SLEEK’s 2018 Trend Forecast

In an effort to leave this seemingly unending train-wreck of a year behind, we here at SLEEK have focused our attention toward the 12 mysterious months ahead. Although we may not be as reliable as your daily horoscope at predicting the future, we reckon we have some certifiable hypotheses regarding the next “big” things in the big one-eight. We’ve assembled a list of trend-forecasts for the coming year, covering art, music, fashion and beyond. And despite our witchy premonitions being merely premonitions, when you suddenly find yourself next year without eyebrows in Serbia, don’t say we didn’t give you adequate warning.

1. Gorpcore, when mountain clothing goes luxe

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Already annoyed with normcore? Get ready for another peculiar style-ladden neologism. Ever heard of Gorp? This word, which used to refer the snacks mix used by hikers for an energy boost (Good Ol’ Raisins and Peanuts), will likely define the future of your wardrobe. Gorpcore is a fashion trend rooted in outdoor attire – as such, the Gorpcore vogue is big on sheep skin, oversized parkas, fleece jackets, cargo pants, bum bags, hiking boots and of course puffas (otherwise known as the wearable version of a sleeping bag). All in all, the hiking apparel you’ve been saving/hiding for winter weekend getaways is now all the rage for everyday wear. The style has been upgraded by Demna Gvasalia for Balenciaga, however functional pieces from the likes of North Face, Patagonia or Salomon also do the trick. And for the best of both worlds, you can check out the collaboration between Napapijri and Martine Rose which has been the talk of the fashion-town.

– Jean-François Adjabahoué

2. The meme-ification of contemporary art

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It’s no surprise that brands and corporations have already co-opted memes: millenials (aka the most desirable category of people to market) find them relatable. Contemporary art remains an elitist, if not classist, universe, and some of its older forces still refuse to see it democratised. However, artists have started to embrace memes’ codes as a way to communicate concepts and ideas to the viewer: Cali Thornhill DeWitt might be the most blatant example of this, and Barbara Kruger actually started this decades ago. As memes grow in popularity, so will their use in contemporary art; whether this specific form of communication will create the necessary cracks in this secluded world remains to be seen.

Karim Krippa

3. Sherbert Orange

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In the past year, workwear orange made unexpected appearances on runways and in closets. 2018 will be the year of its tame descendant. It may seem like pastels have been on trend, for like, ever, but we’re expecting fashion to embrace an unlikely new player this coming year, sherbet orange—  also known as soft peach or sun-kissed orange. Combining the most hated colour of the rainbow with the most hated range of hues, sherbert orange is indubitably a chromatic underdog. Our underdog orange has been spotted on the runway more than once, making cheeky appearances in the SS18 collections of Victoria Beckham, Celine, Calvin Klein and Sies Marjan, to name a few. Expect it to trend in makeup as well, with hip brands like Fenty and Milk already making satsuma-gelato inspired hues available for both eye and lip. A sherbert orange makeup look was recently sported by Margot Robbie on the red carpet premiere of Goodbye Christopher Robin. In the words of Elle Woods, “whoever said orange was the new pink, was seriously disturbed!”, but in our defense, Elle hadn’t already lived through the era of millennial pink. Bust your Dreamsicles out of the freezer, folks!

4. Hyped-gelled, “wet” hair

Some very daring cuts have come to define “hip” hair. Our premonition is that the reign of straight cut fringe, the undercut and the baby bang are coming to an end. Any reasonable person with fringe has likely asked themselves: how will I ever grow this out? The answer is patience and gallons of hair gel. SLEEK predicts slicked back, heavily gelled hair will trend in 2018. If last year was the year of the Matrix sunglasses, the next will bring Matrix hair mania. Slicking your hair back is practical for the sake of removing awkward length hairs from your face, and fortuitously fashionable (with a capital F), thanks to the Fenty Puma, Prabal Gurung, Phillip Lim, Alexander McQueen and Chanel’s SS18 shows. There’s a surprising amount of leniency within the slicked back category, which ranges from marble precision to grungy chaos. All of those guilty of hitting the snooze button in the morning should rejoice in the coming year, because the “I literally just got out of the shower” is now officially chic.

5. Polish cuisine

Our times are troubled; the world is in flames, and while most of us remain untouched by the really awful aspects of world politics, we still long for a place in which we can regress into a feeling of safety and warmth. Polish cuisine might provide you with such a place, and it might be more necessary than you’d think. The cuisine of Poland abounds with dishes consisting mainly of buttery carbs, soothing to both the stomach and the soul. Polish cooks have learned how to be resourceful, as the country has been subject to privations, wars, repressions and other disasters for many centuries, which is why polish cuisine is also economical. With just a few basic ingredients – potatoes, butter, milk, salt –  the Poles have managed to create explosions of deeply satisfying tastes and textures. For freelancing underpaid millenials anxious about most aspects of their lives, it might be the best way to find solace during one of those long-ass Berlin winter days.

Karim Krippa

6. Rediscovering jazz

After a long and still undergoing R&B phase, it’s time for jazz to fuel the creative fire of a new generation of artists. For upcoming musicians like Poppy Ajudha, Oscar Jerome and Charlotte Dos Santos, jazz influences are blended into an eclectic genre, invoking the kind of energy emitted by Gil Scott-Heron or Erykah Badu. As is evident in the blossoming South London jazz scene (Moses Boyd, Zara McFarlane, Ezra Collective), a generation of gifted musicians and singers is channeling jazz intensity to produce an exciting and modern musical hybrid (grime, pop and electronic is often added to the mix) appropriate for festivals, dancefloors and jazz clubs alike. The product of these playful experimentations has been made popular by trendsetting music platforms like Boiler Room, Colors Berlin or east London’s radio NTS. Careful listens of aforementioned artists will force you to admit that unlike La La Land’s misleading theories, jazz music’s legacy is still very much alive (and kicking).

– Jean-François Adjabahoué

7. The capsule biennial

People visiting this year’s documenta(s) might have learned the hard way what “overwhelming” really means. Thousands of pieces by hundreds of artists were on view, and somehow one couldn’t fight the feeling that there was a reason so many of them had been kept in obscurity until then – their work just wasn’t surprising, innovative, or interesting. The Venice Biennale too was spiked with rather mediocre contributions that seemed unnecessary. In fact, the third mega-event of the year, Skulptur Projekte Münster, was the most well received – perhaps because the curators made the wise choice to limit themselves to 35 excellent positions. 2018 will hopefully follow this trend: drastically reduce the number of artists involved in one of the many biennial / triennial / quinquennial events dotting the art world calendar, but giving them, and the visitors, more space to breathe, unfold and think.

Karim Krippa

8. Korean designers getting the attention they deserve

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Korea has proven itself to be a powerhouse of contemporary culture, commanding international acclaim for its food, music, beauty products and of course, fashion. As the fourth largest economy in Asia, it’s clear that Seoul is gunning to surpass Tokyo’s long held position as the fashion capital of the East. The country is like an assembly line of boundary pushing brands, churning out one after another that are more than worthy of the West’s attention. Brave, bold and genderless designs abound from brands like Juun.J, pushBUTTON and Blindness, which represent only a fraction of the creative talents driving their rapidly growing industry. KYE, General Idea and Wooyoungmi illustrate a distinctly youth driven and trend privy culture, embracing playful and quirky spins on sizing, color and pattern. Expect the energy of Korean designers to be met with deserved hype in the coming year, as these designers gain mainstream attention and continue their elegant seduction of Western markets.

9. Belgrade

Image: Marko Kosovcevic via Creative Commons

Is Belgrade the new Berlin? No, but it may be the new Athens. In the coming year, expect a surge of attention toward Serbia’s capital, a gritty treasure rich with history. The rapidly growing city is a product of a complicated past; given 500 years of Turkish rule, 50 years of communism, and the 1999 NATO bombings, it should come as no surprise that counterculture is thriving amongst the wear and tear of its overarching regimes. We’re anticipating a major creative flock, given Belgrade’s appallingly affordable rent, which, when partnered with innumerable coffee houses and rowdy bars, is basically begging for artists’ attention. It’s reputation as a year round party city is upheld by a vivacious nightlife scene which caters to every interest, from experimental jazz to industrial techno. Belgrade’s most famous club, Drugstore, has a reputation as positive as Serbia’s award winning music festival, Exit. Serbian culture proves a convenient counterpart to nightlife, given the Serb’s reputation for four hour lunches and sleeping in late. Honestly, what better place to build your next light installation?

10. Non-binary heels

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Fashion has always been a powerful tool to both express and protest identities. Subcultural style is rooted in the layers of signification hidden in garb: class, race, gender, age, politics and perspective. Heels have become synonymous with heteronormativity, stereotypical femininity and old fashioned gender politics. In some circles, the heel is remembered as the corset of the 20th century, a vestige of the imbalances of expectations of man and woman. The prominence of the sneaker and boot in womenswear is more than just a trend, it’s a mark of a modification in the roles women play in our world. Needless to say, heel culture is alive and well, and plenty of designers continue to send out hoards of gorgeous stilettos, wedges, pumps and peep-toes. SLEEK predicts that 2018 will be the year of the heel’s return…. with a woke vengeance. Expect to see red bottoms (aka bloody shoes) and other household name designers to manufacture heels in larger and wider sizes, appropriate for all female and non-female identifying consumers. We hope 2018 will be a year of unlearning past associations and mark a “queering” of one of fashion’s most gender-laden shoes.

11. Vine’s Return

The internet has yet to accept the loss of its beloved video platform, Vine. The app, initially released in 2012 after it was purchased by Twitter, had 200 million active users just three year later– all united by an obsession with 6 second long looping videos. The time constraint, choppy editing and infinite loop encouraged creativity, producing carousels of humor, horror and delight. The result was a myriad of mesmerizing videos which would go on to serve as cultural touchstones in global digital culture. Its self referential nature allowed for infinite remakes and remixes, leading to viral hits like the Squidward dab, what are those, damn daniel, and all things Ted Cruz. How could the internet ever stop mourning the death of the platform that produced Ryan Gosling eating cereal, pronouncing things incorrectly and the running man challenge? To the delight of millions, on December 6th vine co-founder Dom Hofmann tweeted a cryptic “v2”, after claiming he was “working on a follow up” to the original app. The internet will surely applaud Vine’s zombie resurrection. If it does come back next year, we can remember 2017 as the year so shit that Vine had to skip it. 

12. “Call Me by Your Name” takes it all

Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer’s on-screen chemistry reaches far in this adaptation of Aciman’s coming-of-age novel. Set in beguiling Italian landscapes, the Luca Guadagnino-directed movie explores the poignant bond between Elio (a 17-year-old played by the flamboyant Timothée Chalamet) and Oliver the oh-so-handsome research assistant working for his father (played by the magnetic Armie Hammer, also seen in Nocturnal Animals this year). The sensual summery romance took the cine-sphere by storm and earned the entire team praises at every festival they attended in 2017. Further European releases at the beginning of the year (the movie comes out in Germany on March 3rd) will surely unveil the full potential of this gem, which is likely to make waves at the next Oscars ceremony. Meanwhile, you can quench your thirst with countless listens of the soundtrack, which features two exclusive/exquisite tracks by Sufjan Stevens.

– Jean-François Adjabahoué

13. Queer ikebana

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Ikebana, the japanese art of composing tableaus with plants, is simply exquisite. By exquisite we mean sublime – place a well-executed ikebana next to a Michelangelo fresco, and the latter will look like the gory, Freudian dream of a libidinous peasant. Just like drinking tea, tying knots or talking with someone, the Japanese have elevated placing flowers in a vase into a complex artform reflecting deep philosophical concerns. Hence, ikebana seems like an ideal art form to be queered: flowers have an aesthetic and socio-historical meaning begging to be challenged; the codes associated with them can be twisted and reappropriated, a strategy essential in queer theory. Not to mention, they are literally the dragged up version of a plant’s genitals. Exploring ideas around sexuality, gender and identity through meditative flower arrangements definitely seems like something with a high instagram popularity potential in 2018. Try it, it’s both fun and calming – and check out Robert Mapplethorpe’s gorgeous photographs of tulips, Calla lilies and orchids in case you need starter’s inspiration.

Karim Krippa

14. Shaved eyebrows


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Looking back we can watch our eyebrows change and morph with passing time. They’ve been thin. They’ve been thick. They’ve been #onfleek. Yet the past year was (to both our horror and delight) somewhat of a brow-renaissance. 2017 was indisputably the year of the over-the-top brow, bringing us viral innovations like the wave, lightning bolt and nike swoosh. With such opulent brow trends dictating the past year, we predict that 2018 will embody its negation. Say goodbye to painstaking care and exhausting precision! Ciao to your worries about whether they’re too thick, too thin or uneven. The brow trend of 2018? No brows at all. We’re tipping our caps to social media sensation @uglyworldwide for showing the world how to look sexy as hell without your forehead’s trusted counterparts. Freshly shaved brows will usher in a new era of alien glam, where the fearless and fabulous will sacrifice their body hair to the fashion gods.

15. Robot sex

Between algorithms to find your one true love, dating apps and remote-controlled sex toys, technology has slowly become a part of our sex lives. 2017 took it even further.  There was fitbit for your penis, a stretchable ring that provides delightful statistics such as thrust speed and calories burned, so even sex can be turned into a joyless competition! We were introduced to one robot with AI capable of showing signs of arousal and another who declared she’d love to start a family. It’s time for 2018 to bring on the augmented sex dolls– who know all about your kinks, but will never ever throw you a weird look. How about sex toys that will also check your blood pressure while they’re at it? We wouldn’t even be surprised to see those social media buttons on porn sites being put to good use… and not only by the sex gif Twitter accounts you look at in incognito mode. But if we’re going to draw data from our lovemaking sessions, maybe we should start counting female orgasms. The truth might be uncomfortable, but we can only go higher from there.

Elise Jost

16. Beauty brands (finally) recognise diversity

Political, economic and religious turmoil (Trump’s election, Brexit, nuclear threats in Asia, conflicts in the Middle East to name a few) will urge beauty industry leaders to address diversity and representation more accordingly. Thanks to the launch of Rihanna’s inclusive brand, the number of shades made available to women of colour across the board has has improved since last September. For the launch of Fenty, the R&B superstar declared “Fenty Beauty was created for everyone: for women of all shades, personalities, attitudes, cultures and races. I wanted everyone to feel included.” The cruelty-free line’s endgame was to target a consumer group who had been left aside by big beauty brands. She achieved her goal with great success, considering the darker shades sold out on the first day. Since then, other beauty brands have taken notice and aligned their communication strategy with Fenty’s example. In showing that diversity matters, Rihanna initiated an overdue update to the cosmetics industry and paved the way for more positive change. Of course, diversity goes further than the colour of your skin and should also include age, size and gender, meaning there is still room for progress to be made in 2018 and after.

– Jean-François Adjabahoué

17. Neo Emo

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With more than 10 years of distance, we can finally move past the cringes and shudders which onset when recalling our years shopping at Hot Topic and listening to My Chemical Romance. As embarrassing as our bangs, raccoon eyeliner and studded belts were, “Emo” was a legitimate and robust subculture which deserves some critical thought. Although first coined in the 90s to describe bands like Weezer, the “Emo” in question here refers to its mainstream peak, from 2001 to 2006. Characterized by melodramatic, confessional lyrics and flamboyant melodies, Emo music was unapologetic catharsis for suburban teens coming of age during the embarrassment of the Bush years, the aftermath of 9/11 and the rise of social media. Green Day was one of the only explicitly political bands; other groups like Fall Out Boy, New Found Glory and Red Jumpsuit Apparatus operated on a politic of emotion, drawing inspiration from insecurity and ostracism. It’s more than appropriate that in the age of Trump and Brexit we remember Emo with nuance and consideration. Judging by how popular LA’s Emo Nite was in recent months, SLEEK predicts the coming year will bring heaps of op-eds and ironic Emo fashion. Expect Emo nostalgia to make its way back into music as well, likely in Hip Hop and R&B, a style pioneered by the beloved Lil Peep.

18. Michael Halpern’s disco couture

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Central Saint Martins strikes again! In just two collections CSM alumnus Michael Halpern has become the fashion spheres’ latest wunderkind. After collaborating with J.W. Anderson and working as a consultant for Atelier Versace, the American young-blood is already dressing the likes of Kate Moss, Adwoa Aboah and Beyoncé in his eye-catching designs. It’s accurate to say shedding light on women is his forte, considering his dazzling dresses earned him a prize as British Emerging Talent in Womenswear this year. His sumptuous Autumn/Winter collection reads as an ode to nighttime hedonism, a liking he inherited from his parents who were Studio 54’s regulars. With profusion of sequins, Swarovski crystals and satin dresses, Michael Halpern merges the tropes of Haute Couture with a contemporary edge and creates a luminous wardrobe for bold women. Disco delights for 2018, anyone?

– Jean-François Adjabahoué

19. A shift in focus from old female artists to the post-normative generation

The past couple of years have seen gallerists and institutions, both established and emerging, suddenly (re-)discover the work of old (or dead) female contemporary artists. Their presence in exhibition programs was and still is a welcome break from machoid practices by white male artists; but now, it seems this marketing trick is getting a bit tired. As a replacement, 2018 might be the year of very young artists who stopped placing themselves in any given gender category. They use unconventional pronouns, are politically engaged and eager to challenge the conditions in which their art is produced, exhibited and perceived. Off-spaces and digital exhibition platforms are already cooperating with this new generation, and 2018 might be the year in which museums and galleries recognize these creatives, often born after 1990, as a group worthy of serious exposure. What will be required for success though is an aptitude to use critique of their post-normative practices and discourses not as a reason to feel attacked, but as a chance to challenge the mainstream even further – by mediating it with the intelligence and digital savvy so many of them possess.

Karim Krippa

How Art Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Fashion

Yayoi Kusama Exhibition In Infinity in HAM, Helsinki. Image courtesy of Katja Nevalainen under creative commons

Fashion and art have always had a fabulous and fraught relationship. Many fashionistas claim not to “get” art whereas art world people often distance themselves from fashion for fear of art losing evergreen relevance. There are many examples of designers who’ve become artists like Helmut Lang and Tom Ford. There are also many artists who have created fashion lines, such as Tracey Emin, Yayoi Kusama and Jeff Koons. However, lately the line between the two has blurred into almost total invisibility. There’s now plenty of designers who have also become artists and artists who are taking in the fashion world with open arms, hearts and wallets.

Eckhaus Latta and Camper SS17. Styling: Avena Gallagher. Image: Rob Kulisek

Eckhaus Latta, for instance, who launched their label in 2011 consider their practice as both design and art. In their Los Angeles store they sell their conceptual fashion and simultaneously take part in visual art exhibitions. Their clothes can be seen simultaneously as sculptures and as sculptures than can be worn. Either way their pastel monotone biomorphic forms are visually striking. Also based in LA is the designer Bernhard Willhelm who’s made his major jump into the world of art with his exhibition at the MOCA in 2015. Entitled “Bernhard Willhelm 3000: When Fashion Shows The Danger Then Fashion Is The Danger”, the work which was conceived in collaboration with Jutta Kraus functioned as a sculptural installation. It featured Willhelm’s AW15/16 collection and including video, photography, was a meditation on the future of commerce and a “thinking-forward exhibition.” The aesthetic borrowed as much from his own designs as it did from “post-internet art” culminating in an environment that was both salacious and painterly. Berlin-based collective BLESS also take a similar approach.

In 2016 and this year, Anne Imhof incorporated fashion elements in her performances, even if unwittingly, as she claimed in an interview with SLEEK. Yet it can’t be denied that the performers she has chosen all bear the same Berlin sportswear aesthetic that is so popular in the clubbing scene.

In both “Angst” and “Faust” her performers’ style channels the “post-soviet union” look. It is monochromatic, almost normcore if it wasn’t for the brand references including adidas. Not surprisingly, Imhof’s artist muse Eliza Douglas has modelled for Vetements and Imhof’s signature look features a black cap emblazoned with Balenciaga’s logo. And this “coincidence” not only is that being accepted as valid but is also winning awards. And whether you like her art or not one thing is certain, her performances are sexy, sensual, stylish and timely. Moreover, it would not have had the same impact if they’d worn the typical performance art costume – the naked body – let alone the leotard, or a random designer.

Franziska Aigner and Emma Daniel in Anne Imhof, Faust, 2017, German Pavilion, 57th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. Image: Nadine Fraczkowski

But why only now? One could argue that the historical hostility between the art and fashion troupes stems from insecurity. Neither wanted a direct association with the other or at least to make very clear that there was a distinction of what is what and what influenced whom. However, this modus operandis is finally becoming outmoded and creative worlds seem to be more willing to accept this new fusion.

One the one hand art can only gain from being influenced and working with fashion. A lot of conceptual and cerebral art lacks in aesthetics. This can arguably be credited to the popularisation of conceptual art since the 90s, the influence of Object-Oriented Ontology, and the fetishisation of information. On the other hand fashion which is known for being temporary can benefit from art’s conceptual longevity. Art can complete the puzzle of fashion as a legitimate cultural phenomenon. This can lead to both art and fashion becoming more complex with results that are both intellectually challenging and visually stunning – beyond presenting clothes as artworks. And no one does it quite like Juliana Huxtable.

Left: “Untitled (Psychosocial Stuntin’)” by Juliana Huxtable, 2015, New Museum; right: “Untitled in the Rage Nibiru Cataclysm” 2015 from the “Universal Crop Tops for All the Self Canonized Saints of Becoming” series, by Juliana Huxtable; Image: courtesy the artist

Huxtable straddles both worlds, and in her art the New York artist puts fashion and art in conversation, highlighting through photography, video and installation how fashion can both give the illusion of political affiliation and offer a counterpoint to what’s happening politically in the West today. For example in her debut solo show in New York “A Split During Laughter at the Rally”, the artist delves into how leftist aesthetics can easily be embedded with neo-Nazi messages. While in London, her show featured a combination of prints on canvas and T-shirts as well as, and  photography, to reflect on the inception of the YT skin culture and the symbolic role of fashion signs and signifiers has played in its troubled history.

There’s different ways, however, to bring art and fashion together in a way that makes the most of aesthetics while not diverting from meaning, narrative and intellectualisation of a sartorial object. In March 2017 a group show in Adelaide, Australia, opened at Fontanelle’s Sister Gallery with the premise of unpacking the intricate narratives contained in threads. Curated by Jonno Revanche and featuring artists including Nina Dodd and kalenjay dhir, “Woven Dialects” delved into the hidden stories imbued in clothing and fashion items that often go unnoticed or are disregarded.

Juliana Huxtable for SLEEK56. Styled by Rachael Rodgers. Left Juliana: jumper: Balenciaga via The Store, tights: Hudson, shoes: CELINE. Right Juliana: coat: The Row via The Store, skirt: Prada, shoes: CELINE. Hair and Make-up by Manu Kopp. Image: Timothy Schaumburg

Granted, everyone has a piece of clothing with meaning yet that’s often overlooked, but this exhibition connected that to historical trends. For instance, Will Fredo’s piece “i was always her” looked into the sartorial choices as another way of how the oedipal period extends well into one’s adult life. The piece consists of a picture of Fredo’s mother and himself as an adult (but dressed the way his mother would have dressed him as a child), and a poem. In the text, Fredo turns the personal into the political by dissecting the politics of cultural supremacy and social imperialism, as the “immigrant aesthetics” his mother once imposed on him later resurfaced in his style subconsciously.

Art seems to be more present in fashion than one might assume. And fashion dictates art and society much more systematically than we perceive at first glance. Beyond giving fashion more meaning, by artists digging deeper into the fabric of it all, they can deconstruct it and examine the context it was designed in, revealing hidden cultural connections that explain what it means to be human. Art and fashion can complement each other, even improve each other, and together with the internet this new awareness is set to create more bold new aesthetics to come.

Will Auction Houses Ever Democratise the Art Market?


Launched at the end of last year, AucArt is the online auction house that is changing the rules of the auctioning industry one emerging artist at a time. Conceived with the aim of creating a fairer system catered to recent graduates from the top art schools in the UK, AucArt is democratising the market by offering transparency in terms of the curation and sales. This happens by offering contemporary art directly from the studios of early career artists within the first three years post graduation.

“I see so many artists being taken advantage of in the current art system, many are unable to support their practice which forces them to quit,” says founder and CEO Natasha Arselan. “We need to support and celebrate artists throughout their career – it’s about the art not just its price.” Currently AucArt has more than 1,000 artists in their collection, all of which selected by AucArt’s in-house curatorial team in collaboration with art world heavyweights including Phillips deputy chairman Svetlana Marich and Guest artist Petra Cortright, incorporating support from more established artists who are invited to review selected artists while mentoring them.

Left: “THE GUTS OF GUSTON” 2017 by Otto Ford
Right: “NESS” 2017 by Sif Norskov (images courtesy of AucArt)

The online auctions last seven days, with one work available each day. Every artwork has a reserve price, in which artworks will sell when this amount has been met. However there’s also the option to buy instantly with a capped and fixed price, hence protecting the artists’ market at such an early stage in their careers.

“AucArt cuts out the middleman,” says Arselan about artists receiving 70% of the final price. “By eliminating costly overheads, this system is economically a win-win for both artist and collector.” With prices ranging between £250 to £6000, AucArt already has more than 3,000 buyers signed up and counting. For the month of December Otto Ford and Florence Sweeney are some of the artists featured with many more to come, as from 1 December artists who have studied in the UK will be able to submit artworks for review.

AucArt Founder, Natasha Arselan (image courtesy of Natasha Arselan)

Above all AucArt is creating an access point, that until now has only been explored by influential art patrons and collectors. “By publishing prices, removing buyers premium, gallery overheads, and capping all auctions we are correcting unsettling traditions,” Arselan says. “And we want to really feel the joy of discovery and the opportunity to follow artists from the very beginning of their careers.”

The Sucuk und Bratwurst x BAM Berlin Collab is Here (And You Could Win It!)

Sucuk & Bratwurst is the Mainz-based creative studio making waves with its signature graphic design — commercial concepts with aesthetic appeal. Constantly blurring the boundaries between art and design, the collective have worked with everyone from Adidas to Indie Mag to 032c, and they won us over with their tongue-in-cheek “Sucuk Kills” cigarette scarf last year. And now, the Sucuk und Bratwurst boys have teamed up with our friends over at BAM Berlin to produce a clothing range that blends North Face jackets and toothbrushes. (Yup, you read that right.)

And thanks to BAM Berlin, we’ve got one super exclusive vest from the collection to give away. To be in with a chance of winning, all you have to do is:

1. Like us on Instagram
2. Like the post below
3. Tag a friend!

Check out more images from the collection below!

#BMWLUXURY: Canadian Art Collector Joe Shlesinger on the Importance of Privacy and Pearl Jam on the Road

The BMW Concept X7 iPerformance is the Bavarian car marque’s most luxurious concept SUV yet – with a spacious, ultra-networked interior melding with a top-of-top-end engine. This concept vehicle is a natural design evolution for BMW, whose brand is synonymous with power, luxury and travel — and its intersection: art. As such, they support art’s most direct of travel, providing the fleets of black cars that shuttle the art industry’s VIPs around fairs from Frieze to TEFAF to Art Basel to Sleek’s local Art Berlin.

To celebrate the presentation of the BMW Concept X7 iPerformance, we conducted interviews with five international blue-chip collectors. These five influential figures divulged their travel luxuries, and the books they took with them on the road. Reading material courtesy of the collectors, backseat courtesy of the BMW Concept X7 iPerformance — the ultimate luxury reading chair.

Joe Shlesinger is an art collector and private equity investor based in Toronto. With his partner Samara Walbohm, Shlesinger owns downtown gallery Scrap Metal. It’s a monumental space in an industrial setting, and inside, the pair have shown work by artists of the calibre of Helen Barff, Robert Mapplethorpe, Tracy Emin, Abbas Akhavan, Ragnar Kjartansson and Fischli & Weiss.

Shlesinger and Samara’s love of art has taken them around the world – not least to their Tuscan second home. Here, Shlesinger – whose first car, funnily enough, was a BMW — discusses his travel luxuries, and the magazine he loves to read on the road.

Some of your first acquisitions were Canadian artists, but your exhibitions are international, with Iranian, British, Icelandic, German artists all included. Do you travel a lot for work?

I don’t know what “a lot” would mean, but I think we probably do. I think we travel to less art fairs than you might expect. We don’t do a lot of that anymore. But we make art part of our travel, as opposed to the sole reason for our travels. We’ll go to the Venice Biennale in the summer. There’s a wonderful gallery very near our home in Italy, so Samara’s there all summer. So art isn’t the sole motivation for travel, but it’s certainly part of the itinerary. 

Where’s your home in Italy?

Just outside of Florence. It’s in Tuscany and we’re right in Chianti. It’s very nice.

What do you read when you’re on the road?

I take a lot of work with me from my day job, so there’s the usual set of required reading. Samara owns two book-stores, and she has an English PhD, so she’ll be reading the latest novel or two. For me, I always like The Economist.

What technological devices, if any, do you always have with you in the backseat?

I am not on the cutting edge of technology, I’ll say that to you up front! I have an old iPod touch that was given to me by somebody I worked very closely with for three to four years. He was the CEO of one of our investing companies. I’ve loaded a bunch of music on it, and that’s what I listen to when I travel – I probably haven’t put new music on that thing for five years. It’s mostly ‘90s alternative rock, and that’s the one thing I always have with me when I’m travelling. It’s never failed me.

Do you have a favourite song or album that you always like to listen to when you’re on the road?

I have a mix list that has a lot of Pearl Jam on it, that’s probably my go-to. A lot of Beatles as well. That would be the one thing.

What do you think about BMW?

Excellence, and perfect design. There’s been some controversial ideas, but they’ve stood the test of time, and been proven to be quite ahead of the time.

What was your first car?

Well, I learned to drive in a 320i, and my first BMW of my own was a series of M5s in the ‘90s. Then, we brought an M3 cab which we kept in Europe in the early 2000s. We took European delivery from the factory in 2001 and drove it from Munich down to Florence, where we have a villa. There’s a funny story about the car – it was left overnight without its emergency brake on, and clearly wasn’t in gear, and rolled off a cliff, narrowly missing our pool. This was a 25-foot fall, but the car in its was still rigid, and the doors still worked: it just required a bit of work on the suspension.

What did you think of BMW Concept X7 iPerformance itself?

It was beautiful from the outside, and the inside. I don’t know what of those features will make it to the production car, but the glass roof was spectacular, the lighting, and the ambience in made the backseat where we sat you’d want to spend some time. Some of the details, like what the shifter was made of – aluminised glass, perhaps? – I thought that was a really beautiful detail. The seats were tremendously comfortable, and even the air-flow in backseat was well thought-out.

What are you favourite immaterial luxuries when you’re travelling?

When I think of European travel, for me for sure it’s time on the plane. In the world today, where we’re bombarded all the time with emails, calls, texts, screens, whatever it is, and the chance to have quiet time on the plane is more and more of a luxury. I think that’s more true in North America, even in short duration travel, than it is going overseas. I see planes getting wired in, and having wifi available, which is something I’ve never done and it’s something that I would hope to never do because it does turn out to be a time when you can sit down, put your feet up, and think a little more creatively, and find time to actually get into a book, or a particular article and just let your thoughts flow. Travelling is really the only time left to do that.

For more information on the BMW Concept X7 iPerformance, click here. 

Berlin’s 13 Best Art Shows of 2017

While we were all watching the world burn in 2017, it looks like the fire ignited many artists to make great work, and many curators to show it. Of Berlin’s best art shows in 2017, a baker’s dozen rose above the rest, and imprinted themselves on our hearts and minds. In no particular order, these are the 13 best Berlin art shows of 2017. If you are worried that reading a list of all the brilliant things you weren’t at will further your winter blues, you’re probably right — but lucky for you, a couple of these gems are still running.

1. Candice Breitz, “Love Story”, KOW Berlin

Candice Breitz’s “Love Story” offered an incredibly thought-provoking commentary on our collective perception of refugees in western/central Europe. At the core of “Love Story” is one of the most crucial questions of our times: how can we create empathy in a heartless world? Breitz explores this by getting two megastars, Julianne Moore and Alec Baldwin, to recount shocking true stories of violence, war, trauma and abuse as if they were their own. These accounts are based on the real lives of six refugees currently living in Berlin, and it’s chilling how much empathy they conjure when  plucked out of the news cycle and placed into the mouths of famous white actors. The overall impact is discomfiting. Thankfully, Breitz doesn’t just use the two actors to front these histories; the six participants also voice their own experiences. “Love Story” is an intelligent and subtle work which avoided pandering to sensationalism; we’re excited to see what Breitz does next.

Candice Breitz, Still from Love Story, 2016. Image: Courtesy of Candice Breitz and KOW, Berlin.
Candice Breitz, Love Story, Installation  view, 2016. Image: Courtesy of Candice Breitz and KOW, Berlin.
Candice Breitz, Still from Love Story, 2016. Image: Courtesy of Candice Breitz and KOW, Berlin.
Candice Breitz, Love Story, Installation  view, 2016. Image: Courtesy of Candice Breitz and KOW, Berlin.
Candice Breitz, Still from Love Story, 2016. Image: Courtesy of Candice Breitz and KOW, Berlin.
Candice Breitz, Love Story, Installation  view, 2016. Image: Courtesy of Candice Breitz and KOW, Berlin.
Candice Breitz, Still from Love Story, 2016. Image: Courtesy of Candice Breitz and KOW, Berlin.

2. Lu Yang, “Welcome to LuYang Hell”, Société

Lu Yang took us into her virtual hell, and we revelled in our condemnation. Post-internet art might be on its way out but, somehow, Yang managed to draw us back in. She doesn’t care for the defunct and overcooked ideas of what it means to exist in digitised world — rather, she revels the internet’s narcissism. The artist’s virtual face literally sneered out at us from every corner, most memorably in the form of a giant hot air balloon monster. Honestly, Yang, condemn me for life.

Lu Yang, “Welcome to Lu Yang Hell”, 2017. Installation view at Société, Berlin. Image: Uli Holz. Courtesy of Lu Yang and Société.
Lu Yang, “Welcome to Lu Yang Hell”, 2017. Installation view at Société, Berlin. Image: Uli Holz. Courtesy of Lu Yang and Société.
Lu Yang, “Welcome to Lu Yang Hell”, 2017. Installation view at Société, Berlin. Image: Uli Holz. Courtesy of Lu Yang and Société.
Lu Yang, “Welcome to Lu Yang Hell”, 2017. Installation view at Société, Berlin. Image: Uli Holz. Courtesy of Lu Yang and Société.
Lu Yang, “Welcome to Lu Yang Hell”, 2017. Installation view at Société, Berlin. Image: Uli Holz. Courtesy of Lu Yang and Société.
Lu Yang, “Welcome to Lu Yang Hell”, 2017. Installation view at Société, Berlin. Image: Uli Holz. Courtesy of Lu Yang and Société.
Lu Yang, “Welcome to Lu Yang Hell”, 2017. Installation view at Société, Berlin. Image: Uli Holz. Courtesy of Lu Yang and Société.
Lu Yang, “Welcome to Lu Yang Hell”, 2017. Installation view at Société, Berlin. Image: Uli Holz. Courtesy of Lu Yang and Société.
Poster, Lu Yang, “Welcome to Lu Yang Hell”, 2017. Installation view at Société, Berlin. Image: Courtesy of Lu Yang and Société.

3. Anna Uddenberg, “Sante Par Aqua”, Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler

Uddenberg’s latest solo show consists of four soft textile objects, which resist easy definition. Are they absurdist massage chairs from the future? Deconstructed car interiors? Futurist fetish spa furniture? Every piece begs to be touched, to be engaged with. “Twin Generators and Upgraded Space” was a personal favourite: the soft, fur-lined mechanical-bull-meets-salon-chair calls you to take a ride as you shuffle your feet about the enclosed space.  

Left: Anna Uddenberg "Sante Par Aqua", 2017. Installation View. Right: Anna Uddenberg, "Pockets Obese", 2017. "Sante Par Aqua", Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin. Image: Courtesy of the artist and Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin. Photographer: Gunter Lepkowski
Anna Uddenberg, "Sisterunit on Fly", 2017. Sante Par Aqua, Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin. Image: Courtesy of the artist and Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin. Photographer: Gunter Lepkowski
Anna Uddenberg, "Cozy Stabilization Unit", 2017. Sante Par Aqua, Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin. Image: Courtesy of the artist and Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin. Photographer: Gunter Lepkowski
Anna Uddenberg, "Twin generators and Upgraded Tender", 2017. Sante Par Aqua, Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin. Image: Courtesy of the artist and Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin. Photographer: Gunter Lepkowski
Anna Uddenberg, "Sante Par Aqua",  2017. Installation view, Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin. Image: Courtesy of the artist and Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin. Photographer: Gunter Lepkowski
Anna Uddenberg, "Pockets Obese", 2017. "Sante Par Aqua", Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin. Image: Courtesy of the artist and Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin. Photographer: Gunter Lepkowski

Anna Uddenberg “Sante Par Aqua” is running till 13.01.2018 at Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin. 

4. Dara Friedman, “Dichter”, Supportico Lopez

Late last year, Dara Friedman held an open audition where people were asked to recite a personal poem which had influence and meaning in their life. Friedman then chose 15 of her favourites to be filmed on 16mm film in a Kreuzberg studio. Friedman adapted Jerzy Grotowski’s vocal techniques to fill the speakers’ bodies with their own sound waves, investigating ideas of thinking with the body as well as the mind. The result was an eerie and arresting multi-video installation. The red, pink and purple backdrops united each of the works, and created a bold and memorable aesthetic. 

Dara Friedman "Dichter", 2017. Installation view. Image: Courtesy of the artist and Supportico Lopez
Dara Friedman "Dichter", 2017. Installation view. Image: Courtesy of the artist and Supportico Lopez
Dara Friedman "Dichter", 2017. Installation view. Image: Courtesy of the artist and Supportico Lopez
Dara Friedman "Dichter", 2017. Installation view. Image: Courtesy of the artist and Supportico Lopez
Dara Friedman "Dichter", 2017. Installation view. Image: Courtesy of the artist and Supportico Lopez
Dara Friedman "Dichter", 2017. Installation view. Image: Courtesy of the artist and Supportico Lopez
Dara Friedman "Dichter", 2017. Installation view. Image: Courtesy of the artist and Supportico Lopez

 5. “the new liquid model”, DUVE Berlin

This packed-out, one-night exhibition featured works by Jala Wahid, Rindon Johnson, Julia Colavita and Adam Chad Brody, followed by a contemporary dance performance by Shade Therét. “the new liquid model” explored the environmental, social, structural and political impact the world has on the body, bringing us back to the physicality of human existence. Any show that ends with the audience participating in an impromptu jelly fight definitely deserves a mention.

Rindon Johnson "It Is April", 2017. Installation View, "the new liquid model" DUVE Berlin. Image: Courtesy of the artists and Naomi Bisley.
Shade Therét, "Body as Archive" performance view at ‘the new liquid model, DUVE Berlin, 2017 Image: Courtesy of the artists and Naomi Bisley.
Harriet Henderson, "liquid models", 2017. Installation View, "the new liquid model" DUVE Berlin, 2017. Image: Courtesy of the artists and Naomi Bisley.
Installation View, "the new liquid model" DUVE Berlin, 2017. Image: Courtesy of the artists and Naomi Bisley.
Left: Harriet Henderson, "liquid models", 2017. Right: Installation View, ""the new liquid model"" DUVE Berlin, 2017. Image: Courtesy of the artists and Naomi Bisley.
InstallationJala Wahid, "I am a Charm" 2017. Installation View, "the new liquid model" DUVE Berlin, 2017. Image: Courtesy of the artists and Naomi Bisley. View, "The New liquid Model" DUVE Berlin. Image: Courtesy of the artists and Naomi Bisley.
Harriet Henderson, "liquid models", 2017. Installation View, "the new liquid model" DUVE Berlin. Image: Courtesy of the artists and Naomi Bisley.

6. “Jaguars & Electric Eels”, Julia Stoschek Collection

“Jaguars & Electric Eels” was the second exhibition of the recently re-opened space showcasing art collector Julia Stoschek’s immense collection. Stoschek selected 28 media artists whose work explores evolution, nature and the supernatural. The result questioned our binary understanding of the artificial and the natural, while moving towards a hybrid future. 

Aaron Young, "Good Boy", 2001. Installation view, "Jaguars and Electric Eels", Julia Stoschek Collection, Berlin. Image: Courtesy of the artists and Julia Stoschek Collection, Berlin. Photo: Simon Vogel
Anicka Yi, "The Flavor genome" 2016. Film Still. Image: Courtesy of the artists and Julia Stoschek Collection, Berlin.
Isaac Julien, "True North", 2004. Installation view, "Jaguars and Electric Eels", Julia Stoschek Collection, Berlin. Image: Courtesy of the artists and Julia Stoschek Collection, Berlin. Photo: Simon Vogel
Cyprien Geillard, "Koe", 2015. Installation view, "Jaguars and Electric Eels", Julia Stoschek Collection, Berlin. Image: Courtesy of the artists and Julia Stoschek Collection, Berlin. Photo: Simon Vogel
Anicka Yi, "The Flavor genome" 2016. Film Stil. Image: Courtesy of the artists and Julia Stoschek Collection, Berlin.
James Richards & Leslie Thorntorn Crossing, 2016. Image: Courtesy of the artists and Julia Stoschek Collection, Berlin. Photo: Simon Vogel

7. Hiwa K, “Don’t Shrink Me to the Size of a Bullet”, KW Institute for Contemporary Art

In conjunction with Schering Stiftung, KW Institute for Contemporary Art presented a selection of works by Hiwa K, winner of the 2016 Schering Stiftung Art Award. “Don’t Shrink Me to the Size of a Bullet” combined work from the last ten years with Hiwa K’s latest project, which was co-produced by the Ernst Schering Foundation themselves. Together, the works formed a deeply personal exploration of Hiwa K’s own diasporic identity, deconstructing the resulting social and political implications through stories told by the artist, as well as his friends and family members. This quotation from 2016’s “Don’t Panic” sums up the tone of the whole show:

“Last time I saw my mom before my farewell, I said, ‘Mom, I am leaving for good. I don’t know…maybe I will not make it like the other 28 people who got shot last week.’ She said ‘Son, if death comes, don`t panic. It is just death.”

Hiwa K, "My Father’s Color Period" (Detail) 2012, Installation view KW Institute for Contemporary Art, 2017. Image: Frank Sperling
Hiwa K "For a Few Socks of Marbles" (Detail), 2012. Image: Courtesy Hiwa K, KOW, Berlin and Prometeogallery di Ida Pisani, Milan/Lucca (IT)
Hiwa K "Moon Calendar", Iraq, 2007. Image:Courtesy Hiwa K and KOW, Berlin
Hiwa K, "Moon Calendar", Iraq, 2007, Single-channel SD Video, Installation view, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, 2017, Image: Frank Sperling
Hiwa K, "The Existentialist Scene in Kurdistan" (Raw Materiality 01), 2017,
for Contemporary Art, 2017. Image: Frank Sperling
Hiwa K, "The Bell Project", 2007/2015,Two-channel video, Installation view KW Institute for Contemporary Art, 2017. Image: Frank Sperling
Hiwa K, "My Father’s Color Period", 2012; "What the Barbarians did not do, did the Barberini", 2012/2017, Installation view KW Institute for Contemporary Art, 2017. Image: Frank Sperling

8. “Squishy: eels swim in snakey”, Julius

The dramatic space at Juliusstrasse 38 amplified the playful artworks by Débora Delmar Corp, Joey Holder, Ittah Yoda, Sachin Kaeley, Miriam Lenk and Selou Sowe. Aside from the bold works and memorable staging, “Squishy: eels swim in snakey” is definitely a contender for Best Show Title of the Year. 

Installation View, Squishy, Julius, 2017. Image: Courtesy of the artists, Julius and Àngels Miralda
Installation View, Squishy, Julius, 2017. Image: Courtesy of the artists, Julius and Àngels Miralda
Joey Holder, Installation View, "Dark Creatures",  2015-ongoing. Image: Courtesy of the artists, Julius and Àngels Miralda
Ittah Yoda, "Untitled", 2017. Image: Courtesy of the artists, Julius and Àngels Miralda
Left:Selou Sowe, "Untitled", 2016. Right: Sachin Kaeley, 2016. Image: Courtesy of the artists, Julius and Àngels Miralda.
Left: Joey Holder, Installation View, "Dark Creatures", 2015-ongoing. Right: Miriam Lenk, "Untitled", 2017. Image: Courtesy of the artists, Julius and Àngels Miralda
Left: Débora Delmar Corp., "Fresh perishables", 2017. Right: Joey Holder, Installation View, "Dark Creatures", 2015-ongoing. Image: Courtesy of the artists, Julius and Àngels Miralda

9. Ed Atkins, “Old Food”, Martin-Gropius-Bau

Atkins is known for his digitally rendered films featuring strange avatars in even stranger settings. In this regard, “Old Food” at Martin-Gropius-Bau was no exception. The multi-room video installation, featuring interweaving loops of video footage, “Old Food” was a show for the curious, and those who aren’t easily unsettled. 

Ed Atkins, Production still for “Old Food”, 2017. Image: Courtesy the artist, Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin, Cabinet Gallery, London, Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York, Rome and dépendance, Brussels
Ed Atkins, Production still for “Old Food”, 2017 Courtesy the artist, Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin, Cabinet Gallery, London, Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York, Rome and dépendance, Brussels
Ed Atkins, Installation view of “Old Food”, 2017. Image: Courtesy the artist, Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin, Cabinet Gallery, London, Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York, Rome and dépendance, Brussels
Ed Atkins, Production still for “Old Food”, 2017. Image: Courtesy the artist, Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin, Cabinet Gallery, London, Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York, Rome and dépendance, Brussels
Ed Atkins, Production still for “Old Food”, 2017. Image: Courtesy the artist, Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin, Cabinet Gallery, London, Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York, Rome and dépendance, Brussels
Ed Atkins, Installation view of “Old Food”, 2017. Image: Courtesy the artist, Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin, Cabinet Gallery, London, Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York, Rome and dépendance, Brussels

Ed Atkins “Old Food” is running till 07.01.2018 at Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin.

10. Olymphia, “Termination of the World’s Last Harbour”, Acud Gallery

Created by Olymphia (artist duo Kristian Emdal and Loke Rahbek), ‘Termination of the World’s Last Harbour” merged music, dance and live sculpture to form one of the most engaging shows of the year. Four orange-robed performers moved across a sheeted expanse, intertwining with each other as a poem/narrative sounded overhead. They began to mix a plaster-like glue, before playing with various ropes and props — the overall narrative was often unclear, but it was undeniably hypnotic. 

11.  “A NEW PRESCRIPTION FOR INSOMNIA”, Horse And Pony Fine Arts

As a space, Horse and Pony Fine Arts always leaves visitors with a sense that the world is falling to pieces. Denying the white cube and revelling in rawness, “ A NEW PRESCRIPTION FOR INSOMNIA” fit right in. Curated by GeoVanna Gonzales, the exhibition featured work by Omsk Social Club, Julia Colavita, Lorenzo Sandoval, Michele Gabriele, and many others, all of whom identify as “Nation-rejecting State-founders, alienated in their own habitat”.

Left: Silas Parry, "End of The Line" 2015. Image: Courtesy of the artists and Horse And Pony Fine Arts. Right: "Zoë Claire Miller, "Metaplasm", 2016. Image courtesy of Zoë Claire Miller and Horse and Pony Fine Arts.
"A NEW PRESCRIPTION FOR INSOMNIA", 2017, Horse and Pony Fine Arts, Installation view. Image: Courtesy of the artists and Horse And Pony Fine Arts.
Michele Gabriele, FIRSTY-FISTY, 2015."A NEW PRESCRIPTION FOR INSOMNIA", 2017, Horse and Pony Fine Arts, Installation view. Image: Courtesy of the artists and Horse And Pony Fine Arts.
"A NEW PRESCRIPTION FOR INSOMNIA", 2017, Horse and Pony Fine Arts, Installation view. Image: Courtesy of the artists and Horse And Pony Fine Arts.
"A NEW PRESCRIPTION FOR INSOMNIA", 2017, Horse and Pony Fine Arts, Installation view. Image: Courtesy of the artists and Horse And Pony Fine Arts.
Miller Robinson, 2017."A NEW PRESCRIPTION FOR INSOMNIA", 2017, Horse and Pony Fine Arts, Installation view. Image: Courtesy of the artists and Horse And Pony Fine Arts.
"A NEW PRESCRIPTION FOR INSOMNIA", 2017, Horse and Pony Fine Arts, Installation view. Image: Courtesy of the artists and Horse And Pony Fine Arts.

12. Preis Der Nationalgalerie 2017,  Hamburger Bahnhof

Sol Calero, Iman Issa, Jumana Manna, and Agnieszka Polska were the four incredible artists contesting for this year’s Preis Der Nationalgalerie. The joint exhibition displays an installation from each artist; while their styles and aesthetics differ wildly, they are united by an engagement with social and political issues. Polska (the winner) presents two films which portray the sun as a helpless witness to the slow destruction of our earth. Although the idea seems endearing, Polska brutally comments on the collapse of our ethics and our ecosystem. Calero’s “Amazonas Shopping Center” is a personal favourite. Calero created a participatory, multi-purpose installation in the form of a kitsch shopping centre. Whilst also being immensely fun, the hyper colourful  and “tropical” installation riffs on stereotypical ideas of Latin-American culture. Go see it while it is still running!

Sol Calero, "Amazonas Shopping Center", 2017. Installation view, Hamburger Bahnhof. Image: Courtesy of Sol Calero and Hamburger Bahnhof.
Agnieszka Polska, "What the Sun Has Seen (Version II)", 2017. Installation view, Hamburger Bahnhof. Image: Courtesy of Agnieszka Polska and Hamburger Bahnhof.
Iman Issa, "Heritage Studies", 2015-2017. Installation View. Image: Courtesy of Iman Issa and Hamburger Bahnhof.
Jumana Manna, 2017. Installation view, Hamburger Bahnhof. Image: Courtesy of Jumana Manna and Hamburger Bahnhof.

 “Preis Der Nationalgalerie 2017” is running till 14.01.2018 at the Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin. 

13. Jasmin Werner, “Status Faux”, Gillmeier Rech

“Status Faux” (great name) was Werner’s first solo exhibition at Gillmeier Rech Gallery. Using the framework of Sara and Tobias from the Old Testament, Werner created stair-like sculptures that were perversely unusable; they led to nowhere, much like the metaphorical ladder we all attempt to climb in our own “faux” lives.

Jasmin Werner "Status Faux", 2017. Image: Courtesy of Jasmin Werner and Gillmeier Rech
Jasmin Werner "Status Faux", 2017, Installation view. Image: Courtesy of Jasmin Werner and Gillmeier Rech.
Jasmin Werner "Status Faux", 2017. Image: Courtesy of Jasmin Werner and Gillmeier Rech
Jasmin Werner "Status Faux", 2017, Installation view. Image: Courtesy of Jasmin Werner and Gillmeier Rech.

SLEEK’s Best of 2017: 30 Things That Weren’t a Total Trash Fire

Going into 2017, astrology fans were braced for a year of psychic renewal, of death and rebirth. But surely even the most cosmically aligned among us probably wasn’t ready for the kick in the teeth that was 2017. It was a fucking gruelling year, filled with dystopian politics, sexual harassment scandals, earth-shattering violent attacks and natural disasters that devastated communities. Exhausted and frazzled, we find ourselves crawling towards the finish line of a truly terrible year.

However, as is often the case in times of misery and suffering, great culture was a balm. In spite of the doom and gloom, 2017 was also filled with incredible art shows, boundary-pushing political fashion, genre-defying music, and countless artists and designers who offered comfort and inspiration. The SLEEK team have selected 30 facets of culture which truly stood out in the shit show that was 2017.

Without further ado: here are 30 things from 2017 which weren’t a total trash fire.


GmbH SS18, Paris Fashion Week
GmbH SS18, Paris Fashion Week. Image: Courtesy of GmbH.

Countless designers have referenced Berlin’s infamous nightlife in their work; however, Berlin-based newbies GmbH have techno in their DNA. Their PFW show on the top floor of the Institut du Monde Arabe was their first time presenting a full collection, and it was definite highlight for coolest kids during the Paris Men’s shows.

Rachael Rodgers, Fashion Editor


Pamela Rosenkranz, Installation view, “Slight Agitation 2/4: Pamela Rosenkranz”, Fondazione Prada, Milan. Image: courtesy of Fondazione Prada

In essence, “Slight Agitation” was pile of sand, lit with eerie green light and placed inside the elegant surroundings of  the OMA-designed Fondazione Prada. However, as is always the case with Pamela Rosenkranz, it wasn’t as simple as that. The sand had, in fact, been sprayed with cat pheromones. If  (like a good 30 per cent of Europeans) you suffered from the parasitic disease toxoplasmosis, you would feel strangely attracted to the gleaming pile. The artwork was at once conceptual, deeply unsettling and highly Instagrammable — what more could you ask for?

Ira Solomatina, Fashion Editor


Sucuk und Bratwurst. Image: Courtesy of Sucuk and Bratwurst. Image: Anastasia Muna.

Sucuk and Bratwurst’s work is visually compelling, their website is beyond, and their web shop is filled with exciting objects. These Mainz-based graphic designers blur the boundaries between art and design, creating commercial projects with aesthetic appeal. Their cheeky “Smoking Kills” scarves are our absolutely favourite merch project from 2017.

-Victoria Gisborne-Land, Picture Editor


“Una Mujer Fantastica” (2017), dir. by Sebastián Lelio. Image: Sony Pictures Classics.

My six-word review of “Una Mujer Fantastica” was: “a beautifully shot onslaught of injustice”. Part of the brilliance of this movie, though, was that the pile-on of injustices never felt hyperbolic, or wrung out for dramatic effect. This is not another drama where the protagonist’s queerness is their downfall. This is a story of a trans woman navigating grief and prejudice in a way that rings uncomfortably and brilliantly true. Daniela Vega’s performance in this film is exceptional, and I am dying to get my hands on that tinsel jacket.

– Eileen McNulty-Holmes, Digital Editor


Helmut Lang SS18, by Ethan James Green. Image: Courtesy of Helmut Lang.

Ethan James Green perfectly captured the essence of Shayne Oliver’s first collection for Helmut Lang. The impeccable cast list reads like a list of everyone we want to be friends with — Traci Lords, Alek Wek, Kembra Pfahler and Larry Clark were among the chosen ones who brought this landmark collection to life.

-Rachael Rodgers


Donna Huanca once again stood out this year with her performance “BLISS (REALITY CHECK)” at Art Basel. Using her acclaimed performance model, Huanca had painted, nude performers respond to her corporal sculptures and sound cues. The work slowly evolved as the sound progressed, with each performance leaving traces paint and debris in its wake. Huanca’s work redefines stillness and tension; her performances are slow and meditative, and enchant the viewer completely. The entire experience was so surreal and beautiful that you began to feel strange for keeping your clothes on.

Sophia Lawler-Dormer, Art Intern


Calvin Klein SS18. Image: Courtesy of Calvin Klein & Loews PR.

Although it already seems like he’s been there forever, Raf Simons’ first collection for Calvin Klein was revealed in Februrary 2017 on Valentine’s day – and it was love at first sight. His slick take on Americana has been all over magazine editorials, celebs and saved New York Fashion Week’s dwindling schedule.

– Rachael Rodgers


2017 gifted us with dozens of albums and EPs that were truly remarkable, but few feel as innovative and distinct as Yaeji’s “EP” and “EP2”. Her sound blends elements of house, trap and rap; her lyrics touch on everything from the beauty industry to Korean identity. Yaeji’s sonic and lyrical influences are vast, yet each track is also unmistakably hers. Far from sounding like an identity crisis, each track feels like an excavation of a different element of one person’s internal cosmology. Yaeji contains multitudes, and she’s going to be fucking huge.

-Eileen McNulty-Holmes


Even 8. Image: Courtesy of Even

Established in 2015, Even’s tagline is “Global perspective on contemporary art and culture”. And it’s the globality which makes Even stand out in the crowded art mag market; all of their stories embrace the globality of art, but also its hyperlocality. Each interview, longread and show review feels like a portal into a hyper-specific time and place, and the writing is uniformly stellar. For a sample on how unique and how contextually situated Even’s stories are, I would highly recommend reading their take on the closure of colette. 10/10.

-Eileen McNulty-Holmes


“Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between” (2017). Image: courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute.

Rei Kawakubo is paradoxical. If there is a living designer today, whose work pushes the boundaries of fashion, it is the cryptic founder of Comme des Garçons. No round-up of 2017 would be complete without mentioning the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s retrospective that celebrated Kawakubo’s famous lumpy dresses and two-dimensional skirts. With more than 140 designs from Kawakubo’s womenswear collections from the past 30 years, the show explored her seemingly unquenchable thirst for innovation. The exhibition was both visually captivating and intellectually challenging – chanelling exactly what we love about Kawakubo’s oeuvre.

-Ira Solomatina


“The Florida Project” (2017), dir. by Sean Baker. Image: Cre Film.

“The Florida Project”, from Tangerine director Sean Baker, proved one of the year’s most memorable watches. Every scene was delivered with gut-wrenching humanity and realism. “The Florida Project” follows six-year-old Moonee (the insanely talented Brooklynn Prince) over the course of a long hot summer spent joyously rabble-rousing with her friends in the mauve-infused environs of the Magic Castle motel, where she and her mother Halley (Bria Vinai) reside. But hard times have befallen the adults, and they threaten to burst the carefree bubble in which the young adventurers exist.

-Daisy Woodward, Social Media Editor


When we say that Ibrahim Kamara, the 27-year old stylist, has managed to disrupt fashion’s status quo this year, we mean it. Kamara’s work explores masculinity, sexuality and race through the medium of fashion. With his DIY approach and mix of cultural references, Kamara creates strikingly beautiful images of modern-day masculinity. In 2017, we were happy to see Kamara going from strength to strength: from his exhibit “2026” at Somerset House (that imagines what men will look like in 10 years) to styling for Sleek’s favourite designer Rushemy Botter, to creating this series of bold looks for Burberry.

-Ira Solomatina


Sol Calero, “Amazonas Shopping Center” (2017). Image: Courtesy of Hamburger Bahnhof

It was hard not to immediately fall in love with Sol Calero’s immersive installation “Amazonas Shopping Center” at Berlin’s Hamburger Bahnhof. Nominated for the Preis Der Nationalgalerie, Calero created a participatory, multi-purpose installation, showcasing a back catalogue of the artist’s work inspired by Latin American culture. Not your typical white cube installation, Calero’s hyper-kitsch, bright and colourful shopping center housed an operational nail salon, a travel agency, a dance studio and a cyber café. Calero plays on the kitsch and stereotypical “tropicalism” of Latin American culture, and reclaims it as a source of identity.

-Sophia Lawler

14. GAL-DEM 

This fierce and forward magazine collective is pioneered by women of colour, and meant for all to read.  Providing a platform for voices traditionally excluded from the conversation, Gal-Dem magazine enlightens the masses one article at a time. The content is thought-provoking, brutally frank, but also funny and moving.

Harriet Shepherd, Junior Editor


Versace SS18. Image: Courtesy of Versace

Dontella’s collection for Versace SS18 paid homage to the iconic work of her late brother Gianni, and the show climaxed with Naomi Campbell, Carla Bruni, Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer and Helena Christensen in glittering gold chain mail dresses. Suffice it to say: this show set Instagram on fire.

-Rachael Rodgers


Image: courtesy of Ombra International

Berlin-based label Ombra International launched this year, and quickly became the hottest new name of the underground scene. For each EP, Ombra invite four artists from around the world to release a track influenced by their love for post-punk and new wave. Every release so far has fuelled our love for dark disco sounds, and revitalised our love for guitar-heavy tunes made for the dance floor. The visuals are seriously cool, too.

-Rachael Rodgers


Vestoj Magazine, Issue 7. Image: Courtesy of Vestoj

I can say with confidence that if Vestoj didn’t exist, I probably wouldn’t be working for Sleek. Like many, I was struck down by that lightning rod interview with Lucinda Chambers, in which she revealed even she didn’t read Vogue anymore. For weeks, a single question got lodged in my head: how can we make fashion writing relevant again? It’s a question I’m still wrestling with, but Vestoj are guiding the way.

Eileen McNulty-Holmes


Anne Imhof, “Faust” (2017). Image: Nadine Frackzowski.

It’s hard to remember a more divisive or hyped work of art in recent years than Anne Imhof’s Venice Biennale performance “Faust”. In many ways, it makes sense: the heat stroke-inducingly long lines, the Balenciaga models, and the metal music added up to the sort of event some like to pretend to dislike, some like to pretend to like, most want to Instagram, and everyone wants to talk about. Yet in many ways, it was an unlikely contender for IG fodder – let’s not forget this was a multi-stranded silent opera about the persecution of bodies under capital. It was also beautifully complex and staggeringly well-realised. It was an astonishing achievement, even if you didn’t get to make it past the dobermans.

 Charlie Jones, Digital Strategist


Destiny Nicole Frasqueri, the 25-year old rapper better known by her stage name Princess Nokia, is more than just a feminist. She is also an advocate for educating her audience, with speeches that could rival Billy Bragg, but 100% more woke. This year saw her release the deluxe edition of her album, “1992”, as well as embarking on an exhaustive world tour. At her shows, she quite literally creates space for women; she insists on “girls to the front”, with girls of colour especially encouraged to step forward. The result of Princess Nokia’s performance manifesto is an incomparable and totally joyful experience, that has to be seen to be believed.

Victoria Gisborne-Land


“The Boat is Leaking. The Captain Lied”, Installation view, Fondazione Prada, Venice, 2017. Image: Courtesy of Fondazione Prada.

Coinciding with Venice Biennale, Fondazione Prada presented a monumental exhibition that unfolded across the three floors of the 18th-century Venetian palace that the Fondazione occupies. The mesmerising  show was a collaboration between photographer Thomas Demand, director Alexander Kluge and set designer Anna Viebrock. Each floor was transformed into a particular scene, with visitors navigating between cosy patios and sombre churches, gallery-like spaces and theatre stages.

-Ira Solomatina


Backed by the majority of the UK’s grime scene and recently papped with Larry Heard, Corbz is UK’s absolutely favourite geezer. What truly won the hearts of the masses is his humble approach to life and his slogan: “For the many, not the few”. When others thought he would crumble he stood firm and held his ground!

-Harriet Shepherd


Phyllida Barlow, Installation view, folly, British Pavilion, Venice, 2017. Image: Courtesy of the British Pavillion

In 2017, work by older female artists finally took centre stage. Geta Bratescu and Phyllida Barlow represented Romania and the UK respectively at this year’s Venice Biennale, while Frieze’s “Sex Work” section highlighted the remarkable work of Natalia LL, Betty Tompkins and personal favourite Dorothy Iannone. This previously marginalised generation of female artists is finally receiving their dues — we can only hope more marginalised voices are finally heard in 2018.

-Eileen McNulty-Holmes


“Desde el Jardin”. Image: Courtesy of Conglomerate.

Berlin-based collective was founded in 2016, but it was in 2017 that the collective made their strongest artistic statement up to date – the hilarious video “Block Three”. Structured as an episode of an imaginary TV show, the 30-minute video features  contributions from Sleek favourite Melanie Bonajo, Joe Clark, Claudia Comte Soda Plains, Ming Wong, Lauryn Youden and Camp Solong. are making art fun again!

Victoria Gisborne-Land


Wu Tsang, Under Cinema, 2017. Installation view: Under Cinema at FACT, UK. Courtesy of the Artist and Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin. Image: Jon Barraclough

Kelela’s “Take Me Apart” has filled the hole in our heart which was yearning for truly innovative RnB in 2017. This album never pretends to be 20 years old; rather, it reinvents what RnB means. The 14-track debut draws influence from heroes like Janet Jackson and Bjork, and blends electronic and jazz elements. Contemporary masters like Arca and Jam City contributed, too. The result is a beautifully curated album that explores all aspects of womanhood: from fragility to the female strength.

Sophia Lawler


Friday {? @jake_photo}

A post shared by @ oobahs on

Vice journalist and everyone’s guilty pleasure Oobah Butler was on fire this year. In 2017 alone, he turned his shed into London’s top rated restaurant, roamed the streets of London dressed as a fidget spinner, and shown us how to hack life better than ever before. But his true 2017 masterpiece was bullshitting his way into Paris Fashion Week under the pretence of being non-existent designer, Giorgio Peviani, THE name of London’s market-stall jeans. Butler proved once and for all that anyone can make it to the top — all you need is unshakeable confidence and an influencer whose fame you can piggyback off.

Harriet Shepherd


Signe Pierce called this video an example of “reality art.” I’m not 100% sure what that means, but it’s a masterpiece either way!

-Charlie Jones


“We, Margiela”(2017), dir. by Menna Laura Meijer. Image: mintfilm

Martin Margiela, the founder of the legendary eponymous brand, never tired of stressing that his label would be nothing if not for the work of his team. However, what was going on inside the avant-garde fashion house was as shrouded in mystery as Margiela himself. The new documentary, narrated by the designer’s long-time collaborators, gives us a glimpse into Margiela’s mysterious laboratory. With many of Margiela’s co-workers interviewed for the first time, expect to be surprised, delighted and genuinely moved.

-Ira Solomatina


Shon Faye is the public intellectual the world didn’t deserve in 2017. In a year where trans rights have been attacked with vicious fervour, Faye’s commentary in her work and on her Twitter has been as funny as it is enlightening. This blend of humour and eloquence was crystallised in “Catechism”, her short film which was shown at the Tate as part of Channel 4’s Random Acts series. Her monologue on the injustices she’s faced navigating the world as a trans woman will break your heart — but it will make you laugh out loud, too.

-Eileen McNulty-Holmes


Harvey Weinstein. Image: Anders Krusberg

On October 5th, in a report by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, The New York Times revealed multiple allegations of sexual harassment against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. This article led to the resignation of the Weinstein Company’s all-male board, and to Weinstein’s firing. But that was only a start to a wider and complex discourse on sexual assault that ensued. A true watershed, the article which broke Weinstein scandal has re-defined the whole media discourse on sexual abuse.

-Charlie Jones


3D story by Ada Sokol & Jeanne-Salomé Rochat. Image: Courtesy of Novembre Magazine

Novembre’s biannual is a language-free manifesto, which encourages us to think better through image. Now 12 issues old, the Swiss-born, now-nomadic collective’s editions continue to stretch the possibilities of magazines, and even the idea of an image itself. Compelling beyond words.

-Charlie Jones



Honor & Sleek Scouted Sexy Broke Berliners to be the Face of Our Home-Grown Memes

Left to right. Sara: Sunglasses by PAWAKA. Jumper by PLYS. Blue trousers by ARKET. Boots, Sara’s own. Sam: Sunglasses PAWAKA. Jumper by PLYS. Trousers & boots, Stylist’s own. EJ: Top, Helly Hansen via Urban Outfitters. Trousers, Carhartt. Shoes his own. Naomi: Jumper, PLYS. Belt: Urban Outfitters. Trousers, stylist’s own. Boots her own.

We live in a world where memes speak more to us now than our politicians. We are juggling Tinder dates with exhausted bank accounts; splurging on club cover charges and VPNs, but ignoring the BVG fines; trying to stay woke on the internet while we miss our second week of uni lectures. Life can be complicated for millenials and digital natives, but with the new Honor 7X smartphone, it can be a little easier. With split-screen capability, the Honor 7X allows us to try and organise our schedules while keeping up with the latest Kalis Uchis videos. The long battery life won’t leave you stranded the morning after an unexpected one night stand, and the dual-lens 16 megapixel camera will keep your Insta story popping for all of your followers.

Inspired by meme culture, we teamed up with Honor in celebration of the release of the new 7X smartphone to create a tongue-in-cheek photoshoot, with our very own memes. We scouted four young creative Berliners through Facebook, and asked them to strike a pose or two with their new Honor 7X smartphones. If you want to find out more or the phone’s hot new features, check out the captions below!

Jumper, PLYS. Jeans, Carhartt.

With 64GB storage you can send all the scandalous messages you want. Find out more here.

Sunglasses, PAWAKA. Turtle-neck, UNIQLO. Top, ARKET. Jeans & shoes his own.

Take super hot selfies with the 8 megapixel front camera and even better, 16 megapixel back camera. Find out more here.

Top, Urban Outfitters. Trousers, Stylist’s own.

With an extra long lasting battery, Honor 7X is guaranteed to get you through the day and night! Find out more here.

Jumper, Urban Outfitters. Trousers, Carhartt.

Check last nights messages while watching your friends instastory with the Honor 7X split screen feature! Find out more here.

Jumper, PLYS. Jeans, Carhartt.

The new Honor 7X runs on the latest Android 7 software, with 4GB of ram to process fast bank transfers and skype calls at any given moment. Find out more here.

Turtle-neck, UNIQLO. Top, ARKET. Jeans, his own.

The Honor 7X has a full view display screen with 2160 x 1080 FHD+ resolution for an immersive visual experience, no matter what you are watching 😉 Find out more here.

Jumper, Urban Outfitters. Trousers, Carhartt.

The Honor 7X’s 18:9 screen gives you a much larger gaming experience than the usual 16:9 screen, a crucial advantage when you’re a real player :* Find out more here.

Top, Urban Outfitters. Trousers, Stylist’s own.

Luckily even when you’re having an uncomfortable call, the size and curved frame of the Honor 7X is always a comfortable fit for your hand. Find out more here.

Turtle-neck, UNIQLO. Top, ARKET. Ring, his own.

With the latest 16megapixel dual lens technology, everything can be seen! Find out more here.

Jumper, Urban Outfitters. Trousers, Carhartt. Boots, her own.

With PDAF technology, the Honor 7X offers superfast focus time, so you can quickly capture any uncomfortable Instapose and make it look natural. Find out more here.

9 Art and Fashion Trends We Should Leave in 2017

2017, our old friend. In many ways, it was a shit show; whilst there were brief glimmers of hope and joy, we can’t say we’re sorry to be moving on. There are lessons we’ve learnt and things we’ll take with us, but there’s plenty which should really, truly be left to burn in the hellscape of 2017. Here at SLEEK HQ, we’ve gathered some of the most regrettable trends of this shambolic year, locked them in a metaphorical box, and thrown away the key. So in no particular order, these are the culture, art and fashion trends which should be left in 2017:

1. Sock Boots

To sock boot, or not to sock boot?  That is the question — and it’s a matter so contentious, it’s divided the whole office. There seems to be a whole other level of hatred geared towards this footwear fusion that’s won the hearts of Balenciaga and Vetements. In the words of the Digital Editor: “They combine none of the durability of a shoe with none of the comfort of a sock”.

By the power of democracy, it’s a no from Sleek and they’re on the list. Bye bye sock boots, you weird little hybrids.

2. Entry-Level Feminist Art

There’s more to women than nipples and periods — not that you’d know it from most of the trending #feministart. We’re so over illustrations of hairy legs and armpits, and if we have to see one more citrus fruit representing genitalia, we just might scream. It’s tired and unoriginal, not to mention cisnormative. Feminist art can be so much more intelligent than this. As the incredible critics at The White Pube put it:


3. Multi-Hyphenates

Multi-hyphenate Cara Delevingne’s lastest venture. Image: Cassidy George.

Why is it that everyone has to do everything? The “actress/model/DJ” thing has become a prerequisite of celebrity, and we’re sick and tired of it. Cara Delevingne’s a novelist, Shia LaBeouf’s a conceptual artist, don’t even get us started on Brooklyn Beckham’s photography. And now the trend is seeping into the ~real world~. We’ve got “blogger/influencer/full-time dreamer”s all over the shop. In 2018, let’s stop turning everything we love into a revenue stream. Hobbies can just be hobbies, guys.

4. Matte Nail Varnish

I want! ?? #nails #artnails #manicure #makeupbyclipa #mattenails

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Like nails on a chalkboard, the matte-mani trend is horrible and unnecessary. Just looking at these is enough to send shivers down your spine. We can only imagine the sensation of accidentally scraping two of these nails together. We’ve never backed it, we’re still not backing it, we need to leave it, please and thank you.

5. Being Surprised When Terrible People Are Terrible

Lena Dunham in “American Horror Story”. Image: FX.

The widespread sexual harassment allegations of the past couple of months have exposed some beloved cultural figures as harassers, predators and abusers. They’ve also allowed celebrities who we always fucking knew were problematic to get another 5 seconds in the limelight. Lena Dunham defended the alleged rapist in her employ, after years of posting problematic shit (former employee Zinzi Clemons pointed out her racism in particular was “well-known”). Our collective jaws also dropped when Morrissey suggested the sexual harassment allegations against Kevin Spacey “weren’t very credible”, as if he hadn’t been spouting toxic nonsense for years.

Noticing a pattern here? Unrepentant, problematic celebrities continue to be unrepentant and problematic. Let’s conserve our energy in 2018, and only call in people who might actually give a damn.

6. Shaving Your Head and Bleaching It

Burberry’s Winter 2018 Campaign. Image: Alistair McLellan.

This was cute for a whole minute, but if Katy “The Void Where Cultural Relevance Goes To Die” Perry has done it, it has to die.

7. Rich Kids Dressing Poor

Image: Lukas Korschan for SLEEK 55

Rich kids dressing poor definitely wasn’t a trend born in 2017, but it seemed to be the year it went stratospheric. The rise of streetwear and designers like Gosha Rubchinskiy has meant that it’s more common than ever to see incredibly affluent influencers drop stacks of cash to look like their council house counterparts.

The ultimate example of this was surely Rubchinskiy bringing back Burberry’s Nova Check, a print which has become an unofficial emblem of Britain’s working class. As filmmaker and photographer Glenn Kitson put it: “(the collection) is clever, and ticks all the right boxes. But the problem I have is the same as all of Gosha’s stuff. It’s ‘post-Soviet’ re-appropriation for art school kids and fashion in-crowds. Class colonialism.”

An idea: save your pennies in 2018, and put the money you would’ve spent on these clothes towards helping the communities whose style you’re ripping off.

8. The Word “Iconic”

Natalie Portman in “Closer”. Image: Columbia Pictures

We wrote a whole damn post on it, and yet the linguistic butchery continues. To give you an idea of just how little meaning the word “iconic” still holds: In the past 24 hours, it’s been used to describe a Christmas bell in Williamsport, Pennsylvania; Max’s murderous rampage on “Eastenders”; and an Italian bank. CEASE AND DESIST.

9. Excruciatingly Dull Instagram Posts From Art Shows Everyone Else Has Already Been To

Barbara Kruger's "FOREVER", her new installation at #SpruethMagersBerlin continues through December 22.? ? For this installation, which occupies all four walls and the floor of the Berlin gallery’s main exhibition space, the artist has created one of her immersive room-wraps and several new vinyl works. Their boldly designed textual statements on the nature of truth, power, belief, and doubt embody the distinctive visual language that Kruger has developed over the course of her forty-year career. This exhibition at Sprüth Magers, Berlin, marks exactly three decades since her first solo show at Monika Sprüth Gallery in Cologne.? ? #BarbaraKruger #FOREVER #SpruethMagers? ? Photography by @timo_ohler_fotografie

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Instagram isn’t going anywhere in 2018, and it can be invaluable to artists and art communities. However: can we mere mortals commit to be more imaginative about how we represent art on Instagram in 2018? I know there are some artworks which are just begging to be Instagrammed, but if a dozen of your friends have already snapped it, please, for the love of god: give it a miss. If I see one more blurry selfie taken inside Yayoi Kusama’s “Infinity Mirrors” on my feed, I’ll fucking lose it.

Around the Clock: 24 Hours In the Life of Berlin’s Modern Men, Powered By Diesel’s Smartwatch

Left, watch by Diesel, jacket by Cottweiler. Right, jacket by Liam Hodges, pants by Diesel, shoes by Adidas, vest by Junya Wantanbe x North Face, jacket by Martine Rose, pants by Givenchy, shoes by Adidas.

Life in Berlin can be pretty unstructured. Fuelled by the modest prices in Sonnenallee’s spätkaufs and the average Neukölln rent, Berlin is unlike many business-driven capitals where work is the only thing on people’s minds. There’s one group in particular who reject the daily 9-5 grind: Berlin’s creative community, who are the driving force behind the city’s culture.

Berlin is a city that never sleeps, and its creative workforce are out in full force at dawn and all through the night. In a world where freelancing and juggling multiple creative projects is the norm, the concept of a “routine” seems obsolete. So what does 24 hours have in store for the city’s modern man? We took to the streets of Berlin to find out.

Left, shoes by Adidas, tracksuit by Cottweiler. Right, sweater by Diesel, watch by Diesel.

For Berlin’s young creatives, every work day is different. “You have to be spontaneous,” explains Evander, who manages his time balancing football and modelling. “So nothing’s more important than good time-keeping.” Armed with a Diesel smartwatch that’s linked to his smartphone, Evander is always connected. Its intuitive interface means that answering phone calls, opening texts and managing playlists can be done with a simple touch. Evander’s working week is all-go, navigating between the football pitch and life in the city. “I have training four days a week,” he tells us, “I have to work around that.” A born-and-bred Berliner, Evander is used to the pace of city life and wouldn’t want it any other way. But in his opinion, down-time should be down-time. “On the rare occasions I have a day off, I just like to relax.”

Pants by Cottweiler, shoes by Adidas.

For Casaoui, this story is familiar. An up-and-coming name in the music scene, the young producer spends most of his days channelling creativity into new music. Casaoui has dedicated his life to music and now, after being nominated for Best Upcoming Artist at this year’s Hip Hop DE awards, his years of hard work are starting to pay off. But it has also made life more demanding, and shattered the concept of any kind of routine. He’s shooting music videos in Morocco, making beats in Mainz and modelling in Berlin. Even when on the move, his Diesel On Full Guard smartwatch ensures he can listen back to his music, thanks to its bluetooth function which allows connectivity to portable speakers or wireless headphones. Casaoui’s not normally an early-riser, but tells us he often works late into the night — inspiration can hit at any time. Like Evander, Casaoui is always prepared, and it’s integral to be connected at all times. Meetings and shoots often crop up at the last minute, and he’s got to be ready to go from the studio to the streets at a moment’s notice.

Left, jacket by Tiger of Sweden, watch by Diesel. Right, jacket by Liam Hodges, jacket by Martine Rose.

Freelance production manager, Mortiz, is also a man on the move. Living and working in Berlin, he’s constantly traversing the city for shoot locations, models and fresh young talent. Much of his work is dependent on other people: no-shows and cancellations are unfortunately all in a day’s work, so anything that can be prepared in advance has to be well-organised. “I have to plan for everything,” he tells us. “I’m always prepared for the worst case scenario.” Luckily, innovative dial filters on his On Full Guard smartwatch are made to assist planning —  impending weather conditions are signalled using symbols such as lightning flashes, rain drops and snowflakes. No bout of Berlin snow is about to stop one of Moritz’s shoots!

The always-on lifestyles of Berlin’s creatives require new technology; items which are as agile and energetic as the wearers. With the objectives of connectivity and organisation at the core of its design, Diesel’s digital timepiece serves as the ultimate companion for a man on the go, and also encourages activity  — when dust appears to gather on the watch’s screen, it’s time to move. Bold and daring, just like Berlin’s modern men, Diesel On Full Guard smartwatches are the perfect companion for the man on a 24-hour schedule.

Jacket by Martine Rose.

#BMWSPEED: Architecture Studio June 14 On Bringing Speed To The Ultimate Slow Practice

This year, BMW released the BMW Concept 8 Series, which combines peerless design with breathtaking speeds for an unparalleled driving experience. This unabashedly modern and athletic model is slated for a 2018 release. To celebrate, SLEEK will be profiling a series of innovative designers and artists who work with the idea of speed. In this instalment, we’re interviewing Berlin architecture duo June 14.


June 14 are a young Berlin-based architecture practice. Their works are sumptuously modern, faultlessly intellectual and super sexy at the same time, and they have a fascinating relationship to speed. Despite working in one of the creative disciplines that lasts the longest, they’ve worked on everything from desk-lamps based on cranes to galleries that vanish after the exhibition closes, and bridges that move with the water level. Based in a studio just around the corner from Sleek, they are architects building for the changing world. Because if you’re building today, can you even know what tomorrow looks like?

Vehicle design involves making objects that move on their own. So who better to discuss the subject with than an architecture studio? Moreover, June14 felt like incredible people to discuss in the context of the BMW Concept 8 Series, a radical car that’s built around the idea that acceleration is the ultimate luxury. The BMW car is designed to seam aggressively, seamless fast – it looks like it’s speeding even while stationary. Yet this propulsion is also built around the luxury of silent control – serenity through speed. Though just as intellectual and aesthetically appealing June14’s designs are the inverse – stationary objects that invoke change and motion.

We spoke to them in their atelier in Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse 11. Though built during the last years of the GDR, the space is very “now”, incorporating as it does shopping on the ground floor, a level of small work-spaces, and apartments above. Overlooking the TV Tower, it’s almost as though the Communists designed the present, which is a good vantage point to discuss how architects can design for a world changing ever faster.

Is Berlin a fast city to work in?

Sam Chermayeff: In a really practical way, people are casual here about time.

Johanna Meyer-Grohbrügge: And generous, which is also nice sometimes. Generous about time. If you do something, people come, people always have time. To view or to come, or to listen, or to do whatever, so that’s actually I consider a nice thing, especially compared to New York, where everything is meeting for exactly one hour or 45 minutes.

Sam Chermayeff: I think people are also flexible with their time. Like we can ask people to stay up all night here in a way that you can’t in NY. You can be like, I really need this thing by Friday and you can find someone to do it.

Johanna Meyer-Grohbrügge: It’s not really “slow,” it’s just more flexible and more generous again. It’s not so set.

You work at several different sizes and timescales, from a desk lamp to an interior restoration to a full apartment block. Do you prefer working on short or long-lead projects?

Sam Chermayeff: Let’s put it like this: the most fun thing to do is to finish something. So, the smaller, the better. Because you get to see it. I’s really satisfying to have a really beautiful table that people are using. It’s much more satisfying than even working something out, like a much larger building when it’s still a couple years from completion.

Johanna Meyer-Grohbrügge: I think it’s not so different, especially the process of designing it. You can spend as much time as thinking about a lamp as a corporate headquarters. When it comes to being realised, then, of course, it’s very different. It’s more complex, you have to deal with more people, and a bigger team. But the starting point of thinking about it is the same.

Can you talk me through your composition process?

Johanna Meyer-Grohbrügge: One process that we learned from our former bosses at Sanaa, in Tokyo, was to be willing to work with other options. One important thing is to not be content too quickly. It is absolutely a luxury to do that, because in architecture you’re paid by the project, not by the hour. So at the beginning, when you just start your practice, you just take the luxury because you don’t have anything else to do, and as it develops, you get a little bit faster at understanding what works and what doesn’t. But not being content is a super-power.

Architecture has a weird relationship to speed, and time, because unlike almost any other creative field, you have to think about how the product will work today, and also how it will work in the far future. You’ve becoming known for temporary or adaptable buildings, like the pavilion or the inflatable bridge.

Johanna Meyer-Grohbrügge: The bridge isn’t inflatable, but it is very changeable because it’s floating: if the water is high, it can go float, if not, it doesn’t. It’s basically not a fixed thing, and maybe that’s a good symbol for what we’re trying to do. Things are changing, but if the buildings are there for 400 years, we also need to build them for a long time. But I don’t think the solution is to make inflatable buildings that you can pack them away every time – I think the solution is to make buildings that can adapt to different uses, so mainly spaces that can be used in different ways. I think is important for us to never design in a way that there’s only one way to use it.

Sam Chermayeff: There’s a balance to that, and those things change the space, but they’re almost hyper particular or specific. So that you can find some balance between endless flexibility and real specificity. Specificity is also the root of story-telling and when it comes to the really the good part of life, it’s always the particulars.

Johanna Meyer-Grohbrügge: There are two different ways of flexibility: one based on total neutrality, one based on total specificity. We’re interested in the second.

We live in a rapidly changing world, from geopolitics to technology. How do you as architects navigate this increasingly uncertain future?

Johanna Meyer-Grohbrügge: For me, the answer is to create building that can adapt. In a it’s always better to make a really good building that can adapt to the use of the change of time. All really good buildings can do that, whether you’re working today, or 100 years ago, or 100 years from now.

Sam Chermayeff: We’re interested in making relatively inexpensive buildings so we’re not super precious about it at the same time. I don’t mind if it’s nicked up a little, I don’t mind that. Like corners smashed in a little. I don’t mind that it’s not this thing that lasts forever that’s super secure. I think Germany has this thing of making everything as if it’s really going to last forever, but I have a different feeling about it. It’s nice to be an architect and not take yourself too seriously all the time, because you have to take yourself really seriously sometimes to get people to spend a lot of money. You have to state, “I’m sure about this,” when really how can you be sure about anything, right?

For more information on the BMW Concept 8 Series, watch 

#BMWSPEED: The Notoriously Prolific Artist Simon Denny On Accelerating Art

This year, BMW released the BMW Concept 8 Series, which combines peerless design with breathtaking speed for an unparalleled driving experience. This unabashedly modern and athletic model is slated for a 2018 release. To celebrate, SLEEK will be profiling a series of innovative designers and artists who work with the idea of speed. In this instalment, we’re interviewing artist Simon Denny.


Simon Denny is an artist based in Berlin that takes the fever dreams of technology companies and turns them into fully rendered sculptures. His raw materials are the pronouncements, personal effects and PowerPoints of some of the most powerful people in human history – be they PayPal billionaire Peter Thiel or the creative director of the NSA. From these, he makes objects that are beautifully Dadaist in their absurdity, and as fact-checked as the finest journalism.

His subject, then, is speed itself – or at least the ideas that underpin the technology that’s making the world spin so quickly. And his work, too, is fast in itself – he makes art with the rapidity of of a guy trying to keep one step ahead of the present.

That’s why we wanted to speak to him as part of this project, supported by BMW. The BMW Concept 8 Series is a reboot of the literally, actually iconic 8 Series, which from the early 1980s to the late 1990s was the ultimate in luxury acceleration. The new vehicle, out next year, takes the earlier designs, and pushes them further – it’s a car that both symbolizes speed itself, allows those inside to experience dizzying acceleration and insulates the driver from a world that can feel more hostile by the minute.

It seemed only right, then, to quiz Denny about how he copes with the pace of change that his work documents. We spoke to him at his studio in the north-western district of Wedding, where he was preparing to ship a collection of board games based on the strange dreams of Silicon Valley for an exhibition in his native New Zealand.

You’re famously productive as an artist. How do you make work so quickly?

Well, I have incredible help and people who have got a lot of patience. That’s how, basically! But I do do stuff very quick: I like to be busy, I like to have lots of things on the go. I feel like I need to work at a certain pace to even get the momentum of a thing going.

How do you mean?

If I’m slowed down, I don’t know what to do with myself. I think by doing, I think! Also, I try to respond to contemporary issues a lot, and that has a timeline to it: so if you want to talk to a certain political mood with a show, you better get that out at the time when it’s still that political mood, or anticipation of it, otherwise it might not speak in quite the same way. Berlin as a city helps me do that because I have been here for a very long time and it’s very easy to get in touch with various people at various producers that are used to working with me. Having the most amazing assistant in the world also helps!

Speed is a founding ideology of Silicon Valley, and your current work is a very head-on critique of the technological-industrial complex’s thought processes. What’s your thoughts on the politics of speed?

There’s a real problem about the speed at which technology gets made, and the moment in which we, as a society, are able to interact with it. I think one of the key questions if you’re talking about speed and politics, is those who have the power to produce the technology, versus society who has to live with the consequences of what that does.

Of course we want things to move forward, we want new things, there are all these benefits that you could say technology has brought. A favourite story that gets told in Silicon Valley is that Alexander Bell thought the top market for his phonograph that was going to be sermons, and had no idea about the music industry that would use his invention. Not even the people building the technology know what it’s going to do. But AI and everything else that’s coming, these are things we have to think about.

A lot of your current work is prototypes of board games. What does the words ‘proof of concept’ mean to you?

Though I do produce these prototypes myself, they show an illustration, not really a proof of concept. But by proof of concept is something that I first heard about through Bitcoin: proof that you could build a growing, incentivised network structure by giving people a return on currency for running the network on their computers. So the fact that it ran and expanded was proof that you could have crypto-currency. Again, these games are prototypes, maybe a proof of concept, but because it needs to be for a display. I also wanted the libertarian games to be kind of like you’re kept out of it: you can view it, but you’re kept out of it.

A lot of your work before the big political events of last year tended towards a journalistic documentation, with you displaying the communications of the NSA and Apple without overtly critiquing them. But it feels like these are much more editorialised. You can tell what your position is.

Yeah I think different voices were called for after last year. I think that was a turn I took in myself. I was like, OK I think we need to say things stronger than I thought we did in the past. So that has been a turn. I was presenting things as they were, a little ambivalent, and I wanted people to take their own versions of it, and present the rhetoric on a stage to question, but left the questioning up the viewer. Now I guess, as you say, I’m editorialising it a bit more, kind of giving it a bit more voice, and adding more of a take on it because I think that’s somehow necessary in the context because there are so many things that are going wrong. And a lot of those things are coming from some of the parts of the communities that I was looking at; the tech community is not as liberal and helpful as we hoped it might’ve been and it’s also the products that they’re making are not necessarily giving us what we really wanted, I guess. The internet is much more questionable politically than we thought it was, and whether that’s by design or just by growth.. but the monopoly is coming to the big four companies there and I think to look at where some of the more extreme forces in the community, like Peter Thiel, are coming from, what their kind of background is, and what different narratives can be outside of them. So that’s also why I wanted to look at this other direction within my local context of New Zealand.

How does the pace of technological change influence your work?

Though it’s focussed on present day, my work is not physically anything that couldn’t have been made 10 years ago, 100 years ago. But I think the way that we think and what we think about is what comes into the work, and I think that is super affected by changes in technology. I mean the time that I’ve lived in Germany, which is about 10 years now – that’s the moment when the iPhone came out until now. Which has brought about a lot of changes in the way we do things! Text messages, you know? The emergence of chat! My attention span is totally shot – everybody’s is. But you can’t do anything without checking your feed or you constantly have this thing in your pocket, and all of that changes the way that we make and think and do, psychologically.

Do you think one should make work at this speed?

Not at all, it works for some people and it doesn’t work for others. I think it might even be a handicap of mine. I just feel like I need to get things done at a certain pace otherwise maybe there’s too many reasons to stop a thing. Doing what I do is pretty crazy. I think if there was more time to consider it, I might lose my nerve!

Move fast and break things, right?

Yeah that’s the Facebook phrase, right? And I understand that but I don’t what know exactly which things I’m breaking, I’m mostly just breaking myself. Ideas rise out of disruptive artistic practice but it doesn’t have a huge impact on the world. I mean, the world is changing so quickly, I don’t know how long the contemporary art world is going to be around for. Maybe we’re in the last year of it, maybe this will be the last body of work I’ll ever get to make at this scale: I don’t know. It’s all so unpredictable and totally insane. We might just look at all these things we have in museums in a minute and be like, “oh…well actually we really don’t think that’s all that valuable anymore.” That’s a total possibility. Maybe the franticness of the pace is also about trying to get things out before they become obsolescent.

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High Minded: A Withstanding Relationship Between Drugs and Art

Jeremy Shaw, “Quickeners”, 2014. Video, 36min. Image: Film stills, Courtesy of the artist and KÖNIG GALERIE.

We’re all under the influence of something. Caffeine, cigarettes and alcohol are the most common vices—people cling their cappuccinos in the morning, the cigarette smoke of others caresses the air, while some wait patiently for that first drink of the day. And of course there are harder substances, downers and everything in between. If you live in a major city, chances are you’ve seen it all, even if you don’t partake. Humans have been getting high since time immemorial: fossilised evidence of hallucinogenic cactuses from Peru date back to 8600 BC, while it is believed that the Sumerians, in today’s southern Iraq, were using opium as early as 5000 BC. In terms of alcohol, it would seem that people have been drinking it since at least 7000 BC. During a 2004 archaeological dig in China’s Henan Province, fragments of pottery dating from this period were found covered in booze residue. You name it, by now humanity has probably ingested it, and artists have been among some of the most notorious participants.

Mat Collishaw, “THIS IS NOT AN EXIT”, 2015. Image: Peter Mallet, Courtesy of the artist and Blain Southern.

Take for instance the avant-garde in early- twentieth-century Paris, especially the Surrealists and their passion for psychedelics (Salvador Dali famously once remarked, “I don’t use drugs. I am drugs”). Elsewhere, the Abstract Expressionists struggled with alcoholism (Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko), Andy Warhol abused amphetamine-based diet pills, and Jean-Michel Basquiat died of a heroin overdose. And let’s not forget the writers: Allen Ginsberg loved LSD and weed; Hunter S. Thompson took anything he could get his hands on; Philip K. Dick used speed; Robert Louis Stevenson indulged in cocaine binges (once writing 60,000 words in six days); Jean-Paul Sartre reported having a nervous breakdown after taking mescaline, when he began to see little crabs following him everywhere; and William S. Burroughs was addicted to opiates, infamously shooting his wife in a William Tell game gone wrong.

What makes artists’ relationship with drugs unique is that they often communicate those experiences through art, some even integrating drug taking into their practice. One example is Marina Abramovic. In “Rhythm 2” (1974), she took medication for catatonia, which resulted in her complete loss of body control, followed an hour later by a dose of drugs commonly used to treat schizophrenia: “I could not accept that a performance would have to stop because you lost consciousness,” she told curator Klaus Biesenbach in 2016, “I wanted to extend the possibility […] in which the performance continues even if the performer is unconscious. I didn’t accept the body’s limits.”

“Desert Now”. Installation view Steve Turner, 2016. Image courtesy of the artists and Steve Turner.

Other artists have taken a different approach. In “Cocaine Buffet” (1994), Rob Pruitt presented a sixteen-foot line of cocaine on an equally long mirror, inviting viewers to snort the art while symbolically gazing into their own reflection, Narcissus-style. And in Taiwan, Su Hui-Yu’s performance “Stilnox Strolling” (2010) at Taipei’s Museum of Contemporary Art, drew criticism for giving the audience sleeping pills (later revealed as placebos) and asking them to describe the side effects.

Despite art’s longstanding infatuation with narcotics, many artists today continue to engage with drugs as a subject. So why are we not coming down? 74 years after Swiss Chemist Albert Hoffman became the first person to trip on acid, the clinical interest in hallucinogens has resurged. Studies by the University of Sussex and Imperial College London published earlier this year suggest that consuming LSD results in a heightened state of consciousnessand increased connectivity across the brain, and therefore may be useful in treating depression. In Silicon Valley, some tech and startup entrepreneurs have become advocates of ‘micro-dosing’, the practice of regularly taking small quantities of LSD, claiming it improves productivity, creativity and focus. And in Peru, the trend of Westerners seeking out ayahuasca ceremonies has given rise to an industry in itself.

“Desert Now”. Installation view Steve Turner, 2016. Image courtesy of the artists and Steve Turner.

At this year’s Venice Biennale, the Arsenale exhibition, titled “Viva Arte Viva” and curated by Christine Marcel, had an entire section devoted to shamanism, including Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto’s “Um Sagrado Lugar (A Sacred Place)”. The installation featured a crocheted tent-like structure resembling those used by the Huni Kuin, an indigenous Brazilian community who socialise such dwellings and use them to perform spiritual ceremonies involving ayahuasca. Viewers could enter Neto’s version and rest inside upon fabric cushions. Macel included this work in response to today’s politically, socially and environmentally fraught world, stating that “the need for care and spirituality is greater than ever”. And she’s right. With millennials being the first generation to earn less than their parents, the far right resurgent in the US and Europe, Trump’s continued provocation of North Korea and eleven million Syrians displaced by civil war, we’re in a state of global crisis.

So how do we escape? Today’s contemporary artists are exploring transcendence as a means of finding new realities. Notably, Berlin-based Canadian artist Jeremy Shaw has been making a series of videos examining this concept. Among these is “Quickeners” (2014), which depicts a fictional community 500 years in the future that veers from the immortal Quantum Human species that has developed. Here, Shaw reworks black-and-white archival footage from a gathering of Pentecostal Christian snake handlers in order to consider the “coexistence of parallel realities based on different systems of belief,” as one character says. As Shaw told Mary Scherpe in a 2010 interview, altered states are one of his main influences. “[A] large part of my work is inspired by […] music, drugs, dance, religion or the tank functioning as a medium and the transitional moment between one state of consciousness and another.” This is evident in “Quickeners”, in which a parallel is made between drug taking and spiritual ritual, emphasising the human propensity to believe in realms beyond rational reality – after all, reality can be a tough pill to swallow (pun intended).

“Desert Now”. Installation view Steve Turner, 2016. Image courtesy of the artists and Steve Turner.

The fetishisation of drug taking has also been promoted by the likes of German artists Julius von Bismarck, Julian Charrière and Felix Kiessling. Their 2016 exhibition “Desert Now” at LA’s Stever Turner enshrined an LSD tab and an Adderall pill under a plastic pyramid after their twelve-day ‘journey’ through the American Southwest. Arguably, drug taking is the new religion, encouraging us to reach for apocalyptic redemption. Then again, perhaps this is merely another symptom of late capitalism’s cult of the individual, perpetually searching for happiness, self-gratifying and self-absorbed but never satiated. After all, we are spiked with the insidious intoxication of ideology regardless of whether or not we agree to it.

Mat Collishaw’s tromp l’oeil oil paintings of cocaine wraps follow suit. His hyper-realistic depictions of folded magazines marked with white powder residues draw our attention to the binge culture and solipsism of the 21st century. Collishaw describes these works as “illusions that cunningly conceal their emptiness. Like the drugs they depict, they are delusions which disguise the abyss.” It is doubtful whether post-cocaine emptiness can be permanently filled by the LSD euphoria purported by some young artists, but when the chips (and economy) are down, what have we got to lose? One retort, of course, is our sanity – but if the times we live in are as irrational as they seem, then perhaps the risks are minimal.

Mat Collishaw, “THIS IS NOT AN EXIT”, 2015. Image: Peter Mallet, Courtesy of the artist and Blain Southern.