When graphic designer Michael Eaton contacted musician King Khan he was gifted a very special commission: “I had been a huge fan of his music for years and it just so happened he was thinking of making this Tarot deck so it was appropriate timing”.… Spotlight: Black Power Tarot Deck
Spotlight: Tatiana Bilbao
We chose to spotlight Bilbao’s work in this Bauhaus special issue because her socially conscious architecture echoes a commitment to geometric scale and a simplicity of translating design.… Spotlight: Tatiana Bilbao
Spotlight: Blandine Martin, ‘Objets sans importance’
Our spotlight this month is the mixed-media artist Blandine Martin. Martin works with materials including sand, recycled paper and timber to combine the organic with the abstract. Looking at objects and their place within the domestic sphere, Martin questions and transforms everyday objects, their assumed function and associated rituals, particularly rituals involving women. Objets sans importance explores the weight and lasting legacy of female history, and how society has objectified women.
“Blandine plays with conceptual ideas and the art of dismantling objects and their purpose along with their narrative”Artist’s Statement
See more of Martin's work over on her website. You can also follow her on Instagram and Twitter.
Spotlight: Designer Hala Kaiksow
Hala Kaiksow is a designer, an artist and a sculptor. Her intricate craft, design and construction of garments and pieces allows for profound and striking engagements between the natural world and human labour (hand-woven, naturally dyed fabrics, woven raw linen, silk and hemp are often embellished with fragments of latex and metal, as well as natural wood and mother of pearl). Her contemporary practice is infused with a sense of rich Islamic tradition and the past; Kaiksow’s inspiration draws from nomadic antique Bergers clothing to traditional Barhani uniforms. Last year, she was shortlisted for the Jameel Prize 5, an international prize for contemporary artists and designers inspired by Islamic tradition held by the Jameel Art Foundation.
“Hala Kaiksow’s journey as a designer begins with the human hand and its ability to imbue garments with a sense of soul.”Hala Kaiksow, Artist’s Statement
“It is a reflection of Hala’s artisanal approach to thoughtful luxury, one informed by her passion for transforming unexpected materials through age-old craft traditions.”Hala Kaiksow, Artist’s Statement
Spotlight: The Gee’s Bend Quilts
Gee’s Bend is a small piece of land, surrounded on three sides by the Alabama River. In this location, a community have crafted quilts for decades. In 1966, 150 quilt-makers in the rural area formed the Freedom Quilting Bee co-operative. In light of the Civil Rights Movement, this co-op represented a chance to earn a living from the creative output being generated. This collective approach was led by makers Callie Young and Estelle Witherspoon. However, as Linda Hunt Beckham suggests in her article Quilt Story: Black Rural Women, White Urban Entrepreneurs, And The American Dream there is a tension between the maker’s output and the power dynamics of the contemporary art world. Something the quilters are currently seeking to rectify. Although there has been some financial reimbursement and a larger audience for their work they have also impacted by the shady dealings of art-world gate keeper Bill Arnett. Arnett has historically decided which of the Gee’s Bend quilts have ‘artistic merit’ (unsurprisingly the one’s his family owns make the cut and which spoke reductively to ‘modernist’ sensibilities) and has simplistically painted the community as an ‘unchanging’ backwater. But there has been innovation and engagement with the political nature of their work. The Gee’s Bend tradition has been carried on by women like Loretta P. Bennett, whose mother introduced her to quilt-making. Her contemporary take on the quilt uses bold, sparse geometric shapes, hot pinks and cobalt blues, and materials like corduroy and velveteen, as in the piece ‘Two Sided Geometric Quilt‘. The Gee’s Bend quilts are emblems of a tradition of women’s craft, community creativity and Civil Rights.
I came to realize that my mother, her mother, my aunts, and all the others from Gee’s Bend had sewn the foundation, and all I had to do now was thread my own needle and piece a quilt together.– Loretta P. Bennett
‘I never thought that a quilt would be in the art world. People would think that was beautiful, that something we’d done could be shown all over the world and people get joy out of it’– Essie Pettway
Interview: Memes & (Im)materiality with Rayvenn Shaleigha D’Clark
Rayvenn Shaleigha D’Clark is a multimedia digital sculptor, writer and curator based in London. She explores hybridity, form, and the reframing of black anatomy and autonomy in her work.… Interview: Memes & (Im)materiality with Rayvenn Shaleigha D’Clark
Spotlight: Severija Inčirauskaitė-Kriaunevičienė
The embroidery works of Lithuanian artist Severija Inčirauskaitė-Kriaunevičienė takes texture to a new level. She takes metal as her starting point – buckets, spades, even cars – and stitches into them. Challenging the domestic association with embroidery, these found objects are placed into the public realm. The kitsch cosiness that Inčirauskaitė-Kriaunevičienė associates with cross-stitching is given a twist as she pokes through metal gives new life to discarded objects. She draws on a post-Soviet landscape in Lithuania in her work, as she writes on her website “in the postwar years, our grandmothers stitched tablecloths in the villages, and the paths were so decorated, and in the Soviet era, our mothers made crossed cushions and napkins through household lessons”. This intergenerational skill-sharing is then developed in her practice, to question sentimentality and access to embroidery practices. She doesn’t want to make “private kitsch for private interiors” but rather expose the work, patience and mindfulness that goes into the cross-stitch practice. Taking the floral designs from hobby magazines, these “popular culture citations” make us look back at the origins of the techniques. These established traditions recontextualise the objects they adorn – whether that’s on broken gun shells or metal spoons. Imbued with new use, these forgotten objects might tap into a nostalgic aesthetic but actually point us towards history in a new way.
Words: Jade French
All photos: Modestas Ežerskis.
Pinkie McClure Makes Stained Glass Sing
Pinkie McClure is an artist using the allegorical power of medieval stained glass as a vehicle for contemporary expression. Stained glass was invented in the 12th century to communicate to a largely illiterate population, its vivid colours having a seductive quality that’s hard to resist. However, its narrative role has been largely abandoned in recent years, which is something she hopes to change by making work that reflects the world around us today.
Artist Statement: On ‘Beauty Tricks’
My goal is to seduce the eye, but crucially, to deal with contemporary subject matter, telling darkly humorous stories from modern life. When I started work on ‘Beauty Tricks’ I wanted to make something beautiful. This led me to question interpretations of beauty and immediately a multitude of thorny contradictions popped up.
I decided to explore the way the beauty industry affects us and our environment. The central figure is based around a classic madonna, but she has liposuction lines on her torso and hypodermic needles and scalpels adorning her halo. Her nipples have been censored. Two little girls gaze up at her beautiful pink frock from a grey world of abandoned plastic containers. Above her, medieval scales traditionally used to symbolise the ‘weighing of souls’ refer to the long-running L’Oreal ad ‘worth it, not worth it’. A woman fires a gun at a mirror, smashing it to smithereens. To her left, a ‘kindly’ grandmother knits a web of Barbie dolls and to her right is a bulimic Rapunzel. The palm trees refer to the palm oil industry, the roses symbolise feminine beauty. At the top, Satan is hopping across the towers of Oxbridge with a pile of books heaped on his back, stealing all the knowledge while the women are distracted.
Geta Brătescu: The Dance of Form
At the 2017 Venice Biennale’s Romanian Pavilion, Geta Brătescu’s exhibition ‘Apparitions’ cemented her status as a rising star on the international art scene. Aged ninety-one, Brâtescu was something of an unusual art world darling, yet she was well-known in her native Romania for a rich, multidisciplinary body of work that she would develop up until her death in September 2018.… Geta Brătescu: The Dance of Form
Spotlight: Who Is? Project
The Who Is? project intercedes into the public space via craft-making through a very simple medium: the flag. The perfect metaphor when thinking about borders, migration and who belongs where, this remnant of colonial occupation repurposed by artists Iman Tajik and Jonas Jessen Hansen to make a salient and timely point.