BOOK CORNER #31: RED MAZE - Kenzine, the Kenzo official blog

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The book corner section highlights the most original aspects of Californian culture all summer long, through works selected and commented by Angelo Cirimele. This week, he picked the autobiography of English painter David Hockney, who spent four years living in California in the 1960s. Upon arriving in the 'golden state', he decided to change from his ususal oils to more vivid acrylic paints, applying them in strokes of smooth, flat and brilliant colour.

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“I don’t read many biographies; I find that more often than not the works are more interesting than the actual life of the individual behind them. That being said, artists sometimes reinvent the genre. Enter David Hockey, who through telling the stories behind the works that he has created, succeeds in revealing his own story. The English painter painted his famous series of swimming pools in Los Angeles upon taking the advice of friend Andy Warhol. While his approach is classical, Hockney has a decisively contemporary flare because he uses the effect of photography to influence his paintings. His images, by their colors and framing, are strangely cinematographic. Written in the first person, this book of paintings and drawings tells us as much about art as it does about the man behind it.”

'David Hockney' by David Hockney, 1976, 312 p. Ed. Thames & Hudson.
Kenzo, 60, rue de Rennes, Paris.

The book corner section will highlight the most original aspects of Californian culture all summer long, through works selected and commented by Angelo Cirimele. This week, he picked one of the most emblematic artist of the 90s of Los Angeles: Mike Kelley.

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"What I enjoy doing at a Mike Kelley exhibit is watching people take in the installations – I confess, it's more comfortable. Still, the devices that the Los Angeles native implements, here blankets and stuffed animals, that are by all appearances harmless completely shock their audience as they can prove to be harsh or perverse. I linger over the metaphors and transpositions that can be applied to the adult world, masculinity and femininity. The public is completely thrown, caught off-guard by a tougher softness than expected. This book, published in conjunction with the exhibition, plays on angles: it juxtaposes detailed and neutral views with large, more dramatic shots, revealing the humanity behind the stuffed animals. Definitely not a children's book."

"Arenas", Mike Kelley, 2010, 44 p. Ed. Skarstedt Gallery, New York.
Kenzo - 60, rue de Rennes, Paris.

This season, Carol and Humberto used their very own vision of California, their home state, as the inspiration for the collections. The book corner section will highlight its most original cultural aspects through works selected and commented by Angelo Cirimele. This week, he chosed a free supplement of Vogue Hommes International consisting of series of Kate Moss shot by the american photographer Bruce Weber. Bruce is well known for its provocative and idealistic pictures that depict the frivolity of youth, well represented by the never aging Kate.

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"If I like style magazines to the point of dedicating a whole publication to them, it is because they sometimes transcend their disposable status to become something else, a memory of time. This is the case of the September 2006 free supplement to Vogue Hommes International dedicated to Kate Moss and photographed by Bruce Weber, who had discovered her some years before. It is as much a collection of fashion pictures as an intimate album, and the layout is sometimes child-like, compiling as many pictures as possible. Spontaneity and presence hover on every page, and the pictures ooze sincerity. This glazed paper supplement did not have any value then, it is now a collector’s item."

 

"Kate Moss is the girl that got away", 2006, 48 p. Supplément à Vogue Hommes International, Ed. Condé Nast.
Kenzo – 60, rue de Rennes, Paris

This season, Carol and Humberto used their very own vision of Californiatheir home state, as the inspiration for the collections. We will explore through their eyes this wild state lined by the ocean, its countercultures and underground movements from the Orange County punk scene to the rap scene of South Los Angeles, its distinctive food from local farms as well as the one inspired by Mexico... The Book Corner section will highlight its most orginal cultural aspects. 

This week, Angelo Cirimele picked the book 'Rewilding' by Cass Bird.

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"It was the title, rather than the cover photo, that made me open this book: Rewilding, a word that has no translation in French, but that immediately conveys the concept of the book. Photographer Cass Bird takes some female friends and acquaintances – chosen for their energy, spirit and spontaneity – far away from everything, to Tennessee. There: water, sun, bodies, nudity, movement... Cassie Bird captures moments (or prompts them?) that are the pure present, the here and now. The frequent nudity showcased is not erotic, merely “natural” and the ambiance of the book is that of a small world alongside ours, a preserved spacetime of codes and conventions – to the extent that there, the young women pee standing up."

"Rewilding", Cass Bird, 2012, 88 p. Ed. Damiani, Italy.
Kenzo - 60, rue de Rennes, Paris.

We may well wonder about the place of drawing and painting as art and art form in our snap-happy digital lives. Artist Elizabeth Peyton embarks on an unusual experiment to explore the question, blurring lines all the more with her choice of subjects from the realms of royalty, sport and pop.

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Her drawings of Jarvis Cocker and Sid Vicious evoke the intimacy of a sitting, a shared space between portrait artist and model. Peyton shows us the person behind personalities we only know from TV, the web or the tabloids, rendering Napoleon, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles equally human under her paintbrush. This collection of some 200 selected works by Peyton is an unusual hybrid of photographic composition and painting technique.

 

"Elizabeth Peyton", 2005, 264 p. Published by Rizzoli.
Kenzo, 60, rue de Rennes, Paris.

Mass advertising’s relentless push to consume can be galling at times, but museums today lap up these valuable snapshots of the language and style of another era. Ad/Art is a collection of advertising artwork by photographer Cheyco Leidmann that takes us back to the 1980s, a relatively short jump in time that underscores how style outstrips everything else in terms of its rapid pace of change.

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The high-color fantasy imagery of 1980s advertisements is a phenomenon all of its own. The stylized reality of this movie-inspired dreamscape is populated by otherworldly models, often with props, such as cigarettes, which today seem outrageous. A time when budgets weren’t a problem and airbrushing was still largely unheard of. Also a thing of the past is the star status that once came with a career in advertising, since the name Cheyco Leidmann means little today.

"Ad/Art", Cheyco Leidmann, 1983, 132 p. Published by Love me tender.
Kenzo, 60, rue de Rennes, Paris.

Artistic directors have the professional advantage of remaining anonymous for most viewers of their work, while the best of the bunch enjoy the recognition of their peers and photographer and editor colleagues. 

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Juan Gatti is known only to connoisseurs of Spanish movie poster and sleeve art from the 1980s onwards. These two retrospective books are a moving tribute to Gatti’s work with Almodovar, Miguel Bosé, the Elite agency logo, various fragrances and Peter Lindbergh’s photography books. The first volume is dedicated to his work as an artistic director and the second to his photography. Gatti’s signature style can be traced back to the rehashed European aesthetic he grew up with in his native Argentina, which he was to re-import to modern-day Spain and beyond.

"Juan Gatti Photo Graphics", Juan Gatti, 2011, 620 p. Published by La Fabrica, Madrid.
Kenzo, 49, avenue George V, Paris.

Fast fashion would have us believe that the entire free world now dresses the same. Documentary makers Ari Versluis and Ellie Uyttenbroeck demonstrate that strikingly rigid dress codes do in fact continue to exist.

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Teenagers, Young Executives, Tattoo Babes, Chairmen and Bimbos all express a group identity through their wardrobe choices. The book documents 58 social groups in 12 portraits. Each portrait is identically framed and shot on a white background, and the “models” have been asked to strike the same pose: “Exactitudes”, is a contraction of “exact” and “attitude”. This volume archives a defined period (1994-2002) but more importantly illustrates the combination of elements that make up a style, and how people are tied up with their social, political or sporting allegiances. A far cry from ready-made fashion.

"Exactitudes", Ari Versluis and Ellie Uyttenbroeck, 2002, 128 p. Published by 010 publishers, Rotterdam.
Kenzo, 49, avenue George V, Paris.

Galore takes magazine publishing back to its retro roots. Clearly wary of the constraints of modern technology, the editorial team has produced something closer to a fanzine. In an era when publishers are born with a mouse glued to their fingertips and a Mac never out of their sights, Galore seems to be breaking free of fonts and grids to bring the focus back to illustration, scissors, paste and all.

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Galore revels in retro 1970s glam, complete with a pin-up calendar and illustrated and photographed buxom beauties. Black and white features heavily in pages printed on newspaper in a mishmash of font styles. Galore follows the successful formula behind David Bailey’s Ritz, Andy Warhol’s Interview and its French equivalent, Façade. 100 deliciously carefree pages straight out of the sexy sixties.

Galore, n°1, 2012, 100 p.
Kenzo, 60, rue de Rennes, Paris.

When the catalogue opens with a quote from Joyce’s Ulysses, it bodes well for a graphic art exhibition. Stanley Donwood is the pen name of notoriously reclusive artist Dan Rickwood. Known for his album covers for Radiohead, the designer still works closely with the band’s singer Thom Yorke. At times it’s hard to tell their work apart, and they take a perverse pleasure in giving nothing away. Stanley Donwood’s polymorphous work is a mesh of naïve art drawings and typography, pixels and layouts, painting and collage.

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The catalogue is arranged by chapters that trace the ties between his personal work and his commissions. The many anecdotes and other passages of text describe the meandering discoveries that make up the creative process of a graphic artist. We close the book with a pang of nostalgia for album cover art, which by now is practically ancient history…

Red Maze by Stanley Donwood, 2010, 160 p. Published by Schunk, Netherlands.
Kenzo, 60, rue de Rennes, Paris.