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INTENSITY PORTRAITS #3: GLENN MARTENS

Paris II, Le Gibus, 24th June 2015, 15h30 — Le GIbus has been one of these emblematic clubs from the 80-90s rock scene in Paris, now reconverted into a club hosting some of Paris ‘ most underground club nights. Shortly after penetrating the club via its dark staircase, the excitement was accentuated by the whole setting: a narrow podium, crude lights and 90s Acid House.

Lights out, a last “Faster Faster Faster” and the show began. Fabulous Club Kinds appears on the narrow podium in their natural yet sophisticated straightforwardness and attitude. Here the urge and restless atmosphere accentuated the young label and its creative director’s authenticity. Black from the Soft Moon rythme the path of the models for the final with its provocative “I don’t care what they say”.

Glenn Martens has quite an outsider profile in the industry. After graduating from a degree in architecture at the age of 21, he entered The Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp, and worked as a junior designer for Jean Paul Gaultier. After taking over Yohan Serfaty’s label in 2013, he brought the label a new life with his sharp design, elongated silhouettes and bold fabric choices.

Shortly after the show, we met him in Y/Project’s showroom to speak about the influence of his hometown, Bruges, gothic architecture in his tailoring, gender fluidity and youth.

Special thanks to Robin Meason.

Video & Editing Shôta Sakami. Direction & Interview Céline Bischoff.


The Eastern Beauty Rituals of Anastasiya Lazurenko

 

By Ira Lupu

Along with natural landscapes, nude or seminude women are probably the most loved and safe objects for any photographer to capture. Yet Ukraine native Anastasiya Lazurenko proves that even in such a hackneyed field of art as female portraiture there are still some secret essences to extract.

Lazurenko’s forthcoming book Pearly Gates is a collection of sensual analogue images of her muses, mainly Eastern European beauties. The photographer is rather into the philosophy of Hinduism, and at the same time she’s not the one to pontificate a lot about own art. But the name Pearly Gates, which spans such meanings as Christian celestial gateway, LSD type, and vagina covered with sperm, gives a bold hint for understanding. The photos offer a soft trip to the depths of female psyche and sexuality, maybe even a stealthy quest for holy eros. ‘Sex is not only about the direct touch, it is everywhere. The nature of orgasm is in the vibrations of bliss, that can be felt anytime — and the spiritual practise leads to it’, says Anastasiya, and there is a temptation to agree.

Still, in her work there aren’t any deliberate symbols often used by visual artists for giving their narrative a transcendental undertone. No mandalas, no crosses, no ritual knives and emphatically rolled eyes: the Pearly models can wear mundane rubber shoes or lay next to plastic shower gel bottle, yet the whole journey is far more gauzy. The artist calls her art process ‘a shamanism’, which may sound loud, but I must confirm it’s likely to be true. When preparing this article, the subtle, a bit shy blonde took me to Southern Ukraine’s surreal Kinburn peninsula, got me undressed by the banks of local lake (weirdly enough, it [...]


INTENSITY PORTRAITS #2: Liam Hodges

https://vimeo.com/134100326

 

Paris IV, London Showrooms, 15h30 – If the evolution of streetwear is integral to London’s mens fashion, Liam Hodges has been one of the main protagonists of London’s most exciting generation of menswear designers alongside Agi & Sam, Craig Green and James Long, to name few. A strong British tribal mentality lays in his designs as for each collection he elaborates a narrative around a type of community, merging high fashion and subcultural references.

After Morris dancers, Kibbo Keft youth clubs and Pagan practitioners, the RCA graduate chose Pirate Radios as his core narrative. A small community decided to occupy some frequencies and spread messages. Positive, honest and real is the message as the street poet Hector Aponysus’ rapped monologue about society, prosperity and community implied during the show.

Liam Hodges turns his inspirations into garments that these groups would put on but also enviable for a wider audience. Through details and winks, he instills these references in the collection: own graffiti binary coded camouflage weave, the jacquard football knit, ravy make up and gabber style music from Visionist. The aim is to create a complete world around each collection.

Paradoxically enough, we had to rush through a different kind of tribe to get to London Showroom and meet with Liam as the Tropical Carnival of Paris was taking place at rue Saint-Antoine. after some slaloms between dancers and watchers, it brought us to the Impasse Guéménée. There we met Liam Hodges, smiling, to talk about cities: London and Berlin, his communities and his world.

Video & Editing Shôta Sakami.

Direction & interview Céline Bischoff.


Roger Perry’s ‘The Writing on the Wall’

‘The graffiti that Perry highlights are a generation away from the three-dimensional, self-referential designs that we have now become accustomed to: instead, they are urgent messages from another, hidden world, designed to be read and forcibly understood by a general public that would have preferred to walk on by.’ – Jon Savage

The Horse Hospital are hosting an exhibition of Roger Perry’s seminal photograph series ‘The Writing on the Wall’ on 70s graffiti in London in celebration of the 40th anniversary and republication of the 1976 book. More than 120 of the original framed prints are on display alongside ephemera including letters, press cuttings and cameras that document a profound aspect of London’s street, political and youth cultures.

Roger Perry (who died in 1991) photographed the political and poetical verbal graffiti of the decaying and pre gentrified London of the mid 70s. His stark black and white photographs feature messages from the radical (‘the tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction’) to the witty (‘cats like plain crisps’), almost always on a wall – at eye level so one cannot ignore- and occasionally featuring a lone passerby, or a dog.

This isn’t the graffiti that we, for the most part, consume, abhor or adore today; there are no territorial tags, no artist commissions, nothing like the sort that features on the ‘guerilla’ gallery of Curtain road for a Shoreditch street art tour. There’s no stylistic purpose in the work that Perry photographs, slogans such as ‘strike a body blow to capitalism’ and ‘I FOUGHT THE LAW’ are scrawled in the anger and resentment of the moment, decoration and exaggeration cast aside in its obvious frivolity. The written word speaks for itself entirely on permanent protest placards parading London’s streets.

The London that [...]


INTENSITY PORTRAITS #1: Walter Van Beirendonck

Paris I, Theatre du Châtelet, 24th June 2015, 16h30 – one couldn’t have imagined a more perfect setting to host the Belgian Masters ss16 show. Passing under the arcades to enter by the Palladian entrances of the Haussmanian monument, we discover the magistral interior layout of the second empire masterpiece: Horse shoe hall type, lightened by cristal chandelier and golden mouldings. A cabaret-like setting for Walter van Beirendock’s new narrative: “Electric Eye”.

As the lights go out, the story begin on EKKO’s “rehearsal” gloom piano notes accentuating the contrast between the naive prints and the actual underlying message of the collection. Careful, the electric eye is watching. Walter van Beirendonck, storyteller, is a master in delivering subversive and socially touchy messages wrapped in apparent sweetness and innocence.

As the show goes on the message becomes clearer and clearer, like a warning. Exit the naive creatures, the last models enter the runaway, perfectly tailored monochrome silhouettes, Stephen Jones’ dramatic headpieces jammed hard on their head seem to suck their soul echoing David Bowie’s Moorage Daydream melody “Keep your ‘lectric eye on me babe”.

A couple of days after the show, making the most of van Beirendonck’s busy agenda, we had the pleasure to have a conversation about the Electric Eye, communication, images, rituals, genders and sex.

Special thanks to Joost Jansen and Stéphanie.

Video & Editing Shôta Sakami.

Direction & interview Céline Bischoff.


habits of touch; parallels between medieval liturgy and contemporary screen culture

The habits of both medieval and contemporary people share many similarities. One such habit expresses a deeply human desire to connect and interact, and it revolves around touch – specifically, the touching of images.

During the Medieval period, devotional prayer books – manuscripts, missals, the Book of Hours etc – were very often manipulated and interacted with on a physical level by their readers, or ‘users’. From these instances of touch, we can mark discolouration, staining, tearing, smearing of ink, and general wearing away across the pages of these books. In these lasting and tangible traces of touch, we can see emotional responses the Medieval user had to these books, and learn much about the relationships Medieval people had with devotional objects and religious imagery.

In countless cases, images taken from Medieval missals – depicting scenes from the Bible such as the crucifixion, Eve’s temptation, the Devil, etc – have been completely worn away through repeated touching, kissing and smearing. I find it strange and moving to see an image of Christ having been totally kissed away, the ink from his face and body gone, leaving weird, formless empty spaces on the page. These rituals demonstrated the Medieval person’s devotion and piety, tangibly. I sit to pray and kiss the body of Christ, and I have done it so many times. His image is not even there any more. How devoted I am; how religious, how good.

As well as these positive rituals – kissing, stroking, etc – the devout Medieval people would also bring to their liturgy expressions of the negative. These negative rituals included the violent smiting, stabbing and rubbing of scenes of evil. For example, they would efface a depiction of the Devil, and in doing so they showed their condemnation [...]


Maxime Ballesteros photographs Le Mondial du Tatouage 2015 Part 2

We had the pleasure of inviting Maxime Ballesteros to the Mondial du Tatouage earlier this year and these are some of the photos he took of the tattoo convention.

www.mondialdutatouage.com