All posts tagged: Art

On the verge of disappearing: Francesca Woodman’s self-portraits

FN is often coming back to the work of Francesca Woodman.  She was an American photographer best known for her black and white pictures featuring herself and female models. Many of her photographs show young women who are nude, blurred (due to movement and long exposure times), merging with their surroundings, or whose faces are obscured. Her work continues to be the subject of much critical acclaim and attention, years after she committed suicide at the age of 22. FN also really likes her video work – but it’s hard to find places to view it. There’s this one film on youtube – a work I remember seeing at the 4th Berlin Biennial, the year it was curated by The Wrong Gallery trio: Maurizio Cattelan, Massimiliano Gioni and Ali Subotnick. Although Woodman used different cameras and film formats during her career, most of her photographs were taken with medium format cameras producing 2-1/4 by 2-1/4 inch (5.7 by 5.7 cm) square negatives. Woodman created at least 10,000 negatives, which her parents now keep. Woodman’s estate, which is …

Cover Story – Part III – Stiff Records

Stiff Records is a British independent record label formed in London,England, by Dave Robinson and Andrew Jakeman (aka Jake Riviera). Originally active from 1976 to 1985, the label was reactivated in 2007. Established at the outset of the punk rock boom, Stiff Records signed various punk and new wave acts such as Nick Lowe, the Damned,Lene Lovich, Wreckless Eric, Plummet Airlines, Elvis Costello, and Ian Dury. The label’s marketing and advertising was often provocative and witty billing itself as “The World’s Most Flexible Record Label”. Other slogans were “We came. We saw. We left”, “If It Ain’t Stiff, It Ain’t Worth a Fuck”, and “When You Kill Time, You Murder Success” (printed on promotional wall clocks). On the label of Stiff’s sampler compilation Heroes & Cowards was printed: “In ’78 everyone born in ’45 will be 33-1/3”. A very early Stiff sampler album, A Bunch of Stiff Records, introduced the slogan, “If they’re dead, we’ll sign them” and “Undertakers to the Industry”. Stiff also produced eccentric but highly effective promotional campaigns, such as the three package tours in 1977 (Live Stiffs), 1978 (Be Stiff) and 1980 (Son Of Stiff), Elvis Costello’s “busking outside CBS Records” arrest …

REPRESENT III – Hamra Abbas

Hamra Abbas represented by Lawrie Shabibi Hamra Abbas’s work is playful and unpredictable, it has a definite presence, but is so versatile that it is hard to pin down exactly what it is about an Abbas work that tells you it is hers. Fat Nancy takes a look at why she likes it so much. Firstly and overarching, Abbas’s work is pure. In its use of colour, its concepts and humour, she sticks to absolute and direct messaging. The colours she uses are sharp, clear and translucent, even when used in prints. They remind FN of David Batchelor’s works, often managing to bring a similar brightness to the fore without the need for artificial light, using instead natural light, colour on paper, on glass, with food colouring in plasticine, as a tool to manipulate and reflect the intensity she desires. Abbas’s life, and consequently her work, could be said to be somewhat fractured – coming from Pakistan and a deeply Islamic community and now living and working in the USA. Perhaps it is this contradiction that makes it addictively erratic, fickle and playfully …

Cover Story – Part I – Tonpress Records

The first in a Fat Nancy series digging out album cover art from shut down or rare record labels. The first is Tonpress,  a polish label from 1980′s. Belonging to KAW – Krajowa Agencja Wydawnicza (The National Publishing Agency), their catalogue consisted of foreign albums, singles, audiobooks and Polish records. Tonpress was shutdown in 1990, due to the Polish government discontinuing most of the state-controlled publishing houses and agencies. Much of Tonpress’ collection was lost when it was split between two privately owned music labels. Tonpress records are still available at on-line auctions.

REPRESENT I – Hassan Hajjaj

REPRESENT I – the first part in a FNND series of profiles of artists represented by galleries in Dubai.  Artist and designer Hassan Hajjaj – represented by The Third Line Born in Larache, Morocco, in 1961, Hassan Hajjaj left Morocco for London at an early age. Heavily influence by the club, hip-hop, and reggae scenes of London as well as by his North African heritage, Hajjaj is a self-taught and thoroughly versatile artist whose work includes portraiture, installation, performance, fashion, and interior design, including furniture made from recycled utilitarian objects from North Africa, such as upturned Coca-Cola crates as stools and aluminium cans turned into lamps. Turning to photography in the late 80s, Hajjaj is a master portraitist, taking studio portraits of friends, musicians, and artists, as well as strangers from the streets of Marrakech, often wearing clothes designed by the artist. These colourful and engaging portraits combine the visual vocabulary of contemporary fashion photography and pop art, as well as the studio photography of African artist Malick Sidibe, in an intelligent commentary on the influences …