Who are the artists to look out for in the spring of 2015?
Sleek turns to Chisenhale Gallery to find out.
You might call it “incubator of the London art scene”: Chisenhale Gallery has a reputation for cultivating the hottest artistic talent in the capital. Chisenhale curator Katie Guggenheim reports on three of the gallery’s protegés as they transition from fledgling stars to established names.
Patrick Staff’s new film, The Foundation, shot at Tom of Finland’s rambling clapboard home of in the Echo Park neighbourhood of Los Angeles, delves into the artist and Gay icon’s legacy. “In my film, Tom of Finland Foundation is revealed as an archive and a centre for the community of people who care for it,” says Staff. “it’s an office but also a domestic environment, complete with an active BDSM dungeon.”
The leather-clad muscular bodies in Tom of Finland’s drawings have come to define a particular hyper-masculine representation of Gay men, one that conflicts with Staff’s own queer, trans-identity. taking up informal residence at the Foundation in summer 2014, helping out with the digitisation of their collection of erotic films on deteriorating VHS tapes, he began to grapple with questions of inheritance and identity: “I feel a connection to the older generation of Gay men, particularly in relation to AIDS, like I have an ‘inheritance’. But it is a complex thing.”
While participating in a prestigious programme for young filmmakers at the London-based moving image agency, LUX, Staff took ballet lessons, and this has influenced the film. By incorporating elements of choreography and improvisational theatre techniques into his work, Staff maintains the immediacy of live performance, combined with the urgency of his own activist politics. Powerfully political and deeply personal, this is staff’s most ambitious project to date, and marks his debut on the international stage, with presentations at Chisenhale Gallery in London, Spike Island, Bristol, the Institute of Modern Art in Brisbane and the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver.