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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Hussein Chalayan exhibition

Design Museum, 22 January - 17 May 2009

Written by Jennifer McNulty, Photography by Tilly Pearman


You can’t help but smile at the sight of Jessy Pemberton, viagra treatment all rosy cheeks and red lipstick bold and bright, discount she is the picture of wholesome. The industrious girl with her fingers in many home-baked pies, bustled in to meet me for a quick juice in Fresh and Wild and talk ghosts, the weird and wonderous activities of the Pemberton clan, and illustration of course.

Since graduating from the Royal College of Art in knitwear design, Jessy has worked with the likes of Paul Smith and Jockey; exhibited alongside Tracy Emin and Mike Figgis; and worked with Cath Kidston on her book ‘Make!” – to name a few achievements. But it is when you come to look at her own illustrations that the world of Jessy Permberton springs to life, a fabric of its own woven together with home-made videos, a boundless imagination and a child-like sense of fun. I soon find that the simple question, so where do you get your inspiration from?, opens a window to this world, and all I am required to do is sit back, listen, and enjoy. By the time my carrot and ginger concoction gets to the lumpy bits, it is luckily only in my head that I say, ‘erm, adopt me?”


Take Harold the Ghost; pictured above with younger twins Chloe and Amelia. He comes to aid of children in times of need, asking only a small payment by way of some toast. One story involves a boy who gets bullied for having big ears. The boy calls on Harold, by post, who comes to the rescue with a heavy dose of bully medicine by giving them gigantic ears … But the initial genesis of Harold came from one of the many home-made movies (featured below) made by the Pemberton siblings, on one of their annual trips to the Welsh countryside. It’s also worth looking at their very own zombie film, apparently inspired from watching Braindead a million times over in early years.

The illustration of below is mother Pemberton, who does not drive and is accustomed to going to and from antique sales with her bike and trailer; a habitual collector to which Jessy has followed suite. The French Girl and Cakes comes from another story, Bella and the Sky, into which her family appear in various guises, and the last is a drawing of her dad in younger years, who apparently is the only member of the family that does not partake in their creative activities, thank you very much.




As the world of ghosts comes up against the straight-faced world of publishing we hope that Harold and friends will find thier way to tables and shelves soon. Jessy is also currently working on a top secret project with Rubbish Magazine. Keep your eyes peeled for her name during London Fashion Week.

Feel your modern cynicism just fall away as First Aid Kit‘s new EP begins. Drunken Trees summons folk songs of yesteryear and golden-tinged days-gone-by, hospital the ultimate antidote to credit crunchiness and war. The Swedish sisters have a knack of lulling you with their sweet sound until you wake, medicine revitalized by smart lyrics and a punchy chorus. Here they are at their harmonic best. The seven songs that unfold are the sort heard around bonfires with stars twinkling above, visit this site melody and words perfectly aligned.


The emphasis is on storytelling, playful one minute, subdued the next, ‘Little Moon’ gathers you around with ‘There’s a city at the top of the mountains…I used to go there as a child’ and the narrative rolls on from there. Each track melts into another and the enchanted tales keep coming. And with such song-writing, Joanna and Klara demonstrate a maturity beyond their teenage years. The balmy ‘Tangerine’ (lyrically reminiscent of Regina Spektor) is a gorgeous blanket of sound, recorded at home; ‘Jagadamba, You Might’ is notable as sing-along, dance-along folk.

It’s no wonder they’ve already earned a sparkling reputation in Scandinavia and are rapidly gaining a fan-base over here. Inevitable comparisons are with Joanna Newsom, and the girls cite influences as varied as Bright Eyes, Devendra Banhart and Vashti Bunyan. Listen carefully and their vocals actually owe more to Stina Nordemstam, albeit poppier and younger. There are low points: ‘Pervigilo’ is pretty, but on the dull side and overlong, the tunes are syrupy and won’t satisfy those with more savoury tastes. Many of the songs fade away rather than burn out. But these are matters of personal preference.

Drunken Trees
is bulging with extras, a bonus track, a much You-Tubed Fleet Foxes cover and a DVD of three songs recorded in a Swedish forest. Plenty to satisfy devotees, and an album and UK tour set for later in the year. If this taster is anything to go by, it’ll be full of pure, natural sound and mysteries you’ll just want to keep unravelling.

Tuesday January 27th

Every month, buy Future Shorts host a world cinema festival to celebrate the latest and greatest in global talent. This Tuesday at Favela Chic, pharmacy they will be looking back at the best of 2008. Highlights from the programme include music videos for Chemical Brothers, Gnarls Barkley and Utah Saints, Oscar nominated ‘I Met the Walrus,’ the animated illustration of a 14-year-old’s interview with John Lennon in 1969, youtube favorite ‘Peter and Ben’ and Rodeon Brodsky’s eccentric and warm ‘Tolya.’ It starts at six and costs five pounds.


Wednesday January 28th

The Alan Cristea Gallery at 31 & 34 Cork Street are putting together a group show of four artists under the age of thirty who use film and photography as a source of inspiration for elaborate works on paper in other media. Katie Atkin for instance makes large-scale, intricate pencil drawings which she thinks of as slow-paced ‘re-enactments’ of what is shown in a photograph.


Thursday January 29th

Henry VIII’s Wives is a collective of artists who met in Glasgow in the mid 90′s, now based all over Europe. Their first London show begins this week at the Pump House Gallery in Battersea Park. They are presenting two time-based installations; My Hysteria, and The Returning Officer. Although both projects are very different in approach Mr Hysteria informed and inspired the development of The Returning Officer, paving the way to an experimental use of narrative.


Friday January 30th

Drifting Through the Ruins is the first solo show from Laura Oldfield Ford, beginning today at hales gallery. Oldfield Ford has become well known for her politically active and poetic engagement with London as a site of social antagonism. The main focus of this show is more than one hundred ink drawings that she has recently produced as part of an ongoing project chronicling the impact of regeneration on London. Her work has developed from the cheaply produced Zine, entitled Savage Messiah which has become a regular vehicle for her psychogeographic explorations of the metropolis.


Saturday January 31st

New Art from the MIddle East is a new exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery bringing together 20 of the region’s most exciting artists in a survey of recent painting, sculpture and installation.


For the next four months you can head down to the Design Museum in London and acquaint yourself with the work of fashion designer Hussein Chalayan, generic pictured below at his exhibition:


In the 16 years since he graduated from the prestigious Central St Martins School of fashion and design, he has wowed with his innovative ideas and concepts that go far beyond making pretty clothes. He was twice (in 1999 and 2000) named British Designer of the Year, and his credentials were cemented in 2006, when he was awarded an MBE for services to the fashion industry.

Quite fitting then that he should have an exhibition dedicated to his career. For this, Chalayan picks key pieces from his collections throughout the years and demonstrates the thought process behind each one. Showcased is his cutting edge approach to embracing new technologies and his exploration of many disciplines to inspire the final garment, including architecture, science, philosophy and anthropology.

Below are examples of the stunning pieces from his work throughout the years:

(from Panoramic A/W 1998 – collection explores losing individuality to the environment)

(from Before Minus Now S/S 2000 – explores the relationship between mankind, technology and natural forces)

(from Temproal Mediations S/S 2004 – collection explores genetic anthropology)

(from Airbourne A/W 2007 – explores our fears of morality linked to weather cycles)

As well as fashion designing, Chalayan’s skills as a short film-maker are also displayed, Place to Passage explores the implications of speed on our psyche and looks at ideas of displacement. It involves an imagined journey from London to Istanbul. Being of Turkish-Cypriot origin, Chalayan frequently references his homeland in his work.
Another film, The Absent Passage was used by Turkey to represent the country in the 51st Venice Biennale, an international art exhibiton, it features the actress Tilda Swinton and explores issues of paranoia surrounding terrorism.

This exhibiton truly showcases Chalayan as a highly conceptual and unique design talent, who is refreshingly thought-provoking in his approach to fashion. A very interesting exhibition, which challenges us to consider more than just the final piece when we view a collection, this is one not to be missed.

Hussein Chalayan: From fashion and back
22 January – 17 May 2009
Tickets £8.50 / concessions £6.50 / students £5.00


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