A poem by SIMRAN DIVATIA. I stand, firm believer In the concept of self love, A hypocrite. A fraud, Cannot help But compare myself, To ‘prettier’ girls With skinnier waists And smaller thighs, I think we are all full Of positive advice, Until we’re talking To our reflections, And can’t meet our own eyes. Featured image by Flood G, source: Flickr. 

Hypocrite

KRISTIE LUI examines works from Hyon Gyon’s solo exhibition at the Parasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art. Scorched holes in fabric reveal layers of burnt turpentine in Hyon Gyon’s thick impasto paint. Her subjects are abstract and emotional. They manifest in an explosive portrayal of energy which combines the use of Korean textiles, Japanese paper, and haunting symbolism. Hyon Gyon is a South Korean painter who received her doctorate from the Kyoto City University of Fine Arts, before going on to practice in New York City in 2013 where she began her indefinite residency. Encompassing two floors in the minimalist space at London’s Parasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art, her work comprises of both two and three-dimensional artworks. Gyon’s compositions produce colourful motifs of spirits and demons proliferating ceaselessly across an abstract background. Her works often bridge imageries of the spirit world of Korean or Japanese shamanism, with the human…Continue Reading

Incarnate

A prose piece by THOM WAITE. I am all memory. Nothing but. I am not limbs, eyes, ears; not sound, nor texture, nor sight; not present nor conceivable future; not light, nor dark, nor wide plain or cramped cell. I could be wheeled out again in the garden, where they place me; I could be falling in void; I feel air neither rushing nor cool and still, or sense the summer scents of dust and grass. But that is to look back, to memory, all that I am: To the left, a brook, babbling, and another great susurrus, but separate: oak woods I remember, played by the breeze. And more: one’s children playing about their chair, sometimes laughing, sometimes singing a more known music, their own melodies tangling together. And the brook sibilant in its passage, plosive in its falls back upon itself and pebbles dislodged, and bark, and leaves,…Continue Reading

Falling

ENERZAYA GUNDALAI critiques Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Museums are special places of worship for me. Walking through the European temple-like halls and devoting two hours to a single porcelain jar in the Rijksmuseum, for example, is a joyous experience. Contemplating the reasons as to why curators have placed such objects alongside each other is fascinating. Hence, when I visited the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) to see the ongoing exhibition Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt, I was ready for an informative, yet playful showcase of a sentimental part of my childhood. I was curious to see how the world’s leading museum of art and design, which houses artworks and artefacts spanning over 5,000 years of human history, would frame these modern-day platforms of entertainment. Seeing how the V&A might add to the growing culture of artistic production within video games is an exciting opportunity for viewers and curators alike.…Continue Reading

All Work and No Play

SEEHAM RAHMAN examines femininity and sexual politics in Polly Nor’s satirical illustrations. Sensuality, identity, and femininity are not new phenomena in illustration and storytelling. However, the modern woman of the 21st century represents an evolution of womanhood on an individual and societal basis. Art and design are not only articulating this social change but also actively engaging with it in pursuit of strengthening the perception of femininity. As a woman of colour, I often find it difficult to find myself represented in Western Art in a three-dimensional way. Polly Nor’s art speaks to the faults of my identity, bringing forth the wholeness of who I am. Even my demons are depicted as they really are, next to sensuous depictions of womanhood. My femininity is encapsulated; my fears revealed. The artist urges women to understand the toxicity of the internet-age through pieces such as In Your Dreams. Nor encapsulates the anxieties and responsibilities…Continue Reading

Polly Nor and The Nasty Woman

MARCELA KONANOVA reviews Modern Couples: Art, Intimacy and the Avant-garde at the Barbican Art Gallery. Laced with elements of originality, Modern Couples: Art, Intimacy and the Avant-garde offers a unique insight into intimacy in relationships. Paramount figures in European Modern Art explores the bonds that negotiate their creative processes. As opposed to many current exhibitions devoted to the development of a work of a single artist, Modern Couples understands art production as an organic process fuelled by the human connection. The rise of Modernist art styles from the late-19th to mid-20th century is seen as the product of the inevitable collaboration and influence rather than the product of a solo genius. ‘Couple’ is an elastic term encompassing all manner of intimate relationship that the artists themselves grappled with. It was not defined exclusively as monogamous, but inclusive of polyamory, friendship, or any relationship defined by devotion. Each couple brings to…Continue Reading

Love Making Art

A poem by CLAUDIO CAMBRA. noise Iʼm used to it. they said, I said, this is how it is. all this noise and everyoneʼs listening. everyoneʼs looking. talk to the ceiling but quietly, the keyholeʼs watching. somewhere out there the keyʼs going to come kill me. twenty thousand seatbelt threads ready to rip and throw me through the windshield and everyoneʼll hear me die. scratches on the wall I hear the nails scraping on the wall counting the times I breathe waiting for the last one to pass. shapeless faces staring through the frosted windows. listening through the blindfolds as I try to sleep. they tell me theyʼre coming. through the vents and through the windows. all I tell them is the same: Iʼm used to it. Featured image courtesy of Claudio Cambra Gomez

Schizophrenic

DIANA MOLDOVEANU explores conflicting voices in Sylvia Plath’s poem ‘A Mad Girl’s Love Song’. Sylvia Plath remains one of the most prolific poets in American literature, renowned for her lyrical genius as well as her tormented adolescence and an even more unsettling adulthood. Like any other art, poetry can be a cathartic tool in the process of self-understanding, and Plath uses it to explore her own internal suffering. ‘A Mad Girl’s Love Song’, written in 1951 and following her semi-autobiographical novel, The Bell Jar, discusses the muddling of Plath’s often painful experiences of love and mental health issues. While the novel focuses on the degradation of the protagonist’s mental state, the poem comes as the quintessential expression of the interior predicament, focusing on a young girl’s experience of the first thrills of love. Torn between reality and disillusionment at the loss of her lover, her initial passion unfolds as a traumatic…Continue Reading

Love’s Madness

RICHARD SANSOM reviews Gaspar Noé’s latest about a dance troupe’s macabre descent into a psychotic hell. Climax is the most recent work in a series of disorientating horrors from the Premier of New French Extremity, Gaspar Noé. Following on from 2015’s penetrating 3D porno Love, his fifth creation is yet another fantastic, woozy nightmare seemingly dreamt up in the menacing glow of Quartier Pigalle. In a grotty Parisian suburb, a troupe of young dancehall glitterati drink sangria in celebration of a successful final rehearsal for an upcoming US tour. Unbeknown to them, the punchbowl has been spiked with acid. As the drug kicks in, the jubilant youths, who had hitherto been krumping and waacking so gracefully, descend into chaos. Over the course of the night, they are contaminated by the substance in a sequence of events that echoes the indelible cruelties of Greek tragedy. We bear witness to homicide, suicide,…Continue Reading

Climax

A poem by A. M. SMYTHE. No one sleeps in this city, no one, no one sleeps, not tonight. Tonight we’ll listen to Zarathustra and read the new Bible. Tonight we’ll walk through the streets of the Old City, though the streets, the twisting, turning, winding, weaving streets, and unlink all the hands that are linked because sleeplessness is found in solitude. Tonight we’ll kick everyone out of our beds and leave them sat on their luggage in Sants Station like tourists without a map, robbed of all identification in the Ramblas, the bars or the beach. We’ll call them Morpheus and refuse to slumber under warm Christmas lights and Coca-Cola Santa Claus, under shiny new blinking iPhones and bottomless beer bottles. This night we’ll celebrate Samhain instead of Halloween and wish the mainstream media happy Hanukkah because our name is not Palinurus any longer and we drowned all the…Continue Reading

Thus Spoke Zarathustra

ETHAN BURTON looks at the highlights from UCL MODO Fashion Society’s The Countdown Fashion Show. UCL MODO Fashion Society presented its first main show of the year, The Countdown Fashion Show, a collaboration with UCL Climate Action Society focusing on sustainability and the notion that ‘anything is possible.’ The palette of talent offered such designs; collections had consistently strong concepts, and each look revealed a fresh insight into the future of fashion. The clothes presented were either upcycled or produced of recycled materials, yet the garments appeared as if new. It called to remind us that we can no longer excuse our practices and lack of mindfulness towards the way we treat waste. One common theme threaded through many of the designs was a focus upon comfort. Designs all aimed to facilitate the wearer’s movement. This basis was spotted in the casual and utilitarian designs reproduced the double denim and…Continue Reading

MODO: Thread Count, Countdown

INNOKA BARTLETT interviews co-curator of Bahrain Art Week 2018, Kaneka Subberwal. Kaneka Subberwal’s elegant articulations of thought, as revealed in this interview, was reflected in her recent co-curation of Bahrain Art Week 2018. The founder and co-curator of Art Select and Bahrain Art Week discussed the depth and intricacies of ‘Accumulation: Legacy and Memory’, the title and theme of the exhibition. This idea of accumulation unfolded throughout the exhibition, as artworks explored concepts of built up legacies of loss, and the memories of traditional as well as contemporary Bahrain. Kaneka founded Art Select in 2008, an art consultancy and creative platform. ArtBAB (Art Bahrain Across Borders) is Art Select’s flagship enterprise. It is an annual art fair that is aimed at exhibiting Bahrain’s Modern Art movement, tracing its development over the past 50 years. Bahrain Art Week is a project which was generated under ArtBAB. It seems to be cumulative…Continue Reading

The Legacies and Memories of Bahrain