The Provocative Artist Continues His Animalistic Foray into Music
Dinos Chapman runs wild in a psychedelic hinterland dressed as a furry bunny for the video to his menacing new track, “Luv2h8.” Directed by Anoushka Seigler and Kamil Dymek, the nightmarish extract features on Chapman’s new EP of the same name, following the throbbing minimal electro of his debut album Luftbobler, both released by The Vinyl Factory. NOWNESS caught up with Chapman ahead of his live audio-visual performance alongside his brother Jake’s band, Heimlich, and DJs Jarvis Cocker and Steve Mackey of Pulp.
You made the film to “Alltid” on iMovie—was this produced on a similarly accessible format?
Dinos Chapman: Now that I'm very wealthy from my music I've managed to upgrade to Final Cut Pro. It's very user friendly.
Was it quite liberating running around in a bunny suit?
DC: No—it was hot and sweaty. I tripped over a lot. And I nearly set myself on fire. Apart from that, yes, very liberating.
Your first live UK performance is at Fabric, after your Sonar debut. Did you feel trepidatious before playing that show in a way you don't before art shows?
DC: Yeah, a little nervous, obviously. But the machine takes over and then the show off comes out to push aside the nervous person.
Dinos Chapman performs Luftbobler at Fabric, London on October 17.
An Experimental Live Performance in the House of Dreams from Matthew Herbert's New Charges
A meticulously shot sweep through a Victorian terraced house from garden to rooftop provides the beguiling video to Hejira's “Litmus Test,” shot by director Faith Millin. Bassist Rahel Debebe-Dessalegne and guitarist Sam Beste duet in the bedroom and Alex Reeve plays lead guitar on the landing, while the living room hosts drummer Alexis Nunez, and a small choir harmonize in the attic of the London property known as to as the 'House of Dreams.' This musical Tower Of Babel is home to the entire quartet, whose backgrounds stretch from Chile, Hungary, Germany, and Ethiopia. Debut album Prayer Before Birth will be be released October 21 via Accidental, the label run by maverick British sound artist and Björk collaborator Matthew Herbert. “They strive to create music that's both cerebral and emotional,” says Herbert of the foursome that he produced. “It's been great to hear it evolve into something so confident and symphonic.” NOWNESS put questions to band spokesman Reeve to talk collective creativity and sonic possibilities.
How did the House Of Dreams affect your creative process?
Alex Reeve: We transformed the house into a recording studio, utilizing all areas from living rooms to bathrooms to experiment with different sonic possibilities. We have always been attracted to the idea that the space in which you perform or record becomes part of the composition. Instead of trying to control the natural resonance of each room, we fully embraced the unique character of each space and factored this into our production and recording decisions.
Did this mean that the house has a presence in your music?
AR: By the end we really knew the sound of the house as much as we would the sound of an instrument. As a result it became an extension of Hejira, and its voice is clearly audible on our album and in the live films we created there.
On a practical level, how did you and the director set the video up?
AR: We were adamant that the audio should all be recorded live; if it had been playback it would have lost a large part of what makes it unique, becoming more of a music video than a live film. Perhaps the hardest and also the most amusing was trying to follow the female protagonist through the house without getting any of the crew in shot, which led to people being locked away in toilets and cowering behind curtains.
Our Chinese Language Site Launches with an Intimate Portrait of China’s Leading Painter
Record-breaking Chinese artist Zeng Fanzhi looks back on his time at the Hubei Academy of Fine Arts and explains his obsession with calligraphy in this short by Hong Kong-based filmmaker Ringo Tang. Propelled onto the global stage after one work from his seminal Masks series sold for $9.7 millions dollars at a Christie’s auction in 2008, a record for contemporary Asian art, the thoughtful Zeng was captured in his studio over three days of shooting. “I decided to backlight the artworks so that the brushstrokes and techniques are very clear,” explains Tang. Employing a unique method in which two or more brushes are employed simultaneously, Zeng uses one brush to carefully paint his subject on the canvas while the other destroys it with a frenzy of linear strokes, thereby creating a landscape of underlying tension. His extensive Masks series of the 90s explored the psychological challenges confronting the rapidly modernizing Chinese population—depicting his subjects with white-masked faces, blank stares and grotesquely oversized hands, uncomfortably posed in their new Western-style suits and ties. Longtime friends, Tang first met Zeng nearly 20 years ago in his hometown of Wuhan during an art tour with a curator from Hong Kong. “I met him right after he finished school. He didn’t have much money and his studio didn’t have a washroom, so he used one at the hospital,” Tang says of a circumstance that led to Zeng’s Hospital series. “Then in 1993 after Zeng’s first exhibition in Hong Kong, it really opened art critics’ eyes to China.”
NOWNESS launches its Chinese language website today. Explore it here.