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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

Yayoi Kusama: Self Obliteration

Japan’s Polka-Dot Pioneer on a Life at the Mercy of Her Art

“She says that if she doesn’t paint she wouldn’t exist,” says Martín Rietti of his latest subject, 84-year-old Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. “Her work has an authenticity that I don’t often see in contemporary art.” The Argentinian director visited Kusama at her studio in Tokyo ahead of her latest show that opens at the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires, curated by Deputy Chief Curator of MALBA, Philip Larratt-Smith, and Francis Morris, who curated her retrospective at the Tate in 2012. This first major retrospective in Latin America opens tomorrow before traveling to four other cities in South and Central America over the next year and a half. It leads the viewer through over 100 works created between 1950 and the present day, spanning her early period in Japan, 15-year stint in New York where she befriended fellow artists Georgia O’Keeffe, Donald Judd and Joseph Cornell, and her return to Tokyo, where she has been living voluntarily in a psychiatric clinic since 1977. “Her work is not only a revelation of her inner psychic reality but also a sort of time capsule of the emancipatory and utopian moment of the late 1960s,” says Larratt-Smith. “She is a very seductive person, secretive and charming. When she speaks the obsessive cast of her mind becomes immediately clear: she talks in circles, often repeating the same thing many times. It is clear that she has deep psychic wounds, but also that her work sustains her and keeps her going.”

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Spotlight

On Collaboration: Tracey Emin x Harland Miller

The Artists Talk the Politics of Pairing Up in the Latest in Our Series With EDITION Hotels

Tracey Emin and Harland Miller, two names synonymous with London’s contemporary art scene, come together in “Dedication,” the latest episode of our series in conjunction with EDITION Hotels, shot by their old friend, the long-time documentarian Johnnie Shand Kydd. “Rather than a collaboration, I see it more as helping each other out,” says Emin. “When I was a younger artist, we all used to do that.” Emin rose to international fame in the late 1990s as one of a new wave of British conceptual artists championed by collector Charles Saatchi, and featured in his seminal exhibition of 1997 Sensation. While Emin and Miller muse on the focused and frequently isolated world that artists inhabit in this video, they also discuss their occasional collaborations with other artists, including each other. Miller has published several novels and become known for his large canvasses depicting satirical, fictional Penguin covers, and in 2008 organized an exhibition, You Dig the Tunnel, I’ll Hide the Soil, at London’s White Cube Gallery, where he asked artists as well as Emin to make a work as a response to a particular piece of writing by Edgar Allan Poe. Emin obliterated Miller’s own contribution to their joint work by painting over it, but Miller remained unfazed. “That’s a positive part of collaboration,” says Miller. “You have to take it on the chin.”

Each film in the On Collaboration series has been produced in partnership with EDITION Hotels, a new project between Ian Schrager and Marriott Hotels. The London EDITION opened in September 2013.

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