A Shapeshifting World

Takayuki Hara Solo Show

22 February 2013 – 14 March 2013

‘A Shapeshifting World’ Takayuki Hara’s solo exhibition at Unit 24 is a collective display of Hara’s three year project “Shapeshifters”. Inspired by Ovid’s Metamorphosis, Hara started his project in 2009, he created a series of drawings and sculptures based on the idea of our ever-changing and fluid identity.


20 Great Guildford Street

London SE1 0FD



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‘Nothing retains its original form, but Nature, the goddess of all renewal, keeps altering one shape into another. Nothing at all in the world can perish, things merely vary and change their appearance. What we call birth is merely becoming a different entity; what we call death is ceasing to be the same.’ –Ovid ‘Metamorphosis’ Book 15


The idea of shapeshifters has travelled through history. It can be found in many myths and stories all over the world, or even in many forms of contemporary culture such as film and literature. My work is not concerned with the details of these stories, but rather what they represent and reveal metaphorically in this world of uncertainty.


One of my inspirations was the poem “Metamorphosis” by Ovid, in which human forms constantly transform into other entities, suggesting a new potentiality of being. In this world we are living in, nothing ever stays the same, we are in a constant state of flux; shapeshifting. I became interested in the idea of shapeshifting as a way to open up the unknown space hidden underneath the surface where organs are revealed.  Full of potentiality as an opposed idea of psychoanalysis, a concept Freud and Lacan coined, based on the binary ideas of ‘conscious’ and ‘unconscious’, or ‘whole’ and ‘lack’. My aim is to go beyond psychoanalysis to free ourselves from restraint, to reach a place where endless potentiality exists without boundaries.


French Philosopher Giles Deleuze’ coinage: ‘becoming’ and ‘rhizome’ were other ideas that influenced my work. They are models of thinking, an ever-expanding labyrinth without a centre, capable of either opening up or closing down. Although Deleuze’s idea leads to an extreme emergence which excludes others, blurring the boundaries of identities, into the singular entity of immanence. I am interested in the process of our identities becoming blurred and multiple before becoming a singular existence.  A chaotic emergence where organization is impossible, what is hidden reveals itself, what is different no longer differs.

With my work, I would like to evoke the awareness or recognition to open up, the potential to become a new entity, the possibility to embrace the differences, rather than dismissing the differences as demonic, to emerge as one.




The Photographers Gallery

There is a really exciting exhibition on at The Photographers Gallery which showcases 10 artists dealing with photography and collage. I have sourced images and write- ups from the current website or from other sites. Details are below.

Laura Letinsky- ILL FORM AND VOID FULL- 18 January – 7 April 2013

© Laura Letinsky, Ill Form and Void Full, Untitled 34, 2011

© Laura Letinsky, Ill Form and Void Full, Untitled 34, 2011

 Laura Letinsky, Ill Form and Void Full, Untitled 3, 2011

Laura Letinsky, Ill Form and Void Full, Untitled 3, 2011

2nd exhibition- Perspectives on Collage showcases eight approaches to collage. I have selected images from the internet that each artist has made, not necessarily at this particular exhibition

Peggy Franck

Batia Suter- ‘Surface Series (Table Selection)’ / 2010-2011 / 122 x 244 cm

Nicole Wermers – Dorinth, 2003, 33 x 24 cm, magazine

C.K. Rajan

Jan Svoboda-

Anna Parkina- Fist Timer
Oil and collage on canvas
50 x 40 cm

Roy Arden

Clunie Reid, It Ain’t Gonna Spank Itself, 2013. Collage © Clunie Reid. Courtesy of the artist and MOT International

Geraldo de Barros


18 January – 7 April 2013

Geraldo de Barros, Sobras, 1996-98 Courtesy of the artist and The Photographers’ Gallery

Geraldo de Barros, Sobras, 1996-98 Courtesy of the artist and The Photographers’ Gallery Geraldo de Barros



Man, RayWoman smoking a cigaretteDate: 1920

Man, Ray
Woman smoking a cigarette
Date: 1920

So I booked a ticket to visit the Man Ray exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in Trafalgar Square, London.  The show opened 7th Feb and runs until 27th May 2013. It is a good idea to book first, as I tried to go the week before, but it had sold out.

Man RaySelf Portrait 1916

Man RaySelf Portrait 1916

Man Ray was born in the USA, as Michael Emmanuel Radnitzky in 1890, after his family had recently emigrated from the Ukraine in 1886. However, he moves in 1921 to France, to immerse himself with the art and culture of this city. Man Ray initially learnt photography as a way of recording his  art assemblages and through out his life would alternate between photographic and other art forms as ways of expressing his ideas. He relinquished painting for a period beginning in 1922 to embark upon his photographic explorations, encouraged by his friend, Marcel Duchamp.   Perhaps much of his success can be attributed to his magazine publications, with its growing audience and popularity in the 1920s. He made experimental and ground breaking work as well as documenting famous friends; dancers, poets, writers, artists and art collectors. This particular exhibition focused upon these vibrant and avant-garde characters, documenting the changing styles of fashion, displaying  images commissioned for magazines like Vogue or Harper’s Bazaar or a photograph taken to promote a book by an author. The exhibition is also a personal record of his relationships with artist friends and lovers, their face and body transformed to convey an idea as well as reveal their intimate connection with the photographer.

Peggy Guggenheim in a dress by Paul Poiret

Peggy Guggenheim in a dress by Paul Poiret

Bernice Abbott - MAN RAY 1921

Bernice Abbott – MAN RAY 1921

Man Ray described himself as a photometrographer, not willing to label himself as painter, photographer or even fully ground himself in a particular movement. He was not officially part of the Surrealists or Dadaists, but shared similar ideologies such as an openess to fortuitous accidents, using puns and humor in his arrangement of objects.

Le Violon D'ingres Man Ray

Le Violon D’ingres Man Ray

This image of  Kiki de Montparnasses entitled ‘Violin d’Ingres’ references the elongated  forms of Ingres’ paintings and also compares Kiki as a hobby or pastime similar to a musical hobby, thus commenting on the objectification of women.

A quote from Under the skin: National Portrait Gallery’s Man Ray exhibition

A compelling new exhibition reveals Man Ray’s ability to capture the soul of his subjects. It’s a rare gift that sets him apart from his fellow Surrealists. By Adrian Hamilton


“Just as Picasso’s artistic course could be viewed through his successive lovers, so could Man Ray’s: the Montparnasse model Kiki after he moved to Paris in 1921, then the American photographer and journalist, Lee Miller, from 1929 to 1932, followed by the Guadeloupe dancer, Ady Fidelin, from 1936 to 1940, when he left war-torn France for the US, where he married Juliet Browner, who stayed with him until his death in 1976. His portraits of them, particularly Lee Miller, are suffused with a sense of both affection and admiration.”

Lee Miller became Man Ray’s assistant and muse after finding him in a cafe and announcing she was his next assistant. They discovered the technique of solarisation when she accidentally turned  on the light in the dark room during processing.

solarisation photo of Lee Miller

solarisation photo of Lee Miller

Dora Maar- Man Ray

Dora Maar- Man Ray

Lee Miller- Man Ray

Lee Miller- Man Ray

Juliet Browner in Wrapped Scarf by Man Ray 1945

Juliet Browner in Wrapped Scarf by Man Ray 1945

The above images were not in the exhibition, but are a couple of my favourite images. Juliet Browner, Man Ray’s last partner is shown wrapped in a scarf.

There is at times a sense of dislocation around Man Ray’s portraits, where bodies and heads appear to  float like moons, self-absorbed or dream-like. However, some portraits capture the essence of the sitter, of their strong personality, purposefully constructed infront of the lens.

Man Ray

Tonsure (Marcel Duchamp), 1919 - photo by Man Ray Tonsure (Marcel Duchamp), 1919 – photo by Man Ray

Ava Gardner in costume for Albert Lewin’s Pandora and the Flying Dutchman by Man Ray, 1950Man Ray Trust © Man Ray Trust/ADAGP/DACS

Ava Gardner in costume for Albert Lewin’s Pandora and the Flying Dutchman by Man Ray, 1950 Man Ray Trust © Man Ray Trust/ADAGP/DACS