5 playful, surrealist books Sharna Osborne reaches to for inspiration

The photographer and videographer on the authors that inform her nostalgic VHS aesthetic, from the philosophical to the downright childish.

 

Document’s contributors are compiling summer reading lists with a twist. We’re asking writers, authors, artists, scholars for their old favorites and anticipated releases.

Sharna Osborne’s photography carries deep feelings of nostalgia embedded in paused VHS tapes and childhood memories of dress-up. Combining vintage narration through glitched film, her lo-fi aesthetic has landed her jobs in all corners of the world, collaborating with brands like Miu Miu, MSGM, Martine Rose, Fred Perry x Raf Simons and Hermès to name a few. Her distinctive take on fashion photography and videography is perfectly mirrored in her list of books, merging personal and professional interest with personal growth.

The Cremaster Cycle by Matthew Barney
Barney’s time-based work, existing out of a time-based space, was always my fave. I like the cyclical nature of The Cremaster Cycle, his colours and the esoteric hierarchy within his symbolism. Not surprisingly, this is where I have ended up; the video work being the reason, but the stills being much more important.

Baradla Cave by Eva Švankmajerová
Nonsensical, metaphor-laden fiction that builds odd worlds with each paragraph. Surrealist Švankmajerová might talk about a wholesome protagonist (who is both a woman and a cave) crafting with mud and earth, day and night, and then throw in her irrational fear of assassins coming to kill her. I probably don’t understand much of this book, especially as it’s translated from her native Czech language, but when I pick it up I find worlds of contraction, humour, and imagery that really inspire me to search and create.

Rewind/Forward by Yohji Yamamoto
1995-2000 is the window this imagery comes from, and it must be the half-decade I really draw from, because this book is constantly a refresher when I want inspiration. Playful, delicate, naive worlds for the clothes to inhabit and a sort of honesty about the interaction between model, clothes, and set.

Mutilate by Walter Van Beirendonck
It’s physically childish, it’s pedagogic and therefore sophisticated in its ability to combine the two. This book reads like a perfectly edited film as things relate and interact with what comes before or after, and it houses fragments from Beirendonck’s archive within a linear narrative that speaks more than the sum of its parts.

Outsider Art: Spontaneous Alternatives by Colin Rhodes
By not quite understanding how to adjust to trimming down a body of work to a concise and seemingly poignant exhibition with a worthy set of works, I travelled loads unconsciously looking for something. In Chandigarh, seeing Nek Chand’s Rock Garden I felt more than most gallery-hosted bodies of work. This book is a superficial reminder of that.

5 playful, surrealist books Sharna Osborne reaches to for inspiration

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s