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TELEGRAPH: My Little Black Book
Tower of Strength, steel, 2013
Art at Annoushka
41 Cadogan Gardens, SW3 2TB
till July 13
photos: nathalie hambro
Telegraph: Little Black Book
TOOLS is inspired by Hambro’s “passion for hardware”. She has worked with a trove of industrial components and weighty builder’s implements to conceive sculpture, objet d’art, photography, video as well as a limited edition artist’s book. The principal material defining the show is steel. Though it is considered a common metal, Hambro prizes its versatility and has long worked with it, initially to conceive a range of accessories which became sought after and acquired by museums because of their daring sculptural beauty. “When I look at steel I have a strong emotional reaction,” she explains.
An internationally renowned creative force, Hambro has turned her hand to all manner of design, from interiors to accessories, fashion and fine jewellers. She is also a critically acclaimed gourmet cook and has produced an array of award-winning writing projects. She studied art history at the École du Louvre yet of the decision she made two years ago to pursue photography and sculpture, she classifies her working method as “spontaneous and un-technical”.
Her description belies her rigour and inventiveness. Contemplating an aim of TOOLS, as she studies two large-scale colour saturated polaroids she produced for the show—which reveal an alluring perspective of a machinist’s age-old tool box—she adds: “I like to create beautiful things but display them out of their original context.”
Her thoughts struck a chord with Annoushka and resonated with the objectives of Art At Annoushka. Establishing the ongoing exhibition series in 2011, Annoushka set out to collaborate with a range of artists to push forward the display and design of fine jewellery. “So it can be experienced in a whole new way,” she explains.
Hambro’s creative process—which is reliant on intricate manual skill and also wielding power tools—brought to Annoushka’s mind her own jewellery-making process. “The tools that Nathalie uses are also very similar to the tools used at the jewellers bench,” remarks Annoushka. “They evoke this wonderful feeling of craft, that is so often lacking in our modern world, and which I try to celebrate through my own work.”
Yet the inventive industrial aesthetic defining Hambro’s works prompted Annoushka to encourage Hambro to go further than merely installing her work on site at her flagship shop and, instead, conjure a bold, decorative environment by curating her entire retail space. “Nathalie’s work immediately resonated with me,” Annoushka goes on. “Her fascination with metal is both similar yet totally different to mine. While hers is an obsession with an urban feel, my own aesthetic is much more femininely crafted.
I am really excited about the meeting of the two and to have the opportunity of creating something truly original.”
“The show works like an installation,” adds Hambro. “My pieces interact with Annoushka’s space.”
A pair of towering, scaffolding-inspired sculptures are site-specific works and made to adorn the bay window from which Hambro will strip off the curtains, so the light streaming in will enhance the shimmer of the polished steel structures from which suspend framed images of “various tools—screws, dies, taps,” adds Hambro.
Mobiles, suspended from the ceiling, appear like monumental pendants and serve as another showcase for Hambro’s striking tool imagery. Affixed to these cross-shaped hanging art works, which are constructed from narrow strips of perforated metal, is her Ultramarine series—namely, prints which are mounted upon squares of cool aluminium seemingly to intensify their ink blue hue.
Tower of Torment, steel, 2013
Architectonic #3, steel, 2013
Architectonic #3, steel, 2013
Parallel #1, steel, 2013
Parallel #2, steel, 2013
Dystopian Chapel, steel, 2013
Tower of the Fearless, steel, 2013
Architectonic #4, steel, 2013
Morphic #1, steel, 2013
Morphic #2, steel, 2013
Architectonic #5, steel, 2013
Tower of Silence, sttel, 2013
Architectonic #4, steel, 2013
Architectonic #6, steel, 2013
Architectonic #2, steel, 2013
Tower of Defence, steel, 2013
Dissenters Chapel, steel, 2013
Tower of Darkness, steel, 2013
Tower of Lightning, steel, 2013
James Franco in collaboration with Gordon Douglas
6-10 Lexington Street, W1F 0LB
till July 27
photos & videos: nathalie hambro
Psycho Nacirema actor James Franco’s extra-curricular creative ambitions are fabled. He makes art, pens short stories and poetry and in the last half decade has studied at UCLA, Yale, Columbia and the Rhode Island School of Design. He can even fly a plane.
Franco’s installation heighten the psychological entrapment set out by Hichcock, beckoning the audience to become a participating character within the plot. Split Marion, 2013, a diptych mirror installation, prompts the viewer to join the artist to gaze and be gazed upon, projecting themselves as the characters ,(see last image of this author participating), of Marion Crane and Norman Bates. Compelled to identify with them, the audience is forced to recognise their own neurosis and psychological inadequacies generated by the silver screen.
So far his determination to try his hand at what sounds like a positively gruelling number of different disciplines (actually we forgot curator, see our story, left) has attracted more curiosity than the outcome of said endeavours. He’s also got a lot of preconceptions to leap frog: shouldn’t artists struggle? Isn’t it a full-time calling? His fame and financial muscle gets in the way.
It makes more than one kind of sense then, that Franco, who has plenty of top-notch experience in front of and behind the camera while being the subject of media speculation and public fascination, would be interested in probing movie voyeurism and the point where Hollywood myth overpowers the facts. For his London gallery debut, Psycho Nacirema, a large-scale installation with videos, he’s recreating Psycho’s Bates Motel, under the guidance of Douglas Gordon, whose own take on Hitchcock’s classic, 24 Hour Psycho, slowing down the film to a day-long run, proved the lauded Scottish artist’s breakthrough work.
Plenty of ink has been spilled on the shower scene’s sexual overtones, Norman Bates’ peeping, the voyeurism of the camera and the audience. Franco’s adding yet another layer of sordid intrigue, interweaving his reconstruction with elements referencing a real-life hotel murder: the apparent savaging in 1921 by the highest paid silent film star Fatty Arbuckle, of a little-known aspiring starlet named Virginia Rappe. It’s recounted in typically salacious style in Kenneth Anger’s scandal-mongering book, Hollywood Babylon.
Beyond our fascination with fallen celebrities, it’s safe to say that an exploration of masculinity, sex and violence is on the cards. These themes have featured heavily in Franco’s earlier art offerings, a New York gallery debut in 2010 tapping boyish bravado and aggressive male energy, and Rebel, a collaborative installation inspired by the behind-the-scenes life of Rebel Without A Cause, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2011.
Fellow Travellers, from the Monumental Misconceptions series, 2010, C-type
Kiss Me Deadly
The Hanging Room
RAC (The Royal Automobile Club)
89 Pall Mall SW1Y 5HS
65 Hopton Street, SE1 9GZ
till August 30
Lang’s work takes the form of photography, film and installation. The work is engaged in staging visual and conceptual interruptions to monuments and interiors. Her work is often peopled with figures, life-like yet not real, which she creates in the studio. She poses these semi-inhabitants in historical spaces and with monuments and statues, creating narratives and references to historic individuals and events.
The work interrogates the role of figurative sculpture, often imbued with special powers, such as religious figures, which become the subject of devotion, political monuments which come to embody on a large scale the dictator represented. Recent series of works have focused on Iconoclasm, the destruction of hated dictators by the mob or the destruction of the symbols of one regime by another.
Re-framing and re-contextualising these objects and spaces is used as an oblique strategy to re-activate histories and memories and to allow the objects to shake off the visual and ideological cliché, revealing buried atmosphere and characteristics.
Battle, from Spectres series, 2010, C-type
Lover (The Barberini Faun) from the Spectres series, 2010, C-type