As part of the British Film Institute’s Gothic season, German director F. W. Murnau’s genre defining cult classic 1922 film Nosferatu, the first ever screen adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, will be screened throughout the country; actor Max Schreck presents the original manifestation of the screen vampire, a far cry from the prettied modern incarnations, his skeletal fingers and bat like features still instill terror nearly a century later.
The expressionist adaptation’s survival is made more remarkable since its existence was banned after heirs of Stoker, who wrote the original novel in 1897, sued and a court ruling ordered all copies of the film be destroyed leaving only a single print copy to survive.
The film will be projected alongside a reconstitution of the original score, composed by Hans Erdmann; originally created to be performed live by a string quartet as the film was projected, meaning much of the original music has been lost over the years.
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To celebrate the opening The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier; From Sidewalk to Catwalk at the Brooklyn Museum this evening we have chosen photographs from our favourite Gaultier collection, which was used in one of the best Vogue/Meisel/Coddington extravaganza’s in 1994. Merging together the best of metallic like armoured jewellery, fake tribal tattoos and faux ethnicity on glamourous and beautiful models this editorial created a strange but alluring futuristic amalgamation of themes. These photos are exaggerated with the stark white backdrops making the women look like strangely alien creatures, unlikely to be placed in any context of time except perhaps the film Fifth Element which of course Gaultier designed the costumes for but three years later than when this collection was created. The descison to produce this collection void of an exuberance of colour but emphasising the harshness of metal, subtle face painting and earthy tones made an unlikely contradiction of imagery on to the body. There is something particularly current about Gaultier’s use of fake piercings, indian hair jewellery and tribal transfer tattoos which of course have been routing their way into fashion at the moment. The tattooed tulle shirt which became a signature of his premiered in this collection and the models cast in the runway show featured the heavily tattooed. If you enjoyed these photos then the video of this catwalk must be watched here!
To find out more about the idol that is Gaultier and this exhibition which looks back at the last 37 years of his career look here.
JEAN PAUL GAULTIERVogue, March 1994
ph. Steven Meisel
fashion editor: Grace Coddington
hair: Orlando Pita
make-up: Denise Markey
model: Nadja Auermann, Bridget Hall, Brandi Quinones, Debbie Deitering
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“Night. Painted darkness. Miles and miles of miles of painted darkness.” Peter Greenaway, Nightwatching, 2006.
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Richard Phillips, Sasha II / 2012 / oil on canvas / 2013.4×382 cm
Last week Frieze, London’s famed art fair rose in two colossal white tents emerging out of the pristine landscape of Regents Park at either end of the central London park. Frieze Art Fair was placed at the south end of the regal park and Frieze Masters was situated at the top closer to the exclusive Primrose Hill where it returned to London for its 11th year. The world’s leading galleries all congregated together to exhibit their most important and relevant work from over thirty country’s. The pure size of each fair alone and the constant stream of visitors attempting to take photos on their iPhones of the contrasting art all crammed into the commercial setting of a monumentally big marquee created an unusual set up to view art. Completely different to visiting a gallery where the objective is purely to observe and appreciate artwork; Freize presents the visitor with the artwork as consumable goods. This instantly puts the visitor into a position where the value of the artwork and its current cultural value becomes overtly prominent. However, as the fair can be attended by the public understanding the reasons for each visitor becomes more complex as a trip to the fair is as recreational as it is to do with the business and economy of the art world.
However discouraging the structure that exists in the fair is, the very breadth and diversity of work to view is wonderfully eclectic, especially when visiting both fairs where the ultra contemporary can be viewed next to the medieval in the same setting. Besides from purely looking at each individual piece of art it was interesting to understand each galleries identity and how all of these galleries existed beside one another in what is essential the setting of a trade show. Perhaps in addition to the monetary value of the art and the galleries all becoming estranged neighbours the very layout and construction of the event was really quite overwhelming. The very fact that all of these paintings, photographs and sculptures had been shipped from quite literally all over the world is a fascinating concept. Each piece had made their own individual journey to arrive in London to be on show one short week for the hope of being sold.
Below we have chosen a selection of our favourite pieces shown at both Frieze Art Fair and Frieze Masters in correspondence to Sang Bleu’s tastes and ideals.
Marina Abramovic, The communicator / 2012 / wax, crystal quartz stones, glass pedestal, 25x10x3 cm
Guo Gendyi, avalokiteshvara (right) / 2002 / colored ink on rice paper / 68.2x189cm
Wolfgang Tillmanns, torso / 2013 / unframed ink jet print / 200×135 cm
Antonello Da Saliba, 1466-1535, Madonna and Child / Panel / 55.6×44.2 cm
Alex Katz, two building / 2002 / Oil on linen / 304.8×234.8 cm
Terry Adkins, apple pickers / 2002 / wood, glass / 205.7×30.5×30.5cm
TOMASSO BROTHERS FINE ART / London Leeds
Pierre Huyghe, untitled (mini floating & non floating rock) / 2013 / aquarium, salt water, volcanic rocks, dark grey sand, arrow crabs / 54x68x48 cm (aquarium) / 75x74x74 cm
Unknown tuscan painter active in Rome, 1615 – 1620 / The abduction of Ganymede / oil on canvas / 150.5×214 cm
all photos by Maxime
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Jonas Nyberg is the Swedish tattooer working out of Göteborg Classic Tattooing in Gothenberg. Known for his excellent balance of bold colours, characterful drawings and flash inspired replications, Nyberg adds a fresh of breath air into classic tattoo designs. With tattooers recreating interpretations of flash becoming so overpopulated its good to see a tattooer at work who makes flash look like his own and original. Here at Sang Bleu we’ve decided to get to know a little more about him, by looking at how he works and what he thinks of tattooing now by asking him ten questions.
How did you start your career within tattooing?
It started very abruptly when I worked at a bar in Fuerteventura in 2002 where I lived at the time. The bar had the genius name Tattooz ‘n Booze.
They needed someone to help out at their shop Fuertetattoo and this ended up with me starting to work as an assistant, cleaning the floors, soldering needles, doing the appointments, helping the clients to understand that they need something else then what they wanted from the beginning. i worked there for about 2 years and are ever grateful of the opportunities Machteld and Pablo have given me.
What is the tattoo scene like in Sweden?
It’s growing every day, more and more people get tattooed, and above all they know more what they want. There is a lot of people who are genuinely interested in the whole traditional tattoo history and are into getting classic tattoos based on old flash. Many clients are getting just tattoos based on flash done Bert Grimm or
Amund Dietzel or any other of the great old-timers, this is something that would love to do more of and that I respect a lot.
Who are your favourite artists?
Joel Albertsson that works with me, who is one of my best friends and an amazing artist. Walter de loba Soza from paraguay who is a true warlock and a inspiring friend and human being. Andreas Ramstedt for being an amazing person and friend who proves that change is what we make of it.
What is it about flash that you like so much?
I mostly like pre 60s flash. Probably because without them there would’t have been something called traditional tattoos, thanks to them the legacy of the 1900s tattooing can still be reinvented all around the world. The basic and naive techniques chosen to reproduce pictures from signs, catalogues and prints into doable tattoos by the tattooers of that time is amazing to me, how they transformed a perfect copper engraving of an eagle from a catalogue or a newspaper into a design on a flash sheet, that they could later tattoo onto someones body forever, in less than one hour.
That to me is true craftsmanship, the bums of art.
Who are your favourite pre-1960s tattooers?
Bert Grimm, Ralph Johnson, Christian Warlisch, Milton Zeiz, Owen Jensen, George Bruchett, Amund Dietzel just to name a few.
How do you feel about replicating a kind of naivety to your work considering it is so folk-art and flash inspired?
I used to do a lot more weird stuff before, but felt that it got hollow and unrooted after a while. now i focus more on trying to reproduce the old ways of doing things and just add a little bit of myself into the flash.
Some flash i have done 5-10 times because the client want a certain motif, but in a slightly different way every time. I have realized that i enjoy this very much, it’s a small challenge big enough to make my day exciting.
This to me is the essence of tattooing from old flash, don’t put too much self into the motifs. let them be relics from the past, we are just the makers of them and as the maker we can change a little bit, but if we change too much it is so easy to lose the beauty they possess.
To me early flash is folk art. It’s simplicity, power, imagination, its ability to make you understand what it is you are looking at. It’s so pure and untamed in a wonderful naive way.This is something we miss in our busy world today, there is no room for imperfection, imperfection equals freedom, free form boundaries, free of illusions of progress and success.
sometimes progress is being content with your own lack of progress.
Who are your favourite practicing tattooers and why?
It’s impossible to name any particular, there are so many good tattooers around that inspires me all the time. Most of times I’m inspired by people who uses old flash as their guidelines.
In which way do you feel that social media is affecting the tattoo world?
It has a huge part in the evolution of tattooing right now. it has opened up paths of communication that have led to friendships between tattooers from all around the world in a way that would have been impossible only 10 years ago. I have a lot of my progress to thank social media, without it i wouldn’t have had half as many fun tattoos to do each week, and many of my best friends and biggest inspirations I’ve met through social media.
But in the same time, it’s been made almost too easy to find the work by the best tattooers alive, it’s there just a click away on your smartphone, you will have it for free without no effort at all, all their years of hard work and love for tattooing. A little bit of the magic disappears and get mixed in a hugh pot of millions of photos of peoples latest drink, new car, funny guy on the metro, some ad for whatever etc etc, it’s like a wall of information that floods our minds, and it gets overwhelming and watered out in a sad way. Compare this to the magazine Tattootime from Ed Hardy that was in it’s time groundbreaking and still is in many ways.
The opportunity to see other tattooers work and the different styles at that time, must have been a huge inspiration to anyone who read the magazines.
looking trough it now, each and every photo in those five magazines have made an huge impact on tattooing as a whole. those tattoos will be remembered and appreciated forever.
Who would be your perfect customer?
I guess that depends on my mood, the weather, time of day etc. for example if the sun is shining and the sea is warm the perfect customer is the one canceling his appointment in the last minute so I can go to the sea with my friends or my girl, or the one that comes trough the door just when you got an cancelation and asks for a skull, rose, dagger, panther, tiger, snake or any other cool tat.
Or it could be a person who have a rough idea what to get but is open for new ways of doing it, or even changing the subject to something that will be a better tattoo that will age well, and make you look tough till the day you die.
How would you like to see tattooing change in the future?
It is ever changing, everyday a little bit, and it is impossible to know were it is heading.
I just hope that tattooing will stay what it is, a place for the lunatics and the mad ones, a place where you never need to conform to the norms of society, where the outcasts can find refuge.
Follow Jonas on Instagram http://instagram.com/jonastattooing
or on Tumblr here: http://luckybum.tumblr.com
Tonight sees the premiere of New York based artist Aerosyn-Lex Mestrovic’s ritual-inspired directorial debut, Scriptura Vitae, showcased as part of Channel 4’s Random Acts, a series of specially commissioned short films straddling the in-between of their late night schedule. The short takes the shape of an epic routine inspired by Butoh, the post-war performance art founded by Japanese dancer and guru Kazuo Ohno, and features actress Miho Nikaido best known for her role in the once banned cult classic, Tokyo Decadence, and original music by DJ and producer Diplo.
The artist spoke to Sang Bleu about the project and his work:
Your work has quite a specific aesthetic that is reminiscent of a very particular artistic style, what would you say were the biggest influences on your development as an artist?
I think I’ve always been drawn to symbols, signifiers, language and to the idea of the icon. There’s a purity to unfettered, unadorned, unabashedly brutal and honest works that resonates with me. A huge influence was my time spent living in Tokyo whilst in school. [French philosopher Roland] Barthes writes about the apparent difference in Japanese visual culture in Empire of Signs. Seeing their reverence and affinity for the symbolic, for the emblematic, that definitely resonated with me a lot.
I graduated from PRATT and that experience really helped to reinforced my conceptual thinking. What I’ve found over the years is that those who hone the craft of creative thinking, and not creative consumption and appropriation, are the ones who excel and succeed.
What draws you to Butoh as an inspiration for the project?
I was having lunch with a great friend, Sebastien Agneessens, and I mentioned [I was having] difficulties in casting and he just said, “You gotta meet my friend Miho.” So, he introduced me to the famed actress Miho Nikaido who’s best known for her starring role in the cult-classic, and for a time banned, Japanese film Tokyo Decadence, written and directed by lauded novelist Ryu Murakami and was scored by Ryuichi Sakamoto of Yellow Magic Orchestra. It was an absolute dream to meet her and to have that direct connection to cinematic history. I mean, everyone I just listed are idols to me. To have a connection to the 80′s-90′s Japanese avant-garde was was truly unbelievable.
I showed her my humble little sketches and talked about my references for the piece and coincidentally we landed on the topic of Butoh. It turned out that Miho had been an apprentice in [founder Kazuo] Ohno’s theater company for 4 years before stumbling into her debut-acting role. At the same time we’d approached an amazing Japanese dancer and Butoh performer, Maki Shinagawa, and had begun to incorporate the performance art into our film. All of these amazing, organic synergies happened all throughout the production process and really made me feel like this was all destined to be.
What made you choose an artist like Diplo to collaborate with on the music over someone perhaps more traditional?
I’m fortunate to have known Diplo for many years and worked with him on music and art projects back before even Hollertronix started, before his first album (Florida, which I designed) dropped. I knew he was capable of a sound totally different than what most people know him for. We both share a love for obscure Psych, Kraut and Prog-Rock, Proto-Electro, weird sound library records, basically we’re both vinyl-nerds. I asked if he could do something totally different than what he’s producing at the moment and he said “sure”.
The ritualistic aspect is something quite core to Butoh, how does such a concept parallel with your own practice as an artist?
I’ve said that I find solace and purpose in my practice of calligraphy. Working on a larger piece becomes a meditative experience. It’s almost a form of autonomous drawing, of muscle-memory and gesture. I’ve always seen a parallel between calligraphy (especially of the Eastern practice) and dance or performance art.
The first Act of the film is also called The Ritual. Many people are familiar with the Japanese Tea Ceremony ( or Cha no Yu ) but calligraphers also have a specific process when beginning new works. This was a central concept of the piece. It’s a ritual that establishes a relationship between the artist and the artwork. For this I looked to Jodorowsky’s Holy Mountian as a reference for how this was framed and shot. Conceptually, these were all elements that just aligned in my head and they felt to be the right way to tell the ethereal, allegorical story I was hoping to convey.
You chose the body as a canvas for your graphic calligraphic work, what kind of affect do you think this has on how it comes across?
In a way I think the body is the original canvas. We can look at primitive cultures and their usage of natural elements, scarification etc. to augment the body’s appearance. There was always something so sacred, spiritual and intentional about this specific kind of writing on the body.
I wanted to pay homage to a film which I’d seen whilst living in Tokyo years ago, Kaidan, is a 1965 screen adaptation of the works of folklorist and author Koziumi Yakumo or Lafcadio Hearn). The image that had been seared into my memory was taken from the short story Mimi Nashi Hoichi (or Hoichi the Earless). In it a blind monk is covered in a buddhist mantra to protect him from visiting demons. The image of calligraphy covering the body in a very specific, ritualistic sort of way was something that I’d never seen before and something that I’d always wanted to reference.
Calligraphy became the driving narrative thread through which the story would be told. The movements of the performers were intended to be directly correlated to the gestures of the artist’s brush. The writing on the performers itself relates back to the film’s title and are latin Psalms of Repentance. The story itself is about the relationship between artist and artwork and the dualities that arise in that relational framework, as well as throughout our own lives.
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