GUY GORMLEY

Before Christmas, we went to Antony Gormley’s studio to meet his son, Guy Gormley. He is a photographer and DJ. We already had some of his prints, but I was given one of my own for my eighteenth birthday ((which was actually in October)) so we went to pick it out from a large selection at the studio, as he was borrowing the space temporarily ((who wouldn’t)). The building is an industrial warehouse-style complex designed by David Chipperfield, with blank white spaces in which Antony Gormley sculptures hang, or Vicken Parsons paintings lean. It is completely obscured by large plain metal gates at the back of Kings Cross Station, and only when the gates are opened is the incredible architecture behind revealed. There is a large forecourt for parking and storage of sculptures (some mid-production), one main building and an outbuilding. A few nice photos of the outbuilding can be found here.

Guy typically takes photographs using his brick phone, and then blows them up before printing them on out-of-production papers. The resulting quality of the prints is beautiful, and the images are often framed unusually – so that a picture sits at the bottom of the paper, or off-centre. Mine is of a disorderly pile of twisted branches in a wood, and the photo itself is pixellated to give it a painterly quality which is only really appreciated up-close. I was surprised to have chosen the print that I did, since this was one of the first we looked at in the studio – it was already framed and set to go, and Guy approved of it – and I had originally walked past it rather nonchalantly. Instead, I went through boxes of prints mid-way through development, and looked at so many others before resolving to the original piece. Suffice to say it looks brilliant on my wall.

There is very little about Guy around, and I don’t really have any good photos of his work – this is a good resource, otherwise, Google always has answers.

My photographs of Antony Gormley’s studio, and screenshots from Guy Gormley’s website.

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TRALALA: MEADHAM KIRCHHOFF AW14

“These are some photos of the world that I come from,” so says Ja’mie in her assembly presentation to Summer Heights High. But this phrase could easily be re-appropriated to the Meadham Kirchhoff models - “these are some dresses from the world that I come from”. I have to let each Meadham Kirchhoff collection sit for a couple of days like a chicken out of the oven, because this “world” can change its façade so much, and I need a quiet adjustment period to get my head around it. It is not something that can be pinpointed to one place, after all, Meadham Kirchhoff’s inspirations come from anywhere and everywhere – Indian princes, queens of France, bloggers in Chicago, and what appear to be some kind of tropical jungle mermaid snakes according to their latest collection, with its holographic snakeskin boots, skirts and jackets.

Meadham Kirchhoff are honest – there is no watering-down for their audience, and no half-heartedness for the customer. Every piece is delicately laboured over, whether a hand-embroidered slip dress, hand-beaded handbag, a bouclé wool suit of the caliber to rival Chanel at the very least, or a tulle veil so transparent and lithe it looks almost fluid-like. Even the gold foil coats from last season were real snakeskin, which I could only believe when Ben Kirchhoff assured me himself. Their new collection, Chapter 6 of Edward’s ongoing “A Cosmology of Women” entitled “Tralala”, is so called after the namesake perfume they have been developing with Penhaligon’s for over two years, which is to be released, finally, around April this year. “The most impressive people I’ve ever met, I smelled them before I saw them,” Edward told i-D magazine.

The invitation was scented as usual, but this season as a result, with their own gorgeously intoxicating fragrance, along with the vast Turbine Hall where the collection was shown. I was lucky to steal a seat on the rather ridiculously long front row, which was accompanied by a party bag containing a bottle of Tralala – unsurprisingly, it smells exquisite and sort of timeless, in the same way as the Hermès Bel Ami I have to resist spraying over myself on an almost hourly basis, since it has been discontinued.

The collection itself felt like a remix of many older styles, with the new addition of some amazing velvet dresses which seemed to have walked straight out of a 1960′s sci-fi series, particularly with the accompanying clompy metallic boots. The tweed looks, which I was not so fond of by a substantial margin, were still beautifully made, while the svelte white bags of SS14 had bulged into AW14 in vivid primary colours, embroidered with fancy hatted chickens and bulldogs rather than the kitsch bears and lambs of before. Everything throbbed with the intensity of AW12, the disco season, and I momentarily forgot that this was a fall collection entirely, just as I had with the largely black-and-white counterintuitive palette of SS14.

There were looks that could never tire – the infinitely layered outfits like blooming sea creatures that were reminiscent of SS11, long buttoned wool skirts, and of course the details – MK gold buttons, for example – to go with the newer developments such as the most amazing black patent leather coat and of course the velvets. While this collection seemed a little less coherent than previous ones, it proposed new ideas of the Meadham Kirchhoff look, which it seems Edward is steering towards the elegance and slight old-worldiness of Chanel. After all, he has been more than open about his desire to take over at the house, not least when I interviewed him last year for Scratch Magazine ["I want to do Chanel, actually, that's what I've always wanted to do"], and I really couldn’t see a more perfect fit myself. In fact, there is nothing more I want for them, (apart from maybe a London store to make regular pilgrimages to).

It seems as if Edward was atypically satisfied with this season too, telling a Dazed correspondent: “This is the first collection that I wasn’t sad, or angry, or wanted to stab my eyes out”. The models, however, still maintained attitudes that transitioned between verging-on-gormless (in some cases) and utterly withdrawn and disinterested in others – underneath, they haven’t really changed at all.

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VICKEN PARSONS

Vicken Parsons paints milky forms onto plain plywood boards, which are often unprimed. The wood is delicately layered with ghostly white oil paint and light grey lines or outlines, which hark to a sort of three-dimensionality that is never quite fully realised. Small areas of colour, generally quite graphic, anchor the works whilst avoiding the undesired effect of becoming the focus.

I visited the Alan Cristea Gallery the other day to look at some of her works that are on display, and also those not out for public viewing. They are very intimate scenes – generally around A4 size (although not with the same proportions) – and you can feel quite easily sucked into the pallid tones and elusive delineations of shapes. Her studio, which I visited almost accidentally before Christmas, has the same quality of bleakness. As the wife of Antony Gormley, and studio neighbour, working in an offshoot space of his industrial David Chipperfield-designed sculpture warehouse/workshop, she has a large white-walled room with simple, shallow shelves on which half-finished paintings are leant. There is something so magnetising about the purity of everything, I hope we will have one of her works on our wall soon.

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