December 17, 2023

You Are What You Give (Christmas Edition) with... Eva Vermandel

You Are What You Give (Christmas Edition) with... Eva Vermandel
Eva is a remarkable and distinguished fine art photographer, with an equally lauded career taking editorial portraits -  she has shot a cornucopia of famous faces from Amy Winehouse to Ian McKellen. Her work is held in the collections of the V&A; the National Portrait Gallery and the National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh. She published her first monograph ‘Splinter’ in 2013 with Hatje Cantz. Though she grew up in Belgium, London has been her home for the past two decades and we’ve been friends for many years - she once gifted me a pair of exquisite portraits of me and my husband with our eldest son as a baby which are among our most precious possessions. Just as in her work, she never ceases to surprise me with her very particular perspective on life, something which the following list beautifully illustrates - thank you for sharing it, Eva.

The Long View, a novel by Elizabeth Jane Howard, from £2.58 "I photographed Elizabeth Jane Howard a couple of months before she passed away aged 90 in 2014. I think she is immensely underrated and one of the greats of 20th century British writing. The Long View is a novel so precise in its observations of the human condition/relationships and its focus on the lack of agency women had/have in society cuts to the core. It’s as relevant in the 21st century as it was in the 1950's when it was written."

Giorgio Morandi: Masterpieces from the Magnani-Rocca Foundation, from the Estorick Collection, £15.95. "This beautifully produced and printed catalogue of the retrospective on Giorgio Morandi at the Estorick Collection, London, put on earlier this year is a must-have for any art-lover. Quiet, pensive and deeply philosophical, I dare you to find me anyone who does not get comfort from leafing through it." 

Bottlebrush Ferments Kimchi, The Red One, 450gm glass jar £8.50. "This kimchi is simply astounding, I buy my own pot of it every time I spot them at the Blackheath Farmers Market. By far the best kimchi I’ve ever tasted. My pick is The Red One which already is pretty hot; the Hot Red One is for Red Hot people only!"

A bottle of Picpoul de Pinet from Lidl "Beautiful wine, refreshing and crisp, at the amazing price of £7.49. Good old Lidl, all through the cost-of-living crisis Lidl made a loss because it wanted to keep a lid on its prices to protect its customers. While I prefer to get my groceries straight from the source (farmers/makers), on the occasions I do visit a supermarket I go to Lidl."

A painting by Celia Hempton "I love Celia Hempton’s work, her brush strokes dance on the canvas in a messy yet controlled way. I have a couple of her early works in my flat but I’d love/hope to one day have one of her recent works too. Celia is represented by Phillida Reid, prices upon request."

Scott 4 by Scott Walker, vinyl/CD/download Rough Trade Shops, vinyl £14.99 "Scott Walker’s masterpiece from 1969. With all that’s been happening in the world these last two years, The Old Man’s Back Again gives me both shivers down my spine and an odd form of comfort. Essential."

A Wood Plastic Metal Lamp by James Shaw, poa "When I first saw James Shaw’s work it confused me: his doorhandles looked like they were made of plasticine, how could they do their doorhandle-job well if they were gooey? They are actually made of sturdy recycled plastic, and this doubleness in tactility within the work is something I love. I bought one of his loo roll holders recently and seeing it in my bathroom gives me little bursts of joy daily. His work ranges from candlesticks to bookends to chairs and large pieces of furniture, there’s something in there for everyone, but I’d personally love to one day have one of his lamps."

An entry ticket to Portraits to Dream In: Francesca Woodman and Julia Margaret Cameron at the National Portrait Gallery, £8.50-9.50. "This exhibition, which opens in March 2024, features work by two of my favourite artists. I cannot wait to see it, two pioneers from two different eras, the mid-late 19th and 20th centuries, in dialogue with each other, wonderful."

Issue 3 of M-A (A Space Between), £24 plus p&p "Issue 3 of this annual art/photography magazine will hit the shops any time now. The magazine is large format, ring-bound and features images only, no text. If you’d like to read up on any of the artists featured, go to its online blog. SELF-PROMO-ALERT: I’m one of the featured artists in issue 3 but there’s plenty of other artists to look at, among whom Luc Tuymans, the aforementioned Julia Margaret Cameron and Gabriel Orozco."

Cover portrait by Kalpesh Lathigra