Everyone must have a body, for better or worse. What people do with and put on their flesh and bone elevates it into the purview of art. And that’s where Acne Paper comes in. The theme of the magazine’s latest issue is a subject you can expect the sister project of the Swedish label to have an intimate understanding of. Filling 256 pages are depictions of the body through the ages: ancient drawings, Leonardo da Vinci’s anatomical renderings, and latter-day fertility dolls by Louise Bourgeois, to name a few—mixed in with essays, interviews and fashion shoots in a po-mo surge of enlightenment.
The gathering of bodies doesn’t end there. Quite a crowd turned out for the issue launch last night at The Pace gallery in New York. Everyone from models Hanne Gaby Odiele and Andy Gillet to designers Joseph Altuzarra and Francisco Costa to the one-and-only Iris Apfel—not to mention a live orchestra—graced the West Chelsea space. Also braiding through the room was Acne Paper’s editor-in-chief, Thomas Persson, who shared a few bons mots…
How did the idea come about? Did a particular body, or body of work, inspire you?
It was actually a New York based photographer, Bill Durgin, that came up to my office in London a year ago who inspired it initially. His photographs of nudes were unlike anything I had seen before, so pure and sculptural. I thought it would be interesting to look at the human body from an artistic rather than an idealized perspective and to illuminate certain artists who have used the body in their work, but not necessarily as their only thing. As I write in my editor’s letter, it’s more about a point of departure to tell other stories too.
The issue is a beautiful mix of art, text and history—and bigger than ever, it seems. How do you decide when an issue is done?
I don’t know if I ever feel it is completely done but we make a choice of all the ideas we have in-house and from our freelancers, and was also leave room for new ideas that come to us as we go along. Each story takes much time and work so at a certain point finishing an issue is more about trying to perfect and perfect and perfect the stories we are working on. It is 256 pages so it’s quite a body of work, and this time it might feel even bigger as we have inserted a booklet with Lillian Bassman’s biography.
Speaking of Lillian, I love how you two get dishy in your interview. Her wit belies her 90-something years. Do you live for moments like that?
These moments are very special, yes. I will never forget visiting her in her old carriage house last September. There was a thunderstorm that day, the rain was pouring down on the skylight above us as we did the interview, which made the moment very magical. To hear Lillian talk about her life and work was so fascinating. I mean, she was an extraordinary talent—one of the best fashion photographers in the world, in my opinion.
If you could switch bodies with anyone in the world, male or female, who would it be?