Friday, 12:24am
30 April 2010

I’ve seen that face before

Grace Jones is immortalised in light at Chris Levine’s Vinyl Factory show

Grace Jones may be a face of the 80s, but a new exhibition in London shows her to be both timeless and totally contemporary. The Art Vinyl gallery, a former car park below the Phonica record shop in London, is host to ‘Stillness at the Speed of Light’, a dazzling array of lenticular images by photographer / artist Chris Levine.

The graphic design is by Why Not Associates, who are also collaborating with Levine on a new video for Jones.

Grace Jones 4

Levene, who famously made a hologram portrait of the Queen, has captured the regal demeanour of Jones in a series of shiny, sparkling screens, and I was reminded of that Peter Cook and Dudley Moore comedy sketch, in which two hapless gallery visitors decided that the true test of a work of art was whether the eyes followed you round the room.

Grace Jones 3

Framed in Levene’s square lenticulars, Grace Jones’s entire torso follows you round the room. It’s a little bit scary.

Grace Jones 2

Grace Jones 1

Jones has always presented a striking graphic image, regardless of medium – think of Jean-Paul Goude’s cover picture for Slave To The Rhythm.

Slave To The Rhythm

And when Jones performed the Disney song ‘Trust In Me’ at the South Bank’s Meltdown Festival a few years ago (accompanied by the brilliant arranger Jun Miyake), she brought along an extra stage riser and installed a wind machine stage right to make her purple robes billow, and an extraordinary hat. That’s control. That’s art direction.

Grace Jones

Paparazzi at The Vinyl Factory

Last night’s party, with its paparazzi and fancily dressed kids queueing in the street for glimpse of Grace, reminded me, not of a real 1980s gallery opening, but of the events you see in ‘period’ movies about the 80s – with more space, more attractive people, cooler lighting and better typography. And lots of intriguing high-tech touches, like little video screens with the circuit boards exposed. A bit kitsch, maybe, but that’s the poptastic art world isn’t it?

Grace Jones

Did Grace Jones show up for exhibition? Not sure, but at least Annie Lennox did.

30 April > 14 May 2010
Stillness at the Speed of Light: Grace Jones by Chris Levine
The Vinyl Factory
51 Poland Street
London W1F 7LZ
www.thevinylfactory.com

Eye, the international review of graphic design, is a quarterly journal you can read like a magazine and collect like a book. It’s available from all good design bookshops and at the online Eye shop, where you can order subscriptions, single issues and classic collections of themed back issues.

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