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Studio visits and commissions from visionary talents, with insider coverage of the art calendar’s premier events

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April 25, 2014

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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Spotlight

Cutie and the Boxer

The Japanese Neo-Dadaist Makes a Slow-Mo Splash

A paean to eternal themes of love, sacrifice and the enduring pull of the creative process, Zachary Heinzerling makes his filmmaking debut with Cutie and the Boxer, a meditative observation of painter and boxer Ushio Shinohara. This exclusive sequence, shot on a Phantom camera, shows Ushiro pummeling the glass ‘canvas’ with affecting vigor. The former enfant terrible moved to New York from his native Japan in 1969 in search of international recognition that has never quite materialized. In the Sundance-fêted documentary, Heinzerling captures the Octogenarian and his long-suffering wife and de facto assistant Noriko preparing for their first joint exhibition: Ushio will present a selection of his ‘box paintings’––Jackson Pollock-inspired abstractions created by hurling paint-covered boxing gloves across a massive canvas, and Noriko, a showcase a series of witty illustrations entitled “Cutie and the Bullie,” which satirize their turbulent 40-year-old marriage. “Ultimately, my goal was to absorb the audience in the raw spirit and beauty that emanates from the couple,” explains Heinzerling. “To open a door onto the creative and very private world where the rhythms of the Shinoharas’s lives play out.” The result is an intimate tapestry of a challenging partnership, cemented by a bond that transcends their various artistic and financial impediments.

Cutie and the Boxer hit cinemas in the US this weekend, and will premiere in Europe November 1.

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Spotlight

Universal Everything: Presence

The International Art Collective Enlists Benjamin Millepied for a Digitally Abstracted Performance

“I found that myself and Benjamin Millepied had a shared motivation for breaking conventions, being inventive with technologies and finding new ways to represent the human form,” says Universal Everything-founder Matt Pyke, introducing today’s audio-visual performance he created with the renowned French choreographer and founding director of the vanguard LA Dance Project. Entitled Presence, Pyke’s digital art studio’s latest collaboration explores the intersection of human movement and computer coding, creating a CGI graphic flourish. It’s a pulsating film with bursts of color—“alive with primal expressions of gestural drawing and choreography,” says Pyke. Universal Everything’s grand installations have appeared in London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and La Gaite Lyrique in Paris. The work is often partnered with sound composed by Matt’s brother Simon Pyke, as in today’s film, which forms part of the immersive, architectural installation Universal Everything & You, the inaugural exhibition of the London Science Museum’s new Media Space. “We had the dancers think about the multiple sculptures their bodies create as they move, and how these represent the music, the same rhythmic pulse,” explains Pyke of the way Nathan Makolandra and Julia Eichten reacted to the tribal-influenced electronic score as they were motion-captured for the piece. “There is a delicate balance in finding movements which feel alive, not synthetic. This point of tension is where the magic happens.”

Universal Everything & You runs at the Science Museum's Media Space, London from September 21 through February 7.

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