Archive for January, 2011


Friday, January 28th, 2011

Filip Dujardin

Despite a friend’s reassurances, I remained dubious when I received the link he sent me to the I Love Belgium blog. Forming part of the site’s logo, the black ink-blot thing, which I think is supposed to represent the very unmemorable shape of the country and is yet another reference to Milton Glaser’s iconic INY, seemed to me to say it all. However, the post of 27th June 2010 that my friend had suggested I look at, called Filip Dujardin – Fictions, is really great. His surname sounds fictitious but Dujardin is a talented architecture photographer who creates compelling, bizarre but somehow totally believable photomontaged images – the original photography and the subsequent retouching are beautifully done –  of contemporary buildings, domestic and commercial.

Filip, I discovered, also likes to shoot sheds. These images, on his own site, remind me somewhat of the austere work of the German, heavyweight photographer/artists Bernd and Hilda Becher, who produce deadpan ‘portraits’ in the form of extensive series of among other seemingly banal subjects: workers’ houses, gasometers and water towers, almost exclusively in black and white. They and Dujardin would appear to share the same sort of bleak, mainland North European tradition. The latter’s images are in colour but deadpan, too, however, whereas the Bechers are deadly serious, his are more artful than fine art; one knows instinctively that Dujardin walks around with his tongue stuck very firmly in his cheek.

What do you think of Fiilp Dujardin’s work? Please post a comment

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Taschen Fashion

Friday, January 21st, 2011

Kate Moss by Mario Testino
Taschen £44.99, softback, 228pp

Just when I was thinking we hadn’t seen much or heard anything of Kate Moss for a while, I discover that Taschen are about to release Kate Moss by Mario Testino, a glamorous pictorial biography tracing the history of the close relationship between one of fashion’s most famous photographers and his iconic muse. £44.99 for a softback doesn’t exactly sound like a snip but the cover, with flaps, is printed in silver ink and the format is huge, so it’ll look pretty posh on your coffee table.

Does the recession spell the death of the coffee table book? Please leave a comment

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Very Important Private View

Friday, January 14th, 2011

VIP Art Fair

January 22nd – 30th

Being on Sotheby’s mailing list is useful. I often pop into the auction house just for the chance of seeing something amazing that after its brief public appearance will promptly disappear, once more, into the private collection of whichever buyer – often anonymous – makes the final bid.

I’m on the mailing list of a couple of other galleries too. The other day, one of these, Timothy Taylor Gallery, emailed me a complimentary pass – with the same sort of proportions and curved corners as those of a credit card – to something called the VIP Art Fair, which lasts for a week and is exclusively online. I’m keeping an open mind but for me, it’s important to experience a piece of art in the flesh to be able to tell whether it moves me, or not – for similar reasons, I’ve never bought anything on ebay. Even with something like a flat colour screen print, it’s the effect of it at actual size that gives it allure. I suppose video art may be an exception but even then I like to view it within a gallery context. Online art, though, by definition is produced specifically to be viewed online and not to exist in any other format, so that might work.

My pass has a rather sombre black background. I can’t help wondering whether richer invitees, according to their degree of status, have been sent gold or even platinum versions.

It would interesting to hear what you think. Please leave a comment

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Taste the Difference

Saturday, January 8th, 2011

Among other best-selling examples, Simon Wheeler has photographed six of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s books. While photographing it is perhaps what he’s famous for, he is a far from being just a mere food photographer – Simon is a master of reportage photography, a talent which he applies with equal passion to travel, luxury goods and charity subjects. And, like the best exponents of the genre, his seemingly effortless but nevertheless uncompromising images are without fail intimate. Disconcertingly, however, it’s as if the person who captured them was simultaneously very close to the subject and somehow invisible.

Simon, a good personal friend and great photographer, whose work I had the pleasure of commissioning for three of the magazines I art directed – The Sunday Times Magazine, Weltbild and Tatler – has just launched his own website.

See for yourself and please post a comment

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The Business

Saturday, January 8th, 2011

Bloomberg Businessweek, Year in review

There wasn’t much on the road. There was a lot of snow around but the sky was clear. This was the second time we’d stopped on our drive north to spend Christmas with family. The magazine racks in the service station shop were piled high with Christmas specials in every conceivable combination of red, white and gold. Smaller than the rest, Bloomberg Businessweek, Year in Review had on its cover a stark, rainbow-coloured, 3D pie chart against a solid silver field with some lilliputian figures dancing around below it. My interest in business goes no further than my regular Monday to Thursday viewing of Sky TV’s 30-minute-long Jeff Randall Live, nor am I prone to impulse purchases. There was only one copy left. The cover was a little wrinkled. I snatched it, opened it up and couldn’t put it down…

Clearly, Creative director, Richard Turley and Design director, Cynthia Hoffman deserve credit for coming up with the visual concept and putting the package together, as well as commissioning Jennifer Daniel, who is credited as the illustrator, but just one glance at her website is enough for anyone to recognise that she’s much more than that.

Did anyone else see it? Please post a comment

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