Minimalism to the Max
This issue of Space Magazine is dedicated to taking another look… at objects that seem ordinary or everyday, at people you somehow never met. It’s about that flood of recognition, sensing what you lost or maybe never had, a place or object that you somehow missed before. It’s a whisper of a feel- ing. It’s how we felt editing the photo essays and interviews in this issue – an assembly of people who charmed us with their way of being or seeing the world.
The theme – look again, look closer – arrived on a balmy afternoon in Rome this summer, looking at an exhibition by the great American photographer Sally Mann at the Gagosian gallery. Sally is of course celebrated for the images she took of her children growing up. For this series she had documented the studio of her close friend, the artist Cy Twombly for ten years before his passing in 2011. Twombly hated having his picture taken, so Sally’s portrait is of the creative process itself – his prolific chaos and appetite for colour. I would like to thank Sally and the Gagosian for their generosity in allowing us to publish work from the series – and for the inspiration.
You’ll find two encounters with our cover star, the minimalist architect John Pawson, on these pages. First, we stopped by John’s office in London’s King’s Cross, a white-walled loft-like space – as you might expect from the master min- imalist. John himself, however, is anything but austere – somewhat louche and boyish. “Oh yeah. I’m obsessive and a perfectionist,” he joked. “But only in that one area [architecture]. Clearly I’m not perfect myself.” We also took a visit to John’s first full architectural project, stunning Neuendorf house, in almond grove on the island of Mallorca, page 94. The house was completed in 1989, setting the tone for John’s oeuvre.
Photographer Brett Lloyd is captivated by “the agony and ecstasy on every street corner” in Naples, and he shoots his third cover for Space Magazine in the ancient city – a study of his friend, the model Aida Blue. Brett discovered Naples by accident back in 2010; arriving at the airport on a delayed flight from London, he missed the last train to the Amalfi Coast to meet friends and was forced to head into the city: “That trip was something I will never forget.” His Buon Appetito story is a secular pilgrimage to the city. Browsing through images, they feel somehow both modern and like scenes from a Caravaggio.
The nostalgic feeling you get flicking through these pages is a sense of seeing what you lost (or never had), of seeing what you missed seeing, of meeting the people you missed knowing. It’s the feeling that overcomes you when some small, fading beauty is fleetingly restored. It’s like receiving a call from the past, or from a beautiful place you’ve never seen before.