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Monday, 29 December 2014

Me, Myself and I... the best of myself via Q&A - verse II

Riverside Studios booklet - Front cover and middle pages
Zone Guerrilla Zen, an exhibition in memory of Ed Lewis
by Sybille Castelain - Sponsor Time Out

... Any regrets since you started the blog?
Sort of regret... I regret I had to take the decision to stop working with BFI Northbank. I thought about it in many ways but I asked my contact to stop sending me DVDs and invites. It really hurts because I do like their stuff and think it’s essential BFI exists, but on a personal level and according to my own little logic I couldn’t possibly continue working with half of the BFI, feeling deeply that Southbank was acting either as racists or at least being profoundly discriminatory. I felt I would have silently supported their “south” actions + I wrote to Head of Comm to get an explanation, but got no replies. Why I couldn’t do the Jarman season or write about African Odyssey is a mystère! Believe me, I am good at insisting... But I don’t regret my decision. They have to explain. Of course, they can pose with Afrika Bambaataa and smile on pictures. I even gave some dates to the young press officer, so we could meet and talk: dates of films I bought tickets, but she must have decided I was not worth it! A shame because, on a personal level BFI is a continuity with my involvement with Riverside Studios up until Ed Lewis’s death and my exhibition Zone Guerrilla Zen on his first anniversary’s departure; supported by Time Out, via Geoff Andrew’s contact.

Only Lovers Left Alive, Jim Jarmusch - Soda Pictures

Any favourite films?
Only Lovers Left Alive. I think it might even be my favourite Jim Jarmusch. I recently re-watched Dead Man, a film I saw in 1995 @ the NFT1 and I didn’t like it. I don’t think at the time I grabbed Jarmusch’ capitalism denouncement, racism and how society transforms a well willing man into a wolf for man! On the surface, it’s very much about poetry, landscape, “slow motion”. It’s interesting how these two films are so similar. But OLLA is magnificent.
I thought 20000 Days On Earth was a great film too, but as months go by, it’s fading already. I would be curious to know how the film “scored” in other countries. I can’t imagine it working well in France or Spain, or Italy: the English press release was very good but I think it would have to be rewritten/re-thought in other languages.
I loved Winter Sleep very much, but I am not sure why it won the Palme d’Or. There is something cold and beautiful and slow à la Bergman... Ok, I wished Xavier Dolan had won!
Hockney was a marvel, but David is a great story teller in the positive sense of the phrase.
For the DVDs, the Alain Robbe-Grillet collection by the BFI: a great discovery that blew me totally.
I wish I could add, but film distributors or their press office are playing very shy... so I have little to say in comparison to the myriad of films / DVDs that were released in 2014. Someone like @SophiaSB1 is luckier than me and I love the way she gets inspired by my blog on many levels, but I’ll give only one example: JLG / cinéma vérité or Jarmusch Night On Earth for her 20000 Days On Earth on her @grolschfw review. Perhaps in 2015, film press officers might want to suggest some films and invite me rather than send me vimeo links... I guess they want me to save a bus journey!

Erm... Music?
As my friend says, it’s a circus... but how can I pick up one out of what I received? Fire Rec only contacted me twice this year: each time a week before a gig and sent me a downloadable album that was released months before. So I asked them to either treat me as anybody else in the music bizz or delete me from their press list. They chose the latter. I followed them on FB and I usually like what they don’t send me... But we haven’t met, so she doesn’t know me.
Drag City has great releases. But their accountant and its Lauren Unable are as great at inventing stories. They fit well in the circus, shame!

I think I have to applaud the V&A. As a major institution, they could relax and show “easy” stuff, but they just don’t. Their exhibitions are carefully researched and rich in knowledge. Plus, they are the only ones (to my knowledge) that make it easy for disable people, or at least for hard of hearing / deaf people.
In terms of photography, Conflict, Time, Photography is a must see, a new way of looking at conflicts. Still on is Egon Shiele and am looking forward Goya at Courtauld.
London is blessed with exhibitions. I wish Time Out would come back to their list of exhibitions rather than their “Must-See” list: they have the space and I guess the staff. Time Out was my bible because it taught me a great deal of London and its Things to do stuff. Now, it’s too patronising, too selective, leaving out the hidden gems. We used to have a love-love relationship...

 Time Out features my photo of Trellick Tower and artist for their Notting Hill Carnival in 2000
Time Out features my exhibition for Ed Lewis, one year after... in 2004
Time Out features my Bjork secret event in Aug 2004 in their film section

This is a sore point... I have contacted hundred of films, music etc festivals. Feminist film fest replied they had enough (mainstream?) coverage and the rest simply ignored my quests. Almost... Lift 2014 and Anxiety Festivals were excellent. Anxiety, for its first edition was near perfection in its selection. I have discovered an extremely rare gem Pressure by Horace Ové. Oh and Tarkovsky’s Solaris, my first time! Yeah yeah yeah, I have Jarvis Cocker playing within my brain “Do you remember...”

Any resolutions?
“What are you implying? That I need to change? Well, buddy, as far as I’m concerned, I’m perfect the way I am!” (Thanks Calvin of Calvin & Hobbes). More seriously, the world needs to be changed, not me! But if we could fix the United States of Da America first, we might be sorted... While we wait... we have to sort out the homeless situation worldwide! There is no need for anybody to sleep in the street unless it is some people’s will. Banning them from some London boroughs or caging benches in France are adding up to the problems but not resolving anything!
Disability is another issue. Such discrimination, rejection, less opportunity, ignorance... This is perhaps the worst: valid people who dismiss less able people out of their prejudice.
Women... I’ll stop here, but if you want me to rule the place, follow me @Sybillebbldnrbt, I’ll be a great leader, I was born the same day as: Cara Delevingne (we are almost twins), Samuel FullerCecil B De Mille, Francois Hollande. But Leos like me include (apart from most of my family – tis in my genes) Barack Obama, Napoleon Bonaparte, Fidel Castro, Bill Clinton, Hitler (just kidding), Madonna, Thierry Henry, Edward Norton, Mick Jagger etc.
But then again, if people follow, I’d rather have them to participate more than being contemplative or being a voyeur.

Anything you look forward?
Alexander McQueen. It’s going to be massive at the V&A, but also at Tate Britain and ShowStudios. Watch this space...

Sybille Castelain for

Friday, 26 December 2014

Me, Myself and I... the best of myself via Q&A - verse I

[edited. last paragraph on Miguel Zegarra. link added. 14/05/15]

I have to write a few posts on exhibitions, albums, film, but I have decided to wait January 2015 in order to give a better exposure to these important events. And since I don’t want to write on 2014 “best”est” of”...
Meanwhile, I think a Q&A with myself would be “de bon augure” or “a propos”!

Myself: How and why did you start Babylondonorbital?
Myself: I had come back to London to look after a friend who had a brain tumour. We had a deal that I would stay at hers and look after her while I would apply for jobs. London seemed to have become a strange place (not in a good way) and I didn’t get replies. My friend died early March 2013 and I thought I would write articles with a soupçon of “auto-fiction”. A sort of on-going CV (laughing to myself very loud)!

Back from left to right: Jean-Daniel Beauvallet, Calou, Moi, Christian Fevret, Arnaud Deverre, Serge Kaganski, Rodolphe A D'Ormeuil, Emmanuel Tellier
Front: Eric Mulet with son Boris
Photo taken by Renaud Monfourny

Did you have any background in media?
While I worked as a train hostess in Paris, one day in 1990, I called Les Inrockuptibles. It was the only magazine I wanted to work for. I loved Actuel too but Les Inrocks was my target. I got the job straight away as editorial assistant, receptionist, subscription manager. I made it clear that I also wanted to be trained as a photographer and journalist since I had no time to damage my bottom and my clothes on university benches. I learnt a huge amount of things from tickling a computer to dealing with press officers. There was an element of trust as well as I dealt with people like Leonard Cohen, David Bowie, Philippe Djian (Betty Blue’s author), Etienne Daho; I had a massive list of confidential contacts: I was the one sending magazine copies to the famous and infamous artists’ private address. Of course, many people outside the magazine wanted to be friend with me: some wanted a job at Les Inrocks; some wanted info on artists... I learnt to smell vultures and kept my distances. But I was the first and only woman for a good year in a eight male team environment and one of them was constantly harassing me + I worked more hours than agreed + I was learning nothing about photography despite an in-house built darkroom + they were preparing their weekly issues even before they became monthly + I was born with little tolerance on how much crap I can take (I am LOL again). The guys who taught me a lot and showed respect were Serge Kaganski (who recently sent me a nice email); Samuel Blumenfeld; Calou and Arnaud Deverre. Even when I resigned, I kept going every evening after my new job shift, to sort out cheques and cash for subscriptions as it took them a while to find someone trustworthy. As angry as I was to leave them, I never sold the news on their plan to become a weekly mag; not even my best friend or flatmates knew about it. Actuel and Les Cahiers du Cinema offered me a job at some point, but I shot off to London after I finished a photography course in Paris.

All photos were taken by moi: Fun Da Mental, Idjut Boys, 
Lydie Barbarian and dog, Burning Spear
© Sybille Castelain

Did you have a planned job in London?
No, I came back to the family I stayed with as an Au-Pair before living in Paris and I wanted to pursue photography. I met the photography lecturer Bill at Roehampton in 1993 who was a wonderful man, and a great photography transmitter. He eventually offered me a part-time job with him. At about the same time, I became an usher at the Riverside Studios and met someone who was humble and extraordinary, Ed Lewis. Bill and Ed appeared in my life at the same time and guided me for 10 years. They were somehow replicas of Serge and Samuel (no, I was not in love with any of them, they were gods for Christ sake!) – Serge and Samuel are still around in this life, thanks god for the film business! I even was Ed’s cinema assistant from 1995 to 2000.
Eventually, I wrote for some French mags and took some photos / press photos for record companies.
So, yeah, I was no new-comer when I launched Babylondonorbital, but I didn’t want to scream out loud or justify anything. I had to re-build things.

Ed Lewis, Cinema Director @ Riverside Studios
His office, 90's
© Sybille Castelain

Was it easy?
Fuck no! I thought it would be though! That used to be the beauty about London. You could turn up at something, meet people, have a chat, blah blahblahblah. I could surf in between tribes, I never felt rejection. In the music business, I got sent rare stuff, got invited to private concerts in the basement of luxurious buildings in Regent’s Street... looked dodgy, was full of famous people, free cocktails and nobody checked whether I wrote for mainstream this or posh that! There was a real relation between a press officer and a journalist.
Now, it’s a bit down to how many “likes” you are going to harvest on FB and how many followers you have on Twitter that’s going to determine whether you are invited or tolerated (I’ll literally have to be a pain in the ass to get through)!

Unite against racism festival
© Sybille Castelain

And more concretely, what do you mean?
Yeah, am a bit vague... am good at it... I should be a millionaire if such job existed! What’s your job? Oh, I’m an androgyny bisexual vaguist! Well, I consider that I had a very good training at Les Inrocks (in terms of dealing with press officers – music, films, literature) and at GLR (BBC London). So, to me, there was no way I would write about an art event without getting in touch with a press officer. You give me this and I write about it. Since I am alone, I have no time to deal with things I don’t like. I am quite selective. If you send me a CD or DVD I don’t like, I’ll give it back to you. I don’t want my space to be invaded with stuff I don’t relate to.
BFI was one of my first targets. I became a NFT member when Riverside Studios closed down for refurbishment in 1994. Then, when Sonic man Stuart started there in 1998, I renewed my membership as I loved the film-music combination. A dary step for the BFI and I wanted to support it.
Without telling press officers who I was when I started my blog, they were quick to reply. BFI Northbank sent me DVDs and invites to private screenings, BFI Southbank insisted on my writing on some of their specific seasons. Since I was not knowledgeable to some of their suggestions, I invited them to send me info on their African Odysseys seasons, leftfields seasons etc. I have only managed to “do” Tony Garnett eventually. 27 year old press officer clearly wrote that she has no time for me as I am not a mainstream outlets... only proper journalists can get comps / press tickets to BFI seasons. Oh yeah, like Michael’s Atomica girls!

 Editorial Assitant for Les Inrocks / L'Immature (Editions Independentes) + their CD: compilation of Leonard Cohen songs by other artists - photo Weegee, Children Playing in Water.
My writings + photos: Premonition; Coda (FDM, Baaba Maal); Milesahead; Barbican booklet; WOMAD booklet

Don’t you think you write like a pancake?
Ah ah you bitch! But yeah, I thought so too. So, I sent some of my posts to friends I know would have no issue telling me I should change interest. I have to admit that I am not happy with some of my posts, but in general it is not that bad. Even the most aggressive press officers at Soda, BFI Southbank or Second Run DVD admitted my posts on their films were good, but I was not mainstream enough!
This is what I call underground racism or intellectual blockade. They have the privilege to send you to hell! It doesn’t matter how good or bad you write, numbers have a magic “spell” to them: the number of clicks on a link; number of viewers per day; numbers of followers on Twitter; number of “likes” or “fav” on FB/Twit; number of viewers per month and so on. I was asked about my figures or got sent applications to fill about my figures. It’s a bit like wearing a media star on your forearm and its colour would dictate where you can go.
Before going to the private screening of 20000 Days On Earth, I read Time Out and Dazed & Confused articles. I had already my doubts on D&C film critic but since both D&C + TO went on the film makers’ website page as references, I relied on them. I did read the press release as well. If my grammar is not perfect, I am against misinforming readers or raving about something to please artists or press officers. I don’t even want to harvest “likes” or “favs”. Time Out eventually changed its article but D&C “colossal rockumentary” had nothing to do with the film, and yet it gathered a huge amount of “likes” shares” and “favs”. That gives a credit to the film makers.
I could compare the phenomenon with the slave trade: the more slaves you had, the more respected person you became, reinforcing the very capitalist system! You could be the most horrid person on earth; you were respected by some, feared by others. They had power and participated to a country’s economy but didn’t care on their vile actions on human beings.
Not that it is vile to write “colossal rockumentary”, but its only purpose is to gather a maximum of credibility by any means, so film makers can apply for funding in case they have other film plans.
I liked the film, had my own vision on it, have been denied any interview with film makers but I don’t understand their propaganda around it; that effervescence at Barbican? I don’t think the film deserved such a cheap treatment: the “archivist” reading the twits on stage... If this is the future of art-house cinema, then we are heading towards a Gattaca experience!

Euh, you hate press officers then?
I don’t like the new generation attitude. They are like robots on ego-trip. Technically speaking, it doesn’t cost them to invite smaller publications. Recently, I got in touch with an ex music PR who worked for a major label. When the music business collapsed, he had to leave. We had been in a working relation from the 90’s to his departure. It was my saddest moment in the music industry. He never tried to convince me on anything. He knew I had broad taste, so he would send me samples of materials and we worked on an artist, a band etc. He was dealing with obscure sounds and major bands. I was always aware of anything new. I would ask to see some major bands I wouldn’t cover and he would put me on the guest-list whenever possible. Even though, he left London and the music business, he knows what’s said around and he lets me know. It has become a complete circus! I am in it because art can convey vital energy on many levels. This is what I want to defend. Jane Bown (RIP) was in search of perfect light. What was wrong on my post for the documentary? What’s wrong with Soda pictures to jump me off their press list three times in six months when I dealt with more press officers that the four films I wrote for Soda. Having to beg for photos to “escort” the article and finally having to get them from the web (I suppose illegally). This is insane!
Of course, I was told recently, that some PRs are interns who are not being paid for their work. So, in one hand there is a company that invests in a product but has no resources to pay for that product to be defended properly. Then, you have an “in-training” PR who needs a job but knows won’t get one from smaller publications and focus where money is... It is becoming a Man Bites Dog field. It Smells Like Teen Spirit!

3 photos of Basement Jaxx, Into You tattooist, Dave Courtney, Fetish club, Man on Bench (for AOP),Home (for the Independent/Channel4), Carnival Notting Hill with beer ad, Punk neighbours, rainbow family at festival, 
Trafalgar SQ - © Sybille Castelain

Any time you have fucked up?
At first, I did a lot of research on articles written about films I was to write about. I had my own views, so I “copied-pasted” what corresponded to my views. I re-wrote bit and pieces of film critics who I felt close to. However, I never used anything and never read either anything from Serge Kaganski or Samuel Blumenfeld. These two are fine critics and I would find it hard not to copy-paste or get influenced by. Jonathan Romney is an interesting case because I can profoundly agree on what he describes but totally disagree on what he gets into: on the film Archipelago, he describes the film quite perfectly or rather to the way I felt about the film (the colours, the atmosphere) but he disliked the film when I loved it for these very reasons.
Music wise... It took me a while to understand how to download a private link. I used to receive finished CDs... I guess I was a nightmare, but now I ask at least for a promo CD; I have little space on my compu.

Why are you at war with “likes””favs”... mainstream?
I find it freaky! For its fascism aspect when it determines whether you are in or not because of a figure. Also, a figure is no synonymous of success. Success can be dangerous! How do you deal with success? As if, it is something natural and there can’t be any aftermath! Look at someone like Amy Winehouse. She was catapulted to a place where she didn’t feel that comfortable. Unfortunately, her case helped me to understand how I felt when I dealt with Mathew Barney’s DR9 film screening in Peru. I was very pleased to get front pages and many articles written by most publications (and I gave the same importance to blogs and major publications and allocated press tickets to those who wrote... just saying). The film had a unique projection screening at 9.30pm and was free – first come, first served basis. At 5.30pm, I was told people started to queue. I left more than 800 people outside the gate that we had to lock to prevent incident. Everybody congratulated me for its success, I just cried for a week for leaving 800 people outside. Looking back at it, there was nothing I, we could have done. There were so many parameters to respect and so little choice: we did the best we could, but I wouldn’t call it success. Numbers are freaky! You can post your crap photo on FB and harvest 12 “likes” out of your 5000 “friends”, it doesn’t mean your photo is good, it just means you have some supporters! Don’t believe the hype!

What’s art?
Go and bore someone else with your stupid question! I’ll answer it anyway. It’s a trip. If it doesn’t take me somewhere, then I might not get it. I immerse myself into some sounds, images... Since my stay in Peru, I have come to realise it’s also a privilege to experience (art-wise) what others can’t. I used to live with a curator called Miguel Zegarra. He was a brilliant curator and had an immense knowledge despite the fact that Peru didn’t have the resources to provide contemporary art teaching. He spent his time on internet. He was very passionate and we spent nights talking about art; him being gay or not; his depression; his mother, sister; local curators who decided who got a grant to study in Spain. So, now, when I immerse into something, there is another dimension or appreciation. I know for me it’s a luxury and I always view or listen thinking of him particularly, but others who won’t have that privilege. Art should be accessible to those who want to experience, but shouldn't not dictated by those who have got ghost keys.

Sybille Castelain for

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Guy Bourdin: Image-Maker @ Somerset House, London WC2 – jusqu’au 15 mars 2015

Charles Jourdan, Fall 1977
© The Guy Bourdin Estate, 2014 / Courtesy A+C

... "Même si je ne me suis pas sentie émue à revoir son travail connu, ses Polaroids et ses photos sans titres et non publiées m’ont en revanche plongée dans une profondeur quasi science-fictionnelle : un voyage entre J.G. Ballard et Blow-UP" ...

Monday, 22 December 2014

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Staying Power: Photographs of Black British Experience, 1950s-1990s - 16 février – 24 mai 2015 @ V&A, SW7

Title: Yinka Shonibare, 'Diary of a Victorian Dandy'
 © Yinka Shonibare / Victoria and Albert, London

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Staying Power: Photographs of Black British Experience, 1950s-1990s - 16 February – 24 May 2015 @ V&A, SW7

Title: Al Vandenberg, 'High Street Kensington' from the series 'On a Good Day'
 Credit line: (c) The Estate of Al Vandenberg / Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Sunday, 14 December 2014

"Hate" post on Aleicester Crowley "devotees"

 MeMyselfAnd I @ Hackney Marshes
© Sybille Castelain

Sweary material. Things might be true... but then again it might be. There is always space for inaccuracy and extravagance! But it is mainly the reverse of lies!

ASX = American Suburbx
561 Artists listed = around 100 are women. 
203 Artists featured = around 30 are women. 
Interviews? Mostly done by men on men! 
Women representation? Don’t ask... It hurts!

Brad Feuerhelm, managing editor for ASX. North American with muscles from Monsieur Propre. Lives in the nipsters area of London with his Aleicester Crowley clan. Both amateur & professional on photography... Who cares? Collector... From what I have seen on his own photographs, just plain crap. One can’t be good at everything.
I got introduced to him via Anthony Faramelli, a North American who teaches in Kingston and the Atlanta boys Lee Tesche + Ryan Mahan of Algiers the band, a music trio  (Franklin James Fisher lives in US) at the ICA. So, no I never physically met the geezer!

Not that the meeting with these people @ ICA went bad, but it was weird! Bearing in mind that, according to the normal... I am weird... However, we didn’t connect much in terms of weirdness. There was this miraculous suspended point in time when I said I ran my blog coz it was a good opportunity to meet people and perhaps find a job. Do you remember when Georgy Bushy was told about 9 11 in the classroom? His lizard’s look? Same. Complete silence. No reaction, no questions asked about type of job I was looking for. When I left the polite gang, I felt awkward for many reasons, but couldn’t nail them. So, I just vomited by the Captain Cook statue. Illuminati buoys.

Nevertheless, I went a few days later to what they promised to be a sensorial event, etc, etc... @ the Red Gallery. James Batley was nice at first, Michael Salu was talkative, Lee Tesche of Algiers was dismissive and lecturer Anthony Faramelli was ultra nervous. Ryan Mahan of Algiers was there but super discrete – maybe he was on a secret mission. I mean... I had, with their agreements, contacted Time Out, NME, The Guardian about their music and event + contacted a few people as they urgently needed a new place to live. Well, from the 500 people expected (that was the capacity of the place)... we could easily breathe. I saw Feuerhelm “œuvre” = I don’t think it was meant to be that funny. James’ film was experimental and cool to rewatch, the band The Crow were pretty good for an emerging band. They were not signed on Pop Noire as James and Anthony had told me / everyone! Then, there was that Karolina girl, a Dennis Cooper friend who gave me an invite to some re-enacting of a murderer / puppeteer at this stuffed animal’s place. Although I have a bit of an attraction for the unusual, I have no interest in celebrating murder or other abject seedy situations, but my door is open to the unexpected – expect the unexpected as the 90’s campaign went for Dazed and Confused, or maybe it was Jockey Slut?
I wrote to Polish Karolina that “I’ll give it a go and could publish on my blog, here is my address to send book, soon please because I am slow to read, digest, evacuate”. “Sure, come to the event and you can buy the book” was her reply.
So, I went: “I have to write-advertise about your event; pay for the event; buy the 40 quid book at the event; read-digest-evacuate-interview-write about the book?” She was very sorry that if I wanted to write about the book, there was only one way... buying it! I am not so desperate about cheap capitalism, so I went for a stay-in night and read myself a Calvin & Hobbes bed time story.

Lee and I had a long surreal e-conversation. He was so polite that it s/melt of sulphur. There was definitely some misunderstanding that he chose to abort by silence while Faramelli sent a text @ 1AM “fat finger poetry”. It’s funny because I saw the geezer 3 hours in my life! As if I’m a whore on call...
Out of curiosity, I had a look on this Feuerhelm geezer via his FB and couldn’t believe my luck: a gem of misogyny! A non-objective photo “critic” rubbing shoulders with the cream of the cream: Richard Mosse, Cristina De Middel, Broomberg & Chanarin and the Photographer’s gallery / Deutsche Börse photography prize Klan. Strangely enough, I wrote one thing about a TPG exhibition and got kicked out of their press mailing! I bet there is some of his male North American friend / Crowley devotee in semi-control of who gets in... or not!

The Algiers peeps went to cry over their spit milk to French domino girl in New York who happened to be friend with JD the DJ et hop they got their first French article. It’s funny because they’ve been in the zik biz for 10 years, most possibly 20... had no major reviews in their home country, nada in London apart from me, played about five times and a half in London in the past 5 years and the paper I worked for in Paris gave them coverage for the one and only song... that is already over three years old. Don’t get me wrong. The song is good. I am just questioning their mushiness attitude. They were quick to put their French popus on their e-walls. So I went “Oh, so you don’t want to be DIY anymore, you got a major record deal?” and Lee went “Yeah, we are so pleased to be in that French mag”. But I like Lee, he likes dogs. Brad says Lee is a genius. Well, they have breakfast together on a daily basis!

Last year, Brad was very pleased that his friend Richard Mosse won the £30,000 award Deutsche Börse 2014 photography prize. Before I knew they were friends, I saw the exhibition @ TPG and thought his images were coffee table crap for ass-bleeding lickers! I am not just talking about his “Madonna and Child” pic...

Anyhow, our Brad travels around the world, has a pied-à-terre in London village, vomits on how unfair the world is on FB – FB is his confident – therapist – best friend – maybetoozuckerberg for him but life is no fair... and on women! Say Abramovic to him, or worse Pussy Riot and he goes wild. Verbal diarrhoea ensues!
Then again... I might be wrong on his sexist / misogyny / female intolerance because he’s quite friend with D&C “colossal rockumentary”  New Zeland 20K DOE female “film critic” (oh and Houellebeck vanished too). Thinking about it... she is very good friend with Chris’ 2nd DVD and sodagoodmovies. Weird that they jumped me off their mailing boat. I guess I am getting paranoid; aren’t they all, these Mouton de Panurge preaching Crowley “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Love is the law, love under will.”? Naughty Crowley who nicked it partly from Rabelais! I wonder if they knew great devotee Peaches Geldof, The Great Preachess of his rituals. For sure, JD the DJ was sad when she died. Maybe that’s how they all met after all, at the funeral (RIP).

He doesn’t openly criticise The Guardian Jonathan Jones because, well, just in case The Guardian rings his Stokey palace bell one morning and offers him to ink their pages... can’t take too many risks in life innit? Maybe ASX doesn’t pay him well?

Def, am weary of these guys who want publicity but give nothing back. It’s true though. Another example? I’ll spoil you. Tom Hunter, another Brad boy friend was happy for me to write on his exhibition. Then, he posted on his FB and Twitter all articles written about him. We were eight, but he posted seven. I pride myself for being a good reminder of stuff. But he is deafer than I am! Despite my tags on social media and my five emails times two (he has two emails, so I write on both in case one is down coz in technology... it’s still technology – fuck happens). Must have been lots of fucks! Or he is a fucker himself!

Interestingly enough, Brad’s friend curator Gavin Grindon (who also happens to be Anthony Faramelli’s colleague – yes, the world is small) who curated Disobedient Object with Catherine Flood  (show still on at V&A BTW) has elected to exhibit Guerrilla Girls 1985 ad-poster questioning the world of art with 4% of women representing it against the world of nudes represented by 76% of women...
I am not good at math, but it looks like ASX hasn’t greatly participated to its change.
That’s precisely what I was questioning on American Suburb FB page! Brad deleted my comment and censored my future “like” or “comment”. I can only share...

So, I am sharing my view on you Brad Feuerhelm “you can call me a bitch, I don’t give a flying fuck. Why don’t you pack your Sun Protection 50 (you’ll get burnt anyway) and take a never-ending holiday in Syria? I bet you’ll go to Mexico to show off your courage! Mexico is no danger for you, they’ll think you’re a narco-traff!”

Other related posts on those bunch, one way or another:
Lee Tesche & Ryan Mahan of Algiers:

Xmas thx: 

Algiers on satire following Charlie Hebdo attack:

Sybille Castelain for

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Allen Jones RA @ Royal Academy of Arts, W1S, jusqu’au 25 janvier 2015

Kate Moss on Body Armour, 2013
Image courtesy the artist. © Allen Jones

English version, click here

69, année érotique” chantaient Jane Birkin et Serge Gainsbourgh.
1969 est aussi l’année des « meubles fétiches » qu’Allen Jones a produits : le Hat Stand, Table and Chair. Des représentations féminines à quatre pattes et grandeur nature habillées en tenue bondage qui sont aussi animées que des mannequins de vitrine, servant véritablement de table basse. Deux Table accueillent le visiteur pour cette exposition d’Allen Jones RA à la Royal Academy of Arts.
Ces trois œuvres fades et impersonnels évoquant l’érotisme standardisé ont défini, moulé et « condamné » Allen Jones tout au long de ses cinquante années de carrière artistique.

Une malchance alors qu’il produisait son travail en même temps que le féminisme s’émancipait. Certaines de ses expos ont subi le blocus d’activistes féministes comme aujourd’hui certains activistes antiracistes bloquent l’exposition Exhibit B.

Table, 1969
Image courtesy the artist. © Allen Jones

Etant moi-même une féministe à mi-temps, je ne me suis pas forcement sentie très à l’aise la première fois que j’ai vu sa Chair et je n’ai pas cherché à creuser davantage son travail. J’ai relevé le défi et rejoint la présentation presse à la RA, quelques semaines plus tôt.
Ce vétéran de la pop britannique, Allen Jones, est-il un artiste qui chosifie la femme ou un artiste controverse se servant des femmes pour pointer du doigt l’image qu’en fait la société de consommation ?

Allen Jones a étudié à la Royal College of Art, à Londres dans les années 60. Parmi les étudiants de cette époque se trouvaient David Hockney RA, Patrick Caulfied, Derek Boshier, Peter Phillips RA et Ron Kitaj. Leurs images discordantes étaient une réappropriation de la culture populaire, transformant le banal en images contemporaines vibrantes : un nouveau langage visuel naissait alors qu’ils utilisaient des figures humaines au centre même de leur travail. Dans le récent documentaire Hockney, David explique ce besoin de rompre avec le conventionnel.

Allen Jones s’est rendu pour la première fois aux US en 1964-65 où il s’abreuvait d’artistes comme Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Tom Wesselmann, Ed Ruscha et Mel Ramos. Dès le début de sa carrière, il s’acoquinait avec Roman Polanski, The Beatles, Elton John, Johnny Rotten ou encore Adam Ant.

Exhibition general view of a room

Très clairement, Allen Jones n’avait aucune intention de produire des boites de soupe à l’infini à partir de cette culture populaire. Son inspiration d’alors et d’aujourd’hui puise dans sa fascination pour les femmes ; leur façon d’être représentée dans les masses medias tout en véhiculant un message ambigu. Son intention n’était pas de choquer le public, mais plutôt de choquer le monde de l’art. Il est plus facile de s’identifier à une sculpture humaine hyper réaliste plutôt qu’à une chose « artifier » empruntée à la société de consommation. Le débat s’épice du coup beaucoup plus…
Stanley Kubrick avait d’ailleurs bien compris son travail transgressif, mais n’a pas su convaincre Allen Jones du prêt de ses œuvres pour A Clockwork Orange. Le metteur en scène Kubrick a alors reproduit le style Pop de Jones pour son film.

Pareil aux images d’érotisme subtil d’Erwin Blumenfeld, Allen Jones créait une femme sensuelle mais inaccessible semblable à celle récemment produite de Kate Moss. Alors que les femmes de Blumenfeld sont réelles, celles de Jones sont des constructions psychologiques, des appareils… enracinées dans le monde réel de l’obsession ou du sadomasochisme. Comme Egon Schiele, il exagère l’utilisation des couleurs non réalistes ou des corps démembrés, mais à l’inverse de Schiele, Jones nourrit son appétit pour la consommation vénimeuse.

Cette rétrospective retrace le développement du processus et des idées artistiques de Jones. Elle se compose de plus de 80 travaux et présente des exemples de ses peintures et sculptures du début à aujourd’hui. On y voit des dessins rarement vus et des maquettes sculpturales.

Il se peut qu’Allen Jones interpelle le visiteur / voyeur et qu’il le force à réagir. Il se peut qu’Allen ne soit pas misogyne et qu’il s’amuse de ce que la culture médiatique fait des femmes… je suis sortie et mon cerveau s’est accroché à un poème de Paul Verlaine « Je fais souvent ce rêve étrange et pénétrant d’une femme inconnue et que j’aime et qui m’aime et qui n’est chaque fois ni tout à fait la même, ni tout à fait une autre et m’aime et me comprend... son regard est pareil au regard des statues, et, pour sa voix, lointaine, et calme, et grave, elle a l'inflexion des voix chères qui se sont tues. »

Allen Jones RA - Burlington Gardens - 13 novembre 2014 – 25 janvier 2015 @ Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington Gardens, London W1S 3ES
Dates and Opening Hours
Open to public: Thursday 13 November 2014 – Sunday 25 January 2015 - 10am – 6pm daily (last admission 5.30pm) - Fridays until 10pm (last admission 9.30pm)
£11.50 full price (£10 without Gift Aid donation); concessions available; children under 16 and Friends of the RA go free. - @royalacademy #AllenJones

Sybille Castelain for

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Build & Destroy: Works from the Mo’Wax Archive - till 5 January 2015 @ Saatchi, SW3

Swifty - Mo'Wax
Stencil & spreay paint on paper

Courtesy of the Saatchi Gallery, London

Conflict, Time, Photography @ Tate Modern, Bankside SE1 – jusqu’au 15 mars 15

Shomei Tomatsu

Steel Helmet with Skull Bone Fused by Atomic Bomb, Nagasaki 1963

© Shomei Tomatsu - interface. 

Courtesy of Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo

Monday, 8 December 2014

Conflict, Time, Photography @ Tate Modern, Bankside SE1 – til 15 March 15

Luc Delahaye

US Bombing on Taliban Positions 2001


238.6 x 112.2 cm

Courtesy Luc Delahaye & Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris/Bruxelles

Version française, cliquez ici

The teacher would say “ask your grandparents about WWII” but I was not allowed to, on either side of my parents. As a full time disobedient teenager, I did ask and never got a thorough answer. The series Holocaust blew me though. I left war aside.

Don McCullin reconnected me with the horror of war and its theatre of conflict. I was touched by his images of men, women, and children under siege. Equally impactful were his use of space, when people became secondary. His first ever published picture was of a street gang in a bombed building in Finsbury Park (p19 in Sleeping with Ghosts), and comes to mind his Christian Gunman in the Holiday Inn (p158 in Sleeping with Ghosts).

Don McCullin is the only photojournalist taking part of the Conflict, Time, Photography exhibition at Tate Modern: a series on the German wall, plus one of his most famous photo Shell Shocked US Marine in Vietnam. The latter making wonder why are images of war so controlled at present, that you no longer see such shocking images!
Conflict, Time, Photography is a collection of artists going back to places where conflicts took place and record the moment (Moment Later) / a moment “lost” in space (100 years later). Reims, Afghanistan, Hiroshima, Iraq, Vietnam, Koweit, Angola, Lebanon, Nicaragua, Ukraine... A near faceless travelogue where space leaves place to emotional grandeur. A daring work in progress for an institution that has no need to produce such show (also mentioned for Disobedient Object @ V&A).

Jo Ractliffe
As Terras do fim do Mundo 2009

Hand-printed silver gelatin print

Courtesy the artist

Opposite the Shell Shocked US Marine, a foggy picture: Ambush Ramadi, 2006, Iraq in the Moment Later room. Luc Delahaye travels with large format cameras to produce images with a greater scale and depth. As you front the photograph, that “eerie sense of calm” soon leaves place to a galloping sense of imagination. A bomb has just exploded! A fraction of a second for the shutter speed to freeze a moment. A fraction of a second that destroys life and architecture. A few minutes in contemplation fronting a photo: an internal conflict between the beauty of an image and the shock it provoked on-site.
1915 The Vandals in France French magazine depicting the haunting moments of conflicts; Reims has lost its buildings; a broken column; a fallen statue; a landscape of walls on the floor.
Marc Vaux took a photo nine years later on the same spot where he was injured. A monument has been reconstructed where buildings had been martyrs of a conflict. A haunting memory for him that was being eradicated - space-wise - by the burgeoning of new architecture.
A few Months after the Gulf War I was over, Sophie Ristelhueber travelled to Koweit and froze a desert that ceased to be a desert. She invades The Months Later room that bears large scale photos of objects, foot prints and abandoned items as if recording a start of the end of the world: the wounds and womb of earth when human beings have vanished from their own violation. A land left in fallow... This is probably the most intense and meditative room of all, where war is subliminally visible. She manages to recreate an effect of war within its pseudo-absence: a theatre of desolation... its aftermath.
Diana Matar, Jo Ractliffe, Paul Virilio, Jerzy Lewczynski, Ursula Schulz-Dornburg or Louise and Jane Wilson have photographed some colossal monuments, from bunkers to building specialised in human right violations that chill the spine once one knows about the reality behind the surrealist beauty and isolation of these shapes. It is the realisation of the purpose of a building that changes the dynamic of a conflict “story telling”, whether it is a shelter or a persecution space.

Ursula Schulz-Dornburg

Kurchatov - Architecture of a Nucleur Test Site

Kazakhstan. Opytnoe Pole. 2012

courtesy of the artist's studio

© Ursula Schultz-Domburg

Lower lights
Although I love Susan Meiselas’ Nicaraguan iconic image of Bareta and its narrative images, I feel it would have found a better place at V&A’s Disobedient Objects exhibition: Bareta's moment is slightly before...
Conflict, Time, Photography is an extraordinary survey of conflicts within the illusion of space against the reality of time, I have however no understanding about the relevance of some photos like those of Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin: an arty display of archive from people who lived a conflict?

Colony light
Chloe Dewe Matthews has shot the “banality” of landscape. A place where cowards were executed, from British to French to Belgian soldiers. The names gives a bitter taste once read: they all have North African name... of people forced into a war.

Conflict, Time, Photography is a challenging way of looking at conflict. A new direction of looking where a focal point resides on the triggering, where things are suggested. We are invited to contemplate a space within a time frame without looking directly on suffering inflicted on people.

Chloe Dewe Mathews
Vebranden-Molen, West-Vlaanderen 2013
Soldat Ahmed ben Mohammed el Yadjizy
Soldat Ali ben Ahmed ben Frej ben Khelil
Soldat Hassen ben Ali ben Guerra el Amolani
Soldat Mohammed Ould Mohammed ben Ahmed
17:00 / 15.12.1914
 © Chloe Dewe Mathews

As Henri Lefebvre said, we live in landscapes that are actively constructed. We all have a relationship with a landscape... and sometimes, we build monuments to bury haunting memories. Conflict, Time, Photography is here to remember that we have to look at the unwatchable in order to (hopefully) stop producing the unbearable.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr introduces the exhibition with an extract from Slaughterhouse-five he published 24 years after the end of WWII: “People aren’t supposed to look back. I’m certainly not going to do it anymore. I’ve finished my war book now. The next one I write is going to be fun. This one is a failure, and had to be, since it was written by a pillar of salt.

Don McCullin sees his photographs as a 'silent protest against the futility of war'. In this TateShots he remembers the people and places of some of his most powerful work:

Conflict, Time, Photography
26 November 2014 – 15 March 2015
Tate Modern, The Eyal Ofer Galleries, Level 3, Bankside SE1
Admission £13.10 (£11.30 concessions) or £14.50 (£12.50 concessions) with Gift Aid donation
Open daily from 10.00–18.00 and until 22.00 on Friday and Saturday
For public information call +44 (0)20 7887 8888, visit @tate #conflicttime

Sybille Castelain for

Friday, 5 December 2014

Launch of the Saatchi Gallery / Deutsche Bank Art Prize for Schools 2015

Jose Carlos Martinat
Ejercicio Superficial #12
Glass and spray paint
Dimensions variable
© Jose Carlos Martinat, 2011
Image courtesy of the Saatchi Gallery, London

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Shoes: Pleasure and Pain / Chaussures : plaisir et douleur @ V&A, London SW7 - 13 juin 2015 – 31 janvier 2016

Chopines, Punched kid leather over carved
pine, Venice, Italy, c. 1600, V&A 
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Shoes: Pleasure and Pain @ V&A, London SW7 - 13 June 2015 – 31 January 2016

NOVA, by Zaha Hadid for United Nude
© Image Courtesy of United Nude