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Jo Ratcliffe: M. Zoe Trope

Digital Duplicates March to the Beat in the Pop Creative's Animated Artwork

A vampish troupe of doppelgängers marches in militant cycles in an animated reconstruction of London artist Jo Ratcliffe’s 3D installation, M. Zoe Trope. Reimagined by Klaas-Harm de Boer of Amsterdam-based animators Watermelon, the video artwork’s ethereal soundtrack comes courtesy of Icelandic trio Samaris’ track “Tíbrá.” “There was a photo in Vogue Italia which I constantly referred to,” says Ratcliffe of the inspiration behind her characters’ hyper-stylized look. “Also Tilda Swinton in the Wes Anderson film Grand Budapest Hotel, and the aliens from Mars Attacks.” The film is a playful take on the zoetrope, the optical device that was popular in Victorian England, and is based on a physical work premiered at contemporary graphic art fair Pick Me Up that starts today at at London’s Somerset House. “It was an unusual process for everyone—you can't call up a zoetrope maker. Well, we tried, but they were busy,” says the multi-talented London-based artist, whose kaleidoscopic animations include creative reinterpretations of Kate Moss and Lily Cole, and who recently lent her expertly scrawled handwriting to Lady Gaga’s video for “Applause.”

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  • ON REPLAY
    ON REPLAY

    Spying On Kate Moss

    Fashion Photographers Inez and Vinoodh Stake Out the Balmain Supermodel

    When Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin signed on to shoot the fall/winter 2010/11 Balmain campaign starring Kate Moss, they did so as double agents. Without anyone knowing, the renowned fashion photographers set up four surveillance-style cameras to capture Moss’s unbridled performance on set. The short film, titled Everglade, takes its name from the haunting Antony and the Johnsons song that serves as its soundtrack, and premieres on NOWNESS today. It marks the latest instance of the Dutch duo's intentionally blurring the boundaries of reality. “Surrealism is always there in our work, whether it’s in camera or through computer manipulation,” says Van Lamsweerde. “We’ve had the idea for this video for some time. We are fascinated with the different realities going on in one shoot and so the music, the animation, Kate's movements and the camera angle represent these layers of perception.” With animated illustrations by artist Jo Ratcliffe (in collaboration with Bouwine Pool for Sherbet), the film not only captures Moss in action, but also aims to represent a fantasy inner world. “We talked to [Ratcliffe] about it being half horror and half Disney,” Van Lamsweerde says, and what evolved is an idiosyncratic take on the behind-the-scenes genre. “It ranges from a sinewy heavy metal feel to a much cuter place,” she sums up. To read our exclusive Q&A with Ratcliffe, click here.


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  • MOST SHARED IN ART
    MOST SHARED IN ART

    Shanzhai Biennial: Dark Optimism

    The Genre-Splicing Artist Trio Subverts Notions of Authenticity and Design at MoMA PS1’s Summer Festival

    Chinese model Wu Ting Ting lip syncs to an opaque cover of Sinead O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” while wearing a sequined gown emblazoned with a deliberately misspelled shampoo logo in this new video from Shanzhai Biennial. The New York-based artist trio, comprised of Cyril Duval, Babak Radboy and stylist Avena Gallagher, has described itself as a “multinational brand posing as an art-project posing as an multinational brand posing as a biennial.” Taking inspiration from China’s infamous and rich culture of “Shanzhai” imitation goods—faking products from supermarket stock to high-end luxury items—the project seeks to liberate branding from the obligation to make a sale. “Selling things is always a drag on the aura of a brand,” says Radboy, who also works as Creative Director of Bidoun magazine. For ProBio, a group show curated by Josh Kline as a part of this summer’s large-scale Expo 1: New York at MoMa PS1 that is dedicated to the theme of “dark optimism”, he and Duval, who has exhibited internationally under the moniker Item Idem, reached out to Helen Feng of the Beijing musical act Nova Heart (the “Debbie Harry” of China, as she’s been called) for the Chinese rendition of O’Connor’s 90s classic, which they adapted from an amateur online production. “The relevance of the song is right there in the title,” says Radboy. “We were searching desperately for a version in Mandarin and finally found a recording on an obscure and outdated Chinese social networking site by a pretty busted looking queen in his 40s—so there are four levels of separation there.” The result couldn’t be truer to the illogical form embodied in Shanzhai products. “It’s a very Shanzhai production!,” says Duval.

    ProBio, part of EXPO 1: New York, is on view at MoMA PS1 through September 2, 2013.

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