LONDON–Fashion photography legend and multimedia pioneer Nick Knight opened the doors to his London-based creative lair once again last weekend for Showstudio‘s exhibition Inside/Out, a look at the use of abject imagery as a way of externalizing what goes on within us. Knight’s endless collaborations with stylists, artists, musicians and designers continues to tear at the barriers between fine art and fashion, the process and the consumer, this time throwing a piercing eye at the human experience.
Curated with the help of London newcomer Carrie Scott, Inside/Out includes works by fellow visionaries and fashion frequenters Marilyn Minter, Terence Koh, Arianna Page Russell, and Alister Mackie, among others. On display were photos, video, and sculptural artifacts from Knight’s previous shoots including glass orb slippers, men’s lace lingerie and a urinal displayed on a windowsill, which Lady Gaga promptly put to use to the surprise of passersby, then thoughtfully signed before making her exit.
A series of lace and silk lingerie that has been altered to accommodate a male physique hung next to photos by Amsterdam-based artist Arianna Page Russell bearing tattoo-like rashes, which she self-inflicts in patterns upon her abnormally sensitive skin.
Fashion darling Terence Koh, aka “asianpunkboy,” known for addressing issues of mortality, contributed an inverted shelf, covered in his signature flat white paint, and complete with upside-down radio and death mask.
Additional works included a blown-glass slipper with by artist Naomi Filmer, whose avant-garde accessories have graced the catwalks of Alexander McQueen and Hussein Chalayan. The futuristic slipper was the ideal companion to the vertebrae shaped sleeve of silver cast by Shaun Leane.
But what SHOWstudio does best is provide us thirsty throngs with the animated experience. Almost 20 years ago, Nick Knight built SHOWstudio as a platform that would bring fashion forward into the realm of film, a movement which is unmistakably in full swing as many designers opt out of pricey catwalk shows and into the art of filmmaking.
In this sense, SHOWstudio provided the goods. In a basement screening room films by ‘puking’ Millie Brown, photographer Marilyn Minter and Dan Colen were looped. Minter, best known for her overblown series of wet-mouthed models, pressed against glass and lapping at pink caviar, served up the oral version of finger painting.
Playing counterpart to Minter’s internal explorations was the outpouring of performance artist Millie Brown, whose commentary on the celebrity experience and maybe consumption itself involves her puking…on Lady Gaga. This was all under the direction of Vogue Homme Japan’s stylist Nicola Formichetti and shot by Nick Knight. The shoot “Elegant Mechanic” was shot at SHOWstudio and live-streamed to its audience. The urinal Gaga familiarized herself with earlier was one of the props.
“Showstudio Shop aims to bring the props and sculptures created for the shoots and display them rather their collecting dust in a warehouse,” explained Curator Carrie Scott. “Nick feels that many of the objects created can stand up on their own in an art context, being that the people creating them are artists as well. We wanted to push the debate and see what happens.”
Nothing like a little abject imagery to get the conversation started! Inside/Out proves to be as much about the human experience as it is about the people who create our images. The more places technology lets us look, further deeper smaller, the more the questions become what are we seeing and where the hell are we? The exhibition continues later in the month with artist Amy Dickie taking pages from magazines and cutting out the interior spaces around figures…so it seems the debate may have begun.
Inside/Out runs through August 14, 2010 at 1-9 Bruton Place, London, W1J 6LT. Shop hours: Tuesday through Saturday 11am-6pm. Obviously, live performances are live, which means the only way you’ll get to see Lady Gaga peeing is on video.
**All photos by Sabrina Morrison.