Björk Retrospective


Björk, The cover image for the single Venus as a Boy, 1993, by Jean-Baptiste Mondino.

8 March – 7 June, 2015 the Museum of Modern Art, New York will present “Björk”, the first retrospective dedicated to the multifaceted artist that explores Björk’s singular place in contemporary art, and celebrates her highly original and significant music, compositions, performances, and visual presentations.  Björk offers an experience of music in many layers, with instruments, a theatrical presentation, an immersive sound experience, a focused audio guide, and related visualizations -from photography and music videos to new media works.


Björk, The cover image for Biophilia, 2011, featuring a red nebula-style wig by Eugene Souleiman, dress by Iris van Herpen, and a ‘harp-belt’ in cherry wood and bronze by threeASFOUR. Constellation by M/M Paris. Photo courtesy Inez van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin. The Biophilia cover depicts Björk as a kind of sci-fi Mother Earth. The image weaves together elements of the universe, as illustrated by M/M Paris.

The exhibition draws from more than 20 years of the artist’s daring and innovative career, beginning with her eight full-length albums and multiple collaborations with directors, photographers, designers, artists, and other experimental practitioners, and culminating in a new, immersive music and film experience commissioned by MoMA. Chronologically, the exhibition begins with the release of Björk’s first mature solo album, Debut, in 1993, and proceeds through her career up to her most recent work in 2015, including a new video and music installation commissioned especially for the Museum, Black Lake –which also appears on her new album,Vulnicura.

Thames & Hudson is publishing Björk: Archives in March to accompany the exhibition at MoMA.

Bjork_BookBjörk, Contributions by Klaus Biesenbach, Alex Ross, Nicola Dibben, Timothy Morton, Sjón, Hardcover Slipcased, 192 pgs. with 224 illustrations, March, 2015.

Designed by top design studio M/M Paris as a slipcased world of wonders, this publication which accompanies springs exhibition on Björk at The Museum of Modern Art is composed of six parts: four booklets, a paperback and a poster. Each booklet contains illustrated texts by, respectively, Klaus Biesenbach, Alex Ross, Nicola Dibben and Timothy Morton, while the poster features artwork of Björk’s albums and singles.

The first book is an overview by the New Yorker’s music critic Alex Ross, who writes about Björk’s wide appeal and range, from club culture to high art. The second book is written by Nicola Dibben, professor of musicology at the University of Sheffield, who contemplates Björk’s feminism. There is also a “slightly adventurous” piece by posthumanist philosopher Timothy Morton, a text by MoMA chief curator at large Klaus Biesenbach, and the longest text is contributed by Icelandic poet Sjón. Sjón traces the journey of the seven albums Björk has produced since becoming independent and the personas she created for each of them. Sjón’s work is accompanied by new images of the singer that were taken in her native Iceland, and a video of their creation is featured in the exhibition.

Plant Power

Green Is The New Black


The future state of the planet has always been a source of fascination and people from all areas of study or interest have imagined their own version of what the world will be like when earth’s resources are depleted and/or cities are demolished. Designer Chiu Chih shares her own vision of the apocalyptic future with her project “Voyage On The Planet.” The designer created a survival kit in the form of a backpack that contains a plant, which provides the wearer with breathable air. Being that plants are the main source of oxygen production and they also minimize carbon dioxide, an unusual but still credible design solution. Chih focuses on the power of nature, specifically the future of the plant, and how as humans we may rely on its natural resources in order to survive. The project explores the uncertainty of the future, the ever-changing state of the world, and how people are forced to adapt to the changes. The project also takes a look at the importance of the survival of man when all the earth’s resources are gone. Voyage On The Planet was an entry at this year’s DMY Berlin -the International Platform for Architecture, Interior and Product Design.

Roots And All

Charles Grogg’s photographs are hauntingly beautiful. And they are strange… Strings and wire are often an integral part of a Grogg photograph… wire, string, tendrils, roots, veins, all the connecting tethers of life. ~John Wood, Poet & Photographic Historian


Charles Grogg, Subterraneous From After Ascension And Descent series, Gelatin Silver Print, 20×24, Courtesy Corden|Potts Gallery, San Francisco, © Charles Grogg.

In his catalogue, After Ascension and Descent, Grogg observed that “wires, tethers, ropes, string, conduits all appear whenever there is something important near,” and he realized that he “must be tethered too.” All is connected but we are all divided. If we could “only connect.” And so wire, string, tendrils, roots, veins, all the connecting tethers of life, became his metaphor.


Charles Grogg, Bonsai From Reconstructions series, Platinum/Palladium on Japanese Gampi, Sewn on Japanese Washi, 28×36, Courtesy Corden|Potts Gallery, San Francisco, © Charles Grogg.

Charles Grogg is an American contemporary cross-disciplinary artist and photographer based in southern California, where he produces fractured photographic images printed in silver and sewn through or in platinum and palladium on handmade Japanese washi, which are restitched into whole images and frequently feature tethers, sutures or other three-dimensional productions. The resulting images focus on issues of growth and restraint, hesitation and power. He has synthesized imagery from literature as well as the pictorial arts into his imaginative workflow. Botanicals and other natural imagery, architecture, and nudes are often isolated from environmental backgrounds both to draw attention to their inherently sensual details and to make their implausible disconnection from the natural and vital world a cause for further investigation.


Charles Grogg, Cracked From After Ascension And Descent series, Toned Gelatin Silver Print, brown cotton thread, 20×24, Courtesy Corden|Potts Gallery, San Francisco, © Charles Grogg.

Grogg employs both traditional and digital photographic techniques to achieve his imagery. He uses black and white film, currently preferring Ilford FP4 Plus in 4×5 and 120 sizes. Polaroid 55 P/N, a film once favored by Ansel Adams, was also a favorite of Grogg’s before it was discontinued, and the Hasselblad 501 and a DLC Canham -a handmade aluminum 4×5 field camera. The finished prints of these images are sensual artifacts, developed and toned in silver gelatin or luxuriously handcoated platinum/palladium on handmade Japanese gampi, a rare and beautiful washi.


Charles Grogg, Cracked: The Art of Charles Grogg, Limited Edition Monograph Book, 2012.

Cracked: The Art of Charles Grogg: The beautifully crafted deluxe limited edition book with 11 poems and an essay by John Wood, is a magnificent selection from two bodies of his work. There are ten 11″ x 14″ platinum prints on extremely rare Japanese Gampi Torinoko paper and three free-standing 20″ x 24″ hand sewn from his signature Reconstructions series. Each of the thirteen are printed and signed by Grogg. The monumental binding design at 20″ x 21.5″ using fabric, goatskin, and actual cracked egg shells makes this one of the most ambitious 21st Editions book/print sets to date. Masterpiece.

Grogg’s images have been shown in galleries internationally and published widely in fine art photography periodicals. To see his portfolio and to learn more about his process, visit the artist’s website: Charles Grogg. He is represented by Corden|Potts Gallery in San Francisco.

Björk Biophilia

“Biophilia” premiered this past summer at the Manchester International Festival (MIF) in England to great acclaim including The New York Times featuring the performance in their “Concert Highs of 2011,” followed by a sold out residency in Björk’s hometown of Reykjavik, Iceland. In partnership with Creator’s Project, Björk is set to bring her live Biophilia show to New York City this month for a special 10-night residency split between the New York Hall of Science -New York City’s only hands-on science and technology museum, and the Roseland Ballroom.


Björk in Biophilia Photography/ Inez Van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin

The show is an intense and intricately crafted spectacle that explores the inherent link between humans and living systems, nature and technology, and will be performed in the round featuring a range of unique custom designed instruments -created by a team including an Icelandic organ builder and a graduate of the MIT Media Lab, a 24-strong Icelandic female choir, and a backdrop of visuals generated by the Biophilia app with app developer Max Weisel performing on stage alongside Björk and musicians Manu Delagu and Zeena Parkins.

In conjunction with the performances the Creator’s Project will also provide a three-week interactive exhibit at the NYHOS using songs from Biophilia in installations and other pieces to explore concepts at the core of Biophilia’s songs, and instruct on how to use the Biophilia apps for music composition. Björk’s Biophilia album was released 2011 alongside an iPad app with interactive science and music accompaniments to the songs. The songs are haunting, resonating other worldly experimental melodies with fluctuating meters, meant to capture the patterns in natural phenomena like those of gravity, lunar cycles, DNA and crystals.

David Attenborough-narrated intro to the Biophilia App Suite, For more information about the artist’s work see Bjork