‘Self-Memory-System’ is an ongoing project exploring the idea of narrative identity or the constant reconstruction and editing of memories. A body of work that illustrates and defines a notion of constructed autobiographical narrative, our edited self that both informs and is informed by our aspirations and character.
The work varies from intricate digital imagery to drawings developed through the same creative method. Rudge, uses the computer as a brush and paints with photographic imagery creating delicate and beautiful digital images. This show illustrate her philosophical discussion of her most recent projects, the examination of the construct of our memories.
‘Memory is subjective and the act of remembering is influenced by our desire to project a coherent story of ourselves; a revised version of our experience that fits with our present perceived identity. We all create memories, shrines in our mind to past relationships and encounters. These are shadows; they are not the reality of the person we once knew.’
Ahead of the latest Arthole exhibition launch, curator Morris Monroe chats to artist Aphrodite Papdatou about the personal, the political and everything in between!
Who are you and what medium do you work in?
My name is Aphrodite Papadatou, I am a woman. I am a Londoner, I am an Athenian, I am a passionate citizen of humanity. I am inspired by the places I live and by my friends and lovers.I am an artist. I like to experience the physical. I increasingly feel the need to express who I am freely through my art. I like to record my impressions of people. Currently I am a painter and I mostly use acrylic paint on canvas board (I like pressing against hard surfaces), although I find increasing fulfilment and joy in my experimentations with mixed media printing techniques – dry point, mono drawing, photo transfers – usually all done together in one unique piece.
Who was the first artist who mesmerised young you, and what work specifically caught your eye?
The first piece of work I remember being mesmerised by is Guernica by Pablo Picasso. Mine and my sister’s father (also an artist) owned a gallery in Athens bearing that name and there was a reproduction of the painting at the entrance – therein lay the well known Minotaur of the Guernica bombing. It is a most powerful anti-war image that imbued strong convictions in me. I come from a bohemian and anarchist family – my father a political activist in turbulent times in Greece. This image is part of my heritage – and a very topical one at that.
What training have you received in your chosen medium, if any?
I am a self-taught artist. I am not sure I see the process of learning how to make art as a training process, although of course that is all down to semantics! I see ‘training’ as learning through experience, and you either have a passion for doing it – an all consuming urge to make things – or ‘puke art up’ as I say – or you don’t. I do, and this became very urgent for me when I turned thirty-ish. Previously I had had ‘training’ in both printing and painting techniques during my ‘A-levels’ and doing an foundation in Central Saint Martin’s (I quit and studied history and politics at university). So I dropped out of ‘training’ only to return back with the fulness of my force just over two years ago – and here I am! I have so much to say through my art, and it only becomes stronger!
What’s your favourite piece of your work on exhibition with ArtHole?
I like Remember This – with the stripped girl with hosiery and high heels, the gas mask and rope. It is full of symbols that were crucial to me at the time of is making. It has also been featured in a feature film which was recently at the cinemas, together with other works of mine from my London Anarchy series.
In an ideal world, what would you change about the current art world?
All the stuffiness of the ‘haute’ art scene – art takes many shapes indeed, but for me it is really important that it stays raw, evocative, and able to connect with people in a physical and spiritual way. It distresses me how street art, for example, in many western art capitals – has lost the edge it had. You see street art covered by perspex now, right?! I want the art world that rules the markets to rethink this – to democratise art again. There are many cities now, including my home town of Athens, where crisis has meant that art IS the only way of expression. There walls are filled with wonderful murals full of substance and energy. In London we still have it East – but the increasing rents and expensive living in London are driving artists out…. Something needs to happen soon!!
What do you aspire to?
To remain good and kind and adventurous and loving; to never slow down my thirst for learning and experiencing other people’s bodies, souls and wisdom. I aspire to remain human!! And I want to inspire everyone I meet with humanism and humanity.
What music do you make your art to?
Anything that draws my mood on the day! I have an eclectic taste from old punk, metal, indie, classical, rock and roll to Greek blues and native South American music.
Describe your working process for us.
I paint people – my muses. Those that I have a spiritual affinity with. Keeping photographic records of my muses is the first integral part of my creative process, as is internalising the experience of our interaction – whatever that experience becomes! I usually sketch the images and compositions and finally transfer them to canvas – if I am painting. I have obviously different processes for other media I use, for example my mixed media printing process is very ad hoc and free and it focuses on the satisfaction I get from the tools I use to create it – the process of printing unique images – painted and etched on plates – using manually operated intaglio precess, the pleasure I have when I etch plates and scratch in marks on smooth surfaces, the sheers experimentation of the analogue, mono printing technique. The silkiness of the Somerset heavyweight paper I use….Beautiful! Lush. am quite anarchic with my processes generally, whatever medium I work on, but there is method in the madness!
What was the last thing that moved you to tears? (or just moved…)
The handling of the debt crisis in Greece by the EE oligarchs after the democratic referendum in late June. The whole situation made me both angry and tearful in equal measures – mostly tearful of people’s defiance and strength on very compromising everyday conditions. But also so touched by the love and amazing energy people sent – my friends and strangers from back in the UK and other countries….So wonderful, so absolutely touching! Humanity and defiance moves me and softens me. Inhumanity and ruthlessness makes me angry and fierce. Injustice to moves me to tears of pain. Love – giving it and receiving it unconditionally – moves me to tears of joy.
Girls, Girls, Girls A solo exhibition by Aphrodite Papadatou
Exhibition Launch Thursday 30 July 6-9pm Dalston Superstore 117 Kingsland High Street, E8 2PB
‘If she runs now she’ll follow later, If she refuses gifts she’ll give them If she loves not, now, she’ll soon Love against her will’ – excerpts from ‘Glittering-Minded Deathless Aphrodite’ by the ancient Greek poet Sappho of Lesbos
GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS is a war cry – a shout of liberation from chains of all kinds: physical, psychological, social; chains of the body and the mind.
Depicting the journey of a woman, Aphrodite Papadatou is an artist in the making and her work is her rite of passage, her coming of age. This show is an early retrospective of Papadatou’s interest in the female form – represented as strong and vulnerable, but always resilient and free.
‘All these women are me, they are you, and they are both the men and women I have loved.’
These images represent the progress of the human soul, and the innate femininity of our emotional make-up, regardless of sex or orientation. Papadatou’s work is a visualisation of our emotional pain, happiness, and the extremes of consciousness manifested through sexual liberation.
Aphrodite Papadatou is a London-based Greek artist characterised by prolific imagination, tantalising sensuality, and a remarkable ability to bring to life irreverent, mauditcharacters. Papadatou’s expressionistic oeuvre depicts figures whose tormented, consumed physicality and twisted, convulsive limbs are reminiscent of Egon Schiele. Eyes burning with emotions encompassing resentment and lust are imprints on canvas of the artists’ friends and lovers, documenting fetishes, subcultural community and sexual and social identities.
London based illustrator James Davison, working under the pseudonym Klarr, presents his debut solo exhibition at Dalston Superstore. Blending traditional notions of gender (masc and femme) to create candid portraits of men, James attempts to explore different representations of masculinity through print and neon light works. We caught up with the busy artist to find out more about his inspirations and idols and how they influenced his work…
Where does the name Klarr come from?
The name comes from the german saying “Alles Klar” – which roughly translates to all is clear. The pervert Herr Lipp in the League of Gentleman used to use it.
What inspires your illustrations?
Past experiences influence my style, content and direction. Growing up, I was a huge comic book fan. Comics were my first wank mags. I still find the body language powerful. The women are overtly sexual and seductive, the men are crotchy. Wolverine’s nipples have definitely seen a suction cup or two.
I suppose there are echoes of Betsy Braddock’s (Psylocke) original body armour in this show.
Do you use live models or are your portraits a composite of people you know, fashion imagery etc?
A mixture of both.
I recently visited the British Museum for the first time in a very long time and was really drawn to the Greek and Roman sculptures. Some of my early sketches for the ‘Compact’ image came from that.
I love the Versace campaigns in the ’90s, I had lots of those references on my wall whilst producing this show.
The casting for Calvin Klein SS14 was hot; I’m using some of the models as a starting point for some new work.
What makes a man fishy feminine and free? Who would you say most embodies these attributes?
To me, ‘fishy’ means embracing your femininity and drawing power and confidence from it. There is a tendency in the gay community for gay men to consciously present themselves as ‘masc’, ‘straight acting’ or ‘non-camp’. On apps like Grindr they wear them like a badge of honour. Personally, I don’t get it. Everyone in this world is seems to be looking up to the macho heterosexual male. Women want to fuck them and gays pretend to be them. Urghh! I’ve had it. Officially.
What is your favourite piece in the show and why?
‘Eros’ (main image) is my favourite. I really like him, he was the easiest to come to me as well. I’m currently using him as the basis for a beauty story, bring him to life using a real model and recreating my aesthetic through make-up.
The neon light was a new thing for me that I definitely want to explore in the future.
Who are your fashion icons?
Tell the truth!
Check Klarr’s show Powder Room ongoing at Dalston Superstore until Sunday 6th October.
Tonight sees some of east London’s most notorious party starters under one roof: Borja Peña, Josh Caffe, Joe Robots, Bisoux and Cathal. That’s right, it’s time for Banjee Boy Realness Vs PS! The banjee boys take the basement whilst upstairs it will be pure sex from PS. We caught up with PS promoters Cathal and Bisoux ahead of tonight’s madness to talk tape cassettes, posters, art, music and more..
What is the music policy at PS?
Our own special blend of deep bitch house, dutty dance, sleazy BASSlines, vocal high points and smart hooks. Always fresh, fun , filthy and ready for the bump & grind.
And how has this, in any way, been influenced by the music you grew up on?
Cathal: Growing up in my house there was always music playing. My dad played The Police and Pet Shop Boys, my mum played Prince and Muddy Waters and my sister had Junior Vasquez and The Shamen on a loop. Subsequently I love vocals, a strong sexy rhythm and a beat that makes you want to move. Also, I’m northern and we like a dance tune.
Bisoux: I grew up in a house of Radio 4 and vinyl – Bob Marley, Rip Rig + Panic, The Ramones, Dire Straits and The Beatles. Pop was always an illicit contraband. One of my mum’s boyfriends sneaked me a Kylie album tape when I was six which was super exciting, I still remember the tape box, she looked like a naughty princess. Even with such an eclectic sound around me it was always the bad girl pop that I hankered for and I think the combination of the two has definitely shaped my taste for exotic beats with a sexy vocal. Don’t get me wrong, I have been known to listen to an instrumental but it’s always bass + voice + beat + sex that gets me.
What was your most favourite/worn out tape cassette of the ’90s?
C: I have all these mixtape cassettes I made between the age of 8 -11 years old, so through 1990 to 1993, with my best friend/next door neighbour Michelle. They’re basically tapes and tapes of us interviewing each other and introducing all our favourite dance tunes of the time. My favourite tape was a ‘show’ we did called ‘ Rave 92!’ which was a Parks and Wilson gig at Arc in Leeds I had taped off the radio live late at night which we then talked over at random intervals. So it’s a toss up between this and Madonna’s Erotica album.
B: Funnily enough I was also a chart mixtape queen but my most worn and still treasured tape of the ’90s has to be the Snap! album, The Madman’s Return. Hands down I thought I was the coolest shit when I put that on my walkman.
PS: is it a crazy homo art installation or debauched party that shocks the nation?
Both. Is there a difference? LOL.
We hear your posters often end up in unusual places. Where’s the best place you’ve ever randomly spotted one?
In joint first place would have to be a certain famous Tate director seen carefully peeling and rolling up a poster at one of our do’s in Vogue Fabrics and the time Cathal saw one up on the wall of a random shag in Berlin.
How did PS originate?
Above McDonalds in Kentish Town, it started as an ideal, a magazine, a movement that could override the title GAY and become something much more. Art, music, sex, film all coming together in our own special brand of homoculture for both boys and girls. Even though that was only about seven years ago, there was nothing really outside of GAYLAND at that time, the divide was so strong and whilst we enjoyed both sides of it, there was nothing for homos like us that wasn’t defined by our sexuality, but more by our cultural tastes. PS. can be a secret, an afterthought, or just the truth of what you really mean. It made sense to bring it all together in a party package, we wanted to bring a celebration experience that you wouldn’t forget for a while!
And what might be the next step of the party’s evolution?
To go international we’d say. Spread the love.
Do you think they’ll be much crossover or way in which you’ll compliment each other with the basement party, Banjee Boy Realness?
We had Borja guest at our last party which turned into a massive deep house love-in and we’ve always had an affinity with Josh’s style, we go way back in and out of the clubs. Joe we’ve recently discovered through sharing the bill at SOS, and love his sounds. Whilst there will of course be a bit of healthy upstairs/downstairs competition at the end of the day we all appreciate each other’s taste and are really looking forward to partying with each other – ultimately blending our respective styles into one mahoosive funtimes club. I’d say we’re gonna see dirty grinding, walking vogue face and lots and lots of sweat. Mmmmmm.
Through images of stunning natural America and a group of unique mysterious characters, Dalston Superstore presents States a new body of work by artist Jacob Love.
In Spring 2011, Love embarked on a road trip across America that culminated at a stay in a rural queer community. As he interacted with the living realities of both the community and the landscape around it, an alternative view of the American dream began to form. Here Love presents images where the realities of resistance and change fuse with fantasy and a ’new world’ becomes fully realized.
Love presents a series of landscapes and portraits that through colour, positioning and framing, subvert traditional notions of America in beautiful yet occasionally shocking ways.
The landscapes are presented framed upside down. By inverting these images and removing all human traces from them, Love turns back time, creating magical Utopian worlds that the viewer steps into blinking, blinded by the sun that confronts them. But are these worlds really from the past or perhaps a vision of America’s post capitalist future?
These disorienting and magnetic landscapes are accompanied by a 10 metre panorama that- presented the correct way up – introduces a new visual language to the work on display, one of traditional pastorialism. It is only on closer inspection that the lone figure in the landscape presents himself to you. As you engage with him further you begin to see that he is dressed as a gogo boy, engrossed in his own self-pleasure. Both his virile (and possibly feral) activity and the shocking pink of his leggings jar uncomfortably with his lush and somehow innocent surroundings. As with the inversion of the landscapes, our lone masturbator works to subvert our understanding of the American landscape and how we interact with the world of nature that surrounds us.
At the far end of the bar, illuminated on light boxes are the possible inhabitants of this new world; a collection of people emerging from darkness, perhaps stepping into the sunlight of the inverted landscapes. As with the figure in the large image on the main wall, these personalities embody an alternative, queer idealism at odds with the conservative country they now call home, yet they are embracing the foundations on which America was built and also offering the best blueprint for it’s future.
States will be exhibited at Dalston Superstore from Friday the 20th of April till the 3rd of June 2012. private view is Thursday 19th April 2012 from 7pm
Next week sees a new exhibition takeover the walls of Superstore. Beginning on Thursday 8th March and running all the way through to Sunday 15th April, Creative Pane is the debut curation by Saskia Wickins. Featuring fantastic local artists such as Alex Noble, Anna Bruder, Moses Power and Jonas Ranson, who, amongst others were given a recycled window pane as a starting point.
Saskia tells us, “Using the concept of a view through an open window, this exhibition invites the audience to explore and peer into the unique undisclosed landscape of a studio space. Giving an exceptional insight into the environment of creative process and practice, and the exhibiting artists visual manifestation of this concept.
These windows come in all different shapes and sizes, emphasizing the concept of individual space and vision. With the initial starting point of the window frame, each of the artists have been asked to produce the personal character and style of their studio space. Giving outsiders a chance to witness studio life where anything and everything can serve as inspiration. These representations will be as surreal, abstract, conceptual or documentary as desired by the artist.”
With 16 different artists, designers, stylist, photographers, set designers and illustrators on show, each individual window frames will take their spot to transform the walls of Dalston Superstore and provide an exclusive insight into their creative space and mind.
We are pleased to announce that our latest exhibition, Ottoman Fight Club by the wonderful Jamie McLeod, has been so popular that we’ve decided to extend it until the 4th of March. We caught up with Jamie to get his perspective on the show…
What was the concept behind Ottoman Fight Club?
The concept was to fill Superstore with my Turkish Oil Wrestler photos that Alex Noble always adored. He asked for them personally for my first show there called “Jack Off Johnny” and I refused as I wanted to show new work. But second time around I was asked again and I succumbed because Alex has a good eye for what is on the pulse and not many people get asked back twice. The Superstore people were so good to work with I thought give it to them and not be precious.
So that answer is more about why I was invited and to answer the concept question well, Dalston, as we all know, is a Turkish area and Superstore has a mixed sexuality crowd that would appreciate the pics. I had to think hard how can I fill this space with my images to make the most epic and bombastic assault and I found a way by having them screen-printed on fabric to really fill this space and make the images as powerful as possible. These pictures are old for me and I have so many that it was a difficult task to edit these as I have hundreds but really the concept was about how to present these ethnographic/erotic type portraits in a new way so people could enjoy them. And what I really like is to see peoples reactions. I have seen lesbians, homo’s, trans and straight men and woman like them and that really makes me happy. Also I have delivered postcards to some local Turkish businesses in the area that I like and they have really been happy that we are making this show and celebrating a side of their culture. Just that was worth it in itself.
How long have you been preparing for this exhibition?
I have been preparing all my life for this show!! No, really, I have. Ok, the nuts and bolts of the show go back about six months, but that doesn’t include scanning and printing the negatives to prepare. The six months I spent was working with trial and error of composition and printing on the fabric and getting the half tones right for the finished product. It wasn’t six months of continual work but it was six months of preparation off and on. The best thing is, what I first dreamed of making was what I ended up producing, and in the beginning of trying things out they didn’t go smoothly and I thought Oh no I’ll fail with my vision, but I didn’t.
How does this exhibition compare with your other work?
This show is integral and runs parallel to my other work, however it is more classical than how I work right now. This is essentially classical black and white portraiture where as my current work now is more maybe fine art and a hybrid of photography and graphics and design. This exhibition is really about Turkish male masculinity and a study of ethnography and if people find it erotic that is a bonus but that wasn’t the main reason I went to Turkey.
I’m very interested in hyper masculinity and femininity and I have also done a body of work on portraits of Mexican wrestlers and Turkish transvestites and of course performers and musicians and pop stars. I love to blur the boundaries between the “stars and the non-famous” because we live in a culture that is obsessed with fame at any price with people who have very little talent. And there are all these incredible people out there doing amazing things who in my mind are the real “stars” who never get paid much attention so when I find them I represent them the same iconic way I do with the “stars”. I don’t see the difference but I know our society does.
Do you have any follow up work to this exhibition?
Yes I am always working on new work but if i don’t have dead lines I tend to get lazy. Right now I have been making portraits of performance artists and “Dandys” or the what I call the “Extravagance”. That’s people who dress a lot better than me. People who have a refined aesthetic and a hyper-theatrical appearance, who are not just dressing up for a night out but who live what they wear and are super freaks or attention seekers or peacocks. I love these people because let’s face it, our world has become so generic and unoriginal that it depresses me and it needs people like this, even though they get beaten up for looking so different.
What is your favourite piece from the show?
I love the 12 meter composition on canvas because this was made specifically for Superstore’s space. My friend Ricardo Matos helped me print this and to get it correct, with some hiccups. I have heard that Elton John wants the canvas to cut up as curtains and to use as upholstery for a sofa and hopefully Lady Gaga will be buying the same piece to make a toga for the Oscars as she has never done Turkish Oil Wrestlers yet.
What has it been like exhibiting a completely different exhibition in Dalston Superstore?
It has been a real challenge and sometimes I thought I would fail, but because I am professional when I say yes to a show like this I would never allow myself to fail. And to be asked back twice to my favourite bar/club/restaurant in the east end and to work with people that believed in my work like Alex, Saskia, Dan and Matt has been refreshing. It makes me so happy that people want my work and can help me direct it and produce it because, as I told you, if I didn’t have people ask for my work I would lie on my bed all day and become the worst type of friend and probably never leave the house and be 30 stone.
Do you have any exciting plans for this year?
Yes just to keep working and achieving my next goals which hopefully will be a book on the wrestlers and a show called Punks, Pimps, Cunts and Drags and after this show something called “Dead Behind the Eyes” based on performers that are not alive anymore.
Jamie McLeod’s current show Ottoman Fight Club runs until Sunday 4th March.