Slowing Down

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Three weeks ago, in Varkala, India, it was hot.

What a joy to get some film developed. The heat really did slow things down.  It took a week to find time to get to the chemists to drop of the rolls for development; another couple of days before picking them up. The grain, the colours, the excitement; no photoshop in sight.

 

Wild elephants swimming across a lake.

Last week, Impossible Project announced the launch of its new point and shoot polaroid camera; the I-1. This comes 84 years after Edwin Land invented polarised filters for in-camera development and founded the Polaroid Corp.  The original Instagram; 60 seconds and you had an image. 

Moore's Law, the one about the microchips getting faster; well microchip advancements have slowed down, Intel’s advancements are coming roughly every two and a half years. Tech is slowing. The Light Phone is launching; a mobile device that is regressing to the bare essentials of a mobile device. Fashion is protesting; safe production standards. Would slowing down the industry make it safer? Two seasons a year; probably more like 52 micro-seasons a year on the high street.  

Should we all just slow down a little, maybe just a tad?

 

The future as seen from 1915

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A few years ago, the swedish fashion house, Acne released a special collection of pieces featuring an artist. Lots of fashion brands do collaborations with artists, but something about this felt different. The artist in question, was Hilma af Klint. An artist who, apart from having a very cool name, was an early 20th Century abstract painter. Apparently Acne’s creative director Johny Johansson, saw her work at the Modern Museet in Stockholm, an exhibition that was the most extensive so far or her oeuvre and felt that were some sort of connectionbetween the art and his brand.


And so, an Acne Jumper became my introduction to this pioneering artist. Although I’d love to have seen that very same show as Johansson in Sweden, there is now a smaller exhibition now on show at the Serpentine gallery in London’s Hyde Park.


It is fantastic to see the work in the flesh - especially when you realise that it was all originally created in secret, It was stipulated in Hilma’s will that the works must not be made accessible to the public until at least twenty years after her death. Hilma felt that the work’s full meaning could not be understood until then. 


And when the work was released, it questioned everything the establishment knew about the original pioneers of abstract art, predating Kandinsky, Mondrian and Malevich. She was clearly a true visionary exploring spirituality, the occult and the higher consciousness of human existence. 


Hilma was part of a secret group of female artists known as ‘The Five’ who conducted seances in belief that spirits who wished to communiciate, would shown them pictures. This led to experiments with automatic writing and drawing, pre dating similar techniques used by the Surrealists by several decades. The output of work was prolific.


All of this happening, while she kept up the pretence of being a formally trained landscape painter.


Every generation throws up a handful of people that are clearly ahead of their time. Often these people are ostracized as madmen, rebels or delusional by the world that does not understand them. Others, perhaps like Hilma, work in secret and simply wait for the world to catch up with them.

 



Hilma af Klint: Painting the Unseen
3 March – 15 May 2016
Serpentine Gallery, London



 

 



Shadows — Andy Warhol

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The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao presents Shadows (1977–78) by Andy Warhol, a monumental artwork of 102 large format, silkscreened panels. (February 26 — October 2, 2016)

Andy Warhol is one of the most important Pop Art artists, he developed his own iconography from common features of everyday life, advertising, and comics, using his favourite process; screenprinting. During this process, photographic images can be transferred directly onto canvas or paper multiple times, allowing works of art to be created in large quantities easily and inexpensively.

In 1978, Warhol embarked upon the production of a monumental body of work titled Shadows with the assistance of his entourage at the Factory. These works are entitled ‘Shadows’ as they are all based around a photo of a shadow taken in his office.

This series was conceived as one painting in multiple parts, the final number of canvases is determined by the dimensions of an exhibition space. For the first exhibition, in 1979 in Soho, New York, only 83 on the 102 canvases were installed. 

Warhol and his team coated the canvases with acrylic paint with bright and cheerful colour tones (like the translucent violet and the aqua green which are characteristic of his larger body of work). Then, the shadow image was screenprinted on top, primarily in black silkscreen ink — only a couple were made in silver.

Each Shadow corresponds to a form that reveals, with precision and self-awareness, its space, directing the viewer’s gaze to light, the central subject of the series.
In focusing on the shadow to devise light—that is to say, sparks of colour—Warhol returns to the quintessential problem of art: perception.