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José Parlá: Broken Language

The Cuban-American Artist Takes Us Out of the Gallery and on to London’s Concrete Streets

Concrete sculptures and large-format expressionistic paintings that combine collected ephemera with layered oils and graffiti-style brushstrokes bring the streets into the gallery for José Parlá’s exhibition Broken Language, opening today at Haunch of Venison in London. In this documentary short, the New York-based, Miami-born artist mines inspiration from the pavements of Hackney for this latest solo show, giving us a peak into his signature practice of recording the urban environments he visits in his multimedia works. “London spirals and circles,” observes the artist of the crazy, unplanned structure of the UK capital that is reflected in the dynamic wall-sized pieces currently on display there. “There are veins of alleyways and streets that go in different directions, and you have to know the routes to get around.” Parlá has been visiting the city since the late 90s, and notes how both the natural and built environments have a distinct impact on its inhabitants in comparison to his adopted home. “The infrastructure is different, the colors are different, the vegetation is different, the grey skies are different—and when you have light, it’s very special,” says Parlá, who makes multiple trips to a locale when studying it for his creations. “There is a lot of psychology that goes with how a city is built.”

Broken Language runs at Haunch of Venison, London through March 28.

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  • ON REPLAY
    ON REPLAY

    The Sound and the Fury

    East London Heartbreaker Dudley O'Shaughnessy Throws Punches in High Style

    Photographer Sharif Hamza captures boxer-turned-model Dudley O'Shaughnessy demonstrating the finesse and intense concentration that training for the sport demands. The 22-year-old rogue beauty stepped into the ring at the respected West Ham Boxing Club at the age of nine, following in the footsteps of his father and brother, both boxers. "Their trophies were my Action Men," says the Canning Town-bred youngster. Armed with his trademark sleek style, O'Shaughnessy went on to become the senior Amateur Boxing Association welterweight champion last year and narrowly missed a place on Team GB for the 2012 Olympics. Scouted as a model aged 19, and currently represented by Next Model Management, the blue-eyed, six-foot-one stunner has recently added acting to his CV, starring in Rihanna's steamy music video for “We Found Love,” as well as in two short films. Here, the fighter answers a round of quick-fire questions.  

    Muhammad Ali or Joe Frazier?
    Ali.

    Professional or amateur?
    Amateur. 

    Swarmer or brawler?
    Brawler.

    Jab or hook?
    Jab.

    Sway or duck?
    Sway.

    Boxers or briefs?
    Boxers.

    Natural or bleached?
    Natural. 

    Sportswear or suit?
    Sportswear.

    Football or rugby?
    Football.

    Modeling or boxing?
    Boxing.

    Crowd or alone?
    Alone.


    Go behind the scenes at the shoot and check out our Facebook page
    here.

    (Read More)
  • Most Shared in Art
    Most Shared in Art

    Quentin Jones: Naked with Paint

    The Coquettish Artist Becomes the Canvas in Her Latest Animated Short

    Illustrator, animator and fashion filmmaker Quentin Jones paints a daring self-portrait in an inky new film for NOWNESS. The London-based model and Cambridge philosophy graduate, whose mélange of hand-drawn and digital animations have appeared in fashion films for Vogue, AnOther and The Hunger, ditched the usual scripts, storyboards and wardrobe to star in a freewheeling two-tone romp. A personal project developed during scarce downtime between projects for Chanel, Victoria Beckham and Kenzo, Jones toyed with the idea of painting directly onto her subject, in this case herself, side-stepping the interruptions of shooting stop-motion. Overlayed with cut-outs and illustrations, Jones’s films are a cheeky wink to Dadaism. “We developed this technique of dropping the ink onto bits of porcelain and blowing it around with a straw, then filming it move and superimposing that onto video,” reveals the autodidact. Regularly raiding art libraries for imagery, Jones can be faced with up to 25,000 jpegs to choose from, requiring an entirely different set of skills. “It's a really geeky stage, but editing could be the most creative part of the process, because you need to have a type of intuition.” Here the multimedia artist explains what influences her final edit. 

    Claymation or animation?
    Animation.

    Lucian or Sigmund?
    Lucian. I did my A-Level Art dissertation on Lucian. Big fan from a young age.

    Dawn or dusk? 
    Dawn. For its potential.

    Birkin or Bardot? 
    Birkin. Those eyes.

    Kaleidoscopes or microscopes?
    Microscopes.

    By air or by sea?
    By sea.

    Disney or Dalí?
    Disney. Dalí can be visually underwhelming...

    Onyx or kohl?
    Kohl.

    Labyrinth or The Man Who Fell to Earth?
    Labyrinth. It’s in my top five all time favorites.

    Cut or paste?
    Cut. Cutting is the creativity, gluing just allows you to commit and show it to other people.

    Decanter or atomizer? 
    Decanter.

    Cruella de Vil or the Queen of Hearts? 
    Queen of Hearts. Such a can-do attitude!

    Holmes or Moriarty?
    Moriarty.

    Stripes or Pleats?
    Stripes. Tough one, but ultimately pleats are just a form of three-dimensional stripe, so let's stay true.

    Feline or Canine?
    Canine (it’s a shame you rarely find cats with dogs’ personalities).

    Espadrilles or escarpins?
    Escarpins.

    (Read More)

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