JUNE 2017

Our creative researchers hotfoot it around the globe, bringing us news of the latest crazes, future trends and awe-inspiring innovations in the world of art and culture. So what have they been up to this month? From the amusing to the amazing, the weird to the wonderful - here are the things they can't stop thinking about…


Post-truth art

Damien Hirst is back, and with his most extravagant project to date. The artist-come-archaeologist has filled two Venetian venues with 5,000 square metres of ancient archaeological discoveries for his new show, titled 'Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable'. The vast display contains over 189 relics, including a coral-crusted pharaoh that looks suspiciously like our own modern pharaoh, Pharrell Williams. Remarkable, eh? It really is as unbelievable as the show's title suggests. Damien is pulling our leg, on a scale of epic proportions - but even if you aren't duped by the false discovery, the sheer compendium of references woven into each 'relic' won't fail to keep your gaze.

The show is running until 3 December at the Palazzo Grassi and Punta Della Dogana, Venice.


When in Venezia

All aboard the Vaporetto! The 57th edition of the Venice Biennale is in full swing and jam-packed with an overwhelming amount of art. The sheer volume of which begs the question: how much art can one really take in? Our top three pavilions (after much deliberation) are: Erkka Nissinen and Nathaniel Mellors' satirical takeover of the Finnish Pavilion; Phyllida Barlow's dwarfing abstract forms in the British Pavillion, and Erwin Wurm's interactive one-minute sculptures in the Austrian Pavillion. Venice is also flooded with incredible off-site shows - just remember to pack a Kit-Kat or two.

The Venice Biennale runs until 26 November.


Meditative minimalism

Darren Johnston's latest show, 'Zero Point', had us melting into our seats. The acclaimed choreographer/multimedia artist orchestrated an ensemble of Japanese dancers juxtaposed against a multi-dimensional light show, accompanied by a jarring high-frequency soundtrack by electronic music pioneer Tim Hecker. The piece incorporates Japanese Butoh, a style of performance characterised by slow movements and a stillness that draws attention to the details of the dance. The show maintains this muted tempo throughout, with occasional interceptions of retina-scorching floodlights to cause an abrupt interruption to any snoozing audience members, of which we did spy a few. This one is strictly for the minimalists among us.


Aphex wins

Electronic music maestro Aphex Twin doesn't do things by halves… The mysterious disc jockey took his performance to a whole new level at this year's Field Day Festival, hosted in Victoria Park, London. The ground-shattering set unfolded from inside an aeroplane hanger, complete with a stroboscopic laser show. Not to mention the mind-bending visuals from regular collaborator Weirdcore, who, via a drone, live-mapped audience members' faces and morphed them with Aphex's. The most mind-blowing gig we've witnessed in yonks.

We've spied Aphex on the bill at Flow Festival, 11 August, at Suvilahti Power Plant, Finland. You can also watch the full set from Field Day on YouTube.


Pooch perfect

This month we attended quite pawsibly (ahem!) the most genius book launch of all time…an evening celebrating French illustrator Jean Jullien's new book 'Under Dogs' – a comical take on all things canine. Guests were invited to bring their furry companions along to pose for Jean Jullien as he drew them live. Kudos to London-based independent printing and publishing house Hato Press for whipping up this truly original event. A furry good time was had by all…


The art of the in-between

Rei Kawakubo's solo show, currently underway at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, well and truly knocked our socks off. The show, titled 'Art of the In-Between', explores the premise that in order to reach the state of the in-between, polar opposites must clash (absence/presence, fashion/anti-fashion, high/low). The space itself is inseparable from the exhibition and integral to the overall message; instead of distracting you from the work, it creates moments of focus to pause and reflect, creating a holistic reaction to the exhibition and placing you within the point of view of the designer. The result is a theatrical triumph - a true testament to one of fashion’s most influential designers.

The exhibition is due to run until 4 September at the MET, New York.