Monika Gogl

Monika Gogl’s architectural poetry: the story of Reethaus

In a challenging era dominated by the relentless race against time and the cacophony of voices that makes it difficult to discern individual expressions, Berlin gives birth to a truly unique space. This place pledges to redefine the value of time and space, placing a distinct focus on the act of listening. Beyond a gate, across a courtyard, stands a pyramidal tower almost entirely covered by a thatched roof of reeds. This building, known as the Reethaus, is a novel cultural space described as a “modern temple” for performances and rituals.

The structure is the brainchild of Austrian architect Monika Gogl and serves as the focal point of a campus named Flussbad. To fully immerse oneself in the experiences offered by Reethaus, visitors are required to leave their phones at the entrance – a ritual I, too, observe as I prepare to interview Monika Gogl.

Hi Monika, thank you for being here with me. I would love for you to guide us through the essence of Reethaus. How did the concept of slowness influence the architectural design of the Reethaus, considering its focus on reframing the way people live?

In a time when everything is getting faster due to digitality and development, where we have almost, to use Virilio’s words, reached “a racing standstill”, the task was to make the visitor aware of a transformation. The entire spatial concept is aimed at feeling energetic calm. The path, the special lighting, the simplicity of the material, the green atriums, the reed roof and the landscape are the elements. For example, the long entrance ramp (reminiscent of Walter Benjamin’s flaneur and the associated small, slow observations in peace) causes you to slowly immerse yourself in “another world”.

Could you provide more insights into the vision behind describing the Reethaus as a “modern temple”? And, how did your childhood fascination with temples inform the conceptualization and design of this cultural venue? Furthermore, how did you balance this homage to ancient temples, caves with the need for modern functionality?

I think our understanding of the term temple is rather exaggerated, since the term means sanctuary and functioned as the seat of the gods in ancient times. In relation to our new way of life, the thatched house probably fulfills similar criteria and functions as a temple used to. It should be a place of transformation.

In my childhood I was very impressed by all sort of churches and temples because of their enormous space, their smell, their sound, their light and their energy. I have admired quantum physics since my time at the university, and I was also able to enjoy some of Mr. Zeilinger’s lectures there and delve deeper into it. I believe that spaces imbued with faith, a sentiment often experienced in my childhood, resonate with the principles of quantum physics. 

Just as all spaces carry the energy of their construction and use, it was important for me to incorporate these phenomena into the design of the Reethaus. The lighting from above, which completely changes the mood of the room at different times of the day and plays with the materiality and with the color of the materials. This creates very different spatial atmospheres (for the flaneur) over the seasons. Diving down into the earth via the ramp. The entrance situation, the arrival. How heavy is the goal in your hand? The exciting moment of stepping from the rather low, light-flooded foyer into the central, high room. Which door do I enter through? Narrow and high from the side or generous from the front. What does that do to me? I think the desired functionality is fundamentally to be fulfilled in every architectural intervention, the experience is the artistic and creative aspect. Every building should be sexy in a certain way. 

The use of “pure materials” like concrete, wood, stone, is a consistent theme in your projects. Can you elaborate on the significance of these materials in your architectural language and how they contribute to creating a harmonious and meaningful space?

Basically, naturalness is very important to me. Natural materials age beautifully, acquire a patina and are imperfect like everything in nature and like every living creature. You can play with any of these materials, with its surface, its grain, its color – it opens up an incredibly diverse field of possibilities. I think there is the right material for every spatial requirement. My actual favorite material is nature. A harmonious space concept not only includes materials, but also light and love. Love is a very important ingredient. 

The collaboration with Cédric Etienne for the Reethaus interiors aims to create a “sanctuary of silence” through the Still Room concept. Can you discuss how this concept influenced the design of the interior spaces and the choice of materials, such as cork blocks, meditation cushions, wooden seats, and woven tatami mats?

 The entire concept was aimed at “the immediate pure” in order to focus on the user’s awareness and subtle observations with little distraction. Since the Japanese culture in particular is very appreciative of crafts, tradition and simple things and the tatami mat is a great invention, the seating was also subordinated to the basic concept mentioned above and the low seating and the bench theme in the central room were celebrated . Cork is generally a very impressive natural material and Cedric creates inviting formations with these simple blocks.

The main idea is “simple , beautiful and convincing”.

The emphasis on maximizing natural light in the Reethaus is evident. Can you elaborate on the architectural strategies employed to optimize natural light, especially in the inner room, and how does this contribute to the overall atmosphere of the space?

Light is the real theme of architecture and of every space. Light and material create the appearance and atmosphere of the space. The light from above is unpredictable, but incredibly exciting.The result remains a miracle.   In the central room, at certain times of the day, the light can make the actually dark attic space appear very light and bright  or opposite . When the doors of the space are closed, an intimate, sacred feeling of space is created.  When the doors are open in connection with the façade to the outside, the inner space merges with the river and the landscape. The artificial light for the night and the performance also comes exclusively from above – it is an important part of the concept In principle. The artificial light should be positioned in the same way as the natural light. In the foyer, the light acts as a band from above and reflects the time of day and the position of the sun on the exposed concrete wall of the ritual room. The atria reveal ever-changing plays of light.

Collaborating with Monom suggests a focus on cutting-edge audio technology. How do you see advancements in audio technology influencing the future of architectural design, particularly in spaces dedicated to performance and immersive experiences like Reethaus?

For me, music is the most beautiful of all the arts, because it touches you directly. Sound creates incredible space and I was fascinated by how the new technology was able to produce such a full volume, or a sound that flies through the space like a bee. I think it’s great and I’ve learned a lot working together with William Russell of MONOM.  When you sink into a sound image, almost everything disappears. Here in the Reethaus it is also variable. The loudspeakers are hidden behind the wooden cladding of the dome,thats why it is a pure sound experience.  The live musicians or poets can be plugged into a special detail on the floor bar around the space . Comparable to a play by Antonin Artaud you can play anywhere. I think audio in this form is very fascinating and in combination with a harmonious space it creates a unique overall experience.

The Reethaus is described as an ideal venue for the combination of art, sound, and performance. How did you balance the aesthetic and functional aspects of the space to create an environment that seamlessly accommodates these diverse elements?

I think the spatial formation offers space for a variety of uses with different qualities and the materiality does not impose itself, but rather forms a wonderful stage.

In a challenging era where discussions about anxiety prevail, finding true calmness and disconnecting from daily pressures becomes especially difficult. Your objective of creating a space that aids individuals in gradually calming down is distinctive. How do you manage to strike a balance between the functionality of a space and its emotional and psychological impact, particularly when designing a ritual room?

That is a difficult question . Basically the idea is transformation, contemplation, calm and learning. Of course, many aspects of a design arise intuitively. I always design with the aspect of what I would like, how I would like to feel, what could irritate me and thus trigger my consciousness. There is never only one ingredient. In the Reethaus  is a path, a heavy door that leaves everything outside, a domed space that exudes security and full opening to the river and nature.

As we look forward, how do you foresee the architectural and cultural evolution of Reethaus over the next five years? Have you considered the notion of Reethaus as a nomadic architectural experience, and have you envisioned its potential setup in diverse environments or contexts?

I believe Slowness and the operators will develop it into a wonderful place for art and culture and tegetherness. When the entire campus is finished, the Reethaus will assume its central position in the ensemble.

Basically, the idea itself has the potential for reproduction, but in a design sense the Reethaus should remain unique, as it was designed in this form precisely for this location. So it remains a nomad. I think there are typologies that can, in principle, be reproduced. But the origin of every building is a site and since places and cultures are always different, reproductions generally fail.

Monika, I extend my heartfelt gratitude for generously sharing your visionary insights during this interview. I am eagerly anticipating the evolution of the Reethaus project and the transformative experiences it will continue to offer. I genuinely hope for the opportunity to meet you in person in Berlin and to partake in a captivating performance at the Reethaus. 

In order of appearance

  1. Photography by José Cuevas
  2. Photography by José Cuevas
  3. Photography by Daniel Faró
  4. Photography by Daniel Faró
  5. Photography by Daniel Faró
  6. Photography by Daniel Faró

Miles Greenberg

Navigating space and body in contemporary art

In the realm of contemporary art, Miles Greenberg stands as a Canadian-born artist and sculptor whose work unfolds as a dynamic exploration of space, movement, and the intricate interplay between the physical body and its surroundings. 

Unraveling his history, we progressively revealed the intricacies of his artistic approach, prompting a more profound question: who is Miles Greenberg in the present moment? As we journey through his narrative, we seamlessly move between the Amsterdam and Paris presentations of “TRUTH” and the impending showcase at the Venice Biennale.

To kick off our conversation, I’m curious about the profound influence New York holds in shaping your artistic expression. How does the dynamic environment of the city contribute to the thematic elements woven into your work?
Louise Bourgeois once said, on New York, “I love this city, its clear-cut look, its sky, its buildings, and its scientific, cruel, romantic quality.” I think that sums it up for me too. Something about it allows me to think and breathe – in the exact opposite way that my other home, Reykjavík, allows me to think and breathe. It’s important to be able to think and breathe in the place(s) you call home.

As you ventured beyond Montreal to explore diverse cities like Paris, northern Italy, and Beijing, could you share the insights and experiences you garnered during these residencies? How did the unique characteristics of each location shape and enrich your artistic perspective?

I grew up with a very ambiguous sense of origin. My mom was adopted by Canada to a Jewish family, but is biologically Ukrainian and Brazilian (something we only learned last year after the passing of her mother) and my father’s never been in the picture so much and I never met his family, so feeling like I’m from nowhere gave me permission early on to be from everywhere. I didn’t use to have a studio, so every time I’d travel with a pocket folder pregnant with scraps of paper and drawings and printouts that i’d pin up on the wall of every residency, airbnb or hotel room i’d stay in for days, weeks or months and commit wholeheartedly to being of that place. It’s taught me to switch in and out of the worlds I create very fast, which I think helped me do all these shows in such rapid succession.

I’m fascinated by the four-year period of independent research you embarked on, delving into the realms of movement and architecture. Can you elaborate on the nature of this research and how it played a pivotal role in shaping the evolution of your artistic practice during that time?

I left school very young to start working. After a year of performing in nightclubs and doing various experiments in DIY artist-run spaces in Montreal, I went to work for a Canadian choreographer in China. I was doing extra night classes in various languages throughout high school, so by the time I dropped out at seventeen, I was proficient in Mandarin, Italian, Spanish, German with a base in Russian, in addition to my native French and English. By the time I finished the two months interning at the dance academy, I got an artist residency and stayed on in Beijing a bit longer. Shortly thereafter, I moved to Paris to start doing classes and workshops at École Jacques Lecoq in movement and space. I did that for about nine months with intermittent workshops in butoh, sculpture, and artist residencies in Italy and the US. I did the Watermill Center summer programme with Robert Wilson two years in a row, and intensive workshops with Marina Abramović in Greece. By the time I moved to New York in summer of 2019, applied to Cooper Union and got rejected, I basically already had a pretty substantial education. But because I never really had adequate closure on my academic career, I really still feel like a student. I was always a decade or more younger than everyone around me. I’m only now at 26 starting to feel like my age is beginning to catch up with me.

How do you utilize the physical body as a sculptural material in your performances, and what significance do this approach hold within the context of your larger body of work?

I think of all of my work as sculpture, whether it’s performance, video or sculpture. It’s all designed to be looked at like sculpture; the duration, the pace, the role of the audience, I want you to feel the same as when you’re looking at classical statuary. It’s just the most accessible form of art to me, the relationship between a viewer and a statue is something I understand, so it’s what I make.

“TRUTH” seems to challenge conventional boundaries between performance art, sculpture, and installation art. What inspired this interdisciplinary approach, and how does it manifest in the viewer’s experience?

I wanted to make the audience feel implicated in the show by suspending them in some liminal, inaccessible vacuum between the worlds of the performers and the spectators – two worlds which are visibly radically different; banality or fantasy. I was going for a “sunken place” à la Get Out and/or Under The Skin.

The interplay of mediums feels natural and necessary to me. I secretly kind of hate the term performance artist, to be honest. Performance is something I’ll come back to constantly for the rest of my life, it’s my centre, but I do a lot more than just that.

Chino Amobi’s original soundtrack is mentioned as part of the immersive experience. Can you elaborate on the collaborative process between you and the composer, and how the music complements the visual aspects of the installation?

I’m a gigantic Chino Amobi fan, I’m so glad he said yes to this; I was listening to him a ton in the studio while working on the show and it just felt logical. We haven’t even seen each other IRL since the project began; I sent him one or two quick WhatsApp voice notes with the premise and he concocted exactly what was in my head right from the first draft within like ten days, it was insane – It felt like one of those really effortless telepathic collaborations, I’m super grateful.

The term “reflective landscape” is intriguing. Could you share more about the symbolism or metaphorical significance of the reflective pool in “TRUTH” and its relation to the overall concept of the piece?

I like making works with no beginning or end, and I like making pieces with no top or bottom. When you put a piece on a reflective surface, the bottom becomes the middle and the top becomes its extremities – It just feels better to me. I also love working with water because it ripples at the slightest movement and it makes the public sensitive to microscopic movements that they’d otherwise miss.

The 7-hour duration of the battle in “TRUTH” is quite unique. What inspired the decision for such an extended performance, and how does the duration contribute to the overall impact on the audience?

All my work is that long, sometimes longer. Duration is transformative for the performer, yes, but on a more practical level, I find it’s more accessible to the public. There’s no expectation of the public to watch a seven or eight hour performance in full, there’s no format – the viewer is responsible for their viewership experience. If they’d like to be very serious and monastic and watch every minute of it seated with their phones off, they can. If they’d rather take pictures and chat about it while strolling through, that’s also welcome. Again, think of it as sculpture.

Knowing you’ll soon grace Venice’s premier contemporary art event, the anticipation must be palpable. How do you ready yourself for the reveal of your work, and what emotions do you navigate in the lead-up to the performance?

I’m in Montreal right now training about six hours a day with an ex-Cirque du Soleil physical therapist and movement coach. I try to be very rigorous. I probably shouldn’t even be on my computer right now.

Can you offer a sneak peek into what audiences can expect from this particular showcase?

Saint Sebastian and robots.


  1. Miles Greenberg, 2020. Video by Adrien Bertolle. Courtesy of the artist.
  2. Miles Greenberg, Etude pour Sebastien, 2023. The Louvre, Paris, France. Courtesy of the artist.
  3. Miles Greenberg, Etude pour Sebastien, 2023. The Louvre, Paris, France. Courtesy of the artist.
  4. Miles Greenberg, Water in a Heatwave, 2021. BOCA Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal. Photography by Bruno Simao.
  5. Miles Greenberg, Water in a Heatwave, 2021. BOCA Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal. Photography by Bruno Simao.
  6. Miles Greenberg, Lepidopterophobia, 2020. Courtesy of the artist and Sky Arts.
  7. Miles Greenberg, Truth, 2023. Powerhouse Arts, Brooklyn, New York. Courtesy of the artist
  8. Miles Greenberg, Truth, 2023. Powerhouse Arts, Brooklyn, New York. Courtesy of the artist
  9. Miles Greenberg, Sebastian, 2024. Palazzo Malipiero, Venice, Italy. Courtesy of the artist, Museum Berggruen and Neue Nationalgalerie. Photography by Francesco Allegretto.

Joshua Gordon

The underbelly of alt culture

When Joshua Gordon went to Thailand, he followed a gang of teenage bikers and witnessed their fraternity. He saw how the young boys had each other’s backs and would die for one another. He directed the film about this along with the country’s occultism and witchcraft culture that religious people might completely exile in their belief systems, but that other people base their spirituality and faith on. After a while, he wanted to investigate the drag landscape in Cuba. Armed with his lens, he was hoping to capture the tight-knit drag community in a country that might not yet be open to the queer scene. He ended up meeting twin trans sisters and peered into their intimate life.

Joshua’s thirst for fascination also brought him to Japan. Amidst the psychedelic allure and eccentricity of the country, he photographed the locals’ fascination with toys. He saw young punks living and sleeping with their plushies, a lifelike woman giving birth with the baby’s head popping out of her vagina, and lots of latex sex dolls in stores and homes. Somehow, Joshua knows how to excavate the surface of the social infrastructure. He digs hard and deep that midway, his photographs and documentaries have unraveled parts of him that seem to be hidden in plain sight. These visual cues are snippets of the ups and downs he has gone through in life and art, a narrow gateway to who he is and how he became what he is.

Take ‘Transformation,’ where he manipulates photos of himself using artificial intelligence to bring about different versions of himself. He considers the project special to him, but viewers seem to have only noticed and commented about his physique and the size of his penis. The series has become reduced to a visual commodity for public viewing, making Joshua aware and alert to the current relationship between art and the viewers. What Joshua creates gives nothing in-between; either the viewer gets startled by the brashness of his images and films, or they feel for the emotions the visual works evoke. Every publication and project hides a backstory, and in a conversation with NR, Joshua brings them to light.

Matthew Burgos: How did you develop your documentary style in photography, video, and collage? Has this always been your intended style?

Joshua Gordon: Documenting was always the first thing I did. I started using photos as a tool when I began creating pictures at around 13/14 years old, not for any artistic reason or self-expression. Every skate crew needed a filmer and/or photographer, so that’s what I became. And every graffiti crew needed someone with a camera, so I filled that role too. Over time, through graffiti, I learned more about photography and discovered my favorite photographers. After that, I delved more into what might be considered quite traditional documentary photography.

Matthew Burgos: Let’s discuss your zines Diary Part 1 and 1.5 which definitely have the documentary photography style you just mentioned. Do you see the photos in these zines as a reflection of how you saw and painted the world at the time, with the use of dark and gritty imagery?

Joshua Gordon:  I think it’s dark and gritty because I was depressed and poor at the time. I was living hand to mouth and didn’t really have a penny to my name. When Diary Part 1 was made, I was working in a warehouse loading trucks and stealing stuff from high-end stores for cash. The other zine was created just after I left.

I think that when I started making pictures for those books, I wanted to shock and be brash. I was surrounded by a lot of misery, staying in moldy bedsits with rats crawling on my ceiling, and I was never able to pay my rent. Shocking isn’t my intention now; I’m more interested in evoking emotions.

Matthew Burgos: Your Butterfly project seems to have a similar style yet a different tone. Can you talk about how you approached this project, and what brought you to explore the nightlife in Havana?

Joshua Gordon: Well, I don’t really plan much; I just go with the flow and feel things out. I’ve always been inspired by 80’s drag, and it’s been a constant source of inspiration for me. I wanted to find some older drag queens and live with them.

Aries offered me the chance to go to Cuba and work on a project of my choice, including creating a book. I was going there to explore and see what I could find. When we arrived, the queer world was small and super intertwined. It ended up being less about drag and more about these two twin sisters I met and their friends. I suppose you could say it was a portrait of them and their community. 

Matthew Burgos: You also directed Krahang, following a group of teenage biker gang in Thailand. How did you discover them, and what did you learn about them that wasn’t evident in the film?

Joshua Gordon: There are a lot of interesting things happening in Thailand—hidden customs and alternative perceptions towards topics that might be considered taboo in other parts of the world. What sticks out to me when I spend time in Southeast Asia is the sense of community. The West is obsessed with individualism. Everyone thinks that the world revolves around them and people have the “main character syndrome.” There’s no decency or love among people.

In Thailand, life is hard and fast and vibrant. There’s a strong community spirit. The boys in the gang were best friends and would have died for each other. I was also very interested in Thai witchcraft and occultism, which is something pretty much everyone there is interested in or scared of. I touched on that in the film along with the teen biker gang.

Matthew Burgos: Let’s talk about your investigation into adult toy culture in Japan leading to the book TOY. What specifically drew you to explore this topic in a country known for its eccentric culture?

Joshua Gordon: I love toys; they’ve been important to me my whole life. Objects bring me a sense of comfort and fluffy familiarity when I travel. Everything in Japan is “kawaii:” you see an ambulance speeding down the street and its logo is a smiling drop of blood. Even the police logo Pipo-kun is fucking adorable. Japan is cute but it also has a dark edge. I wanted to show that mix in the book; the duality of cuteness and darkness.

During my time in the Japanese countryside, in a quaint area called Gunma, I found an old toy museum. Inside, I discovered these porcelain sculptures of couples with long robes on. When you turn them upside down, you see the characters’ penises and vaginas with fuzzy pubic hair. A lot of things in Tokyo have a hidden meaning or a secret backside; I wanted to explore that. 

Matthew Burgos: How about ‘Transformation’? Is it a visual anthology of the growth you’ve experienced throughout your career?

Joshua Gordon: I was at my lowest when making ‘Transformation.’ I was dealing with a severe eating disorder, hospitalization due to tumors, a difficult breakup, and substance abuse, and I felt like I was going insane on a little beach in Mexico. The photos helped me escape somewhere else. I tried to use artificial intelligence and children’s image manipulation apps to create a fantasy land of my own.

But nobody understood. I received comments about my physique and penis size—just basic interpretations of something that meant a lot to me, a project that acted as sort of a ladder to help me out of my hole. It was devastating. I spent around 7,000 pounds and six months creating the books and artworks. I managed to sell only one book at the exhibition and not a single painting. It was quite upsetting, but the project (still) means a lot to me.

Galcher Lustwerk

Abstract Universe

Galcher Lustwerk wants you to know he can do it all. The DJ and producer came from attending DIY punk shows in Cleveland  and noise festivals in Providence before settling in Brooklyn’s dance music zeitgeist. His 100% GALCHER mix, made of all originals, propelled him to prominence in 2013, and his multi-layered approach to house music has solidified him as one of the city’s mainstays, becoming a regular at the likes of Bossa Nova Civic Club, Paragon, Nowadays, and Good Room.

But the artist, born Chris Sherron, is more than Galcher Lustwerk. With a plethora of side projects that ranges from post-rock to techno body horror to ambient driving music, he proves he can do it all.

Weeks after the release of his latest Ghostly International project, LUSTWERK II, Galcher Lustwerk speaks to Arielle Lana LeJarde for a wide-ranging conversation about comic books, social media, and why the U.S. hosts the best dance music scene in the world.

Arielle Lana LeJarde: I know you started making music in middle school with Fruity Loops and then got Ableton in 2003, but I’m curious—aside from wanting to find Black music that didn’t have the parental advisory sticker on it—what drew you to electronic music?

Galcher Lustwerk: Looking back on it, I think I was sort of just into the, the, the sort of, I mean, like, the futuristic like science fiction-ness of it. Especially around that time that drum and bass and these sort of more heady genres were just getting a little heavier and more instrumental. It felt like I could absorb music in a more ambient way. It kind of felt emotional and I related to the way that there was no words or anything. I just connected to that on this abstract, futuristic, and emotional viewpoint. Also with regards to the artworks, the CDsm and the packaging, I was just super into that it. 

Around the same time, I was into going to comic book stores. That kind of tie kind of ties into that stuff being anime and robots. That was the zeitgeist [of electronic music], at least in the late 90s or early 2000s. Everyone was hooked on if they’re into like, electronic music, comics, and even skateboarding.

Arielle Lana LeJarde: What comics or manga did you read?

Galcher Lustwerk: I was into Batman at first. There was this corner store that I would  go to that had a comic stand and I started the darker stuff like Batman, Spawn, and all the weird ones. The weirdest drawings, I would be attracted to. Later on, I would drive to the comic store with my parents and that’s how I found out about Akira. That kind started making me like shift my focus towards manga. I think manga was on another level. 

I was I was also drawing a lot and had aspirations of doing comics at one point. Seeing the magnitude and the amount of craft that went into stuff like that was was really cool. It just interested me from a media standpoint.

Arielle Lana LeJarde: If you could create your own comic what would it be about?

Galcher Lustwerk: The narratives that I’m into are surveillance heists, mystery-type spy stories and secret agents. So I’m sure I’d have some to do with that. It would have an international feel—a globe-trotting jet set vibe. Kind of the same vibe I’m trying to do with music. I would try and make it feel substantial like Akira. Akira was huge! It had volumes. There’s something that’s cool about having that much of a world packed into into like a solid object.

Arielle Lana LeJarde: Iif you were to say that you’re like creating a world with your music, what does that world look like?

Galcher Lustwerk: It just looks like the world like the world as it is, but maybe with an omniscient, detached, vouyeristic point of view. It would have a focus on perception, space and light. I have a lot of visual reference images and a lot of them have to do with being in golden hour, when the sun is setting and everything’s kind of hazy. I’m always sort of thinking about in the back of my mind, in a synesthetic way, it’s what I see by default.

Arielle Lana LeJarde: It’s interesting that you mention being a voyeur and futuristic stuff, but you’ve said in the past you’ve been shy about social media.

Galcher Lustwerk: I think I’m frustrated with how much time and like energy it expends. It’s hard to put a marketing hat on all of a sudden, and then focus on this whole other goal. With music, I’m just trying to finish tracks and put out the tracks. With DJing, I’m trying to get people to dance. And with social media, I’m just getting people actually pay attention to what I’m trying to say, period. So it’s like a frustration more than anything. I’m trying. At least now, I’m trying. I stopped using Twitter so with TikTok and Instagram, I can focus more. I do enjoy using TikTok and viewing TikToks. It’s a workflow thing and habit thing. 

I’m really like dragging my feet getting accustomed to everything, I guess. But when I think about making music and the artists that I do appreciate, they don’t really use social media either. But at the end of the day, I just want people as many people to hear what I’m putting out. So it’s not worth nothing.

Arielle Lana LeJarde: What’s on your “for you” page?

Galcher Lustwerk: It’s been like real messed up lately. I think it was cool in Berlin, but as soon as I got back to the States, it’s been really political and chatty. Which I like sometimes, but I prefer cute animal videos that I can send to my wife that we can watch and laugh together.

Arielle Lana LeJarde: Did you see that viral TikTok of those girls getting rejected from Basement?

Galcher Lustwerk: No, I haven’t yet.

Arielle Lana LeJarde: It’s deleted now, but I saw it posted on Twitter and now I think about it all the time.

Galcher Lustwerk: That’s funny. I can’t tell you how that benefits basement. Or if it does or not.

Arielle Lana LeJarde: Everyone was just shitting on it. Shitting on the girls. Shitting on Basement calling it a budget Berghain.

Galcher Lustwerk: I prefer Basement over Berghain any day, honestly. Once they got the studio in there, it’s been awesome.

Arielle Lana LeJarde: Do you think people would be mad at you for saying that?

Galcher Lustwerk: I don’t know. I don’t care. I feel like they’re losing the power they used to hold. There’s a lot of other Berlin-based clubs that have popped up that are just as good and easier to get into. That vibe can be found elsewhere now. Berlin specifically has got the whole city behind it. It’s part of their tourism, so I think it’ll always be hyped up which is cool. I mean, it’s cool to have a place like that.

Arielle Lana LeJarde: Do you think New York City is that place in the U.S.? A lot of artists have been saying they think NYC is actually the best city for dance music in the world, actually.

Galcher Lustwerk: I would agree with that. I think there are way more exciting things happening here than in Europe, at least for what’s on my radar. The youth culture in New York is just so huge. After pandemic, I’ve definitely felt like there’s a younger crowd that’s so psyched—they see what they like and they just do it. 

[In New York], there’s no trending thing necessarily. Yes, right now we’re into really fast techno, but our scene also has this South African influence. There’s club, there’s drill, there’s garage—and it’s all being played at the same time, which is sick. Berlin is just fast techno or trance. You’re gonna you’re gonna get the same genre for the whole night. But in New York, it’s always a surprise.

Arielle Lana LeJarde: Back to your music, how does your recent release, LUSTWERK II, fit into your catalog?

Galcher Lustwerk: I wanted to call it LUSTWERK II because it’s a cheeky—in a way different—reality that would have been my second release after the mix. It was basically what I was working on right after the mix, the original 100% GALCHER mix. I had put some of them on the Resident Advisor Podcast and then a few of them were on vinyl. At the time, I was like really taken aback by the amount of attention that was going on and  just like not not knowing what to do. So to me, I’m kind of cleaning out the closet a little bit and bringing attention back to these tracks because they were never on Spotify or Bandcamp or anything. I do have like a bunch of stuff I’m trying to get out by the end of the year. 

Arielle Lana LeJarde: Do you read reviews of your own music?

Galcher Lustwerk: Yeah, I have to read them all. Just to make sure there’s no like errors or anything.

Arielle Lana LeJarde: Do you think it affects you in any way or do you actually care what people think?

Galcher Lustwerk: I like reading the reviews, but I also feel like reviews have lost their significance a lot in the past few years. To me reviews are almost a comfort because you’re being validated and it’s not like the consequence of whether enough people like caught it or not.  There are so many so many releases that aren’t being reviewed and more people listen to them than the releases that get reviewed. It’s weird. The review doesn’t matter anymore, I think. I mean, it matters a little bit, but in terms of helping people make decisions on buying music, it’s it doesn’t really make a difference anymore.

Arielle Lana LeJarde: Is there anything else you want people to know about you, or is anything you think people get wrong about you that you want to correct?

Galcher Lustwerk: I’m comfortable in saying I’m just really multifaceted. Some people may see one side and not the other. There’s a lot of detail that I put into my work that if you pay attention to it, it’s rewarding. And that’s what I what and what makes me happy as an artist, is being able to put all of these abstract ideas into into a media object. 

Also, I got like a lot of side projects that are all separate concepts as well. Just to run them down. There’s like Macchiatto, which is kind of my post-rock thing. There’s Power User, which is a video game music-themed project. Then there’s this project called The Fock, which is my techno body horror project. I got another project called Road Hog, which is like music for driving. I have all those separate projects that I think people would people would fuck with.

Oh, also I feel like the United States has the best DJs and the best producers. I’m not patriotic, but I favor us in terms of just like how this music is an American thing and a Black American innovation. I feel. So I’m definitely pro- that.


 Photography · Collin Hughes

Bambou Gili

Les Dîners de Mamito, 2022

Painting and the challenge of storytelling

Bambou Gili’s paintings are world-building projects, sprawling in narrative and unified by rich, tight colour palettes. Throughout her body of work, fantastical landscapes activate the feminine figures inside them, allowing for nature to become an ally, a co-conspirator, a unique character in and of itself. In each series, the artist — whose inspirations range from the animation of Hayao Miyazaki to the French Impressionists — dives into a singular colour spectrum to experiment freely and tap into possibility. Oil drippings in green, blue or purple produce a textural, eerie stillness that moves across tableaux like an omniscient spectre. Gili’s surrealistic scenes, imbued with this energy, are both clandestine and playful: lush plants, serene bodies of water and ethereal trees conceal subjects from one another as their concurrent stories unfold, and each protagonist exudes a presence that matches the magnitude of her surroundings. Within Gili’s alternate universe, environment and human emotion vibrate at an equal frequency somewhere between waking and dreaming.

Your paintings deliver an intriguing sense of mystery, a haunting quality,sometimes spectral but in some cases almost ironic. The subjects are oftenwomen portrayed in nature or domestic settings. One particular work or yours, Sleep Paralysis(2021)reminds me of The Nightmare by Heinrich Füssli(1781), while others bare similarities with the secret forests of Rousseau. Beside arthistorical sources, what are the inspirations behind your works? Do you look at peoplefrom your personallife,photographs,magazines,socialmedia?

Yes! Neighbourhood Sleep Paralysis was based off of Nicolai Abildgaard’s Nightmare (1800), after Heinrich Füssli. Regarding inspiration, nothing is off-limits. I tend to gravitate towards working in series. I like to focus on an idea for a long period of time and see what bodies of works come out of it. While I’m doing research for that idea, I scour everything. If I see something that makes me think of the series, I document it and store it in my series folder. So, take my last one — I was looking at imagined scenes from Calvino’s Nonexistent Knight, 14th-century armour from the MET collection, Scooby Doo  stills, etc.

While looking at your works one can clearly notice the predominance of blue and green, applied both for living figures as for landscapes. Where does this fascination with these tones come from?

Ha! I get this question a lot. Fun fact: In Zulu, ‘blue’ and ‘green’ are the same word. When I go to the MET, I’ll end up staring at a bright green Lisa Yuskavage painting, admiring the use of colour.

In my last solo, The Non-Existent Night, the series started as an exercise to focus on colour at night. A way to consciously limit my palette to greens, blues and purples. That’s not to say I want my next series to focus on these tones exclusively.

Aggie & Pieter, 2022

Talking about light work and how important it is for you, I was reminded of theimpressionists, who often tried to capture the same subject under different light. Can you tell me something about this study of light and how you incorporate it inyour practice?

Light at night is notoriously hard to capture. You don’t often see a true representation of lowlight scenes. Photos and videos often do a bad job portraying those blues. Which is what led to my night series.

I find the dichotomy of timeframes in your work very interesting: on the one hand, the depicted subjects don’t belong to a specific era historically, on the other, they’re located in the specific — and narrow — time frame of the night. How do you look at time when addressing a new series? Is there a straight conceptionoflinearity?

Honestly, I have not thought about it! I think that the red thread here is the fact that all humans have experienced the night.

I had the pleasure of seeing a preview of your new series, which you willexhibit in your next solo show at Night Gallery (LA) in March. Can you explain the inspiration behind it and how you shaped it through paint?

The work is based on, built around Goodbye Earl, a country song by the [Dixie] Chicks. It’s an upbeat tune, just four minutes or so, but as you listen, you’re introduced  to an entire saga — two childhood friends grow up together in a rural area. One moves out, the other stays. The one who stays ends up in an abusive relationship and, try as she might to leave, can’t seem to escape. Well, after exhausting legal outlets, she falls back on her old friend, who returns and helps hatch the plan…Earl has to die.

Now, the thing that intrigued me about the song was the storytelling. They manage to build this entire world — give you details about the friendship, walk you through a murder, get you on their side — in a matter of minutes. Not a movie or a six-part series,  but a short song. But somehow, there’s considerable depth, a lot of colour to the story and the characters.

As a painter, I thought that’d be an interesting challenge. Can you, like The Chicks have  done in a song, tell a story in a series of paintings? A story you physically walk and move through? And more than just illustrating a story, can you express the same depth? Have it stand on its own — draw you in, intrigue you, where is this going? ‘Oh shit! But, wait, oh yes, let’s go’. In short, can it move you the way the song does? A world-building exercise.

Storytelling is thus pivotal to your work. Whether it’s to convey a specificsense of mystery, like in the 2020-22 series on the night, or an actual concatenation of events, a single painting exists in relation to the other. Thinking in these terms, what was the difference between your old works and this last series?

Surely there’s some stylistic coherence. So they’re loosely related. But I mean, every year of my life you could ask me to look back two years in the past, and I’d be slightly embarrassed of who I was and what I was doing. You could read that really pessimistically,  but the way I see it…if you’re not feeling that way, you’re not evolving.

Blue Kitchen, 2021

While talking about your upcoming show, you told me that the theme of the song slowly became close to your personal life while you were painting the series. In what sense do you think that this song by the Chicks and your translation of it in paint can be relevant for yourself and for collective society, women in particular?

Making the works, you’re forced to view the Goodbye Earl narrative through the cultural context of 2022. It’s not just an arbitrary story. It’s about friendship, relying on your fellow women, revolution if you will. That if it really has to come down to me or you, well, I’m choosing me, bitch. Fuck you. That rings different after 2022, after overturning Roe. Gives it a stronger bite.

But still, there’s a femininity to the murder. They kill Earl over dinner. Compare that to, say, the Goodfellas painting (from this series) — the opening scene, Pesci, DeNiro and Liotta are driving down a dark road, they hear some bumps in the trunk. They pull over, open the trunk, where there’s a guy, barely alive and covered in blood. Pesci stabs him a bunch, DeNiro shoots him multiple times, and Liotta’s voice-over: ‘As far as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster’.

You gotta love that these ladies didn’t want to kill someone, didn’t want to take it there —  so when they’re forced to, it’s considered, it’s bloodless. Just a poisoning of peas.

How do you see your work developing in the future?

It’s an opportunity to experiment with new colours, new themes. I hope it feels completely  different.

Evil Twin in Vivienne Tam, 2022


  1. Les Dîners de Mamito, 2022. Courtesy the artist and Jeffrey Deitch, Los Angeles Photo: Charles White
  2. The Face Stealer’s Pond, 2021. Courtesy the artist and Perrotin, New York
  3. Neighborhood Sleep Paralysis, 2020. Courtesy the artist
  4. Aggie & Pieter, 2022. Courtesy the artist and Night Gallery, Los Angeles Photo: Nik Massey
  5. Mind-Body-Body Problem (After Junji Ito), 2022. Courtesy the artist and Lyles and King, New York
  6. Blue Kitchen, 2021. Courtesy the artist and Arsenal Contemporary Art, New York
  7. Evil Twin in Vivienne Tam, 2022. Courtesy the artist and Lyles and King, New York

Pietro Groff

Rust Green


Photography · Pietro Groff
Styling · Antonio Chiocca
Casting · Chisom Abuba at White Casting
Hair · Masayuki Yuasa using Less is More
Make-up · Janette Peters
Set Design · Nina Oswald
Models · Margot Heyer and Masa at Neu Casting, Sophia Zoë and Dan at Eli Xavier Casting, Albena at Indeed Model Management, Ine Michelmann at Modelwerk, Jonathan Scotti at Nest Model Management, Nils Daps at Tigers MGMT and Semi Al-Zubi at Core Management
Photography Assistant · Nina Groff
Styling Assistant · Tania Aquaro
Hair Assistant · Lee Hyangsoon
Make-up Assistant · Anna-Lisa Pritsch
Set Design Assistants · Ruby Oswald, Juliette Catelle
Production · Carina Parke 

Gabriele Galimberti

Recording society and its patterns, arrangements and faces is Galimberti

Homes are provisional. Society lives within borders and over bones. Recording society and its patterns, arrangements and faces is Galimberti. The Italian-born Gabriele Galimberti is an internationally renowned photographer and visual storyteller. With a committed gaze, he observes and recounts scenes of being with a practice that is as creative as it is concrete. Entering his subject’s private world, he captures images of people at their jobs and in their homes, with their belongings, families or certain possessions to research and align intra-human patterns across the world. Exhibiting on a global scale, Galimberti works across commercial fields, collaborates with National Geographic and maintains a steady production of his stories. 

His lens is nearly within touching distance of subjects, and the product is an analogue of involved intimacy and exposed vulnerabilities. His techniques render a symbolic, slightly unsettling representation of subjects as being behind one-way glass in another room. His approachable character and honest intentions allow him to engage with his subjects and become a part of their lives in the intimacy of their homes. Galimberti’s work offers perspectives in a clear-cut, highly-descriptive form. Everything he captures is sharply focused, developing an image over time. 

One might say, therefore, that Carter has rapidly evolved into the photographic equivalent of a visual statistician. Indeed, Galimberti’s projects emphasise a fine-tuned address of social, economic and cultural contexts without departing from the documentary tradition of photography. He sits down with NR to discuss his practice, thoughts and intentions for his ongoing work. 

The image of America has many iterations. Emanuel Leutze’s Westward the Course of Empire Takes its Way (1860) and John Ghast’s image of the land as a holy ground in American Progress (1872) had a sharp promise of infinite beauty and pushed the land into one which was a spiritual resource. Then, in the 19th Century, Matthew Brady brought photography to the table with his documentation of the Civil War. Suddenly the land of the free appeared spoiled, the sunset decolourised, and soldiers soiled. His images changed the image of the US and, as put by Robert Hughes, changed the idea of what war was, ‘like TV for Vietnam’. Similarly, Gabriele Galimberti shifts the focus of reality into a newer, more contemporary slide. His work echoes conceptions of place and person in relation to their purpose as human beings and the meaning assigned to the products that surround them. He highlights an exquisite variety of human life in the most intimate of locations: a home is a spiritual resource, possessions act as conduits for human expression, and Galimberti changes the idea of who we are. 

You completed your project, The Ameriguns, three years ago, but you were just in the United States a few days ago. How did it feel to be back? 

I was in Washington DC for National Geographic, which is based there. They were having their annual meeting, so I stayed for five days before going to Los Angeles for a few meetings. Work-wise, it’s a good city. I always find good connections there, especially since I’ve been working for NatGeo since 2016; in their building, you can meet a lot of really interesting people who go in and out, whether photographers or explorers. When I started being a photographer, I wanted to work for National Geographic, so when that happened a few years ago, it was incredible. 

Do you travel there a lot? 

I actually come to the states pretty often, and I’ve been back a couple of times since I took my last picture of the series (in January 2020). I’ve been going there for the past 20 years, and it’s the place I’ve been to the most outside of Italy — I’ve probably been there more than 40 times. On my first road trip to America, I went to Houston and drove to Austin, and on the drive, I probably saw 20 gun shops on the sides of the roads. That stuck in my mind. I would see McDonald’s, and then a gun shop, and then Mcdonald’s and a gun shop. 

The late writer and critic A.A. Gill wrote in his book, To America with Love that ‘Guns in America’s story are a constant, a plot device, like coffee cups in European films. Guns are Hollywood’. Your work depicting Americans with their firearms sparked considerable conversation. How did that all start? 

I was in Kansas for a National Geographic shoot four years ago. On one of my days off in the middle of November, I was driving outside of Kansas City and saw a huge gun shop in the middle of nowhere. For the first time ever, I walked in. I was curious to see what was inside, and when I entered, I realised they didn’t just sell handguns but war-level firearms. I started to speak with some of the customers, and one of the customers was at the counter. I asked, ‘Is this the first gun you are buying?’ to which he replied, ‘no, of course not, I have more than sixty’. It came to me to ask, ‘can I come to take a picture of you and your guns’. The first photo was completely natural, without the project of Ameriguns in mind. A few days later, it happened again in Dallas, and I decided to do some research and immediately found out the numbers. 

Your images in this series conveyed these numbers more than just people and their guns. What numbers did they show? 

In America, there are more privately-owned guns than people. There are 1.3 guns per person in America, but then you discover that only one-third of Americans own guns; that means there are five guns per person who owns a gun. Then, counting all the privately-owned guns in the world, 48% of them are in the USA, which constitutes 4% of the global population. It’s a lot, so I thought, I want to photograph these numbers. 

You quite literally put the statistics and the facts on the floor. What were your intentions for the series? 

I wanted to understand more, so that’s what I did. After mass shootings, there would be waves of popularity for my photos, going onto Twitter and on the media. Mass shootings are a huge problem in America, but it’s not, in my opinion, the biggest problem related to firearms. Analysing the 2018 statistics, there were nearly 40,000 gun-related deaths, and 77 people were due to mass shootings; the larger number of people (more than 100 people dying every day from gunshots) is almost normal. But, with mass shootings, especially in schools, the media talks about it. 

Out of the 500 people I contacted, I ended up photographing around 50 people. I went pretty much everywhere in America and photographed in 32 states. There are many things I liked and photographed in the country, so it wasn’t the only project I made there, but one of the aspects of American society that triggered my curiosity was their relationship with guns. 

This bare-bones bluntness to the concept has translated throughout many of your series, including your work with National Geographic. How does this line of work with National Geographic differ from your personal practice? 

It’s really stimulating working for them. I’ve taken three assignments from National Geographic, and you work alongside the photo editor. You create a conversation with them, and when you reach an idea of how you want to create the story, then you go and shoot it. It’s one of the best work experiences I have had in my life. It is a magazine that cares a lot about photography and the quality of work they publish. The people there know what they do, and the whole team are great. 

Many of your compositions have an intimacy that glazes over nostalgia and incarnates a realism in subject matter and context. When did you begin formulating your distinctive style? 

The love I have for photographing people in their homes started in 2009-10. Over those two years, I was working for the Italian Magazine La Republica. I made a project, Couchsurfing, where I travelled for two years all over the world — over 50 countries, I think — and I used the Couchsurfing social network (a sort of Airbnb for free). I was hosted by people in 58 countries, reporting stories for the magazine from a person’s home, and every week had a new chapter in a different place. The story was about the host and their life for a week. I would take photos, maybe go to work with my host or visit the school with them and take photos. 

You take photographs that are about something. They are more than what they are of and step outside the realm of literal relation into a heightened contextual language. How did your view as narrator come into the picture with Couchsurfing

It was amazing because I got to do this work across Africa, Asia, Alaska and everywhere. That was the first time I pointed the camera towards normal people and normal lives. Beforehand, I was always looking to find special stories that were of interest and the media’s interest, but when I did Couchsurfing, I thought, wait for a second, this is interesting; it’s interesting watching normal people’s lives because you can learn a lot of things from them. I was super lucky to have the opportunity to do this project for two years in so many countries, meeting people from different religions, different cultures and different everything: each place gave me a different piece of something. I was so curious to see how these people lived, and I wouldn’t take my camera with me all the time; there were days I wouldn’t bring it with me because I was just living with these people. I never take pictures of somebody without knowing them, I need to understand something about them to photograph them. 

Does this stripping down to the essentials create a narrative? What makes you most engaged with your work? 

What I really love to do is photograph people where they live. I like to enter people’s houses and take photos of that person where they live in their environment, and that’s the common line in all my projects. But I also like to work in advertising and creating sets from zero. Sometimes, I’ve shot a few campaigns for clients where we created scenes out of nothing. In that case, it’s more of a collaboration where I am there as the photographer, and then there are set designers who fill the scene. With people in their homes, every time I do a project, I tell my subjects that they have to be patient. I’m not going there to take a snapshot, I’m coming to take one or two days of your life. It’s always a collaboration between me and the subject. 

Do you believe that your work is emotional? Is the human reaction simply an outcome of images created to solely inform? 

Yes, I think some of my stories are emotional. Everybody can have an emotional reaction to every story, so it depends upon the person. When I present my work, I always see people getting close to my work, and they do react. I’m happy to see people being emotional about what I do and what they say. Whether they are reading my books or at my presentations, it’s nice to feel that what you do has a sense of meaning. It means you are going in a good direction. 

What project makes you most emotional? 

My grandmother’s book, In Her Kitchen: Stories and Recipes from Grandmas Around the World. I grew up with my grandmother, and there are lots of memories related to that book. The reason I made the book was that, while I was travelling for my Couchsurfing project, my grandmother was extremely worried about the food I was eating. That was her only concern, and so I said, don’t worry, ‘I am going to have dinner with other grandmothers because they know how to feed me for sure’. So, I started taking these photos of recipes and of the grandmothers every week, and I was sending these photos to my mother and my grandmother. My grandmother would relax. And at the end, I looked over all these images and recipes and thought I could make a book out of them, so I did it. I think it’s my greatest success because they printed 25,000 copies of the book in English, and it sold out, and then we had 14 different editions in different languages. It’s weird because the book is a cookbook and not a photography book, and there are photos in it, but if you look for it in a shop, it is in the cooking section. I made it because it was a homage to my grandmother. I remember going back home to her and telling her about my trips and the food that I tried, and sometimes I would cook some of the recipes for her to try. 

Honing into your series Home Pharma, what was the impetus to capture the relationship between person and pill? Is this a very personal relationship? 

It’s personal because when you show the medicines you use or have in your house, you have them because you have certain needs or fears. It really opens the door to intimacy. That was a project I worked on for National Geographic when they were preparing an issue about Health. I proposed the idea of going to 20 countries and looking at what medicine people had in their homes. It was easier to ask people to show me their medicines rather than guns, but when you show such a thing, you say a lot about yourself and where you live. Certain countries had people that tended to rely on medicine a lot, but other countries had less trust in them. The places where I found strong relationships between medicine and people were France, Switzerland and the United States. It doesn’t happen as much in Africa or the Caribbean. 

Is it hard to find a balance between the intimate subjects (and their possessions) with their presentation? 

It was interesting to see that while I was shooting, people would lose their shyness and end up bringing out more and more of what they had in their medicine cabinets. It was a step-by-step process as people can be protective and not want to show you everything. It is an interesting way to measure shyness and fear. 

Your images are uncondescending and honest. Does their formal composition shift often? Do you still experiment? 

There’s a certain type of photography that I am very confident in, but I’ve worked on a few things that are outside of that. I worked on a project with National Geographic on the concept of ‘Genius’ and what it means to be a genius. The story was split into three chapters, divided by Albert Einstein, Picasso and Leonardo Da Vinci. How do you make stories of these people? You can’t take photos of them, so together with my photo editor and another photographer, we worked as a team to create a narrative with these three characters. It was really challenging, but I find challenges really fun. 

The photographs, as compositional and separate entities from their subjects, convey respect for the scene. The light and angles in your style express a vantage point that leaves room for clear sight and observation. For instance, the eye level of your subjects transfers between adults and children. Do you spend a large amount of time preparing for an image? 

I don’t take many photos. For a project like Couchsurfing, once I had the right picture, I could leave my camera at home and not take it out with me. Once I am satisfied with the portrait, the focus is on the story. I take photos of what I want and need for the story. When I find out what the image will be, I go looking for it, and when it’s found, I’m happy. With Ameriguns, I needed six or seven hours to create the scene; every single gun has to be in the right place, I needed to sort out the lighting, and then maybe I take 50 photos but build up the picture. 

How do people feel when they are placed on the scene? 

It’s a bit of a surprise for them. Most of the time, they are having fun. Something weird and unusual is happening, and they feel like they are a part of it. Most of the time, people think that when you ask, ‘can I take a picture of you’ it will be a quick snap, but when they have to do it with me, it’s a completely different thing. Some people don’t care if it takes five hours because they are having fun, and they like to be included in the process; for example, while we are setting up the picture, we could be having a conversation. In the process of creating photos, many things are happening and it’s a process with people together. 

You have been in more homes than, well, most people. And you are quite well travelled. Is immersing into lives and places fundamental for your current practice? How does it feel to be allowed to probe and surround yourself with varying lives? 

I’ve noticed that photography now is a language that connects people from everywhere. Everybody speaks that language, and you can look at an Instagram of somebody in China, not speak Chinese but understand something about that person. When I am with my subjects, and they see the lighting and process, they are curious because they also take photos every day, but they find it interesting how a professional does it. I like to interact with people in this way because I need to keep them happy to be there, especially if the shoot takes five hours. 

Do you use assistants for your projects? 

90% of the time, I’m by myself. I usually have a lot of equipment with me. When I shot Ameriguns, I had an assistant with me for 50% of the project, and he came with me for 20 days. We shared ideas sometimes on scenes and compositions, and I liked having somebody that was a part of my life already. In that case, it was because the scenes were very big. It wasn’t like Home Pharma, where everything was on the table, and I could do everything by myself. 

Does this change with commercial jobs? 

With commercial jobs, I always have one or two assistants, and on most of these jobs, there are quite a few people on set. It’s fun, but when you work on a set like that, 90% of the people are people you only just met. Even if I’m good at communicating with people, sometimes it’s not the same for others, and sometimes I have to work with people I don’t know for a few days, which is not as natural for me. But it’s part of the job. 

Do the impact of your photographs tend to raise a level of controversy? The Balenciaga scandal looks to have been clarified, and you are now finally absolved from culpability. How does that feel? 

It’s a sad story. It was the first time I made a campaign for a fashion brand, and it went so poorly. I was accused of being a paedophile for over two weeks everywhere in the world. They didn’t do anything to protect me, but now a few things are happening; I’m working with some of the media and talking to Balenciaga. I was trapped in something that was not my fault: I was there as a photographer. What they did with the second campaign (with the Supreme Court documents and books) was pretty weird, but a lot of people think I was the mind behind that too. I was not even there. For the first shoot, I was there for two days to take six photos of kids and objects; two of these objects were teddy bear bags. I don’t work in fashion, so when they gave me these bags, I thought they were ugly, ugly like punks. I didn’t see anything weird, but what happened later was incredible: I received over 5000 death threats and people calling me in the middle of the night. I was getting covered by shit, and nobody said a word about it. Now, it’s flipping over and is going in the other direction. I got a lot of positive attention from the major media, with interviews about it and people approaching me about documentaries discussing what happened. But it’s flipping to the other side. 

When it comes to the media and the public, it is quite interesting how even the credits on a shoot can scale a misleading representation of what a photographer’s role is. 

The problem was that they wanted my style of photo for the campaign. Children and toys and children with objects are something I have been shooting for 15 years, so it’s something that is clearly me. So with that vision, it is a lot more ‘me’ than Balenciaga in the eyes of the public. So, when the scandal came out, I think people needed to find somebody to blame, and since these photos are so close to what I have been doing for 15 years, they thought it was my mind behind the bags. When people had these reactions, Balenciaga erased everything from Instagram and the website and then published another campaign made together with Adidas, which was even worse because it felt like it somehow confirmed that there was a message behind these campaigns. It was unfortunate because everybody thought it was me behind the documents and both campaigns, even if I didn’t decide on a single detail about that campaign and was only at the first shoot. 

How does a commercial shoot run? Did the Balenciaga set involve you being the only one controlling the image? 

I was there with 25 other people around me, including the parents of the kids. Everybody was having fun and was there. I thought, OK, I trust these people, so I’ll take the picture. I didn’t see anything weird going on, and I can’t decide to take a photo of something just because I think it was ugly. I was already in Paris, and I already signed the contract. They said, ‘I want you to make the same style of photo for us but with kids and our collection’, so I said yes, because I knew they had bags and sunglasses and it was a commercial. So the first time I saw the collection was after I signed the contract and went to Paris. I had never seen it before, so I was there and saw these punky bags and everything else and the 25 people around me, and if they say the set is OK, then I trust these people and take the picture. I didn’t see anything weird. When something like that is put in front of you, you think, ew, this is ugly. But that’s it. It just looks like a little monster. My nephew is seven or eight years old and plays with monsters, and they are super ugly, but if I put that monster together with Balenciaga’s bags, they would look alike. 

How do you feel about the idea of cancel culture and people being influenced by mass media? 

The media played a big role because many major media sources created stories that were a lot bigger than what it was, and they triggered an atomic bomb. Balenciaga made a huge mistake, especially with how they handled the whole thing. It was weird because they sued a company, then the set designer, and then admitted it was wrong, and they wouldn’t be suing anyone. Even the communication with the scandal was weird, they stopped communicating with me during these days, and I was trying to reach them as I was getting death threats and wanted them to do something. Anyway, it was a sad story, but it’s luckily over at the moment. 


  1. Kitija Shiroma, 29 years old – Honolulu, Hawaii. Kitija Shiroma, Mae to her friends, owns the biggest firing range in the Hawaiian Islands. She owns it with her stepfather, a former military man whom she thinks of as her dad. It was he who instilled in her a passion for firearms. She was 10 at the time and had just moved to Honolulu from her birthplace, Thailand. “I used to watch Hollywood movies. Like any kid, I wanted to learn more about what I saw, so my father would take me hunting with him, up in the mountains. People hunt a lot around here. There are deer and pigs—it’s a rich land. That’s when I started shooting.”  
  2. Noel Hawthorne, 5 years old – South Dallas, Texas. Noel is 100% Texan! His ideas are already very clear, he wants to be a pilot! Play only with airplanes, of all sizes and sometimes with the playstation but only with a flight simulator. His favorite game is to put the little men in lego with the big boing that his father gave him and then make them slide to the bottom of the garden where there is a small pond. He imagines taking the legos on vacation to the lake, then after giving them a bath he puts them back in the plane and takes them home.
  3. Taha, 4 years old – Palestinian Fields, Beirut – Lebanon. Thaha is Palestinian but was born in Beirut, Lebanon where both he and his family have almost no rights. They live in a kind of shantytown with a thousand other people and they all come from Palestine. In order to have water and electricity, the people who live there are forced to illegally connect to the systems that pass nearby, because even these rights are denied to them. Taha doesn’t have many games and when I asked him what his favorite was, he had no doubts and replied: the racing car.
  4. Allenah Lajallab, 4 years old – El Nido – Palawan Island, Philippines. She was born and raised in El Nido, a small town north of the island of Palawan in the Philippines. There are no hospitals in El Nido and she was born at home. Her games are just puppets, her favorite is the orange rabbit, but only because she loves color, while what she doesn’t like is the white bear because it gets dirty too easily.
  5. Floyd and Lesia McMillin, both 49 years old – Topeka, Kansas. Floyd and Lesia McMillin’s enormous home is a showcase of hunting trophies. Stuffed deer, squirrels, ducks and geese, eyes frozen in time, stare as visitors pass through each room. There are quite a few—more than one per room, so at least 20. The sole exception is the bedroom, hung with portraits but otherwise strangely bare. It is here, however, that we find the guns that were used to hunt the animals. Most aren’t loaded, the couple say. Only one or two are ready to be fired at a moment’s notice, “in the defense of the family.” Their collection consists of 65 pieces, and there’s always something new. Each month, the McMillins spend roughly $2,500 on ammunition, accessories and new additions. Their passion for guns has been in their blood since childhood. Both come from families of hunters, people who would spend every moment of leisure time escaping into the great outdoors in search of prey. Floyd first shot a gun with his father, when he was 6 years old. At age 12, he was already spending much of his time pursuing game. At 17, he began participating in shooting contests. Lesia, on the other hand, had never fired a weapon until she was 46, when her husband bought her a Sig Sauer 380 and taught her to use it at the firing range. Until then, while on hunting trips firstly with her father and then her husband, she had only ever given tips and instructions. The McMillins own a very busy gun shop. “65% of our new customers are women who’ve never shot a gun before. Many have gone through something that’s made them want to learn how to defend themselves. Most of them say that, between the time they called the police and the time the officers got there, the worst had already happened. A gun gives them more power, more security.”
  6. Latoya Piper, 32 years old – Huntsville, Alabama. Not many people can say they stopped a mass shooting, but Latoya Piper is one of them. It was the night of December 31, 2018, and she was working as a security guard at the entrance to a club. Two men began to argue, then one of them went back to his car, took out an AK-47 and tried to go into the club, shooting. Latoya responded swiftly. She fired once and he shot back. Then she fired again and was able to stop him. The man did not die. It was Latoya herself who called the first responders who took him to the hospital. That episode only strengthened her convictions about the importance of carrying a gun. “I encourage victims of violent crimes to learn to use guns, to buy them and practice with them. It only takes one bullet to stop a mass shooting,” she says with confidence. Latoya’s familiarity with firearms runs deep. She practically grew up in the sheriff’s office where her father worked. She was 11 when he taught her how to shoot. At just over 20 she was in Iraq, serving in the military. Today, as a veteran, she believes there should be no distinction between ordinary citizens and members of the armed forces. “There’s no sort of firearm that people should be banned from buying. Anything the military has, individuals should be able to have, too.”  I like military-style weapons because they are more powerful. You’re the one who controls the explosion in your hands, the one who directs it. It’s having the ability to control something that powerful with my own two hands. If, tomorrow, the government decided that some of my guns were illegal, I don’t think I’d turn them in. I think I’d ask them to come and get them, and I doubt that they would.  If I don’t have a gun with me, I feel naked.
  7. Dimitri Procofieff, 22 years old – Geneva, Switzerland. To reach Dimitri’s family’s home, a sort of sanctuary for the ecologically-aware wayfarer perched high in the mountains above Geneva, travelers must first traverse over 6 miles of dense forest. It is a very large house, constructed almost entirely of wood and set on the shore of a small lake with a clear view of Mont Blanc. There are no neighbors, no connection with the rest of the world. Everything is zero-environmental-impact, recycled and sustainable. Their energy is produced by wind turbines and solar panels, rainwater is collected and circulated into the house and heat is generated using wood from the nearby forest (but only from trees that are ready to be cut, of course). It’s thanks to that wood that I ended up couchsurfing with Dimitri and his family. Every year they organize a get together, three days when friends, acquaintances and couchsurfers recruited from far and near help cut all the wood needed to heat the house through the winter. Think of it as a sort of jamboree, where you work during the day and at night you party with people from just about everywhere. Dimitri’s also a photographer and, because our paths had crossed once before, I knew about his family’s summer tradition. So it was that I decided to go and claim one of the numerous mattresses he puts out for visiting couchsurfers. Their home may be simple, but it’s very big and Dimitri, his mother and her partner open their door to whoever passes through. Dimitri’s incredible hospitality may be, in part at least, a consequence of his own nomadic history. Born in France in 1989 to a family of Russian origin, he spent his first 15 years moving from one place to another: Paris, Moscow, Tbilisi, Sri Lanka and Belgrade Ð the place where finally, at the age of fifteen, he started to feel at home. He doesn’t have many memories of his early years, apart from the fact that, for some strange reason, his family’s kitchens always seemed to catch fire. When his parents went to live in Senegal, he headed to Geneva, which is where he lives today, surrounded by friends and couchsurfers. As he tells me, “The thing I’m most proud of is having maintained real relationships with friends whom, unfortunately, I only rarely see.”
  8. Eric Arnsberger, 30 years old and Morgan Gagnier. 22 years old – Lake Forest, California. During his eight years in the Army, Eric Arnsberger was deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Kosovo, Russia, Vietnam and several different countries in Africa. He’s been a policeman in New Orleans, one of America’s most violent cities, and he grew up in Florida, where gangs were rife and very mean. “When I was a kid, I experienced all kinds of violence. I was stabbed, beaten up, robbed. Then I went to war. I saw what happens when someone else points a gun at you. I had to shoot at people and they shot at me, hundreds of times.” Now, back in the civilian world, Eric teaches people how to handle guns and shoot them safely. He lives in California, and he knows very well that many of his neighbors disapprove of his lifestyle and of what he does. “When I go off to work dressed in a certain way, I can see that people are judging me.” Morgan, the woman with him in the portrait, is not one of them. She’s a trainer in a gym, and she fell in love with him through following him on Instagram.  Eric never goes out unarmed and has a predilection for military-type firearms. “I’ve never bought a complete gun. I always buy the parts, then make myself a custom piece. I learned how to build guns in the Army. One of my jobs was to test and assess firearms, and that’s how I fell in love with them. If some new law made my guns illegal tomorrow, I think I’d break them down, hide them and go off somewhere else.”  First weapon: .22-caliber rifle.
  9. Boonlom Thongpor, 69 years old –  Bangkok, Thailand. Six big photos with all the members of her family keep Boonlom company every time she prepares a new delicacy among the cookers of her kitchen. A 69-year-old mother of two daughters and grandmother of the young Mai (in the photo between the hi-fi speakers), all her life spent in Bangkok, Boonlom considers herself the best cook of her neighbourhood. Until a few years ago she used to run a small street restaurant, the typical kind you find everywhere around the South-East of Asia, where people eat simple and quick (but often very tasty) dishes, standing or sitting on stalls on the street borders. At present her restaurant is run by one of her daughters, who has changed it slightly: in what functioned as their old garage, her daughter has arranged four squared tables and people can finally eat properly, sitting at them! The average cost of a full meal at her restaurant rarely goes beyond two euros!
  10. Wholl-Lima Balthazan, 56 years old, her mother Silemoieux Charikable, 76 years old, and her son Lozma Astrel, 20 years old, in their house, Port au Prince, Haiti. Wholl-Lima works as a secretary for a Haitian cultural organization called Fokal. She uses traditional Haitian medicine to cure herself and her loved ones. It is mainly leafs that can be found in local markets or provided by a ÒMedsen FeyÓ, a leaf doctor.
  11. Julia Enaigua, 71 years old Ð La Paz, Bolivia. Julia was born more than 70 years ago in a little village on the shores of the Titicaca Lake. In her family everybody was, and is still now, a fisherman or a farmer. Indeed, she grew up first playing and then working in the fields, too. When she was 25 she got married and moved to La Paz, the city where her husband came from. Since that moment her job has changed: from a farmer into a seller of vegetables. She has got a small stall in one of the many markets in the city. Every day she wakes up very early, takes a bus to go to the countryside outside the city, buys huge bags of vegetables from the local farmers, goes back to the city by bus and, after arranging her stall for the day, she is at the market until she sells almost all the vegetables. Unfortunately, nobody is waiting for her home now, her husband died a few years ago and her children live in another house. However, itÕs a pleasure that every weekend they both gather at her house and she can cook for them and her 5 grandchildren. 
  12. Jean Toussaint, 28 years old, is a policeman in the National Police Force of Haiti. He has built the house where he’s photographed in the suburbs of the city of Jacmel, Haiti. Like many Haitians he does not own many medicines and usually buys the single pills from street vendors if he needs them. He has here some cough syrup and some Paracetamol.

Elizabeth Glaessner

Elizabeth Glaessner, Ocean Halo, 2021

Therapeutic gateways to an inner world, Elizabeth Glaessner uncovers the realms of the psyche conjuring up a surreal universe in a constant state of metamorphosis.

Elizabeth Glaessner (born 1984 in Palo Alto, California) is an American painter and artist whose work express meanings beyond the figures she paints. Inspired by heroes of symbolism such as Edvard Munch, Odilon Redon, personal memories and art history, Glaessner places the visible at the service of the subconscious and re-contextualise mythological elements in her dream-like paintings. With her distinct use of colour, such as the recurrent visceral acid green as well as her technique of dispersing pure pigments with acrylics, oil and water, Glaessner creates visually striking works that tap into our primordial unconscious, opening a world where surroundings and people are intuitively blurred. There is a sense of fluidity and openness in Glaessner’s work, inspired from her childhood memories and an understanding that the world as it is today cannot be limited by binary thinking. Glaessner thus pushes the conventional societal boundaries and moral codes, and uncovers the realms of her psyche conjuring up a surreal universe in a constant state of metamorphosis. 

Therapeutic gateways to an inner world, Glaessner’s paintings are indirectly a reflection of our time and a window to possible futures.

When did you start painting? Were there family influences at all? 

My mom studied and taught art, so I started drawing and painting at a young age. Her dad  was an art lover as was my grandmother on my dad’s side. Her twin brother Friedreich was a textile designer and my great aunt Mitzi was a watercolor painter. 

Elizabeth Glaessner, War in the Middle Ages, 2022

You are originally from Houston, Texas but moved to New York. How have those two distinct landscapes influenced your practice? 

I grew up in Houston, my parents moved there from California when I was 3, and I moved to New York in 2007.  Houston is a large sprawling city with lots of space. It’s hot and humid and the vegetation and landscape is pretty swampy. It also flooded a lot so it’s a pretty wet climate on the east side of Texas. Lots of frogs and lizards. I’m not sure how much has changed over the years with all the new development. New York is much more fast-paced. Everything is compact and efficient. I love being able to commute without a car and my community is very important here. I’ve gained so much from being able to visit friends’ studios and having access to so many galleries and museums. But it’s very different working here than in a place like Houston and it’s getting more difficult with out of control rent and limited space. There’s always a tradeoff.

Elizabeth Glaessner, Earth Bound, 2022

There is always a sense of fluidity and openness in your work, on different levels, pushing away moral codes and societal limitations. Bodies and genders are interchanged and intertwined. Why those particular thematics?

I grew up in a pretty chaotic environment. When my parents divorced, my mom met an ex nun who moved in with her. The nun was obviously very religious and used fear tactics and violence to maintain power and control. We grew up in two very different realities. My dad’s parents were Jewish and escaped the Holocaust from Vienna so he grew up agnostic and didn’t impose religion on us. Eventually the nun left, I remember feeling overwhelmed with a sense of freedom. So I learned pretty early on the destructive effects of imposed morality, fear and repression and also became aware of our incredible ability to adapt and change.

“I also quickly became aware that we’re quite complicated and can’t thrive in a world limited by binary thinking.”

Elizabeth Glaessner,
Professional Mourners, 2020

Your work feels like an invite into your psyche and dystopian spaces in which the subconscious and conscious coexist together. Do you see your practice as a therapeutic tool and thus liberatory? 

Yes, initially painting was a way for me to escape but also try and understand a surreal and oppressive childhood full of contradiction. I started seeing a therapist at a young age but couldn’t talk about anything.

“Drawing and painting was a tool to deal with experiences in a non-literal way that I wasn’t ready to communicate verbally.”

It’s a survival tool for many people. I’m lucky that I had that.

Elizabeth Glaessner, Misfortunes of the City, 2022

You have cited Edvard Munch, Odilon Redon as references. Who/What else inspired your style?

The first works of art that I spent time with as a kid in the museum of fine arts in Houston were Bougereau’s the elder sister (but just for the feet), Derain’s landscapes with red trees and Turrell’s tunnel. These aren’t artists that I look at now but I think the effect that they had on me at a time when I was forming memories is relevant to subconscious decision making in painting now. I have looked at and continue to look at so much art throughout history – it plays a large role in how I conceive of my paintings so it’s very difficult to just name a few. I look at different artists for different reasons. For example, Cranach the Elder and Carroll Dunham because of how far they are able to take one idea or theme and stretch it with subtle formal variations. Or someone like Chris Ofili or Francesco Clemente for color or feeling, Birgit Jurgenssen for the body and so on.

Elizabeth Glaessner, Escapism, 2022

Some of your favourite readings? What is something/someone you have recently discovered and has marked you?

I’m currently reading Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro. I think he’s a brilliant writer. I also loved Never Let me Go. Haruki Murakami is one of my favorites. I’ve recently been thinking about Audre Lorde’s Sister Outsider, especially “uses of the erotic: the erotic as power” and how she writes about language in “Poetry is not a Luxury”. And my friend Aisling Hamrogue recently suggested I read a chapter in A Thousand Plateaus by Deleuze and Guattari called “One or several Wolves” discussing the body without organs which made an impression.

The colours used in your paintings offer such vibrant hues. Where does this palette come from?

It’s incredible how personal and associative color is. I have visceral reactions to certain color combinations. It’s often the thing that causes me to repaint a painting – if the color isn’t working with the content, I’ll start over with a different palette. Usually the under color shifts the tone of whatever is on top which can lead to unexpected combinations. There’s an element of intuition but I also think about symbolic associations of color – both my own which have been developed through repetition as well as learned associations. 

Elizabeth Glaessner, Charley Horse, 2022

Some colours are more recurring than others, such as acid green. There is something really appealing to it but it also feels like a warning. Why that green in particular?

I’ve been drawn to that green since I was a kid. I’m sure it comes from many places. Houston is a swampy green city and I was always outside. I was very close with my grandmother who introduced me to painters such as Klimt and Kirchner who also use that green. It’s a color that I feel comfortable with.

“That acidic quality oozes an uneasiness which I think is reflective of what it feels like to be alive.”

Elizabeth Glaessner, Heat Map, 2022

Which mediums other than painting would you like to explore with? 

There is an endless amount of learning I still have to do within painting. I’ve done silk painting – which is something I’d like to do again at some point. I’d also like to explore paper making, priming my surfaces in different ways, experimenting with different mediums when I’m pouring paint. I’d like to do some monotypes in a print studio and try different printmaking techniques. I’d love to play around with clay more but painting is keeping me pretty occupied at the moment. 

Elizabeth Glaessner, Sphinx and Friends, 2022

Could you tell us about the process you go through when you create? 

I usually start with several works on paper that are done pretty intuitively. Some drawing, some ink and gouache. First I pour and then use the color fields to find forms which I meld with preconceived ideas so there’s a balance of control and freedom. I look at these works on paper as I’m making paintings on canvas on linen, whether it’s the color and theme, or just the composition or energy. The surface of the larger paintings is often pretty built up because I change so much as I’m working. Sometimes the composition will work on a smaller scale but doesn’t feel right when I’m working large. I usually get to a point about halfway through where I feel like I’ve completely lost the painting and then have to make some big move to totally change it and dig my way out. But I’ve learned that that is just part of how it’s made so I trust it.

What are you working on at the moment?

I just finished my solo show “Dead Leg” which opens September 3rd at Perrotin in Paris. I had a pretty busy year so I’m looking forward to traveling a bit, taking some time to set up my studio again, finishing some books I started, doing some color exercises and starting a new series of works on paper. 

The theme of this issue is IN OUR WORLD. Are your paintings a reflection of our time or are they a window to the future you envision?

I think they’re both. 

“Definitely a reflection of our time which wouldn’t exist without the past and which hints at possible futures.”


Artworks · Courtesy of Elizabeth Glaessner and Perrotin

Celeste Galanda

The Dark of Matinée


Model · Yeray at Elite Model
Photography · Celeste Galanda
Fashion · Francisco Ugarte
Hair Stylist and Makeup · Regina Khanipova
Photography Assistant · Patricia Vizcaino Villalón


  1. Full look KENZO
  2. Jacket DSQUARED, Necklace PALM ANGELS
  3. Full look BOTTEGA VENETA
  4. Jacket and trousers JW ANDERSON x MONCLER, Shirt BOTTEGA VENETA, T-shirt RAF SIMONS, Shoes CAMPER LAB
  5. Sweater and shorts JW ANDERSON x MONCLER, Necklace PALM ANGELS, Shoes CAMPER LAB
  6. Sweater JW ANDERSON and Jeans VERSACE

Ciro Galluccio



Model · Tilda Jonnson at Brave Models
Photography · Ciro Galluccio
Fashion · Alessandro Ferrari
Production · Anna Baldocchi at Ro-of
Casting · Isadora Banaudi
Hair · Alessia Bonotto
Makeup · Martina D’andrea
Photography Assistant · Fabio Firenze
Fashion Assistant · Francesco Giuliani


  3. Slippers ALANUI x SUICOKE
  4. Dress KRIZIA
  5. Jumpsuit Vintage
  6. Shirt OUR LEGACY
  7. Tank top SCHIESSER

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