The 14th Star

Photo's, video's and poetry by Mark Borthwick

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November 15 until December 29, 2002

Opening Friday November 15, 20.00h

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Born in London in 1966, Mark Borthwick has been living and working in New York for many years now. He is a poet and a musician, but he is particularly known as one of the top photographers of avant-garde fashion and as an avant-garde photographer of top fashion.
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Mark Borthwick ranks among the generation of photographers who in the nineties broke through the conventions of fashion photography. Integrating elements from the domains of architecture and design, he has developed a very personal and intuitive style. Among the most recognisable features of his style is the application of mattresses and pillows. Borthwick knows how to turn a static photo into a performance. Typically Borthwick is the statement that young people in second-hand clothes shops, trying out armfuls of garments in all sorts of combinations and showing them to their mates, fascinate him much more than the obligatory presentation of a new spring collection.

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Besides fashion photography, Borthwick is getting more and more involved in a particular kind of free-style photography in which plants and landscapes play a major role. His photography, both his free work and his applied work, touches on visual art. Borthwick has had exhibitions in New York, Paris and Tokyo. His photos are regularly published in magazines such as I-D, Nylon, Italian Vogue and Purple. Mark Borthwick and Martin Margiela worked together on a book that appeared last year under the title of 2000-1. Out of respect for each other's work, Borthwick and the designers of Comme des Garçons, Hussein Chalayan, Maria Cornejo and Yoji Yamamoto worked together in a fashion shoot.
The exhibition presents photos by Borthwich and also two of his videos. Borthwick's handwritten poems are put up in various locations in the exhibition and visitors can listen to his music via headphones. As a musician, Mark Borthwick forms a duo with Trevor Kampmann from Washington. Kampmann, once a teenage actor, skateboarder, designer and electro-pop producer, operates under the name of hollAnd. Borthwick and Kampmann created the CD Synthetic Voices, interweaving the sounds of acoustic guitars, synthesisers, loops and voices into a collection of fleeting, fragile songs and melodious sketches.

Mark Borthwick's poems and his music share the same intimacy. Short personal stories and reflections, often written down in a fanciful hand, reveal an inquisitive outlook on a world full of noise and surprises. In August 2002, Borthwick made a film featuring the female singer Chan Marshall - also known as Cat Power - performing her new songs in a magnificent garden. In 2000, Mark Borthwick made a video with actress and model Chloë Sevigny. The film featuring Chan Marshall will premiere in MU and will together with the Sevigny video be a permanent part of the exhibition.The scope of The 14th Star deliberately goes far beyond the mere presentation of Borthwick's fashion photography or his photo works. The exhibition is a comprehensive survey of the work of a multitalented artist who sees photography, film, music and poetry as means of equal value. Borthwick did not want to give in to the temptation of a grand exhibition of large, glossy, perfect photo prints. In consultation with MU, he has chosen for the presentation of hundreds of small format photos (A 4), put together on two walls of 9 x 3 metres. Together with Borthwick's poems and short notes, these photos form one large collage.

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