Anticlone Gallery present ‘Black Light Theater, The Takeover III’ in partnership with Mandrake Hotel for Frieze Week London, running from October 9th to October 15th, 2023. The exhibition curated by Sade English and Maria Abramenko promises to be an immersive and thought-provoking experience celebrating the diversity and non-conformity of contemporary art.
Can you tell us about the inspiration behind Anticlone and how it reflects your personal vision as a designer and artist?
Anticlone itself formed during a time where I was recognising how much systemically society is controlled, from living, existing and to freedom of expression. This was discovered whilst I was within Art school, 13 years ago at UAL (University of The Arts London). The idea of expressing yourself freely was not my reality, something of which I had expected before entering. I was extremely self aware from an early age, therefore analyzing and asking questions came naturally to me. There are unspoken rules and regulations set by the Western world which has a choke hold on humanity, and society. Understanding this early on in my childhood, made me consciously aware of my surroundings and self aware of what I wished to accept, question and not conform to be. For me, exploring things that were in fact not trending for the masses, in all areas from, subcultures, fashion trends, politics, culture and so forth is what enables me to have an appreciation for the unknown, which led to my natural curiosity and appreciation for Arts and Culture. It was a form of escapism as well as my outsource to express my inner thoughts, worlds and conceptual fantasies. I was specifically drawn to the Avant Garde style of art and fashion, a love for minimalism, dark and light, industrial and so forth for my sanctuary.
I myself have been a part of industrial/Avantgarde London subcultures and movement naturally, therefore I have been surrounded by like minded individuals all my life. It is known for being a scene which is/was predominantly populated by a higher percentage of european and asian collective of people, there was little to no representation of POC avant garde creatives within the scene. As an individual with mixed heritage, being an Italian, Andean and African Caribbean (Jamaican) woman within the Arts, and within the Avantgarde scene at that, I took it upon myself to become the representation I wished to see, rather than seeking representation. In doing so I myself was proof I exist which led me to continue to platform others at the same time. Here my community grew and Anticlone & Sade English LTD was born in 2012. Anticlone gallery followed in November 2020, in memory of late mother and grandmother Marcos Byfield and Daphne English. 2020 was the natural evolution of Anticlone to evolve from a concept, to a movement , collective and now gallery; I felt an urge to create my own visual representation, representing my own work alongside a collection of works from other artists, speaking for both myself and for them.
Your background is rooted in both fashion design and visual art. How do these disciplines intersect in your work?
Anticlone from 2012, evolved into a visual and wearable art brand. 2020 was the evolution and founding moment of Anticlone Gallery. Intersectionality is crucial with all projects I do as they all overlap from wearable art, visual art and design. My design explores both draping, shape, sculpture, and above all is abstract from canvas to garment. I have solely focused on visual art since 2019/20 the moment my parents passed (Dec 2019 & Feb 2020), this life changing moment rerouted my focus into exploring/revisiting the canvas as a medium and the desire to uplift a community in their name was my goal. However I intend to design a collection, and have it available for 2024, which will be my first in what’s been 4 years. My paintings take inspiration from my ancestry, which is then put into both paintings and collections I produce.
Could you elaborate on the concept of deconstruction and modification of classic forms in your designs, particularly with regard to the human body?
Deconstruction is often explored in a very abstract manner, rather than using the traditional pattern cutting methods. I drape garments, depending on emotion on that fabric, and Harriet wishes to drape and move itself. It takes a life of its own, rather than trying to conform the fabric to drape in specific ways which are known to the confirmed mannerisms of Pattern Cutting. I drape the garment for it to be worn by the individual, each piece is unique, and 1 of 1. The priority is for it to have its own unique story and fort the garment to not over power the individual/wearer.
The human body itself, I find fascinating, I redrape and construct the human body to be flattering on the wearer. Regardless of their gender is extremely important to me. We are not cloneable, but one thing that does group everybody is simply that we are human first therefore the human body is something that I love to drape upon rather than produce a garment that the body then has to be forced to conform to. I have a similar approach with my paintings, none are replicated, it is a 1 of 1 painting within a series. Above all human interaction, human emotion and the human body are fundamentally the chords to each collection I produce whether that is visual arts or wearable. My history, ancestry and legacy influenced everything I do that is Anticlone.
You mentioned drawing inspiration from Afro-futurism and your unique heritage. How do these influences manifest in your art and designs?
My heritage and ancestry as an Andean and African-Jamaican woman, is the center focus which my works pay homage to. History and ancestry is the foundation to my works, and the underlying narrative to my story. The color Black is consistent and symbolic of representing my identity as black woman with mixed heritage.
Since 2021 color has been incorporated (previously seen in the Red and Blue painting Series) which is representative of the Native American side of myself, plus being representative of Africa and Black, being the consistent foundation of a black woman.
Black appears prominently in your art. Could you explain its significance and symbolism in your work?
The symbolism comes from my African ancestry, and my appreciation for minimalism, this is something that I explore throughout my paintings, hence the red and blue series. However, Black is always my foundation, it represents the calm and my ancestry is what I take homage to specifically, women. The two women who are extremely powerful to me which makes me who I am as an artist today Anticlone in fact is who Anticlone and Sade English LTD in in memory of, both my mother and grandmother who are both Jamaican, black women , black history and black and a color for my identity fundamentally and takes center stage with everything I do.
Anticlone is described as a concept that does not conform to society. What societal norms or conventions do you aim to challenge with this project?
What I wish to challenge is mainly the ideas on what the fashion and arts industry is today. The realities are things such as trends that are consistently appearing every year. The fashion industry for example still is heavily influenced via trend forecaster, trends keeping focus and terms such as, womenswear and menswear is still used. Many roles and terms I personallyI find quite out-dated and unnecessary. Anticlone is a part of a movement which supports and represents change and a new way of thinking. Something that numerous individuals have been doing beforehand is conforming to what is expected.
Anticlone is simply a part of making history in platforming and increasing awareness on who deserves to be seen and heard in hope to replace these outdated trends and terminologies. Above all it is to be representative for society to recognise that there are other options other than the conformed enforced terms which society has been using for countless years.
Anticlone podcast is due for Frieze 2023, what to expect?
Evolving from Anticlone in conversation, which is a live panel discussion as Sade is both the mediator interviews invited guests, originally developing from Soho house, 2020 where the first takeover launched, the podcast is a revolution of this. Anti-podcast is a sit down conversation with in cities guest, have a intimate conversation with Sade English, discussing their experience, views on their industry which they are in, and above all shares real and genuine insight to their word, enabling the listener to take inspiring, and eye opening information on the realities of navigating industry. Often listeners can feel far removed and most podcasts are somewhat formal when surrounding the arts, the Antipodcast is anti this, self explanatory but is to enable the viewer, guest and Sade English to have a conversation that feels informal, intimate and honest, above all it is to feel inspired.
What is Sade working on at the moment?
I am currently planning my new solo show for 2024, as well as designing and working on my new SADE ENGLISH clothing collection for the new year; a first since my last wearable art collection in 2019 this will be a ready-to-wear collection, focusing on tailoring, outerwear and minimal designs and fits. An everyday wardrobe for all paying homage to classical minimalism with elements of avant garde signature, my ancestry as well as my chapter which has enabled me to the next project I am working on, is for frieze 2023, for The Takeover III, Black light theater.
Anticlone Gallery Presents ‘Black + Light Theater, The Takeover III’. In partnership with Mandrake for Frieze Week London, from 9th – October – 15th October 2023. Anticlone presents a week-long program of events that showcases multidisciplinary Avant-garde Artists specializing in sound, performance, moving images and installations. ‘The Takeover III’ invites you to an overall Anticlone immersive experience, inspired by the Anticlone concept that has evolved to become a movement and gallery which holds an unparalleled selection of unique, non-conformist Artists and creatives. Anticlone founding Director, Artist, and Curator Sade English invites her first co-curator Maria Abramenko, since launching in November 2020.
‘Black Light Theater, The Takeover III’ for the first time invites and welcomes external Artists to quite literally take over The Mandrake Theater as well as showcase alongside the Anticlone collection and archive curated by Sade and Maria. Each Artist involved is unique in their own right, and collectively powerfully aligned through embodying the Anticlone non-conformist concept.
Alongside the theater programme, there will be a new curation of artworks installed within the walls of The Mandrake; Exploring both Black, Light, and Identity within their works. The title pays homage to ‘Black light theater’; from French avant-garde directors from the 1950s; artists will explore the use of black box theater augmented by white light and black light illusions. Stressing the importance of the value of expression without these established and emerging titles. Anticlone Gallery removes and blurs the terminology altogether, enabling the viewer and collector to appreciate Art for what it truly is, expression. Artists included are Alban Adam, Chad Curry, Edoardo Dionea Cicconi, Gaika, Joshua Woolford, Krissie Marie Heliodore, Lulu Wang, Marie Sauvage, Othello De’Souza Hartley, and Sade English. Stay tuned for full program details, and dates coming soon.