Earlier in the week I was killing some time at London Bridge before meeting family for dinner and decided to wonder along the river. Naturally I headed towards Tate Modern, my favourite place to while away an afternoon. As I didn’t have much time I wasn’t planning to pop into an exhibition, I just wanted to have a look at some of my favourite pieces in the main collections by the likes of Picasso, Duchamp, Cezanne and Richard Long. On my way in I stumbled across the Jill Magid 'Authority to Remove' exhibition which was located in the level 2 gallery.
What I enjoyed most about this compelling exhibition other than discovering a new artist was that it worked as a great insight into the Dutch Secret Service, the AIVD. In 2005, Jill was commissioned by the AIVD (De Algemene Inlichtingen en Veiligheidsdienst) to create an artwork for their new headquarters which was a result of a stipulation under Dutch law that a portion of the budget for the new building be spent on an art commission. Whilst the entire exhibition was a document of Jill’s project, because of how highly all the work had been censored it felt more like an exhibition of a spy’s journal or something similarly controversial and as I wondered round the small space I really felt a sense of secrecy and that Magid had been silenced– very strange.
I Can Burn Your Face: Miranda III, 2008
The brief from the AIVD was to 'find the human face of the organisation'. Instructed to work only with agents who had volunteered to participate, the artist set about recruiting her subjects with an alluring infomercial broadcast on the agency's intranet. Arranging meetings via a third party fixer, Magid met with her subjects in impersonal locations – restaurants, bars, airport meeting points – and began gathering information from a selection of agents. As part of the commission, she proposed to write a report based on these encounters, to be made publicly available, combining personal details of the individual agents she met into a collective persona of the AIVD. Forbidden from using recording equipment during her encounters, she kept handwritten notes from which she created a series of artworks including neons, sculptures, prints and drawings.
Vetting Box, 2008
The resulting 2008 exhibition Article 12 at Stroom gallery in The Hague marked the official end of Magid's commission. Exhibiting the project publicly was to be an inversion of the surveillance duties of the agency: during the exhibition the public could scrutinise the institution rather than vice versa. The day before the opening, the AIVD sent a group of agents to the gallery to approve the work. Before they left, Magid handed them a draft of her manuscript so that they could remove any information that might compromise her sources' identities. Upon reading the manuscript, the agents came back, after the show had already opened, to confiscate a number of artworks.
By this time, Magid had returned to America. The heavily edited manuscript was delivered to her in Brooklyn by a representative from the Dutch Embassy in Washington. Magid arranged for the handover of the document to be captured by a hidden photographer, adopting The Organization's own tactics. In the redacted text, some of the artist's descriptions of her own thoughts and feelings had been removed in addition to 'potentially sensitive' information given to her by her sources.
I Can Burn Your Face, 2008
Unable to publish the remaining fragments of the text as a coherent novel, Magid protested against this censorship of her own memories. In their letter of July 17 2009, the AIVD suggested that she 'present the manuscript as a visual work of art in a one-time-only exhibition, after which it would become the property of the Dutch government and not be published'. The present exhibition enacts this request. In Authority to Remove Magid explores what it means to have a secret but not the autonomy to share it. She has taken the title from the official Tate form that would need to be completed and signed were her book to be confiscated. By adhering to the rules laid out by the Dutch secret service, Magid intends for this exhibition to constitute the end of her performance, the surrendering of her authorship to The Organization.
A couple of weeks back now I was very excited to receive an unexpected present in the form of a SIGG Swiss water bottle. Whilst I'm not in the habit about writing about everything I buy/receive I thought this was definitely worth a mention as its eco friendly, which for me means big brownie points!! In 2008, SIGG became the number one brand of reusable water bottles in the world with its bottles being 100% recyclable.
Now, the real reason I love my SIGG thermos water bottle is that I now have a vessel to take soup to work in, but also and largely because it features one of the most iconic Keith Haring designs known to man - and I am a HUGE Haring fan.
For some reason partially unbeknown to even me I am yet to post photographs I took at the Lava Collective/ Cityscapes graffiti and street art exhibition that I went to nearly 5 weeks ago!!! As its now ended there's not much point in waxing lyrical about it although I will say that it was great and right up my street...
Respect where respect is due, its only right that photos of the great artists and legendary writers come first:
Kinda goes without saying, but just incase all works in the above photos are the property of the artists.
Earlier today I attended the New Look press day and am rather glad to say that this is the last one I’ll be attending this year! As with the ASOS press day there was a lot of colour on show and lots of embellishment everywhere I looked. Funnily enough the majority of the embellishments appeared to heavily feature on racer-back vests, waistcoats and tops, which to date I haven’t seen so strong anywhere else on the high street. Could New Look be starting a little micro trend I wonder...?
My favourite embellished piece was this cotton waistcoat embellished with several dozen plain cream buttons. Whilst it looks great, this is something that strikes a chord with me personally as I’m a sad fucker who collects buttons – so was overjoyed to discover a way I could put them to good use and be on trend next summer at the same time. I liked the pattern they’ve gone for here, simple yet chic, but think I’d mix it up a bit with mismatching buttons....
There were also lots of tops with slashed and cut backs...
Not too much that really stood out other than the accessories. More of the same (in terms of what we’re used to seeing everywhere that we already love) just tweaked a little and brought up to date for next season. I guess my favourite piece was the ‘lovely’ necklace which is quite a bargain at £25.
Something I did love (similar to that which I brought to your attention from the Miss Selfridgerange, and also similar to the Agnes B locket pendant) was this beautiful heart shaped floral printed silk purse. Loved the florals and colours and just love this spin on the chain link bag. What I like is that these cute heart shaped bags are fun, sexy and are very summer-drinks-at- a-swanky-bar type bags. The only realistic reservation I have is that as a keen hoarder I like my handbags a bit bigger, but this beauty is well worth the squeeze.
Frivolity aside this is a stunning bag which I think could truly be worn with most outfits in any wardrobe unless you’re a Juicy Couture tracksuit type, and in that case I’m not sure why you would be enjoying this blog as if I could I would ban them being worn within a one mile radius of one’s house. Meaning the corner shop is okay, the school run is just about acceptable, but for anything more than defrosting the freezer wear some less chavvy clothes! Wanting to be fair and give credit where its due the two ladies that founded Juicy Couture have built up a huge empire and are minted beyond my wildest dreams, so they obviously know what they’re doing and are catering to a market who can’t seem to get enough of their LA Wag style.
Obviously on a bit of a ramble today so much so that I’ve almost forgotten to mention the Gold label collection by Giles. Shock Horror it was very, very nice. Really liked the embellished illustration T-shirt dress, only trouble is if you’re a bit booby it looks really shit and spoils the image so regretfully that won’t be making its way into my wardrobe. Really like the black and white striped mack which looked quite silky, and alos like the monochrome sequined dress which was tres chic.
I think I’m a little late on this, but as it’s for a good cause I don’t mind being fashionably late! For 10 days (26th- 6th Dec) only Topshop are inviting shoppers to go into their Flagship Oxford Circus store to try on dresses donated by some of the hottest A-list celebrities of the moment. Dresses will be available for hire through the party season (7th- 23rd December). Dresses on offer include come from some of the most fabulous A-lister’s wardrobes including; Scarlett Johansson, Dita Von Teese, Freida Pinto and Kate Moss. Prices start at £40, which is a bargain and with all of the money going straight to both Age Concern and Help the Aged. I honestly can’t think of a better way to wow your colleagues at the office Christmas party!!
All photographs on this site are the property of Creative-Idle/ Rachael Oku. Other images taken by third parties are credited within the relevant post. If you would like to use any of my photographs please ask.