Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Slowly Seeping through my Hands; The Wearable Art of Nikoline Liv Andersen

Why should we live if we must die? It is one of the questions Danish artist Nikoline Liv Andersen puts us in  this exhibition. With a plethora of bodies, thick fabrics, flowers and fruits, life's transience is reflected upon, man in defense against death and the body in decomposition. Through baroque vanitas-settings and references to the myth of Sisyphus - society's eternal quest for financial abundance in a life that undoubtedly lose all worldliness at the end - the project expresses a life without meaning that will inevitably end.

Also on exhibit is the project The Dance of the Deaf and Dumb Eye where Nikoline Liv Andersen examines the theory of the classic Japanese monkeys that naively shut themselves out of the world by not seeing, not hearing and not speaking. Monkeys housed in wigs a la Marie Antoinette and clothing sculptures are visualized through a counterpart to the French court of Louis XVI, whose excessive exuberance and poor communication between nobility and the people led to the French Revolution. The monkeys symbolize today's blind consumer.

Nikoline Liv Andersen graduated as a fashion designer from the Danish Design School in 2006. She works in the borderland between fashion and art, and her unique creations are made of materials such as fur  and plastic. She lives and works in Copenhagen.
" Since I was little, I had an endless fascination with aesthetic and visual story telling. My heart is beating and my fingers are itching to dress and dress up. I see it as a duty and a great motivation to push the borders of what you are able to wear and not to dwell in the land of compromises where existing target groups are being pleased."
~~ Nikoline Liv Andersen

The exhibition presents two new installations of textile works and a selection of past creations. "Slowly Seeping through my Hands" is currently on view at Horsens Kunstmuseum in Denmark.

The Dance of the Deaf and Dumb Eye by Nikoline Liv Andersen
Photos by Nicky de Silva

Glory by Nikoline Liv Andersen
Photos by Signe Vilstrup

Slowly Seeping through my Hands by Nikoline Liv Andersen
Photos by Svend Pedersen

Courtesy and copyright © Nikoline Liv Andersen
Nikoline Liv Andersen "Slowly Seeping through my Hands"
November 19, 2011 - February 5, 2012
This post is featured on the Huffington Post

Monday, November 28, 2011

DIOR COUTURE by Patrick Demarchelier

The soon to be released, DIOR COUTURE will make a lovely gift for this holiday season. This book is a portfolio of over one hundred iconic gowns for the entire era of Christian Dior haute couture, including dresses designed by Dior himself and those of his successors, Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, and John Galliano.

Each of these divine portraits were shot by legendary French fashion photographer Patrick Demarchelier whose work is regularly featured in leading magazines including Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Elle, Vanity Fair, and many others. Demarchelier was also the official photographer of Princess Diana of Wales, the first non-Briton to become an official photographer for the Royal Family.
Shot in various places, a movie studio in Beijing, Times Square in New York and, in Paris, in settings including a private chateau, the Opera Garnier, avenue Montaigne, and at the Hotel Plaza Athenee, the stunning gowns - vintage and contemporary - were taken on models including Natalia Vodianova, Gisele Bundchen, Karlie Kloss, actress Charlize Theron, and many others.

Founded in Paris by designer Christian Dior in 1946, the House of Dior is one of the most revered names in fashion, and his the archetype of Parisian couture. With splendid images accompanied by thoughtful text by former editor-in-chief of Interview magazine, and a special foreword by American artist Jeff Koons, DIOR COUTURE immortalizes one of the most important and long-lived couture houses in the world and is a book that anyone with an interest in fashion will want for their library.

DIOR COUTURE is published by Rizzoli New York
Release date: December 2011

Dior Couture by Patrick Demarchelier, the making

Courtesy Rizzoli New York
This post is also featured on the Huffington Post

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou: Egungun Project. A Sumptuous Masquerade

Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou (b.1965) is one of the pre-eminent photographers from the Republic of Benin,  based in the capital Porto Novo close to the Nigerian border. Trained by his father, the world-renowned photographer Joseph Moise Agbodjelou (1912-2000), Leonce Raphael has since developed his own individual style in contemporary and innovative ways. Shooting with medium format in an outdoor studio, his recent project has focused on the Egungun masqueraders.

Egungun are both named and unnamed ancestral forbears of Yoruba-speaking lineages, found in the republic of Benin and in the Yoruba kingdoms of south-Western Nigeria. Beginning in the 11th to 14th centuries a.d., the masqueraders appear at funeral to mark and guide the passage of the deceased to the spirit world. Annual festivals are held in Yoruba-speaking communities at the beginning of the rainy season to cleanse the town, but Egungun can also appear at any time to avert major misfortune or affliction that threatens the local community. They occupy a range of roles that vary from recent deceased and historical forbears, to acting as community executioners of criminals and witches. Less important and junior performers, such as onidan (miracle workers) oloki (acrobats) and alaba (wearers of cloth) cam also entertain the onlookers with magical feats and the sumptuousness of visual display.
~~Dr Charles Gore, Senior Lecturer in the History of African Art, School of African and Oriental Studies, University of London

Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou explores these dynamic tensions in a major series of individual portraits of Egungun that capture both their individual personalities and quirks while making out their power and elusiveness as liminal visitors from the world of the dead.

Agbodjelou has received international recognition for his portrait photography. This new series - acquired by major private collections worldwide - firmly establishes him as preeminent emerging artist.

Egungun Project is currently on view at Jack Bell Gallery, London
November 17 - December 17, 2011

Copyright © Jack Bell Gallery
© Jack Bell Gallery
© Jack Bell Gallery
© Jack Bell Gallery
© Jack Bell Gallery
© Jack Bell Gallery
© Jack Bell Gallery

Egungun Project 
November 17 - December 17 2011
This post is also featured on the Huffington Post

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Babylonstoren, an eco-chic getaway in South Africa

If you plan to spend the holidays somewhere and are still hesitating on where to go, you may want to check out Babylonstoren, an exceptional place located in the heart of the Cape Winelands, and an hour drive from Cape Town. In her inspired restoration of one of the Winelands oldest estates, the former editor of Elle Deco and owner of the estate, Karen Roos and her team have created a unique country getaway, a luxury hotel and working guest farm.

As a working farm, Babylonstoren's acreage is divided between orchards and vineyards. Its centerpiece is a magnificent eight-acre fruit and vegetable garden, modeled on the fabled gardens of Babylon, and inspired by Patrice Tarravella's creation of the medieval monastery garden at Prieure d'Orsan in France.

The historic werf, with its handsome buildings and pleasing spatial geometry is among the best preserved in the Cape. Among the old oaks and olive trees, a series of 18th century-style cottages have been built to accommodate guests. Skillful preservation and restoration of the original feel, combined with an infusion of 21st century life, the interiors are simple, yet utterly luxurious, a mix of modern and antique pieces and stylish touches such as a Magis Puppy Dog, a canvas wardrobe, a Xavier Lust hatstand.

The old cowshed has been converted into a cool milk-restaurant, Babel, where award winning stylist and food consultant Maranda Engelbrecht has come up with a unique new style of menu, which focuses on fresh produce from the garden and the region.

Farm entrance ©Babylonstoren
Farm activities @Babylonstoren
Historical fowl house ©Babylonstoren
Historical Cape Dutch gable house ©Babylonstoren
Garden pond ©Babylonstoren
Cottages ©Babylonstoren
Suites ©Babylonstoren
Suites ©Babylonstoren
Babel restaurant, a farm-to-fork experience ©Babylonstoren
Bamboo spa reception ©Babylonstoren
Overview with the Simonsberg mountains, the finest terroir in the Cape ©Babylonstoren
Swimming in the pond ©Babylonstoren

Courtesy Babylonstoren, Drakenstein Valley, Franschhoek, South Africa