MIER FOO discusses the digitalisation of the fashion industry. A staggering one billion people now use Instagram. Over 72% of these users purchase a product they viewed on the app. Within seconds, carefully curated content can be propagated through millions of users worldwide. As a result, an increasing number of brands are turning towards social media’s immediacy to promote their advertising campaigns. This pervasiveness of digital media, specifically Instagram, has caused a revolution within the fashion industry, permanently altering the way brands interact with their consumers. Sponsored posts, ‘live’ stories, and endorsement from a rising number of ‘influencers’ has allowed brands to target the millennial consumer market at a substantially lower cost than traditional print marketing. It is safe to say that Instagram has surpassed legacy magazines as the main form of advertising. The media industry titan, Condé Nast, reportedly sustained losses of 120 million USD last year after suffering…Continue Reading

Reformations in Fashion

HELENA WACKO explores the juxtaposition of aesthetics and crude reality in the work of photographer Mandy Barker. Every now and again, an image of sea turtles choking on plastic bags or polystyrene trash littered across shores complements headlines on the growing plastic pollution in our oceans. These unpleasant images have become commonplace to the general public. They are perhaps granted a brief concern by onlookers, but rarely a second look. Mandy Barker’s artwork greatly contrasts this salient indifference which plagues the comfortless images. She has devoted her career to photographing discarded litter from oceans collected from around the globe, ranging from the British shores to Hong Kong beaches. Her photographs are akin to celestial constellations. Plastic debris, which are the principal subjects of her images, are laid out to mimic the faraway asteroids mapped out onto our night skies. Her work, much like the cosmos, are a carefully organised chaos.…Continue Reading

Cosmic Plastic Constellations

ENERZAYA GUNDALAI reviews Space Shifters at Southbank Centre’s Hayward Gallery. Beaded curtains, mirrors, translucent columns, and shining stainless steel orbs: these are the forms that inhabit Space Shifters. The Hayward Gallery’s recent group exhibition consists of a haphazard circus of repurposed objects. Unified by refined curatorial work, the artworks challenge preconceived notions of form and identity. Featuring 20 artists, almost all of the pieces in this exhibition relate to two major American art movements in the 1960s known as ‘Optical Art’ (or ‘Op Art’), and the Los Angeles-based era of art production, ‘West-Coast Minimalism.’ Artworks from these movements often explore ways of capturing objectivity. Space is warped to subvert the artist’s presence. This manipulation of form and space produces an ambiguity of shape that ultimately gives the viewer the agency to conceive and interpret the artwork. The exhibition spaces are constructed to transform the physical art object into an immersive…Continue Reading

Mirror, Mirror

JADE BURROUGHES explores the noise of protest art by neo-conceptual artist Jenny Holzer. In a 2017 survey, Spanish visual media artist Daniel G. Andújar claimed that ‘democracy has become an aesthetic matter’. He is not alone in this analysis. He is one of many to recognise art’s political potential. To me, Andújar’s mantra starkly resonates with the work of neo-conceptual artist Jenny Holzer. Since the 1980s feminist wave, Holzer has demonstrated an unrivalled capacity in tearing through dominant socio-political narratives which stifled critical democratic conversation and pacified populations. Noise is vital in intercepting these top-down induced unilateral discourses: one can think of no noisier art genre than protest art. Holzer stands as a frontline proponent of this. In the current political climate, silence is utilised as a weapon to repress the propagation of justice noted most overtly in the use of gag orders to silence #MeToo victims. It is necessary…Continue Reading

Exercises of Democracy and Aesthetics

MAILI NEGI iterates the Swiss Passport Office art experience at Galerie Thaddeaus Ropac. Tom Sachs’ 24-hour live art installation, Swiss Passport Office, gave privileged art enthusiasts a watered-down experience of applying for citizenship to a foreign country. Sachs chose to imitate the issuing of Swiss passports because, to him, Swiss citizenship is ‘the ultimate status nationality, representing wealth, neutrality, and freedom.’ By handing out Swiss citizenship for 20€, Sachs symbolically sold the right to travel freely (without a visa) to many counties. When asked about the experiential installation he declared, ‘I am making the world not the way it is, but the way I want it to be. I want everyone to have the most prestigious passport in the world so they can travel and trade freely’. In today’s political climate this is a statement heavy with meaning. His installation alludes to major social and political issues such as the…Continue Reading

Tom Sachs: Worlds Without Borders

EMER DALY considers Anni Albers’ retrospective at the Tate Modern. In the Tate Modern’s new retrospective of Anni Albers’ geometrically complex textile art, we are made to appreciate the many layers of weaving. From ancient crafts, to decorative art forms, to architectural weave types, Albers’ intricate artworks and designs engage heavily with many types of textile production. This exhibition guides us down the many paths that Albers took her weaving, first as a reluctant student and later as a teacher and renowned artist. Albers’ weavings are filled with contradictions. She takes an ancient media, traditionally ornate, and creates modern and linear patterns instead. She uses soft threads such as cotton, linen, silk and weaves them in bold, almost harsh designs. Neither two nor three-dimensional, her tactile works falls somewhere in between painting and sculpture. While teaching at Black Mountain College in the USA, Albers encouraged her students to ‘imagine […]…Continue Reading

Anni Albers: Multi-layered Master

Kuhn’s practice harkens back to eras when art was slowly crafted. His complex and intricate compositions, meticulously layered with drawings and oil paint, suggest a belief that a traditional approach to art must be mastered before moving into the experimental zone. Obviously passionate about art history, within the first five minutes of chatting, Kuhn proposes that once oil paint was introduced to the Western world, “painting gets better”. Having grown up in a film-obsessed household, he started drawing at a young age. Yet he admits to having set his sights on improving drastically within the last year, “catalysed by exhibitions and readings”. Citing inspirations as broad as Gorky, Kusama and Kiefer he laments how in some ways modern visual art struggles to get an emotional response out of the viewer, as a result of the limited engagement of time and lack of narrative. As a consequence, Kuhn takes his time with his…Continue Reading

George Kuhn