Friday, 21 May 2010

Richard Kern & VBS.TV = In Various States of Undress - Naturally.

Last night was the opening night of Richard Kern's exhibition 'Shot by Kern Europe'. It was an affair like so many other (Vice) affairs before it. Upon entering the Hoxton Square exhibition I was greeted with a number of portraits lining bleak white walls. The portraits were of semi-nude / completely nude girls partaking in some menial activity. Smoking a bong/joint, embracing in the forest, lying on a bed, brushing teeth etc. The exhibition follows Kern on a six-country European tour in which he shot girls in various states of undress.

Initially I felt like I was in some parallel universe; staring at complete porn with 10 guys standing around me also 'appreciating' Kern's work. There was even a video in a small separate room that watched as a curvy Spanish lass sultrily swayed in front of the camera before removing her bra and then drawing on herself (boobs, stomach, bottom) with a purple texta. But the best had to be the one from the photographer's classic 'Up-Skirt' Series. A 4x5 display of 20 different standing ladies from the perception of someone who uses a camera while lying between their legs. Birds eye view, indeed.


The dark-haired girl in the end photo of the above work is in fact the drummer in the Big Pink and singer and drummer in punk-rock noise-machine Comanechi. I had previously interviewed Comanechi and as a result instantly recognised her photo. Later outside I ran into her and congratulated her. It went something along the lines of: "Congratulations I think everyone in Shoreditch has now seen your boobies". My interview with her will be in the next issue of 'SUP Mag.

Speaking of quite a few east-end girls I know were approached to have their own semi/completely nude photos taken by the infamous US photographer. All but one refused. For her efforts Jana will be paid £50. Ch-ching.

Admittedly I will say that the very popular (I wonder why?) VBS.TV behind the scenes series is a rather interesting watch. The show interviews the girls in the photos about why they've agreed to be shot in such compromising positions etc. Obviously the Americans always have the most inane responses.

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I am more than prone to monologues; however, this is solely due to the manner in which they compliment a witty anecdote and their ability to resemble concrete evidence when it is so obviously lacking. I often wish I could emulate that aloof character who coolly stands in the corner smiling mysteriously as if she has a secret. However, I fear resisting the temptation to involve myself in other people’s conflicts and responding through body language rather than verbose banter may come across as contrived and arrogant. And, I am not willing to take that chance.

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