Elephant’s Spring Summer 2022 edition embraces life. Performance art icon Marina Abramović beams out from one of our two covers, while our alternative special cover showcases one-time student and teacher pairing Sin Wai Kin and Tai Shani in full wedding regalia. Inside the issue, the importance of lives lived to the max fills every page.
“My god, if these are my last days let’s have the best time,” Abramović says in a passionate and wide-ranging interview, accompanied by a series of original portraits of the artist by Maciek Pozoga. Sin and Shani, meanwhile, interview each other for this issue. Photographed in wedding splendour by Hidhir Badaruddin, they discuss gender performance and bold ambitions in a revealing artist-on-artist conversation.
Elsewhere, Lou Stoppard explores the ways that artists have photographed their romantic partners, in moments of rest, ageing and, in one case, urination. Conversely, painter Wangari Mathenge rails against using art as a window into an artist’s life, Hew Locke sets out to undercut the narratives of history, and Nathan Beard shares a tender photographic series documenting the Thai ceremony that followed his mother’s death.
“Inside Elephant, you’ll find a reflection of our current increasingly precarious world and a welcome opportunity to escape from it”
We live in a time of global upheaval, from the climate emergency to the immense change brought about by the pandemic. Five artists, Zadie Xa, Sharona Franklin, Rafal Zajko, Estrid Lutz and Lawrence Lek, plan for catastrophic futures in our Age of Apocalypse feature, with each dystopian scenario brought to expressive life by illustrator Viktor Hachmang. As Lek puts it, “A lot of my thinking has been less about apocalypse and disaster, more about the healing that comes after it.”
It is an idea taken up in a deeply personal essay by Rana Al BaBa on the abandoned Tripoli Fair in Lebanon, designed by architect Oscar Niemeyer and never completed due to the outbreak of civil war. “The fair is a time capsule,” Al BaBa writes, “comprising a mixture of memory and mythology, a place where the past and the present interact.”
“Life is precious and full of surprises. In this edition of Elephant we set out to showcase that”
Inside the covers of Elephant, you’ll find a reflection of our current increasingly precarious world and (hopefully) a welcome opportunity to escape from it. In that spirit, don’t miss Louise Benson’s playful feature on the cult of the teddy bear, Frank Bowling’s beautiful meditation on the early influence of Mondrian on his own painting practice, and Jyni Ong’s celebration of Susan Kare, the little-known designer behind Apple Macintosh’s original onscreen icons.
Look out too for Toyin Ojih Odutola’s latest Missed Connections piece, artist Marcel Dzama’s late-night studio recipe, and architect Jayden Ali’s thoughts on the immense cultural and social value of London’s markets.
If the past two years have taught us anything, it is that life is precious and full of surprises. In this edition of Elephant we set out to showcase that and so much more. We’d love you to join us.