Around The Globe With – Pandemonia
✦ I step out of a taxi in Convent Gardens, a private member-looking club with no name on the front. The staff usher me into the main dining room. I’m a bit disoriented and the room goes silent as everyone is looking at me and I can’t see my host.
Diana Chire rescues me and sits me down at a large table with at least 30 women, and I find myself the guest of She Zine, a feminist arts magazine. I’m next to Jessica Patterson, founder and CEO of JP Media Group. The conversation turns to #WCW Women’s Crush Wednesday and she explains, “I put these events on for women to reclaim the #WCW tag. We want to take ownership of our image and change its meaning.”
But she is interrupted by a muscular man in tight pants who leaps on to the table. He starts performing for us, and then I remember that we at Circus, a cabaret restaurant and cocktail bar.”
Through the cabaret haze, I recognize a cartoon lobster. Philip Colbert of the Rodnik Band has just arrived, and I am so excited to hear about his recent collaboration with Chupa Chups.
“I have always thought Chupa Chups is the perfect pop icon: it’s pop meets Surrealism,” Philip explains. “Did you know Salvador Dali created the original logo in 1969? For me, the lollipop is like the molecule of Pop.”
I run into Brix Start Smith waiting for me. Brix worked with post punk fixtures The Fall and the Adult Net before moving into fashion with Philip Start. I loved her in the “I am Kurious Orange” ballet produced at the Michael Clark Ballet Company.
As we talked at her table, a troupe of dancers march aboard and the fire breather treated us to a flaming nipple tassel dance.
Turning back to Diana at the end of the evening, I give her my best wishes for the magazine. We discuss the night’s entertainment, Pandemonia, and how it all relates to Third Wave Feminism.
Before the next act started I took the opportunity to disappear. POP!
Maryam Eisler’s Searching for Eve in the American West
Tristan Hoare Gallery
Photo: Daniel Lismore, Philip Colbert, Maryam Eisler, Natan CG, Pandemonia and Nimrod Kamer.
✦ I love Americana, and love the biblical Eve, so this was an irresistible night out for me. In the company of my doggie, Snowbell, I set out to investigate.
Pushing our way through her adoring fans I managed to get a few words with the artist, who fell in love with the American Southwest while on the trail of Georgia O’Keeffe.
Who is your Eve”, I asked her.
“She is Woman with a capital W, and the sensuality behind woman and nature as one.” Maryam was struck by the contrast between the soft, smooth curves of the female body and the jagged forms of the desert.
I told her is seemed like the landscape was largely internal, like de Chirico’s?
She agrees and adds that while in America she did a lot of research on American modern poetry. Influenced by Ezra Pound and E.E. Cummings, she actually married the poetry and images in the catalogue of the exhibition.
At that moment, in walked designer Edeline Lee wearing another Tromp L’oeil coat. How embarrassing! After documenting the faux pas, I decided it was time to high-tail it out of there. Snowbelle needed chocolate to recover, so we headed over to Belgravia to R Chocolate’s opening launch. Squeezing into the shop, Snowbelle couldn’t believe her luck as we were offered a dizzying array of the finest couture chocolates decked out in thyme and honey, strawberry and basil, lemon caramel, raspberry and tarragon, fresh mint and apple.
R Chocolate 198 Ebury Street London SW1W 8UN
John Philips: Vanitas at the London Print Studio
(Till Wednesday 21st December)
✦ At first glance, these sumptuous pictures look like 17th century paintings. On further investigation however, it becomes clear that they are a combination of digital manipulation and photography, some works being the combination of up to 14000 images.
Philips tells me, “Everybody has a camera on their phone and everyone is photographing trivia. So I decided I would also photograph things that were discarded and unwanted but try to make images that had a real sense of presence and that really enchanted and grabbed people.”
Despite running the highly collaborative London Print Studio, John was able to carve-out a private space where he created these images. He adds, “Weirdly, although I did these in isolation they seem to have generated more of a social response than my other work. I suspect way back in our ancestry, we all buried flowers with our dead so our relationship to death and flowers is very deep and ancient. It resonates across all cultures.”
Well, I knew it was time to get to the next show if I didn’t want to wilt myself.
Cabbing it to Mayfair I caught up with Francesco for a tour of his latest exhibition.
Francesco Jodice Cabaret Voltaire Gazelli Art House
✦ Francesco exhibition is a project 20 years in the making. Archiving 150 places around the world, it documents the social transformations facing our times – specifically what he sees as a growing phenomenon of cities defined more by psychological imperatives rather than physical realities.
As evidence, Francesco cites “Baikonur”, the famous Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. When the Soviet system collapsed, Putin rented the city from Nazarbayev. This is the first rented city in the world.”
I point out it’s a bit like America renting Guantánamo Bay from Cuba, and ask if his work relates in any way to Trump or Brexit.
“That was a coincidence,” he says, but then takes me to see his video installation called Atalante. “The movie is based on a line from the video game called Deus Ex, ‘It is not the end of the world but you can see it from here’. I love this sentence, and I am inviting you on a terrace where you can see it. I have no judgement about Brexit of Trump. As an artist I am very curious to observe these things as a new chapter…it is the new flow of the tide, and I have no idea where it is going to bring us.”
I add that the internet and social media have changed the game. All this information and misinformation is challenging power and authority. Without facts we are only left with emotion and it is unsettling the current order.
Maria Nepomuceno, Victoria Miro Gallery
✦ It was a hectic day. First, was ladies at tea with Hello! Magazine at the Café Royal, for a fashion interview. It was an interesting interview, supposing what Pandemonia’s perfect fantasy day would be, but with an invite in hand to Maria’s show, I was very aware of the time. I realized I had never been to the Victoria Miro Gallery, as prominent as it is, and as it turned out, it was a wonderful first visit. Meeting Maria, I find out that she lives and works in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She tells me that her work is heavily influenced by nature.
M: “My work as a whole there is always this idea of a flux of energy. All the parts of beads and ropes they are hand-made so there is this idea of creating an organism that makes me think about creating life as a whole, nature, plants, animals,landscape, and universe.”
P: They do look a bit like internal organs, the subconscious. Processes moving behind the scenes.
M: “Yes, there is a viscerality. Each material has a symbolism. For example, the beads are for me like cells, microcosms. At the same time, they are reproduced at a large scale and they become like planets. They give an idea of cosmos.”
Another fantastic month from London…from molecules of Pop lollies, to the psychic plumbing of Maria Nepomuceno, it is enough to make your head go *POP*.
October & November, 2016