Sunday, September 22, 2013

Urban Wandering

This weekend I went to see 2 films & screentalks which were part of the fantastic Urban Wandering series at the Barbican; Will Self talking about how social housing since the 1930s and the potential impact of war upon the way we view it now; and Mike Leigh talking about his film Naked.

I've been eagerly anticipating this series for months now and excited about what's still to come... including Swandown, directed by Andrew Kötting.

From 18 September to 2 October the Barbican presents Urban Wandering – Film and the London Landscape, a season of contemporary and archive feature films and documentaries, including talks and panel discussions. The season focuses on ideas related to a heightened awareness of the city environment, something often encapsulated in the concept of ‘psychogeography’ by writers, artists and filmmakers including Iain Sinclair, Will Self, Stephen Poliakoff, Owen Hatherley, Will Raban, Manu Luksch, Emily Richardson and Patrick Keiller, who all feature in this season that considers how war-time bombings, migration and economic growth have brought changes to the city.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Mira Schendel

I was so happy to discover the work of artist Mira Schendel, through her show opening at Tate Modern later this month. I love the mix of bold, skewed combinations of pure shapes & colour, up against elaborate & complex webs of energy, which pull letterforms in all directions. Her work is playful, yet certain of when to stop. I am also drawn to the way she collaborated and mixed with poets, sculptors, critics etc, to form something of a 'movement' without the label. I am pretty uninformed about her work, but deeply moved by what I've seen so far, and can't wait for the show to open.

Mira Schendel was born in Zurich in 1919 and lived in Milan and Rome before moving to Brazil in 1949. She settled in São Paolo in 1953, where she married Knut Schendel, and where she lived and worked until her death in 1988. Although brought up as a Catholic, Schendel was persecuted during WWII for her Jewish heritage. She was forced to leave university, due to anti-Semitic laws introduced inItaly, and flee to Yugoslavia.

Schendel’s early experience of cultural, geographic and linguistic displacement is evident in her work, as is her interest in religion and philosophy. She developed an extraordinary intellectual circle in São Paulo of philosophers, poets, psychoanalysts, physicists and critics – many of them émigrés like herself – and engaged in correspondence with intellectuals across Europe, such as Max Bense, Hermann Schmitz and Umberto Eco. Among key exhibitions featuring Schendel’s work were the first and numerous subsequent editions of the São Paulo Bienal; the 1968 Venice Biennale; a solo show at the Galeria de Arte SESI, São Paulo (1997); and Tangled Alphabets with León Ferrari at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2009).

Monday, September 9, 2013

Esquire Magazine

A map I illustrated of Melbourne, for Esquire Magazine.

Modern Farmer Handbook

So pleased to finally be able to announce the launch of the new Modern Farmer Magazine, and the illustrations I produced for the cover and inside of the Handbook earlier in the Summer. Available in UK news-stands from tomorrow!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Frances Ha dir. by Noah Baumbach

When I was a child I discovered we had a well in our garden. It was completely sealed with a cast iron cover so I could only imagine dropping glistening coins down it which (I decided) wouldn't make a sound for hundreds - maybe thousands - of years. At some point, the lid was removed and I stood beside it, took the deepest breath I'd ever taken, dropped a much more freely available pebble, and waited. After a disappointing few seconds, I heard a noise. Undeterred, I repeated the experiment. And again, and again, and again. At some point I must have come to terms with the idea that this well was not the magical, limitless, infinite chamber of promise that I had hoped it would be, because I stopped throwing things down it. But over time various manifestations of this belief would continue - when no one was watching I would dig holes all over my parents garden believing - not expecting - that I would find Australia.

Frances Ha by Noah Baumbach is the kind of rare film (book / play / poem) which makes me really dig my heels in and commit even more deeply to the idea of doing something because you believe in it, not because it makes any sense, or that someone else did it before. But even so, sometimes it's good to do what you're supposed to do when you're supposed to do it.