Tuesday, 24 April 2012

FAD Interview: Jan Manski for Onania at The Rochelle School

Photo by Laura Bushell

(Originally published on FAD)

Welcome to Onania, a world unlike anything you’ve seen outside of a David Cronenberg film. Artist Jan Manski envisions the most narcissistic character traits of our society as a disfiguring force, propelling us into a self-destructive future of unattainable pleasure and perfection.

Trained at Central St Martins, the Polish born artist works in 2D, 3D and film and has been fashioning his alternative universe over roughly two and a half years with a meticulous sense of detail and feeling for the grotesque.

The launch pad for the exhibition is his film, The Onanizer: Your Ultimate Masturbation Experience, which uses a seductive voiceover and pristine visuals to sell viewers the ultimate pleasure product, with a sense of the absurd, humorous and downright disturbing running the whole way through it.

But inevitably there’s no pleasure without pain, and what follows in Manski’s fictional world is a state of gradual disfiguration and destruction brought on by this experience of ultimate bliss. Such is the price to pay for our vanity.

Manski took FAD on a tour of his solo show, which includes the whole of Onania along with documentation of its creation along with an earlier work, Posessia. Onania runs until Saturday 5 May at the Rochelle School, Arnold Circus, E2 7ES. See http://www.breeselittle.com/

Where does Onania come from?

The roots of Onania are beauty magazines and also vintage magazines, fashion and design items that I’d selected when I was trying to find a style of the project. I was trying to get inspiration from some fetishistic and narcissistic level of fashion. It all begins from The Onanizer it’s the start. It’s supposed to give us happiness but in fact it mutates us.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Little White Lies Interview: North Sea Texas

(Originally published in Little White Lies)

Bavo Defurne, Eva Van Der Gucht, Yves Verbraeken and Jelle Florizoone
The North Sea Texas crew sit down to chat about the bonding experience of making the film.

This tale of teenage first love in a sleepy Belgian seaside town marks a striking feature film debut for director Bavo Defurne, whose short films picked up plaudits around the world. North Sea Texas is a moving story, beautifully told and acted. LWLies caught up with Defurne in London recently, along with producer Yves Verbraeken, actor Jelle Florizoone, and actress Eva van der Gucht.

LWLies: Bavo, this is your first feature film after a series of successful shorts, how was it to make the leap?

BD: When I showed my short films, most of them deal with rejection or loneliness and a lot of young audiences would ask what happens next? I wouldn’t know because when you make a short film you’re happy that you finished it! I really didn’t know what would be the solution for these lonely teenagers, so all the shorts had an open ending and in that sense the feature finishes them a little bit.

What attracted you to this adaptation?

BD: I think the whole tone of the book it’s adapted from is quite optimistic and that’s something rare in gay coming-of-age films, if you want to call them that. There’s a lot of films dealing with loneliness, rejection, hate, and the struggle of coming out, but I think Pim’s struggle is more in convincing the other person that his love is valuable and important. So it’s much more a love film than a coming out film, and in that sense it’s something new and it charmed me very much. It’s still a little bit open to interpretation, but it doesn’t end with a suicide or unhappy marriage or loneliness for the rest of your life kind, thing that you would have in films like Brokeback Mountain.

You didn’t enjoy Brokeback then?

BD: I have nothing against Brokeback Mountain but the thing is that it’s so sad. Being such a sad story about negative things, it also confirms negative things. We’re not from a perfect country but in Belgium a woman can marry a woman and a man can marry a man, and as a filmmaker, as an artist, you should also reflect positive things in your society,

Little White Lies Review: North Sea Texas

(Originally published in Little White Lies)

In the opening scenes of North Sea Texas, a young boy named Pim (Jelle Florizoone) dresses up in his mother’s old beauty queen costume, complete with sash, tiara and lipstick. When she walks in on him, he’s shocked. But she’s not. She simply accepts the situation for whatever it might be.

Pim lives in a hazy, lazy Belgian coastal town and grows up to be something of a pensive, gentle soul. He is quite unlike his mother, who clings to memories of a glamorous childhood of pageants and performing, resulting in a parenting style that’s based more on dream than reality. So the teenager is often left alone, seeking refuge with neighbours, namely the more maternal Marcella and her kids, Gino (Mathias Vergels) and Sabrina (Nina Marie Kortekaas).

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