 2012.

Poster idea? Installation by Anthea Hamilton

The posters will enable these talented British artists -- including Chris Ofili, Sarah Morris and Anthea Hamilton, but not Damien Hurst -- to have their work showcased on a world stage as millions watch the events unfold next summer.

Sporting sprit: Chris Ofili

The nominated artists were chosen from a list of around a hundred. Reuters reported that organisers would not disclose how they came to the decision, or why Hurst wasn’t included. Ruth Mackenzie, director of the Cultural Olympiad, said: "I think the answer is, we're not going to go there."

Emin -- whose recent Hayward Gallery exhibition has gone down a storm -- told reporters at an event at Tate Britain gallery, held exactly a year before the London 2012 Festival event gets underway (yesterday), that she wanted her poster to be a celebration of life in London.

"(I want to) show the world that London can really throw a party and that was what it was like with the royal wedding," she said.

"In times of depression, what came across as really, really cool was the arts. Arts and culture is the soul of the country," she added. "I'm interested in the party scene, the celebration."

Contemporary conceptual artist Michael Craig-Martin, who creates colourful images such as the one below, has also been selected.

Poster idea? Michael Craig-Martin

"Artists always bring something different, because you are bringing a personal language to it," he said.

Sarah Morris

The full list of commissioned artists is:
* Fiona Banner
* Michael Craig-Martin
* Martin Creed
* Tracey Emin
* Anthea Hamilton
* Howard Hodgkin
* Gary Hume
* Sarah Morris
* Chris Ofili
* Bridget Riley
* Bob and Roberta Smith
* Rachel Whiteread
Source: Reuters

Friday, 17 June 2011

Isle of Wight Festival 2011

My face is sunburnt, my legs are weary, my nails are dirty, I have some suspicious looking bruises, all my possessions are damp, yes – I have just been to the Isle of Wight Festival.

All worth it of course.

The festival du jour due to Kate Moss’s ubercool presence this year for her festival hen do, I didn’t really know what to expect after being told by a friend it was “a chavvy Glastonbury” (as it turned out, a pretty accurate description). But chavvy Glasto or not, I loved it. As a Glasto lover I had to keep holding back the entire weekend from the immortal phrase “But at Glastonbury…” as the two are very similar, but IoW is smaller, more humble, dare I say – less pretentious? (…OK more chavvy).

Friday we unexpectedly stumbled on Laura Steel in the Big Top, a pleasant surprise and a great way to kick off festivities with her quirky dress, powerful stage presence and belting voice set against catchy rock beats. We Are Scientists put on a typically animated show on the Main Stage, their ad-lib dry commentary adding to the overall performance. The Courteeners were a personal favourite, the audience were just getting warmed up and their classic “Not Nineteen Forever” went down a storm. We held back in the crowd to watch Kaiser Chiefs as I’m not a huge fan, but the indie britpoppers can always be relied upon for a quality set. Kings of Leon, headlining the Main Stage, were a triumph. Although for many hardcore fans the southern US rockers have lost their sheen with their latest arena-tour type album, the brothers (and a cousin) can still belt out a TUNE. The spectacular firework display over the stage during the last song was the icing on the soul-filled cake.

Kings of Leon

Saturday saw an old-school vibe with an amazing Pulp and Iggy and the Stooges (who pulled Dave Grohl of the Foo’s on stage to dance), as well as the brilliant Seasick Steve. Foo Fighter’s headlined and the rockers pulled out all the stops to put on another mind-blowing show. The Vaccines in the Big Top were also amazing, with a surprise HUGE turnout despite the unusually hot weather.

Foo Fighters

The Vecks, a band who won a competition to play on the Main Stage on Saturday, are definitely a name to remember, with their indie catchy tunes and the lead singer’s grainy voice. Stornoway, Hurts and Lissie all played impressive sets.

The torrential rain on Sunday lead to a dismal turnout for Soul Circus on the Garden Stage (I think there were around six of us watching) the band were great, but I couldn’t help feeling very sorry for them. Twenty Twenty, on the other hand, had the advantage of playing in the under-cover Big Top but were ABISMAL. The Busted-style side-parted self-conscious young upstarts had an annoyingly large crowd despite their terrible pop disasters. Springbok Nude Girls, the unusually named South African rock/metal band, seemed surprised but appreciative of the huge crowd and provided a welcome relief from the previous pop rubbish, as did Various Cruelties.

Two Door Cinema Club were great, but my feet were beginning to lose feeling, there was about 50% rain water in my cider, and Pj had the onset of hyperthermia…so it was a little difficult to enjoy.

After heading back to the tent to change and put on so many layers I resembled Joey in the episode when he puts all Chandler’s clothes on (I could hardly even lift my arm to drink) we were ready for Beady Eye. The hype beforehand with backstage filming on the big screens of Liam flattening down his mod-hair revved up the crowd, but I think the festival curators decision to put them on as the second last act was a little off, I have the album but don’t know all the songs, and it seemed like the audience thought the same. A good performance however from a surprisingly polite Gallagher. Kasabian put on a stellar performance ending the festival on a high, all be it a muddy, sodden one.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Tracey Emin: Love Is What You Want

The Haywood Gallery provides the perfect setting for Tracey Emin's dramatic, imposing works, as I found upon visiting the South Bank gallery for her latest cacophony of personal and intimate yet loud and spectacular pieces.

Even when queuing to buy tickets (£12 / £9 for students) you’re met with 47 year old Emin’s intimate musings when the artist wrote for the Independent “My Life in a Column” -- an interesting read when waiting for a late friend. I was already familiar with Emin’s intensely personal works so knew the exhibition would be on the self-obsessed side, the columns are like a pre-warning for those who don’t know.

And yet, I don’t dislike her, her colourful, beautiful yet violent and angry tapestries (above) are a look to the traditional and provide an insight into Emin’s passions and hates.

The large pier (above) with a crumbling little shack encompassing the first room of the exhibition portrays a delicate, fragile relationship with her father due to his long term alcoholism --it is both a loving and kind dream for her father and a tainted almost nightmarish piece.

The dark room (below) filled with eighties style neon lights with sayings such as ‘Love is What You Want’ are mesmerising and her installations such as an embriodered chair and a glass cabinet filled with keep-sake trinkets and items are a look into her fascinating life.

A video shows YBA Emin talking about her abortions and miscarriages -- heart wrenching topics much of the works are centred around, as well as the obvious amount of sex and masturbation frequent Emin observers have some to expect.

The works are gripping, passionate, and, at times, uncomfortable. For me, Emin as an artist is unrelatable, her tales of sex, hatred, passion, love and death are in themselves relatable, but the way they’re conveyed through intimate sketchings and sumptuous installation and paintings are less so.

This does not make it an unenjoyable experience 'Love is What You Want' is thrill to behold -- gripping, intriguing, amusing, and absorbing -- but expect to be let in to Emin’s world, and Emin’s world alone.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Susan Hiller – Tate Britain

If you have a Punch and Judy phobia, I would advise you not to go to the Barbara Hiller exhibition at the Tate. In fact, if you LOVE Punch and Judy I would advise you to at least stay away from the video installations...as it may ruin your beloved childhood memories.

The huge video screens playing repeated, distorted images of the seaside puppets, accompanied with disturbing phrases, are the parts of Hiller’s exhibition that stick in my mind. There is however some slightly less obscure pieces to enjoy (such as the work above).

Hiller’s obsession with identity, language, history and documentation is apparent throughout her work. On reaching one room you’re greeted by another – slightly less disturbing but no less striking– sound/video installation, playing clips from the world’s lost languages. This was such an intriguing installation, conveying lost identity, words, languages and dreams.


The second installation displaying Hiller’s wordy cleverness is mesmerising. My friend and I could have spent hours walking around each speaker in, Witness (above). The glittering cables hang down in a blue-lit room, with speakers playing an array of languages. Walking round till your ears pick up a familiar tone is intriguing and engaging.

Hiller continually questions, what happens after? After you are gone? After the language has disappeared? The questions add a poignancy to her work, displayed clearly in Monument (below). The cross shaped work has blown up photographs of epitaphs saying phrases like: Henry James Bristow, aged eight, who "saved his little sister's life by tearing off her flaming clothes but caught fire himself".


If you can get past the Punch and Judy, Hiller’s – age 70 – retrospective is an engaging insight into poignant imaginings of an experienced master.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Gabriel Orozco

My new Tate members card has been fully utilized of late - a fantastic present idea for any arty types - after I moved to London. The card allows freebies, discounts of cafes, use of members rooms and, most importantly, free entry to any Tate exhibition (with a friend too!).

I was aware of Gabriel Orozco's more well known works such as My Hands are my Heart (below) and Black Kites, but I'd never had the opportunity to view his collection of photography, installation and sculpture all at once. His latest show at the Tate Modern gives you an insight into his playful, provocative style on a huge scale.

My Hands are my Heart (1991)

The vast collection of vivacious photography and coltish sculpture such as LA D.S - a car seemingly a reflection of itself - is a joy to behold (below) and accessible for everyone.


The poignant, touching and funny obituaries with quotes such as "bassist and mock politician", "a painter of poetic realism" and "a cowgirl till the end" leads you to want to read them all (below).

Obituaries and Black Kite

So whether you're a fan already, or new to Orozco, his playful, interactive, stimulating works are a must see for all in this rare opportunity to see his vast collection of works.

Friday, 25 February 2011

HRM Magazine

Social media participation is fast becoming an essential tool in business, but as its proliferation becomes ever more evident, can HR players keep up with this ever-expanding trend? Lorna Davies spoke to experts from Capgemini, Deloitte and Yackstar to find out whether HR is ready to leave behind its conventional cocoon and spread its social media wings.


An article for HRM US Magazine ( http://www.hrmreport.com )

Friday, 18 February 2011

Bad Boy of the Renaissance

He’s always been known as a tempestuous, highly strung, complex and sometimes violent, passionate yet brilliant artist. Caravaggio’s dark, dramatic, realistic, strikingly modern works have struck chords with contemporary audiences the world over. But now it is his criminal record that’s causing more controversy than Pete Doherty on a Friday night in Camden or Ricky Gervais…anywhere in America.

An exhibition of documents at Rome’s State Archives shines a light on the turbulent life of the artist at the end of the 16th and beginning of the 17th centuries. Michelagnolo da Caravaggio’s escapades – including frequent brawls, one of which brought him a death sentence from Pope Paul V – are described in the hand written police records, all bound together in heavy tomes and carefully preserved in this amazing repository of Rome’s history during the Renaissance and after.

Old ‘Vaggio was a naughty one, frequently getting into fights. He brushed with the law after throwing a plate of cooked artichokes in the face of a waiter in a tavern – all very Naomi Campbell. His landlady was not a huge fan either. He made a hole in the ceiling of his rented studio – so that his paintings would fit inside (obviously!). His landlady sued, so he and a friend (logically) pelted her window with stones.

These brilliant new tales are all documented with eyewitness accounts in this collection of ageing parchments.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Anish Kapoor: Turning the World Upside Down

I came across a unexpected surprise this weekend whilst taking a sunlit walk around Kensington Gardens after a spot of shopping on the nearby highstreet(only place I can bear to go on a Saturday). The Royal Parks and the Serpentine Gallery have put on a large exhibition of outdoor scultptures by acclaimed London-based artist Anish Kapoor.

The free exhibition showcases some stunning recent works never seen before in London.

The first one we came across was Sky Mirror (2006) – a stainless steel, huge circular reflective sculpture. Placed in front of The Longwater (near Lancaster Gate tube), the mirrored sculpture produces a dwarfed reflection of yourself and other visitors – similar to his works at the Royal Academy exhibition but on a maximised scale and the natural setting adding an entirely new perspective.


The rest of the sculptures follow a similar large scale highly reflective, curved mirror surface format – creating illusionary distortions of the much loved surroundings, contrasting and reflecting the ever changing colours and wildlife of Kensington Gardens.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Primark to release new limited edition label

Bargain hunters will be pleased- the former chav-turned-cheap-chic-store has announced that nine of its shops will play host to the sixth limited edition collection this March.

The new range will include bang on trend Oriental prints on chiffon with embroidery, as well as sheer blouses and tunics. Highlights include a peacock feather maxi- although it’d be great to see some midi trends in there as right now all I‘ve seen on offer is a rather plain black midi dress- not quite right- and a kimono (gasp!).

The new limited edition collection will be priced from £12 to £24 and will hit stores from March 1st for a limited time- so set those alarms! The nine stores are: Oxford Street (obvs), Bristol (yay!), Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow Argyle Street, Bank Buildings in Belfast, Lakeside, Meadowhall, Newcastle and Birmingham.

I’ll give the verdict in due course…not sure if you can do geisha-chic on a budget…but I’m pleased they’re giving it a good go.

Souce: Diarydirectory.com

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Boardwalk Empire

Set to be the new Mad Men in the fashion influence stakes, Boardwalk Empire has got me excited. It’s the perfect antidote for those of us who don’t have the killer Christina Hendrick-like curves.1920s sillouttes are perfecty flattering for most figures- but what I’m especially loving are the amazing accessories. From dazzling hair pieces to beaded sparkling 1920s style earrings- a brilliant excuse to dance away those gloomy January blues. The new American period drama plays host to some beautiful designs, carefully selected by costume designer John Dunn. Take a look here:

Another great thing about ths trend is the versatitly- despite the beaded and intricate nature of many of the pieces- it is easily transferable to the high street. This lacy number from Oasis for example- looks uber chic and- dare I say- expensive, but has just been reduced to £100- hurrah! http://www.oasis-stores.com/Lace-Fringe-Flapper-Dress/Clothing/oasis/fcp-product/3170082046

This red number by Topshop ticks two trend boxes with its popping colour block and layered style- http://www.topshop.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?beginIndex=0&viewAllFlag=&catalogId=33057&storeId=12556&productId=2172251&

And if you want to go the whole hog- Asos have this very cute hat to cover up on those cold winter days.


Terence Winter's epic new HBO series launched in the channel's premier Sunday 9pm slot last night, thus avoiding weekly conflict with rival period drama Mad Men. Check it out.

Cheer Up Boys

Just seen Razorlight's new press pic...seriously. It just oozes- 'We are so cool we can't even look at you, ergh, you disgust me.' Why is J Borrel still famous anyway? All he's done for the past few years is hang out in white skinny jeans looking miserable. Ok. Rant over.

Sick Feeling

Most employees feel guilty when calling in sick- a new survey has revealed.

The survey by CareerBuilder has found that nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of workers typically go to work when they’re ill and 55 percent said they “feel guilty” if they miss work due to illness.

With the cold and flu season in full swing, workplace pressures and “presenteeism” may be causing workers to go in despite the threat of virus spreading. More than half of the 3,700 workers surveyed nationwide from November 15 to December 2, 2010 said they picked up a bug from someone who was sick on public transport going to or from work.

“It’s important for employees to take care of their health and the health of others by staying at home if they aren’t feeling well,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. “Even if workers feel pressure to be at the office, they should talk to their managers about staying home if they are sick, or ask about other options such as working remotely. Most employers are flexible and understand that employees are more productive if they are feeling their best.”

In order to encourage a healthy workplace, nearly one-in-five (19 percent) of employees said their companies provided flu shots at their office. Nearly two-in-five workers (38 percent) said they were proactive and got a flu shot this year (2010). When workers were asked what other ways they attempt to avoid germs, 78 percent said they wash their hands often; 32 percent carry and use hand sanitizer; 30 percent regularly clean their office space; 15 percent avoid shaking hands with people and three percent skip meetings where they know someone is ill.

The survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive on behalf of CareerBuilder.com among 3,910 U.S. workers (employed full-time; not self-employed; non-government); ages 18 and over between November 15 and December 2, 2010.


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