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A coastline
green weeds at the bottom of the sea

Seaview Seagrass, Solent, Isle of Wight, UK, image by photographer and marine biologist Theo Vickers. © Theo Vickers

As sea levels rise due to global warming, there are tremendous challenges for the environment, coastal communities and global supply chains. Mark Rowe reports and discovers ideas, initiatives and infrastructure measures to help stem the tide

The sea is on the rise. All around the world, over the past 100 years, sea levels have risen by up to 25cm. And they are expected to rise by a further one metre in the next 80 years. The main driver of this increase is climate change, caused by humans pumping carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere.

This is driving sea-level rise through one reason everyone is aware of: melting ice bodies like glaciers and polar ice caps. What is less evident is that, even if all the permanent ice in the world were to melt, oceans would continue to rise as long as temperatures did, due to the physics of thermal expansion: warm water occupies more volume.

A woman wearing glasses and a shirt

Dr Joanne Williams

“We can’t reverse what has already happened,” says Dr Joanne Williams of the UK’s National Oceanography Centre. Science, in the form of thermal lags, means sea-level rises are inexorable. Water warms slowly, so, due to deep ocean heat uptake, sea levels will rise for centuries, whatever we do. “The heat is already in the ocean, the rises are locked in,” Williams continues. “But if we act now, it costs less in the long term and we can plan without having to rush. It’s easier to adapt.”

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In a 2021 report, “Coastlines in Crisis”, by Deutsche Bank Private Bank’s Markus Müller, ESG Chief Investment Officer, and Daniel Sacco, Investment Officer, the authors cautioned that “rising sea levels will put coastal populations and critical economic assets under increasing stress… substantial population displacement is not an unlikely scenario”. These are not abstract observations, and they highlight the challenges, including the human cost.

A man wearing a black top and blazer

Dr Philipp Rode

Most of the world’s populations live by water. Around one in 10 of us live less than 10 metres above sea level and 70 per cent of the world’s largest cities are in low-lying coastal areas. Roughly 40 per cent of the US population lives in coastal cities. So communities, as well as their infrastructure, trade and buildings, both residential and commercial, are all at risk, making the adoption of adaptation planning even more of a priority. As Dr Philipp Rode, Executive Director of LSE Cities, puts it, “How sub-Saharan African cities will cope is very unclear. But the story of people being forced to move because it is too risky and too expensive to live there any more is one we will hear more and more.”

“The ways in which people are vulnerable varies,” says Williams. She cites Bangladesh, where a one-metre rise would shrink the country by one-third. “Bangladeshi people are used to flooding, but in the future it will happen more often, go further upriver and affect more farmland.” Much of the farming hinterland near Williams’s own city, Liverpool, in the UK, is at coastal level. “Not a lot of people live there,” she says, “but that’s a lot of food production at risk.”

It is apparent, then, that threats from sea-level rise affect more even than coastal ecosystems and coastal communities. They affect everyone through global economics in terms of agriculture, infrastructure, real estate, tourism and global trade. And all this affects the Global North as well as the Global South, the Netherlands as well as the Maldives.

This is because critical national infrastructure, most obviously ports, but also electricity and nuclear power stations, electricity cables, and gas and sewage pipes, are often located on the coasts. Twelve of the biggest US airports are built on coastal areas, and nearly one-third of US GDP relied on the coastal economy, employing almost 55 million people in 2016. It is estimated that 20 per cent of global GDP could be threatened by coastal flooding by the end of the century. Our seas handle 90 per cent of global trade and that means if ports get battered, then cargo – from plastic toys to grain consignments – will get tangled up with knock-on effects.

Yellow and green weeds at the bottom of the sea

An Island’s Wild Seas, the Needles, Isle of Wight, UK, image by photographer and marine biologist Theo Vickers. © Theo Vickers

In the Global South, particularly, effects on sectors such as agriculture and tourism will be especially disruptive, as developing countries are most reliant on them. Saltwater inundation from flooding contaminates freshwater aquifers, making agriculture difficult, threatening food supply and making water no longer potable. That spells trouble for the people of Suriname, where almost three-quarters of the population lives five metres below sea level and most of its fertile agricultural land lies on the coastal plain. The Maldives’ highest point is just two metres above sea level, and, while it performs well compared to its small island peers, tourism accounts for almost one-third of its economy, making its people extremely vulnerable to rising sea-level shocks.

“Rising seas will not see cities sink slowly, millimetre by millimetre beneath the waves. Instead, changes are complex and abrupt,” says Rode. “Sea-level rises make other things worse. If you get a combination of flash floods, storm surges, high winds and high tides, the peak height of impacts will hit places harder. The higher sea levels are, the harder it is to get floodwater from heavy rain out of a city.”

Society does not have a great track record of awareness, let alone action, when small communities, or those from the Global South, are involved. Barranquilla is the fourth largest city in Colombia, with a population of 2.4 million. Located next to the Magdalena River, near the Caribbean Sea, it is a major port. But because of mismanagement and lack of investment in water infrastructure – it has no rainwater drainage systems, for example – it is highly vulnerable to floods and landslides. When the city floods, and it does, the roads turn into dangerous, fast- flowing rivers, sweeping away cars – and people. Sea-level rise is set to compound the situation, and while there is a push for legislation and some agreement to avoid disaster, there is no clear plan, resulting in stressed infrastructure, increased food shortages and poor, often Afro-Colombian communities, displaced to informal slums.

While the residents of Barranquilla still wait for change, the Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System was created in New Orleans right after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. It is the most costly flood-control system on earth and one of the biggest public-works projects in US history. Governments around the world are becoming increasingly conscious of the risks of sea-level rise and are progressively implementing adaptation measures. Shanghai’s authorities place a high value on these because, by 2050, the city is predicted to endure floods and rainfall 20 per cent higher than the global average. To lessen its vulnerability to rising sea levels, the city has built 520 kilometres of defensive seawalls. The OECD warns against complacency, however. Solutions are out there, but they will need to come hand in hand with the regulation and business climate that allows them to become viable commercially.

A man with dark curly short hair wearing glasses

Guy Michaels

Grey or technological solutions are often the direct go-to approach. London, which is estimated to have a water level increase of up to two metres in a low-emissions scenario, has its retractable barrier system, begun in 1974 and in operation since 1982. “And London can always get the Thames Barrier to do a bit more lifting,” says Guy Michaels, Associate Professor of Economics at the LSE’s Department of Economics. “In New York, which is 10 metres above sea level, you can think of ways to potentially close off the harbour.”

Tokyo created a spectacular solution in 2006. The G-Cans flood project is a huge cathedral-like underground cavern supported by 59 towering pillars. Permeable surfaces and a network of pipes divert floodwaters to a reservoir, before being slowly released to the Edo river. The price tag was more than US$2 billion and costs for defending infrastructure along other coastal cities are similarly eye-watering. “You can build defences higher, but there comes a point where you have to ask whether costs justify the outcomes,” says Williams. “When you get a one in 100-year flood, people build back. But what if that event happens again the next year, and then the year after that?”

This is where nature-based solutions come in. While many cities in advanced economies – those, remember, primarily responsible for climate change – have the means to protect themselves through technological solutions, the picture is different in the Global South, says Rode, where emphasis is more on adaptation. Barrier islands, vegetated dunes, coastal wetlands, mangrove forests and reefs are examples of natural barriers to protect shorelines.

They provide several advantages in addition to flood protection, including carbon sequestration, biodiversity restoration, fish nurseries, cultural heritage, recreational activities, tourism and spiritual benefits. Crucially for the Global South, they can be quickly adapted to the real pace of sea-level rise. Planting mangroves can lower wave heights by 71 per cent or more.

Mangroves originally lined tens of thousands of kilometres of coastlines around the world; previously mistakenly seen by humans as a type of coastal weed that could be destroyed for development, they are a good example of the upside potential of mitigation. Properly managed, mangroves store immense amounts of carbon and support a rich ecosystem of biodiversity, as well as protecting the developments on the coasts they have previously been cut from. They survive in a variety of climates and in brackish water, and planting mangroves can provide carbon credits.

Meanwhile, studies in the UK have shown how fringes of saltmarsh 40 metres wide can reduce wave height by nearly 20 per cent; at 80 metres, waves reduce to near zero. Nature-based solutions also give quick returns: estimates for annual flood-damage reduction from coral reefs exceed US$400 million for Cuba, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico and the Philippines alone.

Fresh, innovative approaches to protect urban areas include creating holistic “sponge cities”, which absorb heavier rainfall. After a cloudburst in 2011 inundated Copenhagen’s main trauma hospital and caused US$1.04 billion of damage, the Danish government redesigned infrastructure to make roads and pavements more permeable, while using nature-based solutions to plant grass and lay soil to better absorb rain.

Information-gathering to facilitate decision-making is key. Many countries use Lidar, a remote sensing method that pulsates laser light across coastal areas to measure elevation on the Earth’s surface. Australia’s web portal CoastAdapt provides mapping software, coastline morphological information, guidance for decision-making in coastal climate adaptation, and local and international case studies. France, meanwhile, is one country using a combination of a tech-based approach to monitor and evaluate its progress to date, and using that to recommend the elaboration of nature-based solutions and proposals to spatially reshape coastal areas.

A coastline

The artificial peninsula whose sand, as it erodes, protects the natural beaches near The Hague © Craig Corbett

The Netherlands, with 25 per cent of land below sea level and scarred by the North Sea flood of 1953, is widely considered the gold standard, with a creative approach combining monitoring, preparation, and grey- and nature- based engineering. “It did a lot of learning, a lot of thinking,” says Michaels. Anticipating sea-level rises of one metre by 2100, its measures have included the 2003 US$70 million reconstruction project to protect The Hague by raising a dyke 10 metres above the mean water level in Amsterdam and depositing 2.4 million cubic meters of dredged sand along Scheveningen Beach, which pushed the ocean back 50 metres from the shoreline.

Meanwhile, the necessary shift to a more sustainable economy offers the opportunity to restructure many firms and their manufacturing processes. Physical damage to facilities as a direct consequence of flood events or other weather extremes interrupt production and make it hard for employees to show up at work. It makes sense that forward-thinking companies across the globe are preparing for climate change by investing in resilient structures that can resist storms, severe winds and flooding.

Coastal cities may have to be radically redesigned or risk becoming “misshapen”, as Michaels puts it. “Inland cities have development that radiates from a central business district in all directions,” he says. “For coastal cities this is not an option. Rising sea levels will further distort the shape of coastal cities, leading to them becoming misshapen and significantly lengthening the costs of commuting to work.”

Michaels is struck by how stubborn communities can be. “Between 1990 and 2010 we saw development increase by 26 per cent in city blocks prone to sea-level rises on the US east and Gulf coasts,” he says. “That was alarming. We assumed people would avoid building there – the exact opposite happened.”

Read more: YKK America’s CEO Jim Reed on creating sustainable products for less 

Thumbing a nose at climate science only partly explains this, suggests Michaels. “If you assume people have good foresight but still do it, then they’re building in riskier locations because that’s where the jobs are. It’s a trade-off.” Is there a link to the politicisation of climate change? “People who are least aware of climate change can be the most willing to take on risk,” he says, citing politically sceptical Florida. “Miami is at ground zero. The coast is long, low-lying and very vulnerable. Yet there doesn’t seem to be a wide acceptance of what is happening and many locals regard most events as ‘nuisance’ flooding.”

What will trigger meaningful long- term, joined-up action? “Disasters recede into the background quite quickly,” says Michaels. “Maybe that changes if we get a Hurricane Sandy or a Katrina every year.” Williams is more optimistic. “I see people putting the effort in. It’s important not to say things are impossible, otherwise people ask why they or their government should bother taking any steps.” Rode reckons a more fundamental societal shift is required. “Free-riding, the good life as we know it, goes far beyond levels of consumerism that are healthy for the planet. Maybe we need to rediscover the mundane, then decide whether what’s really meaningful in life is that your local river is clean enough to swim in.”

Find out more:

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perspectives/cio-special-assets/coastlines-in-crisis

This article first appeared in the Deutsche Bank Supplement of the Autumn/Winter 2023/2024 issue of LUX magazine

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Reading time: 12 min
People walking in and out of a building that has signs to COP28
People walking in and out of a building that has signs to COP28

COP28 closed last week with an agreement that signals the “beginning of the end” of the fossil fuel era

Following the close of COP28 last week, Markus Müller, Chief Investment Officer of ESG & Global Head of Chief Investment Office at Deutsche Bank’s Private Bank, speaks to LUX about his key takeaways from the conference

LUX: Did COP28 move the dial on climate change?
Markus Müller: Yes, from my point of view it did. Look at the commitments to triple global renewable energy capacity by 2030 and double energy efficiency. But it is what is implied by such commitments that is most interesting. This isn’t just a matter of developing pure supply. We’re also going to have to develop markets – by changing permissions and enhancing grid connection, to mention just two factors out of many.

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We also have to recognise who can do what by when. Rapid adoption of renewables may pose the biggest challenge for the Global South. After nearly 30 years of these climate change conferences, it’s also highly important that fossil fuels have finally formally been mentioned in the commitment for a “transition from fossil fuels to cleaner energy”. In statements for previous COPs, there has just been talk about reduction of harmful subsidies. This is a clear step further. The problem for countries is now to make this happen without sacrificing living standards.

Dubai and the sea from an aerial view

Global solidarity was shown at COP28 when negotiators from nearly 200 Parties came together and signed on the world’s first ‘global stocktake’ to ratchet up climate action before the end of the decade

LUX: What was your best professional moment at COP28 and why?
MM: My best professional moment was a talanoa-style dialogue with the Island Youth from Hawaii, Philippines, Palau and Samoa. It was impressive to listen to the Island Youth discuss their views and hear their take on challenges ahead. The dialogue helped me understand how disconnected the world still is on many topics – but it also revealed a lot of hope for the future. We know what to do on climate change but we have to act now.

LUX: What was the biggest disappointment and why?
MM: The biggest disappointment was that the sheer scale of event hindered effective dialogue between businesses, policymakers and NGOs. Compared to recent COPs it was simply too big – in terms of numbers of attendees and, for example, physical distance between their stalls. We could have done a better job in bringing together the “needs” with the “what” and the “how”.

People standing behind a table on a stage with DUBAI 2023 written on a screen behind them

Over 85,000 participants attended COP28 including civil society, business, Indigenous Peoples, youth, philanthropy, and international organisations as well as world leaders

LUX: Do you sense genuine momentum towards changing economic thought to take account of natural capital, or is this still an outlier?
MM: I think that nature is coming more and more towards centre-stage but it still isn’t there yet. Next year’s biodiversity COP (COP16 in Australia) should however help make it clear that if we want to tackle the climate crisis we also need to solve the biodiversity and ocean crisis. We need nature for mitigation and adaptation and we need to think more in terms of natural capital to work out how best to do this.

LUX: “Overall, COP28 did more harm than good. The environmentally damaging deals that emerged from informal meetings will do more harm than any resolutions will do good”. True or false, and why?
MM: False. What about all the positives what we all bring home from our informal conversations too? Also remember how news reporting from this and previous COPs have raised awareness of environmental issues in public discussion worldwide? COPs have normalised open discussion of topics previously seen (wrongly) as not relevant to the global citizen. We probably don’t give enough prominence to the publication of the “Global Stocktake” either. This text lays not only the pathway that nations must take to limit global warming to the previously-agreed-upon goal of no more than 2°C higher than pre-industrial levels—but also individual countries’ progress along this path.

people shaking hands at a conference

COP28 saw Parties agree to Azerbaijan as host of COP29

LUX: Hypothetical question: you are hosting one of the next COPs, and you have absolute power over the final resolution. What would it state – in a way that is both effective and implementable?
MM: I’d make three commitments. First, for Nature and Ocean to join Climate at centre-stage of policymakers’ attentions. Second, to prioritise fixing problems with the allocation of climate finance. Third, and this is very much linked with the second commitment, to put an explicit focus on fairness. Most such finance to middle-income countries for projects that reduce emissions, such as wind or solar energy.

Read more: COP28 Diary by Darius Maleki

Far less goes to the poorer countries, and even smaller amounts to help countries adapt to the effects of the climate crisis. Many participants believe that the focus of future COP meetings needs to be on a fair way to reach targets. As part of this, developed economies need to band together to financially support developing economies in the search for a new, less fossil-fuel intense development path. I think we’ve seen a change in attitudes here in recent COPs and I look forward to them delivering much more here in coming years.

Markus Müller is Chief Investment Officer of ESG & Global Head of Chief Investment Office at Deutsche Bank’s Private Bank

Find out more:  deutschewealth.com/esg

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cop
Stone building in the sand by a power line cop

Desertification is one of the key consequences of climate change

With COP 28 just days away, Commonwealth Secretary General Baroness Scotland and Deutsche Bank’s Markus Müller speak about the need to prioritise implementation of climate goals at the critical global conference. In a conversation moderated by LUX Editor-in-Chief Darius Sanai, the Secretary-General and Deutsche Bank executive underscore the need for collective action for climate reversal on the part of the international community to counter an increasingly urgent crisis
A woman wearing pearls, a black top and patterned scarf over her shoulder

Baroness Scotland

LUX: What are your hopes and expectations for this COP?
Baroness Scotland: My hope is that this COP will be the implementation COP. If you look at the COPs which have preceded it, you will see that there has been an awakening of the understanding about how urgent the danger is.

We have been talking historically about the existential threat for many of the members of my Commonwealth family. But that threat is not a threat: it is here. It is omnipresent. The “1.5 to stay alive” slogan is not a slogan, it is a reality. At the moment, 1.5 is on life support. We must give it the oxygen it needs. It means the difference between whether some of our small island developing states will continue to exist, or whether they will disappear.

Although it is encouraging to hear Australia say that they will take the people from states which are subsumed by the sea, such as Nauru, this still means that their traditions and cultures will all be gone. Their graveyards will be at the bottom of the sea after thousands of years of existence.

My aspiration for COP 28 is that we will deliver on the promises we will make. The $100 billion a year by 2020 that we were promised in 2009 still has not been delivered. It has to be delivered.

LUX: The richest countries are good at words, not implementations. What needs to change in order for that to be delivered?
BS: One change that has already happened is that businesses and the private sector are now intimately involved in the delivery. If you look back at previous COPs, even in 2016 there was still a debate as to whether climate change was real. There was a debate as to whether we would go green and blue in terms of energy. There was a debate about loss and damage. Those questions have been answered. If you look at what happened in Glasgow, the idea that the private sector would not be intimately involved in order to deliver the solutions is now unthinkable.

Second, which I have been saying for a while, we must recognise that human genius got us into this mess, and will now have to get us out of it. If you look at the industrial revolution, it was amazing, but that brought more devastation climatically than anything else. Human genius will have to get us out again. Some of the extraordinary developments – such as geo-spatial data – will allow us to better understand what is happening, and therefore, perhaps, how we can reverse it.

Large palm trees in the sand

Oases in North Africa are disappearing as the Sahara spreads northwards due to climate change

A third change is that we have accepted that this isn’t just about adaptation and mitigation. When I first said in 2016 that we needed a regenerative approach to development which would reverse climate change, people thought that I was crazy. Now, everybody accepts that we need a regenerative approach – one which adapts, rather than just mitigates.

A man wearing a white shirt and black suit

Markus Müller

LUX: Markus, as an economist and also someone who has said things that some people might have considered crazy at the time, but end up being true, what is your perspective on this COP?
Markus Müller: I think that this COP will be crucial. I completely support what Baroness Scotland has said. If we do not recognise what it takes now, it will be very difficult further down the line.

First, the Global Stocktake, which will take place for the first time at this COP, will reveal some uncomfortable truths. We will hear, for the first time, how far we are behind our plans. I hope and I think that this will be an awakening moment.

Secondly, we need to get a better understanding of global finance. Perhaps I am biased, but if we do not give the global financial market a role to play in this transition, then it won’t happen. The states alone will not be able to do this; we need the capacity of global finance – be it through risk pooling, or through its distribution channels of money, location and distribution – so that we can work on these devastating aspects.

From the perspective of an individual country, their financial needs are huge. From a global financial market point of view, this is more manageable. We have been speaking about this for years, but no solutions have been delivered so far. We must listen to financial institutions. We have the tools. Together, we are powerful, but in terms of negotiation, business, and finance, the right angle is missing. In this COP, finance is crucial, and then – of course – the transition discussion.

LUX: Have the opportunities for financial institutions to work with Commonwealth nations and governments changed in the last couple of years?
MM: We have always had excellent relationships with the countries of the Global South and Africa. However, as we see real world climate changes, financial needs are changing too.

It’s no longer about financing the past, the traditional infrastructure and traditional energy supply. We now need to finance the future – and this is something which is still missing. The vision of how the future could look is not there. We should ask ourselves, “What should we have done in order to be healthy in 2050?” as if we are in 2050 already, so that we know which direction we should take.

This discussion should take place in financial institutions. President Macron said this very clearly. We have the International Monetary Fund (IMF). We have the World Bank. We have these huge international institutions. But we need to be ready for the 21st century.

BS: We must also help them better understand debt, and to view the whole thing as an ecosystem. Up until recently we have looked at each element as a hermetically sealed, self-contained issue. But they are absolutely not.

A mosaic of white stone walls in the sand cop

With global warming making desert margins unlivable, population flight is devastating communities and leading to refugee crises

When I started at the Commonwealth, we said that we needed a regenerative approach to climate change. That meant that we needed to do more on the ocean, so we began the Commonwealth Blue Charter. One of the things I really want is to increase the amount of money going to oceans, because it is absolutely unacceptable that about 0.01% goes to oceans. We are a blue planet, we’re not a land-based planet and to actually be putting almost nothing into what makes up the majority of the world is just crazy.

It is crazy that we are not using our intelligence better. Our Climate Finance Access Hub in Mauritius has mobilised $7.8 million dollars: we are talking about peanuts. We have deployed 19 climate finance advisors across Africa, the Pacific and Caribbean regions. We are working together with those advisors, and they have already delivered $316 million into the hands of the small states with more than $500 million in the pipeline. But I do not have the money to put a climate finance advisor in every country. I wish I did.

We have seen that these applications for international climate funds are taking too long to make. For some of our LEDCs (least economically developed countries), it will be two to four years before they get the application through. However, our most recent application for five countries, took less than a year, and we got $63 million. Why? Because in the last 7 years, we have honed the process. So when we look at loss and damage, we cannot put in the old-fashioned, useless system. We have to put in a speedy, effective system which will get people the money to make a difference. Bit by bit we are changing it.

But we need debt swaps. We need a good carbon market. We think we are within touching distance of doing that, because using satellites and geo-spatial data, we are within touching distance of understanding how much every tree on the planet can sequester. We will then have the granularity to have a real carbon market, based on real, concrete estimates.

That could be a gamechanger between the North and the Global South. The Global South still has the majority of the lungs of the world, which they are being asked to maintain – but nobody is paying them. If we can get a real carbon market, that means it will be possible for us to do the reversal in the Global South to keep us alive.

A water tower in the desert

Water towers in Morocco bring together local people for their construction and maintenance and create a common community dedicated to their sustainable use. When the water dries up, due to desertification, community bonds are broken – a pattern repeated in climate-related environmental developments around the world

MM: I can agree. We have been starting to understand the nature topic better. Nature is a very valuable collateral, because it creates ecosystem services on which we all depend.

BS: It is remarkable how much has changed between when we started the Blue Charter Action Group and now. We worked with them on corals and, now, understanding the role that they play in restoration has improved globally. I have just returned from the Maldives, where I was looking at mangroves, which are huge in terms of sequestration,  for and protecting coastlines. That conversation was not even happening six years ago, but now it is critical. The Maldives want to restore their mangroves. But the degradation is already there and, unless we do this quickly, it is not going to change.

MM: We must convince those who retain traditional thinking about these areas. This is a big hurdle, but if we activate the right players to do this, the solutions are there. Two years ago, we joined the Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance (ORRAA), and moved with speed. Perhaps we did not do enough with regards to concrete finance, but we wanted to understand the matter first, before unleashing the power of our balance sheet.

BS: The way in which I have been approaching this from the moment I came into the Commonwealth was to ask this: “Where do we want to be in 2030? What are the outcomes?” We’ve been saying, if that’s where we want to be in 2030, what do we have to do three months, six months, nine months, a year, two years, three years? Although other people thought it was crazy, we were right.

Those of us in positions of power now need to understand that we will all be on the same indictment. History will look back and say, “tell me their names. What were they doing? What were they thinking? Why did they not move at a time when it was possible?”

But the reason why I’m confident and determined is because humanity is always at its best and its most ingenious when our backs are against the wall. And right now, globally, our backs are against the wall.

MM: This is the interesting thing about development. You need to have a decent degree of scarcity for development to really kick off. It’s sad in one way, but it’s also a very convincing catalyst for change.

A burned and deserted car in the sand by a wall

The aftermath of a August 2020, wildfire which burned houses, date palms, orchards, vegetable gardens and more than 400 heads of cattle in the oasis of Tighmert in Morocco.
The increase in temperature and water stress has a considerable impact on the vegetation of the oasis, which, dried out, becomes more likely to catch fire

I also think that this discussion that we are having is proof that we are anticipating what’s going to happen. All backlash against ESG or sustainability are, for me, a signal that ESG and sustainability are being seen as a priority – otherwise we would not be discussing them as intensively as we are now.

LUX: Are developments around the world down-grading consciousness of what needs to be done around sustainability and COP?
BS: I think we woke up and smelled the coffee during the COVID pandemic. There is almost no one I know who was not affected either directly or indirectly by COVID. Most of us know someone who died, someone who was badly affected and/or we ourselves suffered from the deprivation, the mental stress, etc. I think it made a lot of people wake up and think, “What is life all about? What do I value? Am I sure I’m going to have it tomorrow?”

The other thing it did was emphasise the fact that unless we make sure others are safe, we won’t be safe and the people we love won’t be safe. The madness that we’re going through globally at the moment, the fact that every region of our world seems to be under threat, is making this fact even more omnipresent. It’s a tangled web of interlocking crises, and that’s what makes this time so volatile, so dangerous. If we don’t have a world, all the other things are not going to matter because we’re not going to be here.

I think for those in the Global South, this has remained the number one priority. What’s interesting is the agenda is being raised in the Global North, because the number of climatic disasters in the Global North is finally rising. Before, people would say the crisis had nothing to do with them. But when your coastline has been battered, when countries that have never seen a hurricane are suffering them, when trees are falling and floods are happening, when ordinary people’s lives in western cities are being made conscious of climate change, now it’s something people want to talk about.

MM: We know that cooperation is a very shy and very sensitive creature. Not being collaborative is not the superior strategy, it is the naive strategy. The smartest strategy is collaboration, but collaboration only works if there is a mutual dependency on it. This is exactly what Baroness Scotland just described; we now have a mutual dependency which is becoming evident and measurable.

A man holding a dead tree in the middle of the desert

A global temperature rise of several degrees, which the world is on track to suffer over the coming decades, would make this land uninhabitable

How can we solve the biggest problem humanity is facing? I believe in nature. Nature is stronger than humans, and it is currently taking back what humanity has taken. We need to be humble, but also use this as a tool for prosperity, because we need prosperity in order to survive and to create social stability. This also goes back to the aforementioned human genius, and to nature’s genius. Let’s activate this and let’s get there.

BS: And just think about the technological changes we’ve gone through in the last year. AI and digital and machine learning is enabling us to do analytical work exponentially faster. Before, you would have to do computations, which would have taken you 5-6 years. We’re now able to do the same computations within the space of weeks.

In the Commonwealth we’ve created and launched an AI consortium to look at the needs of small and developing states in particular. There are 42 small states in the world and we have 33 of them; if we can address the needs of those small states, this becomes a microcosm that we can use to solve many other problems. This interconnection and understanding that what works for one of us could work for all of us, is particularly powerful and why I am so delighted that the Commonwealth of 56 is being used as a kind of petri dish. We’ve got all regions: rich ones, poor ones, landlocked, island states, developed, all faiths. Therefore, if we can work something out that can work for our 56 countries, it is likely that it could become a pathway for the rest of the world.

LUX: What would be a satisfactory, realistic COP?
MM: I think what would make me satisfied is, first of all, to come to a joint conclusion on how to phase out fossil fuels in a way that this transition provides further prosperity for our countries and societies.

Secondly, I would say that this COP would be a successful COP if we were to get an agreement on how to finance the inclusion of the Global South in the economic and sustainability transition processes. The Loss and Damage Fund was meant to be this tool, but there is no money behind it. We need to get this signed by all nations.

Finally, I would love to see that nature as a whole, be it the ocean or biodiversity, gets closer to the climate discussion this COP. We must use tools like carbon credits and biodiversity credits to transfer the money from the users to the object or subject to be financed. For example, rainforests are our common goods to sequester carbon, to really get the finance mechanism working.

A man looking for water in a well in th desert

Climate change means that in some areas, water resources have vanished, while other lands are disappearing under increasingly acidifying oceans due to rising sea levels and higher CO2 levels

BS: I agree, and that really means we will have created a regenerative model of sustainable change to deliver climate reversal at this COP. That’s what we need. We also need – and I think we will hopefully get it – an understanding that this is a multifaceted, multidimensional approach needed by everybody. It will be business, it will be foundations, it will be individuals, it will be governments, it will be led by all of us.

Markus is right. We’ve got to get the money right, and there is no point in making promises that are then not kept. We’ve got to focus on action and what that action is going to be and by whom. I think the most important thing is to be honest with ourselves and with each other as to what this quantum leap, this paradigm shift, is going to mean for each of us. And then we have to do it.

MM: I see this COP as a gym, as a fitness centre, where we all struggle and get ready for the next step. I don’t know how much weight I can lift, but at least I’m training, right?

BS: And instead of doing the hundred metre dash on our own, we’re on a relay and everybody knows which run they have to make, where the baton is and who to give it to. There’s an understanding now that unless we run as a team and we connect, we’re all going to lose. If anybody drops the baton, it’s over.

All photography in this article from the series ‘Before it’s gone’ by M’hammed Kilito, winner of the 2023 Photography Prize for Sustainability, as featured in LUX

The 28th Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC (COP) is set to take place between the 30th November and 12th December 2023

Baroness Scotland is the 6th Commonwealth Secretary-General

Markus Müller is Chief Investment Officer of ESG & Global Head of Chief Investment Office at Deutsche Bank’s Private Bank

Find out more: unfccc.int/cop28

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A man sitting in a wheelchair, wearing red trousers, in a courtyard of a building with plants hanging over the interior balconies
A man sitting in a wheelchair, wearing red trousers, in a courtyard of a building with plants hanging over the interior balconies

Yinka Shonibare at the Guest Artists Space Foundation, Lagos, one of two artist residencies he has established in Nigeria

The Birtish-Nigerian artist and philanthropist is the official artist of, LUX’s partner, Deutsche Bank Wealth Management, at this year’s Frieze in London. In just a few short years, the Guest Artists Space Foundation spaces in Nigeria, founded by Yinka Shonibare, have seen art residences that are inspiring transformative creative conversations and programmes between artists, local communities, activists, ecologists and more. Will Fenstermaker reports

It used to be the case that if an artist working in Africa wanted a prestigious residency at which to hone their practice and dedicate uninterrupted time to their work, their best option was to look towards Europe and North America, where many programmes sought to address colonial legacies by strengthening a sense of artistic internationalism. A growing cadre of artists, including Kehinde Wiley and Yinka Shonibare, are now working to expand the opportunities available to African artists by opening residencies directly on the continent, especially focused around emerging art centres including Dakar, Senegal and Lagos, Nigeria.

clothes on the floor next to tapestries hanging on the walls

A view of “The Politics of Fabrics” exhibition by Samuel Nnorom

One such initiative is the Guest Artists Space (G.A.S.) Foundation, a non-profit established by Yinka Shonibare that occupies two sites in Nigeria. Through his programme Guest Projects London, Shonibare has hosted artists in his east London studio since 2006, more recently extending to the digital space, enabling “a laboratory of ideas and a testing ground for new thoughts and actions in which the possibility of failure became an opportunity for artistic growth”, according to its website. Shonibare, who was born in London and raised in Lagos, was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2004 for work that investigated postcolonial Nigerian identity, including whimsically ornate sculptures dressed in “African” textiles and shorn of their heads. In recent years, he considered how to extend his guest programme to offer opportunity, support and space for collaboration to artists within Africa.

A headless mannequin with a dress on it in a courtyard

A view of the inaugural exhibition, curated by Miriam Bettin, at the G.A.S. Farm House

In 2019, the project realised a kind of homecoming when Shonibare first conceived G.A.S., with two spaces in Nigeria completed by 2022. The idea is to develop artist practice and facilitate cultural exchange between the continent and the UK. “I realised a lot of local artists wanted platforms in which they could enhance their work and meet other international artists to exchange ideas,” says Shonibare in a video published by the foundation. “I felt very much that I’d love to contribute to building some of the institutions there.”

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

The Oniru, Lagos residency occupies a building that fuses Yoruba and Brutalist principles around a central courtyard, and was designed by Ghanaian-British architect Elsie Owusu in collaboration with Nigerian architect Nihinlola Shonibare. The residency was made open to more than artists – its first class of 2022 included designers, architects, curators, economists and researchers, all of whom, Shonibare believed, were strengthened by a sense of interdisciplinary community and creative dialogue. “I feel that we’re creating a platform for conversation between local people and our residents,” Shonibare says. “I think you actually get the best out of creatives if you put them with people in other disciplines.”

people sitting in a circle holding as pink ribbon

A moment from performance artist Raymond Pinto’s movement workshop

G.A.S. also opened a rural second space three hours outside the capital near Ijebu Ode. Like the Oniru building, the residency in the Farm House, a sustainable building designed by Papa Omotayo with interior design by Temitayo Shonibare, strives to support a conception of culture beyond the visual arts. Belinda Holden, CEO of G.A.S. and the Yinka Shonibare Foundation, the residency’s sister organisation in London, says, “Ultimately, our mission is about breaking down barriers between cultural differences. It’s about building those bridges across different cultures and different practices, and allowing those conversations to develop into opportunities for the exchange of ideas and knowledge.”

A man wearing black trousers and a white short sleeve shirt with a black top underneath sitting on the floor with a geometric picture beside him

Artist Femi Johnson at work

Yet the residency does embody a certain remit. The pastoral property is on the site of a 54-acre working farm. Corn, cassava, peppers and cashews are all grown on Shonibare’s Ecology Green Farm, established in 2018. This July, the farm welcomed its third set of residents, having previously supported short-term stays for G.A.S. Lagos-based practitioners taking part in the programme. In 2022, as a result of its inaugural open call to artists and researchers living in West Africa, G.A.S. awarded seven funded residencies to individuals based across Nigeria and Benin. Raqs Media Collective was especially motivated by the setting’s ties to the land. At the G.A.S Farm House it established an outpost of the World Weather Network, a project that sees a global network of artists and writers submit “weather reports” in the form of works of art from a “constellation” of weather stations worldwide: In Peru, Luz María Bedoya and Pablo Hare record cloud, fog and associated sounds flowing over Oxapampa; in South Africa, four artists create odes to the Orange River; in Dhaka, in Death Valley, in Svalbard, correspondents from the London Review of Books send dispatches from the extremes of climate change.

A woman wearing a white and blue top painting on the floor with blue paint

Evan Ifekoya at their presentation “Water Is Life, O!”

During her stay at the G.A.S. Farm House, activist and spatial designer Mariam Hava Aslam began pickling foods from the farm, inspiring Apocalypse Pantry, a project that supplies preserves to food-scarce areas of Lagos. Berlin-based curator and researcher Lynhan Balatbat-Helbock invited artists to cook for residents and share their work over dinner.

Read more: An Interview with Maurizio Cattelan

“We’ve had painters, sculptors, writers, poets, architects. We’ve had digital artists, we’ve had archivists, we’ve had dancers, we’ve had sound designers,” continues Holden. And that’s only year one. “Our aim is that next year we’ll really shift our focus onto the farm and encourage agriculturalists who are interested in land, environment and ecological impact.” For the upcoming year, the foundation is looking to support people “who are considering food and ecology, or thinking about the materiality of the work they produce”.

Three people speaking including a woman wearing a black and white dress and a man wearing a striped yellow shirt

Discussing work by Emma Prempeh

From the start, the ambitious residencies have attracted an impressive amount of institutional attention – perhaps most significantly in the form of a recent donation of material from John Picton, Emeritus Professor at the Department of the History of Art and Archaeology at SOAS, University of London, and Sue Picton. Professor Picton, an expert on Yoruba and Edo (Benin) sculpture, spent decades assembling an important archive of West African art and ephemera, including journals, magazines, pamphlets and books covering Sub-Saharan architecture, textiles, sculpture and more, as well as African American and Black British arts. In 2022, Picton gave 1,500 volumes from the collection to G.A.S., a donation that has inspired the foundation to “look at the role of art libraries across Africa and the role they play in developing, educating and supporting the growth of creative and critical thinking and writing,” says Holden. To that end, this year G.A.S. is seeking fellows to be based in Lagos and focus their work around research into Picton’s archives.

A woman with a pony tail looking at a work of art hanging on a string with a man beside her looking at another work on the string wearing a green cap

A view of “The Last Time I Called…” exhibition by Ofem Ubi

In just a few short years, G.A.S. has become a beacon of artistic collaboration, cultural exchange and interdisciplinary dialogue. Shonibare’s vision to provide a platform for everyone has blossomed into a vibrant community that extends beyond visual arts, encompassing designers, architects, agriculturalists and ecologists. With its ambitions to break down traditional barriers that have separated the liberal arts, it has firmly established itself as a catalyst for creative and critical dialogue between two regions that have historically been defined by a very different, and much less egalitarian, form of intellectual and labour exchange.

guestartistsspace.com

Yinka Shonibare at Deutsche Bank Wealth Management Lounge, Frieze London
Fittingly, for an endeavour that grew out of his artistic practice, Yinka Shonibare’s presentation in the Deutsche Bank Wealth Management Lounge at this year’s Frieze London includes a documentary that showcases the development and aims of Guest Artists Space Foundation. The film supplements a diverse array of visual works, including sculptures, masks, quilts and free-standing sculptures.

frieze.com/tags/frieze-london-2023

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a sofa in a lobby with colourful works of art on the walls behind it
a sofa in a lobby with colourful works of art on the walls behind it

The Four Seasons, 2021, by Idris Khan, in the lobby of the Deutsche Bank Center, New York

With Preview Day of Frieze New York underway, Will Fenstermaker discovers a stunning and carefully curated selection of artworks, in a spectacular skyscraper in midtown Manhattan, courtesy of Deutsche Bank

On a warm Manhattan afternoon, the sun is shining in a way that it only shines in cities and canyons. For a moment, light reaches the lobby of the Deutsche Bank Center, two 55-storey skyscrapers occupying the entire west side of Columbus Circle in New York City. Inside, four coloured paintings seemed to come alive. They comprise a work called The Four Seasons by the London-based artist Idris Khan.

A landscaped terrace at the Deutsche Bank Center

A landscaped terrace at the Deutsche Bank Center

Unbeknown to many, the Deutsche Bank Center is home to one of the world’s most substantial collections of contemporary photographs and works on paper. Deutsche Bank began collecting art in the late 1970s with a small idea, one that would prove radical in the context of corporate collections: works on paper could be made viewable to all, not siloed away in storage or senior executives’ offices. In 1978, the bank arranged its first display in its New York offices, and in 1986 it opened its new global headquarters in Frankfurt’s Twin Towers with each of the buildings’ 60 floors dedicated to a single artist.

Ten Portraits of Jews of the Twentieth Century by Andy Warhol

Ten Portraits of Jews of the Twentieth Century by Andy Warhol at the Deutsche Bank Centre in New York

At the time, the collection consisted mostly of work made by German artists (Deutsche Bank owns a particularly significant watercolour from Sigmar Polke’s early Capitalist Realism period, for example, and a vibrant pencil drawing made by AR Penck while the artist was living in the German Democratic Republic). Today, Deutsche Bank’s collection consists of tens of thousands of works of art, representing cultures from around the world, and displayed across 900 offices. “Portrait of a Collection”, in Deutsche Bank’s Columbus Circle building, charts the evolution and expansion of the New York collection. “Diversity is a truly important topic at Deutsche Bank,” says Britta Färber, Global Head of Art. Färber says works in the collection by Abstract Expressionist artists Eva Hesse, Lee Krasner and Joan Mitchell are “as groundbreaking as those of their male counterparts.” They underscore the impact of women artists on the movement.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

While Deutsche Bank has no special remit to collect work by women artists, its attention to them over the decades is impressive. Wangechi Mutu, the subject of a recent retrospective at the New Museum and a 2019 façade commission at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, earned early support as a Deutsche Bank Artist of the Year in 2010. Alongside the major works by female Abstract Expressionists, the bank’s US collection contains major works by influential photographers such as Candida Höfer and Carrie Mae Weems, and contemporary artists such as Amy Sillman and Betty Woodman. In fact, Färber says that 80 per cent of recent acquisitions are works by women artists.

Fei Lai Feng by Thomas Struth

Works by Imi Knoebel (left) and Fei Lai Feng by Thomas Struth (right) in the collection at the Deutsche Bank Center, New York

For the prestigious Deutsche Bank Artists of the Year programme, a team of external art experts, including renowned curators Hou Hanru, Udo Kittelmann and Victoria Noorthoorn, propose key artists to a senior committee within the bank. It leads to an appreciation for art and community that is threaded throughout the organisation. More recent acquisitions include a triptych by John Akomfrah, a British artist of Ghanian descent and the son of anticolonial activists, and a group of works by Paris-based Canadian artist Kapwani Kiwanga, whose work explores the impact of colonialism on Canada’s First Nations. Both artists will represent their home countries at the 2024 Venice Biennale.

Four Panels from Untitled 1972, by Jasper Johns at the Deutsche Bank Centre in New York

Four Panels from Untitled 1972, by Jasper Johns at the Deutsche Bank Centre in New York

“It is an honour to have work in a collection as expertly curated, well regarded and diligently cared for as the Deutsche Bank collection,” says artist Erin O’Keefe. In 2022, the bank commissioned O’Keefe as its Lounge Artist at Frieze New York – a fair it has supported international presence is a real benefit,” O’Keefe continues. “It allows the work to be introduced to audiences beyond the regional art worlds.” In New York, works by Kandis Williams, Haegue Yang, Moshekwa Langa, Jose Dávila and ruby onyinyechi amanze provide a refreshingly global outlook on contemporary artistic production. “Because I developed a personal relationship with many of Deutsche Bank’s representatives, it didn’t feel like I was joining a significant corporate collection,” says amanze, who is happy to see her work contextualised in the company of such significant works on paper.

Works including ruby onyinyechi amanze’s Without a care in the galaxy, we danced on galaxies (or red sand with that different kind of sky) with ghosts of your fatherland keeping watch (left)

Works including ruby onyinyechi amanze’s Without a care in the galaxy, we danced on galaxies (or red sand with that different kind of sky) with ghosts of your fatherland keeping watch (left)

An immense composite photograph of the Shilin Night Market in Taiwan by photographer Jeff Chien-Hsing Liao belongs to a series “exploring the complex cultural conditions of countries that are heavily influenced by modern colonisation and the ongoing impact of globalised immigrant labour,” says the artist. Some might find it surprising that work so critical of capital is in the collection of a global corporation, but Deutsche Bank believes that its collection strengthens the firm’s commitment to funding positive impact.

The Oratory Command: X Carmichael King Hampton by Kandis Williams (left) and Untitled 2015 by Kay Hassan (right)

The Oratory Command: X Carmichael King Hampton by Kandis Williams (left) and Untitled 2015 by Kay Hassan (right) at the Deutsche Bank Centre, New York

Read more: Sophie Neuendorf’s Guide to Starting an Art Collection

Back downstairs, art including The Four Seasons is an expression of Deutsche Bank’s broader ambition to support sustainable initiatives. “The art in the lobby ties the since it was founded in London 20 years ago, including through its annual Los Angeles Film Award and Emerging Curators Fellowship. “The fact that the collection has an Deutsche Bank Center to the original design approach for our space,” says James Dyson, Director of Global Real Estate for the Americas.

Faces of Infinity (Unfinished) by Charles Avery

Faces of Infinity (Unfinished) by Charles Avery in the collection at the Deutsche Bank Centre, New York

When Deutsche Bank began planning the project, it hired Gensler to design the workspace. In June 2022, the project achieved LEED Gold certification, marking a significant advancement in Deutsche Bank’s goal of reaching net zero by 2050.

Jewel Glow – Trustworthy #248 by Haegue Yang in the collection at the Deutsche Bank Center, New York

Jewel Glow – Trustworthy #248 by Haegue Yang in the collection at the Deutsche Bank Center, New York

Deutsche Bank’s space consumes half the energy of its previous headquarters and 100% of its CO2 emissions are compensated via renewable sources. That sits well alongside the energy of its art.

Find out more: art.db.com

This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of LUX

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A yellow 'YO' sign in front of a building

Stanford University has the most funded startup founders among its alumni

Deutsche Bank’s International Private Bank gathered a group of 70 next gens for a Global Innovation Summit  at the heart of technological advancement, Silicon Valley. The group heard from leaders in the tech industry and learnt about the potential of technology like artificial intelligence and machine learning to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems for a better future

Among the plethora of respected speakers at the summit were John Chambers, former executive chairman and CEO of Cisco Systems, Jensen Huang, NVIDIA founder, Nikesh Arora, Chairman and CEO of Palo Alto Networks, Lloyd Minor, Dean of the Stanford School of Medicine and Thomas Kurian, CEO of Google Cloud.

Two men sitting on stools on a stage with a Deutsche bank logo on a screen behind them

Gil Perez, Deutsche Bank’s Chief Innovation Officer and Thomas Kurian, founder of Google Cloud in conversation at Google HQ

Being at the headquarters of these institutions provided a unique setting enabling participants to witness first hand the advancements in artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain and even everyday life.

two men standing net to each other

Salman Mahdi, Deutsche Bank Private Bank’s Vice Chairman and Jensen Huang, Founder of NVIDIA

At Google HQ the group worked on an interactive session with Google’s Innovation team, solving real-world problems. It became abundantly clear how vital their work continues to be. Their goals are not only to solve the world’s problems through technology, but also to search for more problems in order to be able to find solutions before issues arise.

conference room with a red board and a man speaking on a stage

Lloyd Minor, Dean of the Stanford School of Medicine

The breakthroughs in medicine, molecular biology, sustainability and immunology also resonated with the group during a visit to Stanford University.

Salman Mahdi, Deutsche Bank International Private Bank’s Vice Chairman, attended the summit along with the group, having made access to these CEOs, founders and pioneers possible.

He declared, “there is no better place in the world to come to than Silicon Valley to get this window into the future. I hope people will use an opportunity like this to refocus on ten, twenty, fifty years down the line. What we do today will change the world in decades.”

Find out more: www.db.com/innovation-network

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A talk being hosted with an audience in a room with a marble fireplace and yellow wallpaper and a painted ceiling

A white stone palace

One of the hottest tickets in Rome this month was ‘The Art of Conversation’ arranged by Deutsche Bank and Frieze with renowned artist, Karin Kneffel

The event was hosted amid the baroque opulence of Palazzo Barberini. Archrivals of the Medici family, the Barberini produced generations of wanton spendthrifts, nepotist popes and, consequently, bequeathed Italy a legacy of extraordinary art and heritage.

The discussion around art played-out in the Salone Pietro da Cortona, beneath the aptly-named fresco, “Triumph of Divine Providence”

people standing in a room with yellow wallpaper and a painted ceiling

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

Hosts were Federico Scrocco [Vice Chairman International Private Bank Italy, Deutsche Bank] and Nathan Clemens-Gillespie [Director of Frieze Masters] who introduced the evening. Skilled probing from moderator Nicholas Cullinan, Director of London’s National Portrait Gallery, drew insights from artist Karin Kneffel about her use of perspective, scale and layering in her work.

5 people sitting in front of marble structure and yellow patterned walls giving a talk and a host standing beside them with a microphone

A favoured student of Gerhard Richter, Karin Kneffel has a fascination with the super-real. The effects she produces with distanciation techniques were vividly shared through a curation of images that produced animated questions from the audience.

A talk being hosted with an audience in a room with a marble fireplace and yellow wallpaper and a painted ceiling

Read more: An Interview With KAWS

International guests drawn from art cognoscenti, government ministers, and leading entrepreneurs adjourned to the terrace to continue thoughtful conversation around the alignment of wealth with responsibility and the purposes of art in the 21st century.

Find out more: art.db.com

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sting ray swimming above colourful corals in the sea
sting ray swimming above colourful corals in the sea

Alex Mustard photographed healthy reefs in the Maldives

As our oceans warm up, the spectacular coral reefs of the Maldives archipelago are dying. Michael Marshall reports on the new philanthropic project aiming to make them more resilient to climate change

Beneath the glittering cerulean waters of the Maldives archipelago, trouble is brewing. The extraordinary coral reefs that encircle these islands are being damaged by climate change, threatening the country’s very survival.

Fortunately, help is at hand. A local research and conservation institute has bold plans to strengthen the reefs by breeding the most resilient corals and seeding them in the waters of the Maldives. With the help of a new philanthropic initiative, led by Deutsche Bank, the project is ready to set sail.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

The Maldives is one of the countries most affected by climate change. “You couldn’t find a place more in the front lines,” says Callum Roberts, Professor of Marine Conservation at the University of Exeter.

As the Earth’s temperature warms, driven by greenhouse gas emissions, the oceans are being reshaped. Most obviously, sea levels are rising – and for low-lying islands like the Maldives that is an existential threat. But there’s more: seas are warming, the water is becoming more acidic and low-oxygen zones are spreading. These changes threaten all marine life.

Climate change poses a particular threat to corals. These tiny animals live in huge colonies underwater, and over thousands of years the skeletons of dead corals build up to make vast structures called reefs. The Maldives themselves are coral reefs that grew until they reached the surface, and the country’s islands are ringed by underwater reefs. These are home to an extraordinary range of animals, from sharks to starfish.

beige and yellow corals in the sea

More photography by Alex Mustard of healthy reefs in the Maldives

“Your first experience of a coral reef is completely unforgettable,” says Roberts. “You dive over the reef crest and into that area where it’s just a huge blaze of fish of all varieties and colours.” It’s utterly immersive, he adds; you can “feel yourself being completely consumed by an ecosystem”.

Corals are particularly vulnerable to warming. “It doesn’t take more than a rise of about 1°C above their normal thermal maximum for corals to get into deep trouble,” says Roberts. “That’s what’s been happening.”

A man wearing glasses, with palm trees behind him

Callum Roberts

In 1997-98 and 2015-16, spikes in ocean temperature caused mass coral bleaching events. The corals expelled the algae that live inside them and that they depend upon for nutrients. As a result, the corals turned ghostly white. The first bleaching event killed an estimated 95 per cent of shallow corals. They then underwent a partial recovery, before the second mass bleaching event caused about 65 per cent mortality. “That level of coral death is extremely worrying,” says Roberts.

In a 2018 report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated that “coral reefs would decline by 70-90 per cent with global warming of 1.5°C, whereas virtually all would be lost with 2°C.” So far, the Earth has warmed by an estimated 1.1°C.

To save the corals, and by extension the Maldives, the country’s former president Mohamed Nasheed founded the Maldives Coral Institute (MCI). The MCI aims “to help coral reefs to survive and adapt to the changing climate”. Roberts is one of its scientific advisers.

dead corals in the sea

Alex Mustard also photographed bleached, dead corals highlighting the abundance of sea life at risk if corals are left to decline

The MCI is now being financially supported by Deutsche Bank. In November 2021, the bank launched its Ocean Resilience Philanthropy Fund, which is intended to support nature-based solutions to marine conservation problems. Deutsche Bank committed an initial $300,000 and hopes to raise $5 million over the next five years. The MCI was brought to the bank’s attention by Karen Sack, Executive Director and Co-Chair of the Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance.

A woman with curly brown hair

Jacqueline Valouch

“The lack of funding is one of the big recognised barriers to nature-based solutions,” says Jacqueline Valouch, Head of Philanthropy at Deutsche Bank Wealth Management in New York, who was involved in setting up the fund.

“We’ve got this massive problem, the Maldives Coral Institute has a mission, and Deutsche Bank is funding a really important piece of work to begin with,” adds Roberts.

The funding will enable the MCI to launch a project called the Future Climate Coral Bank (FCCB). The idea is to find corals that have proven resistant to climate change and breed them in a controlled environment, creating more resilient strains. “We’re going to have a living propagated coral farm underwater in which the idea is to explore and test ways of assisting evolution,” says Roberts. These resilient corals can then be reintroduced to the ocean, particularly to reefs with a poor supply of coral larvae. In the long run, this will hopefully mean the Maldivian corals become more resilient.

divers under the sea on the sand

The MCI works on conservation projects including this one at Fulhadhoo, where divers installed a silt screen to prevent sediment from nearby construction from damaging the corals

“The magnitude of that impact to us was unmatched in many ways,” says Valouch. She says the FCCB “could last for many generations,” which is crucial, because her philanthropic clients want “to make an impact on the causes they care about”. “They’re multigenerational families coming from many different regions of the world and they have their family members living in different parts of the globe.”

Valouch and her colleagues plan to spend much of 2022 talking to donors. “We are looking to kick all that off now,” she says. A key element will be introducing prospective donors to the project team, so they can appreciate the talent and passion of all involved. Deutsche Bank is also recruiting a panel of experts who will advise on which projects to fund. “To be able to have that kind of innovation and creativity sit at the table with us is just extraordinary,” Valouch says.

For her, philanthropy can provide the seed funding for ambitious projects such as the FCCB. “It allows other donors to come in,” she says, and enables organisations like the MCI to recruit enough staff to become sustainable.

“I think the private sector has a greater appetite for risk,” says Roberts. That’s especially true for projects such as the FCCB. “This is not research that ends when you publish a study. This is something that has to make a difference on the ground and in the water.”

The hope is that, with the right investment, the corals of the Maldives will thrive for decades to come.

Five approaches to regenerating the world’s coral reefs

  1. Reducing agricultural runoff into the sea improves water quality and coral health.
  2. Coral IVF grows baby corals in the lab and seeds them on damaged reefs.
  3. Artificial reefs can be sunk in oceans to provide homes for corals and other sea life.
  4. Corals can even be given ‘probiotics’ to help boost their health.
  5. Most importantly of all, limiting climate warming to a maximum of 1.5°C and lowering global greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero will minimise the threat to the world’s coral reefs.

— Michael Marshall

A group of school children in blue uniforms sitting in a circle having a lesson

Former President of the Maldives and environmental activist Mohamed Nasheed discusses climate change with children at the Maldives Coral Institute’s Coral Festival in 2020

A partnership of positive steps

The Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance (ORRAA) is helping to drive a global response to ocean-derived risks. Backed by organisations ranging from the World Wildlife Fund to Deutsche Bank as global lead banking partner, it wants to save the oceans by deploying the power of the financial world.

Read More: Jean-Michel Cousteau: Choose Life

Its mission is “to pioneer new and innovative financial products” that will tackle climate change, protect ocean biodiversity and help coastal communities become resilient, says Karen Sack, Executive Director and Co-Chair of ORRAA.

A woman with short hair wearing a black t shirt and necklace

Karen Sack

“We aim to drive at least $500 million of investment into coastal and marine natural capital, or ‘blue nature’,” says Sack. She argues that this is in everyone’s interest. The global ocean economy has a total asset value estimated at $24 trillion, but in the past decade only $13 billion has been invested in sustainable marine projects. “We need to change that,” says Sack. “And we need to act quickly.”

Hence the Maldives project. Deutsche Bank were looking for ways to have a positive impact quickly, as well as over the long term, and Sack suggested supporting the MCI. “Lessons learned in the Maldives will help heal and strengthen coral reefs around the world.”

Michael Marshall is a renowned science journalist specialising in the environment and life sciences

Find out more: deutschewealth.com/oceanfund

This article appears in the Deutsche Bank Supplement of the Summer 2022 issue of LUX

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photograph that looks like painting with swirly silver object and squares
photograph that looks like painting with swirly silver object and squares

Lost at the Beach. Image courtesy of the artist

New York-based architect-turned-artist Erin O’Keefe plays tricks with our perceptions with her photographs that look like graphic paintings. The Deutsche Bank Lounge Artist for Frieze New York 2022 speaks to LUX about the transition from being an architecture professor to an artist, how the disciplines are interconnected, and her inspirations from the original Bauhaus art school in Weimar Germany. Interview by Darius Sanai

LUX: Was your dream when you were younger to be an architect or an artist?
Erin O’Keefe: I always wanted to be an artist. Although I guess what that actually means is an open question. Architecture provided a way of supporting myself that felt super interesting, and teaching meant I could explore theoretical issues that have turned out to be relevant to my art practice.

LUX: Were you always fascinated by the crossover between architecture and art?
EOK: Thinking about how architecture is represented in painting and photography has always been a source of fascination. I particularly love the wrongness of space in early Renaissance paintings – it actually feels pretty liberating. And I’m interested in the fact that most of what I know about architecture has come through images rather than visiting the actual buildings – that seems perverse, but it’s true. So you need to become a good translator to make a bridge between a picture of the thing and the thing itself, but I think it’s actually impossible to get the two things to align.

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LUX: Are we right in seeing influences of the Bauhaus – the physical school itself and its teachers – in your career and your works?
EOK: Yes, absolutely – it’s a kind of touchstone for me, and the development of my practice. The sense of interconnectedness among the disciplines, and the primacy of making, were both things that feel relevant. I did the Albers colour exercises with my architecture students, which was really the beginning of thinking about the spatial impact of colour in my work.

photograph that looks like painting with pink black and silver elements

Fever. Image courtesy of the artist

LUX: How do you set out to create your works: what is the process of conception and execution? Are you looking for a particular effect on the perception of the viewer?
EOK: I am always looking for a condition of uncertainty in the images. Something that operates in multiple ways and is a bit destabilising for the viewer. I’m interested in the friction between the ordinary tactile objects and the unreality of the image.

My studio process is quite open-ended, lots of trial and error. Small shifts or alignments in the still life can transform the reading of the image, and that moment feels like magic to me.

Colour and light play a huge part in how the objects are perceived, and what they are capable of spatially. The objects themselves are made with the awareness of how they will operate in the photograph – although it’s always a very rough guess, and most of the time I discover possibilities that I couldn’t have anticipated.

blue and orange shapes in photograph

One Day Soon. Image courtesy of the artist

LUX: Please tell us a little about some of the works at Frieze NY.
EOK: The consistent focus of my work is the gap between the real condition and its representation in the photograph. For the work at Frieze, I became interested in perspective correction – meaning I can paint shapes on the ground and back wall of my still-life set-up that appear very differently in the image – a trompe-l’oeil situation in reverse. I’m also using paint in these photographs as a kind of camouflage to confuse or amplify a spatial condition.

LUX: What kind of a visual artist do you describe yourself as?
EOK: At this point, a photographer, as a way of underlining what these images are. People often mistake them for paintings, but the fact that they are photographs that utilise the language of painting feels like an important distinction.

Read more: Uplifting New Paintings by Sassan Behnam- Bakhtiar 

LUX: Do you still teach and if not, will you ever teach again?
EOK: I really loved teaching, but I’m glad to have the time and attention to devote to my practice. I do miss the studio interaction – architectural education is pretty unique. I have no plans to teach in the future, but who knows?

Find out more: erinokeefe.com

This article appears in the Summer 2022 issue of LUX

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artist standing between a blue and red painting
Jeffrey Deitch Gallery
Meeting art doyen Jeffrey Deitch at his gallery in West Hollywood

Part One: Art & rediscovery in LA

When I was spending a lot of time in LA in the 1990s, there were some areas a visitor would avoid at all costs unless they had to. Three of these were South Central, Downtown, and the web of roads behind the boardwalk at Venice Beach.

I am due to visit all three. Heading to LA mainly for Frieze LA, where I am meeting with our partners at Deutsche Bank Wealth Management, the long-term partners of Frieze, I have added a full California schedule on to the three-day art fair itinerary. LA, from Beverly Hills to South Central, is just the beginning.

Partly this is for sustainability reasons, to minimise future flights, and also because I have not been to California since before the pandemic, and as ever it is home to many of the world’s thought and opinion leaders, some of whom are on my schedule, as well as a thriving art scene in LA itself.

I spent the ten years before the pandemic commuting many times a year to Hong Kong and Singapore, as well as on short haul trips to Europe for Condé Nast, my other alma mater. Meaning I built up a British Airways Gold membership and accompanying dependence. I had not been to the Virgin Clubhouse for years. The feel is as much private club as airline lounge, with the key differentiator of excellent customer service. I had a wonderful chat with a manager at the lounge who was bemoaning her inability to return to her native Hong Kong, and we exchanged tips on restaurants there (hers, mainly). When the chairs, food, and champagne are largely the same, this makes a difference. I silently wish Virgin had short and mid-haul operations to my frequently visited European and former-Soviet destinations.

Editor’s note: LUX paid for its flights to California in full and received no support from any airline.

a man and woman standing on a terrace

We met with Forbes 30 Under 30 curator, Emilia Yin, at the Deutsche Bank Wealth Management Lounge at Frieze LA

Central LA is a grid of warehouses, yards and unmarked buildings. Nowadays, inside some of these there are artists’ studios, the artists driven here from around the Americas and elsewhere by then cheap rents. As ever, the artists move in, hipsters get the vibe and start to gentrify, and the artists are forced to move out. That hasn’t happened yet in central LA, but it will. So I enjoyed the moment of visiting a few studios, buried behind delivery yards and run-down buildings, with real working artists inside them. No cafes, no galleries, no bars. Give it two years. It’s a cert that the property investors are already there.

A friend with homes in LA sends me a WhatsApp suggesting I visit Gjelina, on Abbot Kinney Boulevard behind Venice Beach, for dinner. I last knew this street as needle central, with a few porn and pawn shops thrown in (homophones that go together), in the late 90s. But my friend has taste, and many homes, so I take his advice. The food is vibrant, trim, focussed and beautiful, like the clientele. Like nothing anywhere else.

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The street is now lined with (expensive) independent fashion boutiques and teenage TikTokkers wander around making TikToks. They fit the TikTok profile of being blonde, white and wealthy. The porn and the pawn have now moved and multiplied online, but where have all the junkies gone, I wonder? Elsewhere in Donald Trump’s ‘American Carnage’?

artist standing between a blue and red painting

Ross Caliendo is among numerous artists from around the world who have set up in the warehouses around downtown LA

two men standing side by side

Meeting with ocean conservation icon Jean Michel Cousteau in Santa Barbara

I host some clients at the pre-opening event at Frieze, created by Deutsche Bank, in Michael Jackson‘s former mansion above Beverly Hills. People are happy to be able to meet and mingle after two hard years, which seem to have hit LA hard. There is a sense of anticipation about the fair. People have travelled, and people in LA have prepared. It’s the first major cultural event in the city for two years. Art really can catalyse human change.

At the fair the next day, everyone is waxing lyrical about the lounge. Deutsche Bank’s team have created an indoor-outdoor space with garden and water, a few footsteps from the fair and linked by a private walkway. Many guests comment that it should be permanent. Meetings in the lounge are bound by Chatham House rules, but there are plenty of guests, our own and others, who have come from afar, and are loving both fair and lounge. Bravo to the creators, although the Deutsche Bank lounge at Frieze London, with its creations by Idris Khan and events on ocean conservation, was still the more artistic and focussed. In my view.

I drive to West Hollywood to see Jeffrey Deitch, an art world force since the 1970s. In his private gallery, which is probably three times the size of the Serpentine Gallery museum in London, he has put together a museum-grade show, entitled Luncheon on the Grass. Works from Mickalene Thomas, Jeff Koons, Kehinde Wiley and Paul McCarthy line the walls. I am taken by Tschabalala Self’s response to Édouard Manet’s ‘Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe’ in particular. A few of the interpretations are quite explicit.

Which is quite honest, as the idea of a summer lunch on the grass probably brings that out in many people. Any romance aside, I make a mental sketch of my dejeuner sur l’herbe: it would involve rosé champagne from a small producer like Chartogne Taillet and might ask a question of why people enjoying the countryside in my adopted homeland of England are so predominantly white. I decide the reason I like Deitch’s show so much is that it reveals so much about the artists, and how they want to be perceived, or appear to want to be perceived. I will leave the topic there to avoid falling into the trap of the dreaded (and banned in LUX) language of ‘artspeak’.

Deitch tells me it is his busiest day for meetings for years, another sign of what a good art fair can bring to a city.

Maubourne Pool
The Rooftop at the Maybourne Beverly Hills

The next morning, I drop in on a new friend I made at the fair, Emilia Yin, who was introduced to me by a major collector I invited to the Deutsche Bank Wealth Management lounge. I meet her at her Make Room gallery. Also in West Hollywood, it is in a little building behind a car park off the main drag, Melrose Avenue. There is a sense of both Zen and intent inside, and the paintings in her show, by young Brussels-based Italian artist Jacopo Pagin, all sold within days. I buy the last remaining work, an intriguing sketch. I wonder if she is one of the Jeffrey Deitches of the future.

After three days of intense art and meetings, I take a morning swim in the rooftop pool of the Maybourne hotel in Beverly Hills. The Maybourne, grand but laid-back, has a part-city, part-resort vibe and the view from the roof terrace is surprisingly restful. I pick out my favourite mansions in the hills over a green juice.

I have meetings lined up in the afternoon in Santa Barbara and Montecito. Santa Barbara’s main street, State Street, has been pedestrianised at its seafront end and it’s abuzz with cafes, bars, restaurants and an outdoor market. A positive outcome of the pandemic. A little further up the street I meet Jean-Michel Cousteau, octogenarian sage of the oceans, at his offices, which are lined with pictures and souvenirs of his decades in ocean wildlife conservation and filmmaking. There’s a touching picture of him as a small boy with his father Jacques, giving him instructions on how to dive.

Details of our conversation are saved for a major feature in the next issue of LUX, so stay tuned.

Read more: Olivia Muniak’s Guide to the Best Restaurants in Los Angeles

 

Ten minutes’ drive from Santa Barbara is Montecito, the chichi coastal community which plays host to Harry and Meghan, as well as many other members of the world’s rich and famous. It’s supposed to be a low-key place, I am told. I drive past bijou small shops and cafes, created in a faux-rustic style, all perfect. Perfect children walk past holding immaculate ice creams. On the road to the Rosewood Miramar Beach resort, where I am meeting my contact, three police cars, lights on full colour strobe, have formed a triangle, partly blocking the road. As I drive past, I see one individual sitting slumped on the spotless pavement. I wonder what his crime was. Perhaps not owning a Tesla?

My meeting takes place in a wood-panelled drawing room overlooking the beach, with a couple of islands visible in the slash of gold from the setting sun. I feel I am George Clooney in the last scene of a feel-good movie, concluding Bourbon in hand in a highball glass. Except this is the first scene of a (admittedly potentially exciting) business deal, I am not George Clooney, I do not live here, and I am drinking tea.

Back to LA in the dark, the traffic has died down, and I have a calming Margarita in the bar of the Maybourne to prepare me for the drive north the next day.

To be continued

An airport lounge

The Virgin Clubhouse at London Heathrow has a members’ club feel

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sun setting behind the clouds
sun setting behind the clouds

Photograph by Isabella Sheherazade Sanai

The pandemic has accelerated the rise of environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing. However, argues Markus Müller, we must improve global standards continually if ESG is to fulfil its promise of driving economic growth while having a positive impact on the planet
portrait of a man in a suit

Markus Müller

The coronavirus pandemic has made us acutely aware of risks to our existence and how fragile the global economic system is. Many are making the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic part of the reason why ESG has risen rapidly to the top of the global agenda, moving from rhetoric and ambition to action. At the same time, the many facets of ESG are being discussed and examined across a multitude of investment institutions, to establish what it really means and whether it serves a purpose at all.

In my view, ESG prompts a simple question about why and how we do things, as individuals, as investors and as companies.

ESG originally developed from institutional investors screening out negative risks in investment targets. Today, ESG is much more than a combination of investment ratings and exclusions. With the goal of sustainability as our objective, ESG offers a way of understanding and quantifying the non-financial dimension of economic activity and of avoiding the dangers of a ‘submerged iceberg’.

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This means identifying where the risks lie and developing innovative mitigation strategies. Mid- to long-term risk for an investor comes in many forms. Physical risks (damage or threat to physical assets due to natural or climate change) are accompanied by transition risks (business or investment risks on the journey towards a greener economy) and liability risks (reputational issues, breach of standards). These risks can affect companies in a variety of ways. Production disruption, raw material and share price volatility and capital destruction are just a few examples. Importantly, it all involves understanding nature as an asset, as an input factor in our production function.

Innovation means finding ways to avoid those risks while embracing change and preparing for new future-oriented businesses which are ESG-positive. This has two prerequisites. First, we need more data disclosure to measure the impact of what we are doing. Secondly, we need goals and an evaluation method. These two issues are linked: data will give us an understanding of the impact of economic activity and how to steer economic development, which in turn should allow us to refine these goals.

Systematic decision-making is more than just a means to an end in order to achieve an overarching, positive goal within the Purpose Economy. We must also ensure that, when looking at equitability of impact, a distinction is not merely made between labour- and capital-intensive activities. Rather, impacts should be considered in three ways: the impact of individuals (including companies); the impact of politics (including governments and institutions); and the impact of nature (including natural resources).

Fortunately, we already have broad goals. The UN Sustainable Development Goals and the linked UN Principles for Responsible Investment, along with the Paris Agreements as well as the (failed) Aichi Biodiversity Targets, have set the initial direction. But there is still no consistent global approach about how to go beyond these broad goals and to put them in a detailed synthesis with financial markets. Standards can help. Reporting is widening its scope: the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) was recently launched to go beyond ESG scores and climate change, to include the risk factor represented by biodiversity loss. The International Financial Standards Reporting Foundation (IFSR) has also proposed the inclusion of sustainability standards within its constitution as it aims for the establishment of an International Sustainability Standards Board.

Read more: Dimitri Zenghelis on Investing in the Green Transition

So, we are advancing on multiple fronts, but the scale of the task here is enormous: even within rating agencies, ESG ratings and scores vary due to differing methodologies. Global sustainability standards for company reporting would allow integrating data, insights and ESG themes into business strategy, product-development cycles and risk management. Harmonised standards would also allow us to improve scoring, enabling a more sophisticated discussion of what exactly scores mean and the importance of a company improving its ESG score rather than just accepting it or simply trying to ‘game’ it.

At Deutsche Bank’s International Private Bank we continue to develop our methodology to make sense of this evolving landscape on global standards. We use ratings, drawing on the research and analysis of a leading third party provider, but it is important to consider these in context. We realise that we have to give firms credit for improvement on ESG metrics, for example. We also apply exclusions against sectors that go against UN goals and principles and generate long-term risks (around greenhouse gases, for example). Exclusions can also be applied on more individual value-based grounds.

Methodologies such as this require continual improvement through monitoring their effect on sustainability. But the priority should be to ensure that the impact of ESG on a client’s investments should be transparent and that they will lead to improved corporate behaviour on ESG issues. If we wish to make transparent the impact of our ESG activities, and if we want our economies to be ESG-positive, we need to all follow the same methods.

ESG is here to stay as a categorical imperative. It will, at the very least, slow down environmental degradation and will make the world and our lives richer and more meaningful.

Markus Müller is Global Head of the Chief Investment Office at Deutsche Bank’s International Private Bank. Find out more: deutschewealth.com/esg

This article was originally published in the Autumn/Winter 2021 issue.

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rashid johnson cover of LUX

The main cover of our Summer 2021 issue, with a portrait of, and logo takeover by Rashid Johnson

Our Editor-in-Chief on the role of media and convergence in sustainability and luxury, from the editor’s letter in the summer 2021 issue
man in a suit

Darius Sanai

A curious thing happened to the media during the first lockdown last year. The media became everything, and nothing.

If you are struggling to make sense of that, consider this. For much of the period when we were forbidden from travelling or engaging in normal everyday activities, would wake up, flip onto WhatsApp and Instagram, login to Zoom and Teams, perhaps while checking out a YouTube video or TikTok feed on another device. In the evenings we might travel somewhere on Amazon Prime or YouTube, listen to stuff on Spotify, play League of Legends, search for a watch or a dress on Watchfinder or Net-a-Porter, or be entertained on Netflix or Apple. We would also use a podcast app to inform and entertain ourselves, maybe while Alexa or Siri read us the headlines from The New York Times.

All of that is ‘media’, which begs the question, what isn’t media?

Twenty years ago, I remember being asked, as a media correspondent for a newspaper, to write and give talks on the then new phenomenon of ‘convergence’, whereby previously completely disparate strands of human existence were starting to overlap and merge into each other. Convergence has now not just happened, but done a kind of backflip on itself. Witness the new armies of ‘creators’, who were once people with social media accounts, but are now investable business platforms leading reverse takeovers of the product lines and sectors they promote, from beauty to entertainment. They are also media, as is Ryan, who earns exclamation dollars a year opening toys on YouTube; and what is a non-fungible art token except the ultimate form of personalised, monetised media?

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All of this has left some of the traditional media in a head spin. Which tail is wagging which dog when a magazine employs a writer who then becomes an advocate for a brand she has written about, and creates a following and business worth more than the magazine that employs her?

Our partner cover for Gaggenau

In a sense, nothing has changed except the players. In this new global ecosystem, ‘media’ refers to curation above anything else – just as it did when Diana Vreeland edited Vogue. An influencer curates brands and looks; a TikToker curates social memes; a Washington Post editor curates the hierarchy and interpretation of what is happening in the world.

Far from being a constraint to traditional media, it is or should be an opportunity. We used to be expert intermediaries, reporting on aspects of the world (news, analysis, business, art) to our audiences. Now, as well as curating, we create: bring to life experiences and ecosystems. We make things happen. We also leverage our existing ecosystems in new directions.

Read more: Sophie Neuendorf on why tokenisation is the art world’s new frontier

LUX readers were previously defined simply by their demographic. But with wealth comes responsibility, increasingly so in this era, and we are both being inspired by and inspiring our readers, partners and ecosystem to not only help create a better life for our readers, but help them do what they would like to do and adjust the direction of elements of the world for the better. Media has a responsibility to lead.

The summer issue contains a 16-page section in partnership with Deutsche Bank, on sustainability and biodiversity

That is why you will see our 16-page supplement, together with our partner Deutsche Bank, on biodiversity and the blue economy. It is why we have launched our new series on philanthropy online, and given it a manifestation in this issue. Why we are partnering with brands and institutions to create events as diverse as a prize for sustainable art, and a forum for biodiversity. When I interviewed Brunello Cucinelli, our conversation was about the moral duty of those who can help to do so; we barely spoke about the sublime cashmere he makes. Responsible culture has long been our tag line; it is also our call to action.

I hope you enjoy this issue and everything else we do – keep updated at lux-mag.com and on our Instagram.

Read more from our Summer 2021 issue:

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river in forest
river in forest

Drone footage of Atlantic Forest in Brazil. Image by FG Trade

Can the power of the financial markets be harnessed to address environmental issues such as ocean conservation? LUX talks to Jörg Eigendorf, Head of Corporate Communications, Social Responsibility and Sustainability at Deutsche Bank, about the unique role banks can play to incentivise sustainable investment and consumption
man in suit

Jörg Eigendorf. Image by Mario Andreya / Deutsche Bank AG

LUX: Sustainability can be an empty word in business. How can you make it meaningful?
Jörg Eigendorf: Put simply, as a company we need to demonstrate that we are willing to integrate it in all parts of our value chain. This starts with our own operations. At Deutsche Bank we made a pledge in 2007 to become carbon-neutral and achieved that goal in 2012, but we have worked continually since then to cut our energy consumption – as well as our usage of water, paper and other resources – and this year we challenged ourselves to get all the electricity we use from renewable sources by 2025. But this is only the minor part: banks also have an additional responsibility, in that we facilitate other forms of business, which can themselves have a positive or negative impact on the world. This is where environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles and practices come into play.

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LUX: ESG investing is in fashion right now. What makes it more than financial jargon?
Jörg Eigendorf: It is already much more than a new piece of financial jargon. It’s a concept that has gone from niche to mainstream in recent years. Investors increasingly want to ensure their money is used to support businesses that care about sustainability. ESG gives them a way to compare and contrast investments based on factors that go beyond financial performance – without sacrificing it. So it really has the potential to transform the whole economic system in a positive way. This is why we feel confident that we will be able to increase our volume of sustainable financing plus our portfolio of ESG investments under management to over €200bn by 2025 – to play our part in contributing to this momentum.

LUX: Can ESG really incentivise better behaviour in the private sector?
Jörg Eigendorf: I’ll give you a practical example: in Singapore, we’ve just provided a $25m ‘sustainability-linked’ loan facility to an agricultural company. If the company meets a set of agreed sustainability targets over the three-year term of the loan (and if these are verified by an external auditor), the interest rate payable on the loan will be lower; otherwise it will be higher. This kind of innovation sets a great example and shows how we can help companies incentivise themselves to do better. Of course, progress is often relative, and in some industries all we can do is try to make things better than they were before, consistently. We can’t stop fossil-fuel usage overnight because we don’t have the means to compensate for this yet. But we need to drive and facilitate change. In the almost five years I’ve been with Deutsche Bank, I’ve realised how important banks are to this transformation process, and that we have a big lever with which to make a real difference.

Read more: Marine biologist Douglas McCauley on environmental philanthropy

LUX: What are the main challenges involved in building sustainability into financial products and services?
Jörg Eigendorf: The biggest is probably asset origination – that is, the process of identifying and acquiring investments that offer ESG benefits alongside traditional benefits such as capital growth. It starts with the question: what is sustainable? This is why we have just published our sustainable finance framework which is closely aligned with the new EU taxonomy on financial services. We need this transparency to give our businesses, as well as investors, some certainty in times when demand for ESG products from both private individuals and institutions is outstripping supply. Having said this, it is still difficult to verify that a particular asset meets particular ESG criteria. There is not enough data, there is not enough clarity and there is not enough consistency in the way that ESG criteria are defined and compared. That’s why we’re helping to develop industry-wide ESG standards – for example, working within various initiatives to develop a framework for comparing and contrasting ESG products.

LUX: What ESG issues do you feel passionate about personally?
Jörg Eigendorf: I feel very strongly about the overconsumption of natural resources, and especially how we treat animals. We are eating up this planet and we should stop it. Every German consumes around 61kg of meat a year on average, and the suffering associated with this is unbelievable. Pigs have much DNA in common with humans. They feel emotions just as we do. So from my point of view it cannot be right that we treat them as a commodity. Meat production is also making a significant contribution to climate change – for example, as rainforests in Latin America are razed to produce grazing land for beef cattle. I also care a lot about ocean conservation, marine ecosystems are vital for the world and the climate, so we cannot risk their collapse. These are matters of life and death for humanity as a whole.

LUX: What’s the future for ESG?
Jörg Eigendorf: It is already mainstream and will become more important every day. The Covid-19 crisis, while terrible in many ways, has also made us aware of how things need to be different. We’ve suddenly become more aware of our environment. We’ve realised that we don’t have to be on the run all day long, travelling left and right, and that in many cases a video conference is enough. I am convinced that this crisis will lead to a change in behaviour and creative solutions. And I think we will be less likely to go back to the old, more inefficient world as a result. At the same time, greater awareness of ESG investing will lead to a virtuous circle in which economic growth is coupled with environmental protection – provided we in the financial sector play our part in leading the development of ESG standards and solutions. We welcome the idea of our clients and investors pushing us to do better: there must be a mutual understanding to drive change.

Find out more: deutschewealth.com/esg

This article originally appeared in the LUX x Deutsche Bank Wealth Management Blue Economy Special in the Autumn/Winter 2020/2021 Issue.

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house in the water
house in the water

The Lisbon Oceanarium, Europe’s largest informational and educational space on the oceans, is operated by a foundation launched by Portugal’s Dos Santos family. Image by Paulo Maxim

Claudio de Sanctis, the new Global Head of Wealth Management at Deutsche Bank, has been passionate about the oceans since he was young. He now sees the blue economy – the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth – as a major and necessary target for investments. LUX speaks with him to discover why

DEUTSCHE BANK WEALTH MANAGEMENT x LUX

man in suit

Claudio de Sanctis

LUX: How did your interest in ocean conservation arise?
Claudio de Sanctis: It’s something that goes back to my childhood. I was brought up in Italy and school summers there are very long. I spent a good portion of that time in the water snorkelling and skin diving in the Mediterranean and I developed an incredibly strong connection to the sea and the life in it. You carry forward that passion for animals and life in the sea; and then, if you are 47 as I am now and you are still spending your holidays diving in the sea with your family, you witness first-hand the changes that have gone on. You have this passion, you have witnessed this crisis, and there is a part of you that says something needs to be done.

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LUX: You have personally noticed the environmental changes in the sea?
Claudio de Sanctis: One hundred per cent. If you don’t dive or spend time underwater, the ocean may seem like a beautiful, big, blue expanse and it’s difficult to perceive how it’s changing; it looks as beautiful now as it did 50 years ago. But if you do actually spend time underwater, you then notice that the Mediterranean, for example, has changed dramatically. In the past 40 years, plastic has replaced fish. There were previously a lot of fish, and now there are far fewer and plastic is popping up more and more so it’s now almost impossible to get underwater without seeing a large amount. Also, tropical fish are being seen in Greece, for example, which is a concern as it suggests a very significant change in temperature. If you go to the tropics, the situation is very similar. I have less than 20 years’ experience diving in the tropics, but even in that time, the situation has deteriorated and reefs have disappeared.

LUX: And this is what inspired your focus on the blue economy, which includes ocean conservation and much more besides.
Claudio de Sanctis: That’s correct. There are two fundamental beliefs informing this. One is that institutions such as Deutsche Bank have a fantastic history, if you realise that, for example, we have invested in young artists for the past 40 years for no other reason than social responsibility. While we are a business for profit, doing things because they are relevant and important for the societies we operate in, and because it’s right to be doing them, is important. In that context, we try to do things that are relevant to our clients. I meet clients on a daily basis and more often than not, the discussion will turn to conservation and particularly ocean conservation, and the strongest message I get is one of interest and one of alarm. “How can I help?”, they ask. And that’s how the blue economy comes into play because I believe that the best way to protect the sea is actually to explain to everybody the extraordinary sustainable, long-term economic value it has. There is a lot we need to explain to the world, such as the fact that we breathe because of the ocean; if we damage the ocean beyond a certain point, we won’t be able to breathe air any more. This is very much where education comes into play. And if you understand how the ocean can produce long-term economic development for low-income, underdeveloped countries, that is very relevant. If it’s properly harnessed, the blue-economy potential for a country such as Indonesia is extraordinary. It can lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and give them long-term prospects.

LUX: Are there increasing investment opportunities for the blue economy?
Claudio de Sanctis: There are, but there is so much more to be done, which is why the conference we are holding is so interesting. At the moment it is a very thin market but you essentially have three main drivers. The first one is very wealthy families who set up dedicated foundations, which in turn invest long term in ocean conservation and the blue economy. In that space, education plays a massive role. Secondly, if you don’t want to have a dedicated foundation then you can invest in financial instruments. There are more and more liquid financial instruments starting with blue bonds that allow you to contribute capital with a certain degree of return in order to help these underlying themes. The last element that we need to develop is investing directly in companies as more start up with a blue economy angle.

LUX: Will the blue economy become more important within environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing in general?
Claudio de Sanctis: That’s a very good question. My view is that when it comes to ESG, there is no need to put different sub-themes within ESG into competition. There is so much need for more across the board. I can say that interest in ocean conservation and the blue economy is growing exponentially and the awareness of it is growing extraordinarily fast because it’s tied to very important problems. I mean, science has now led us to understand that the oxygen for two breaths in every three comes from the sea, which is something that, five to ten years ago, very few people knew. So if you pollute the sea to a point that that sort of oxygen production slows down, you have a huge problem, because we’re not going to be replanting a lot of forest in the next 50 years. And planting forest takes a long time. Most of the ESG themes are fundamentally interlinked. For example, ocean conservation, blue economy and climate change all interlock.

Read more: Fashion designer Kevin Germanier’s sustainable glamour

LUX: Do companies who may believe they are not responsible for, say, ocean degradation because they are based far from the sea, need to be made aware of this interlocking, that the ocean is relevant to them?
Claudio de Sanctis: That is a very fundamental point. Awareness is everything and in my view, the awareness we need to create is not so much in the companies as in the end consumer. Everybody needs to understand the relevance of this resource, that the ocean is deteriorating and what the consequences of this are. And then on the positive side, what are the opportunities we can extract from the sea if we actually manage it properly? When we talk of the problem of plastic in the oceans, everyone thinks of the poor albatross found with plastic in its stomach, which is a significant problem. It’s an easier problem to grasp than microplastics, which are less visible. But while plastic bottle and bag waste affects marine mammals and sea birds, it is microplastics that affect fish. And the biggest polluting factor in the plastic problem is our clothing. Every time we wash our clothes in a washing machine, particularly anything that has plastic fibres, we release microplastics into the ocean. This is just an example, and this is why we need education, because there is so much more that we need to know and that we need consumers to know because it is they who ultimately drive politicians and purchasing.

LUX: What would you like to achieve through your blue economy programme?
Claudio de Sanctis: In our business we talk to a number of very significant families about what it means to actually have positive impact. So even if we help a few of these families be more aware of the problems and solutions, that is already gratifying for me personally in terms of helping the cause. From a Deutsche Bank point of view, my aspiration is that in the next two to three years when Wealth Management clients think about oceans, they think about ocean conservation and economic development tied to that. And then they think of Deutsche Bank and pick up the phone and speak to their banker here.

Find out more: deutschewealth.com

This article originally appeared in the LUX x Deutsche Bank Wealth Management Blue Economy Special in the Summer 2020 Issue.

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Reading time: 7 min
photograph of pink fields
Contemporary artwork

Crown (2006) by Wangechi Mutu. Courtesy of Deutsche Bank Collection

One of the key elements of this year’s edition of Frieze New York was to have been an exhibition drawn from the legendary art collection of Deutsche Bank, to celebrate its 40th anniversary. The fair may have been postponed, but the significance of the collection, its works and ethos, is undimmed, says Wallace Ludel

At Deutsche Bank’s headquarters in New York, several hundred exceptional works of art are hung throughout the building’s 47 floors. The Wall Street tower was built in the 1980s and certain floors still retain that era’s American wooden-clad banking aesthetic; long oak and cherry desks and accents provide a warmer, more characterful context for the high-calibre artworks than a typical white-cube gallery setting. The click of dress shoes and hum of conference calls in the background create an atmosphere quite unlike the usual art exhibition experience.

The artworks displayed here represent only a fraction of one of the largest corporate art collections in the world, comprising over 55,000 important pieces.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

Deutsche Bank employees are proud of the art that surrounds them, says Friedhelm Hütte, the bank’s global Head of Art. “They feel it helps the company and it does so not only in a general way but also when meeting with clients and prospective clients, because more and more people are interested in art, in going to exhibitions, or wanting to collect.”

photograph of pink fields

Düsseldorf (2018) #1 (2018) by Maria Hassabi. Courtesy of Deutsche Bank Collection

In 2020, Deutsche Bank is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its art collection, as well as the company’s 150th anniversary. Part of the celebration was intended to involve a major exhibition at Frieze New York. The show, titled ‘Portrait of a Collection’, brought together works from more than 40 artists from the bank’s holdings, including works by Wangechi Mutu, Amy Sillman, Glenn Ligon, Camille Henrot, Lucy Dodd, Hank Willis Thomas and many more. And although the fair was cancelled, the importance of the artworks and the philosophy of the collection remains as relevant as ever.

“Deutsche Bank has both the foresight to champion artists such as these in the early stages of their careers, and the power to contextualize them alongside an established canon within their collection,” Loring Randolph, Director of Frieze New York, tells LUX. She adds that Frieze and the bank are “aligned in their commitment to innovative curatorial programming and public art initiatives, including our mutual support and enthusiasm for artists.”

Purple hills of a landscape

Sugar Ray from the series ‘The Enclave’ (2012) by Richard Mosse. Courtesy of Deutsche Bank Collection. © Richard Mosse, courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, photo Argenis Apolinario.

While Deutsche Bank’s enormous collection spans many decades and various movements of contemporary art, it does have a few points of focus – one being that the vast majority are works on paper. In this respect, Hütte and his team bucked the trend. “The bank decided to focus on an area in contemporary art that’s not so often covered by museums or private collectors,” Hütte says. “We wanted to build a collection that had a smaller focus placed on it. We now have one of the most important collections of post-1945 works made on paper in the world, even when compared with museums of the same era. This has allowed us to function as a kind of archive for artists and museums.”

Read more: Artist Peter Schuyff on the spirituality of painting nothing

Preparatory drawings for larger projects, including studies for public projects by Christo and mural-sized paintings by James Rosenquist, constitute this informal archive. Hütte says he is fascinated by the way these works illuminate the artists’ creative processes. The insights they provide are worth pursuing. “If you are not an expert in art, you can see these works and understand more about how an artist is developing his or her ideas. You see the moment of invention and of introducing something new. This is very much linked to business, and the ways we come up with new ideas.”

“We are always looking to discover new artists,” says Hütte, adding that this “doesn’t mean that the artist has to be young; it could be that an artist is older but hasn’t found the success that we feel he or she should have.” Supporting emerging artists is also a financially advantageous approach; the company does not have to lavish the same kind of sums on their artworks that collectors often pay for well-established artists. Hütte says that the bank, which has high-profile art hanging in offices all over the world, relies on the experience of their own team of curators and – in some cases – regional art experts to look out for creative talent. Additionally, the bank employs staff to oversee the collection, arrange exhibitions, facilitate loans and more.

Photograph of women

Four Little Girls (blue and white) (2018) by Hank Willis Thomas. © Hank Willis Thomas, courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

While the biggest concentrations of works from the collection hang in the private offices of Frankfurt, London and New York, the bank opened its new museum-quality exhibition space and cultural programme, Berlin’s Palais Populaire, to the public in 2018. However, you may not have to travel to Berlin to explore the art from the company’s private collection. “We loan artworks to museums on a regular basis – normally every week,” explains Hütte. “We feel we have to support the museums and the artists, so there’s no ulterior reason. We give works for temporary exhibitions as well as for more or less permanent loans; for example, we recently loaned 600 works to the Städel Museum in Frankfurt.”

The Deutsche Bank Artist of the Year

One of Deutsche Bank’s initiatives to support young artists is their ongoing Artist of the Year programme. Previous winners include Wangechi Mutu in 2010, Yto Barrada in 2011 and Roman Ondak in 2012. All have since gone on to have exceptional careers. “It’s not simply a prize of a sum of money; it’s really to support the artist so they can reach a new level,” explains Hütte. The artist is selected with the recommendation of the Deutsche Bank Global Art Advisory Council, whose council members have included the curators Udo Kittelmann, Victoria Noorthoorn, Hou Hanru and the late Okwui Enwezor. The winning artist is given a solo exhibition – the 2018 winner, Lebanese artist Caline Aoun, held her show at the Palais Populaire – with a published catalogue of their work. “Most often, it’s the first large catalogue for this artist, and it’s normally their first museum exhibition. We also buy works from the artist for our collection,” says Hütte.

Discover the collection: art.db.com

This article will also be published in the Summer 2020 Issue, out later this month.

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Reading time: 5 min
Young filmmaker with camera
Panel discussion on stage

Ghetto Film School Roster brings together students and industry for a film competition screening and artist showcase of GFS alumni work, here at the Museum of the Moving Image, New York, 2017

The inaugural Deutsche Bank Frieze Los Angeles Film Award at 2020’s Frieze Los Angeles recognizes ten young filmmakers who have been nurtured by Ghetto Film School. Maisie Skidmore meets the storytellers behind the camera

DEUTSCHE BANK WEALTH MANAGEMENT x LUX

More than a century has elapsed since Paramount Pictures was established in Hollywood in 1913. Since then, the studio lot has grown somewhat, from the original 26 acres to no fewer than 65 today. The scene itself has altered entirely, with thousands of movies and television shows coming to fruition on its hallowed grounds.

The studio’s iconic logo, on the other hand, remains almost entirely unchanged. The snow-topped mountain-scape studded with an arc of 22 stars is one of the protagonists in the rich movie history of Los Angeles. It’s woven into the very fabric of the place; the city has grown up around it, producing writers, artists, filmmakers and plenty more. So, what better place than Paramount Pictures Studios to house Frieze Los Angeles, when the international art fair opened its inaugural edition in the city in February 2019?

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

Non-profit organization Ghetto Film School has taken a similar trajectory to that of Frieze, in that it has opened its own LA outpost in recent times. GFS, as it is known, was first founded as a small after-school program in the South Bronx by former social worker Joe Hall some 20 years ago, with a view to introducing narrative filmmaking to youth programs in New York, particularly in low-income areas. “Ghetto Film School was founded on the premise of providing a robust, long-lasting platform for a new generation of storytellers, bridging the gap between in-class curriculum and hands-on experience in the entertainment industry,” explains Sharese Bullock-Bailey, its chief strategy and partnership officer. GFS has evolved exponentially, educating, developing and celebrating the next generation of great American storytellers. Since 2017 it has opened a third outpost, in London.

Camera crew recording a young girl in Africa

Ghetto Film School students filming in South Africa

Man attends film screening

Founder and president of the GFS, Joe Hall

In view of the long history of the film industry in Los Angeles, the city provided a natural second home for the organization in 2017. The GFS has continued to forge a pathway into the film industry and beyond for its students ever since. “There is so much more to GFS outside of fostering behind-the-camera filmmakers,” Bullock-Bailey continues. “Our partners, who provide GFS students with immeasurable support, have been key at introducing them to other related avenues within the creative world. Outside of filmmaking, our graduates have gone on to become advertising producers, writers, studio executives, and set designers.”

Now, the next generation of Los Angeles’s filmmaking talent is set to receive a further boost. In the summer of 2019, Frieze and Deutsche Bank launched the inaugural edition of the Deutsche Bank Frieze Los Angeles Film Award, a new competition created in collaboration with Ghetto Film School. Ten aspiring and emerging filmmakers were offered a unique platform and an intensive four-month development program through which to produce their own short films, inspired by LA’s artistic, social and cultural landscape. The winning filmmaker, who receives an award of $10,000 at a ceremony in the Paramount Theatre during Frieze Los Angeles, is chosen by a panel of leading figures in contemporary art and entertainment. The award is showcased at the Deutsche Bank Wealth Management Lounge at the art fair, and its launch coincides with the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Deutsche Bank Collection of art.

Read more: How Adrian Chen’s K11 MUSEA is changing Hong Kong’s cultural scene

Naturally, LA is a rich and fertile subject area for the students of the Fellows Program of the GFS to draw on. “The history of Los Angeles is built on the confluence of disparate visions for the city and its future, something that made the energy and community support at the first Frieze Los Angeles so palpable,” says Bettina Korek, the executive director of Frieze Los Angeles. “To be able to support these emerging local filmmakers in depicting our city’s current world, and showing how the medium of film has grown alongside it, is a privilege for us and our partners at the Paramount Theatre, Deutsche Bank and Ghetto Film School. I can’t wait to meet the Fellows and to see how they envision Los Angeles.” Thorsten Strauss, the Global Head of Art, Culture and Sports at Deutsche Bank, echoes her sentiment. “We are delighted to be working with Frieze and Ghetto Film School on this exciting new film award,” he says. “It’s a natural step in our ever-developing partnership with Frieze to start this project together and support emerging LA storytellers.”

Young filmmaker with camera

Mya Dodson, a GFS alumna and below, Dodson at Film Independent’s GFS Shorts screening, LACMA in Los Angeles, 2016

Woman speaking into microphone

The Fellows, whose own cultural heritage reaches far and wide, have turned to their respective experiences of the city for their films, and the breadth of their concepts reflects the extraordinary diversity inherent to LA. They looked to the recent plague of fires (in the case of Nabeer Khan), the ubiquity of smartphones (for Nicole Thompson), and the wrenching unease of a displacement from, and subsequent return to, their home (for Silvia Lara). In each case, poignantly, the school’s Fellows share a profound and at times all-consuming desire to tell their story. They also all seem to share a hope that, in so doing, they might carve out a space in which others are able to make their own voices heard too.

GFS’s alumni, who are now scattered throughout the film industry and beyond, are testament to the program’s effectiveness. “Ghetto Film School is more than a non-profit mission statement,” says Luis Servera, a writer and director who graduated from the program in 2004. “It is family.” Servera has been part of the organization for all of his adult life, he says, proudly witnessing and contributing to its rapid growth. “It’s a bit surreal, but not surprising at all. GFS is destined to be a significant and influential catalyst in all things media.”

VIP lounge at an art fair

The Deutsche Bank Wealth Management Lounge at Frieze Los Angeles, 2019.

How has Ghetto Film School seen such success? “They understand the power of storytelling and the power of the storyteller, no matter what their background is,” Servera continues. “They also realize that education and opportunities to those with limited access are essential to cultivate and nurture unseen talent.” What’s more, he continues, given the current climate in the industry, the work GFS is doing has the potential to reverberate for decades to come. “In a time when trending words such as ‘diversity’ and ‘inclusion’ seem to be at the forefront of keynotes and boardroom meetings, I find it curious that a small non-profit organization that started in the South Bronx is the solution to a problem that a massive industry is having.”

Read more: Francis Alÿs receives Whitechapel Gallery’s Art Icon Prize 2020

To see the short films that have been months in the making viewed and judged at a Frieze art fair – one of the core events in the art world – will, of course, be of no small moment for the young filmmakers. The Deutsche Bank Frieze Los Angeles Film Award marks the first milestone in each of these storytellers’ own narratives; where and when the next one will be, we will just have to wait and watch.

THE 10 SHORTLISTED CANDIDATES

Young woman posing in suitALIMA LEE
“After watching Sun Ra’s Space is the Place, I had a dream about a portal that looked like an empty doorway appearing in different parts of the city. The portal allowed black and indigenous people to escape to a planet where they could be safe. I revisited this concept in my short film, to explore a story line about how a girl comes across this portal and about why she intends to use it.”

Monochrome portrait of young womanDANIELLE BOYD
“I was inspired by Shirin Neshat’s fearless ability to convey her feelings about being exiled from her home. I was also inspired by the colorful cultures in LA, and how they create the city’s identity. I was going to Africa for the first time and began feeling this sudden vacancy about my African American identity. I began to see more clearly how the miseducation of African Americans can affect us and the way we interpret our own history, and ourselves.”

Painting of young girl in car seatMICHELLE KIM
“The idea for my short emerged from this mental process of recognizing what moved me about LA and what felt significant. I reverted back to my childhood and the places I’ve grown up in, such as the car wash near my dad’s work, the liquor store in the strip mall. These sites are as sacred to me as they are banal to others, and the intention behind my short is based on visually sanctifying these places.”

Portrait of a young asian manNABEER KHAN
“I knew that I had to make my film about the recent Los Angeles fires. I asked myself how these fires were starting. That question, combined with my interest in psychology, led me to the concept for my film. I wanted to explore the power of grief and its progression to rage. In this film, I seek to apply this idea to our relationship with nature and the ongoing destruction of our Earth.”

Headshot of young woman

NICOLE THOMPSON
“The concept for this film came to me while riding a train through the city and seeing so many people wrapped up in their phones. I decided to tell a story about when a young boy is forced to move to LA and stay at his grandparent’s house for the summer. He tries to convince his mom to not leave him there, but she has to travel for work. Left with no friends, Wi-Fi, or games he explores the house, discovers a magical book, and goes on an adventure traveling through different dimensions.”

Portait of man wearing sunglassesNOAH SELLMAN
“I was watching surreal YouTube videos and saw in one of them an animated dreamscape made of Coke products. I started to wonder if that was possible. When I moved to LA, I was struck by the branding that covers the city. There is barely a blank surface anywhere. It was a lot for someone from a small town. Watching Shirin Neshat’s shorts, I realized the dreams could be abstract. Then I knew I had an idea.”

Side profile portrait of young manTIMOTHY OFFOR
“Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever was the first time I saw characters that I knew – not physically, but in character. I knew people just like them. I’ve dreamed of sharing my stories with the world ever since. The idea for my film originated during a debate with a friend about fear. We were discussing whether people are afraid of success or failure. Through that I developed a concept centered on dreams, fear and our willingness or unwillingness to overcome it.”

Portrait of young woman outside with sunlight on her faceTORYN SEABROOKS
“I love comedy and there is nothing funnier to me than an uncomfortable situation. When you’re trying to impress a person, you do things outside of your character and find yourself in the middle of cringeworthy moments. I wanted to tell this story to point out a darker truth I’ve grown to understand about idolatry within Hollywood, and what we’re willing to do to be accepted and seen by the people we admire.”

Portrait of young woman against white wallSILVIA LARA
“I’ve always wanted to see my city, Whittier in LA, portrayed the way I feel it deserves to be seen. I had lived elsewhere before but didn’t realize just how special it was until I up and moved across the country to New York and then returned. It contrasted so much that it made me appreciate aspects of this quiet suburb on the edge of LA. And it’s not as quiet as it seems.”

MYA DODSONPortrait of young woman in yellow top
“The concept for my film came to me in a vision while visiting family in Korea earlier this year. My sister had recently encouraged me to ‘move in love, not in fear’ – a motto that set the tone for my entire year. I was listening to frequencies when an affirmation came over me, and thus, Cosmic Affirmation was born. I saw the film as a representation of how I’m overcoming fear in love.”

THE JURY

Doug Aitken, contemporary LA-based artist
Claudio de Sanctis, Global Head of Deutsche Bank Wealth Management
Shari Frilot, Chief Curator, New Frontier at Sundance Film Festival
Jeremy Kagan, director, writer, producer and professor
Bettina Korek, Director of Frieze Los Angeles
Thorsten Strauss, Global Head of Deutsche Bank Art, Culture & Sports
Sam Taylor-Johnson, artist and film director
Hamza Walker, Director of LAXart

Find out more: ghettofilm.org

This article was originally published in the Spring Issue 2020.

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Reading time: 10 min
Photograph of classical sculptural with human body part draped over
Portrait of two women

‘Charline & Blanche’ (2019), by Viviane Sassen

Dutch artist Viviane Sassen is known for her visceral portrayals of the human form in all its beauty and frailty. Maisie Skidmore meets the Deutsche Bank Lounge artist for Frieze London this year to discover more ahead of her new photographic series set in Versailles

DEUTSCHE BANK WEALTH MANAGEMENT x LUX

Tucked quietly into the extensive grounds of the Palace of Versailles, on the outskirts of Paris, the historic Small Stables contain the Galerie des Sculptures et des Moulages. It’s a secretive institution, closed to the public except for special events, within which the Palace’s damaged sculptures are kept for restoration. For many, the rows of fractured alabaster bodies make for an eerie sight. For Viviane Sassen, discovering them was like stumbling upon buried treasure.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

“I started shooting the old sculptures, many of which were broken, missing hands, or legs, or arms, or heads,” she says, her voice quickening in excitement. The Dutch photographer’s masterful work has long distorted and elevated the human form, so the Galerie made for fertile soil when she was granted run of the Palace’s grounds to create a new series inspired by Versailles. The resulting work, Venus and Mercury, is on display as part of the Visible/Invisible exhibition in the Palace’s Grand Trianon until October 2019, when it will be reconfigured for Deutsche Bank’s Wealth Management Lounges at Frieze London & Frieze Masters. “It was amazing to see. Usually these bodies don’t have flaws, they’re beautiful, sculpted to perfection,” she says. “Seeing them in decay, ripped apart, or in storage with stickers on them…” It couldn’t be more appropriate given the illicit and often disease-ridden underbelly of life at the French court in days gone by. “I loved it.”

Bust of a woman's head wrapped in fabrics

‘La Mauresque’ (2019), by Viviane Sassen

Sassen’s fascination with Versailles’ regal sculpted forms had been seeded long before, when her parents first brought her to visit the Palace at the age of 13 or 14. Then, coming from her small hometown in the east of Holland, its sensuality came as a pleasant shock to the system. “I vaguely remember being overwhelmed by its beauty, the very first time I visited Versailles,” she recalls. “I was especially drawn to all the nude sculptures in the gardens. I think it triggered my imagination on an erotic level; as a young teenager I was just waking up, in that sense. Seeing all these gorgeous bodies…” Her soft, clear voice still sounds somewhat awestruck. “And you’re allowed to look at them!”

Classical bust with graphic coloured edits

‘Penicilline’ (2019), by Viviane Sassen

The human form has long been a source of fascination for Sassen. A sensitive and intuitive child, she was born in Amsterdam, but spent three formative early years in Kenya, where her father, a doctor, ran a polio clinic. Sassen grew up playing with young friends whose bodies looked profoundly unlike her own, marvelling together at their similarities and differences. Later, back in the Netherlands, when an adolescent growth spurt propelled her slim frame to just under six feet tall, Sassen’s curiosity with the body manifested in strange corporeal sculptures which she would create herself, standing naked in front of her mirror. Limbs contorted into unexpected shapes, and twisting torsos closely cropped, have been a recurring motif in her work ever since.

Read more: Spanish artist Secundino Hernández on flesh & creative chaos

Which, of course, serves to set Sassen apart from her peers in fashion photography – an industry whose primary occupation is to reify the human body, and a world she has deftly kept one foot in for many years. She has worked with Dior, Hermès, Missoni and Miu Miu, and has shot editorial fashion images for many magazines. All the while, her personal practice continues quietly but fervently, news of a new solo exhibition or book surfacing with stunning regularity.

Abstract sculptural photograph with red circular graphic

‘Syph #01R’ (2019), by Viviane Sassen

How does she switch so effortlessly between the two? It’s a question of balance, she says. “To travel in a light and simple way in Africa with my husband and son, and two weeks later, to be in a studio shooting in Paris with a big team, with so many professionals. I feel very lucky that I’m able to go in and out of these very different worlds.” The two sides seem to maintain a symbiotic relationship, she continues; the fact that they are so unalike in nature doesn’t faze her. “I’m really drawn to opposites,” she says. Light and shadow; introversion and extroversion; heaven and earth; they all underpin her practice. She mirrors them in her character, even. “On the one hand, I am, like the Dutch generally, very blunt and straightforward, practical, pragmatic. On the other hand, I’m a dreamer.”

Photograph of classical sculptural with human body part draped over

‘Occo’ (2019), by Viviane Sassen

Nonetheless, Sassen’s practice is rooted not in logic, but in emotion; it’s often only in hindsight that a series’ conceptual roots within her own lived experience becomes clear. Take, for instance, Umbra, a 2014 project about shadow and, more abstractly, a way to wrestle with the idea of death. “It was a kind of revisiting of my past,” Sassen says, softly. “My father passed away when I was 22. He ended his own life. That has been a huge influence in my life and also on my work. He was a doctor, and the human body as a form of expression – but also containing many ambiguities and paradoxes – that is always present for me somehow. In Venus and Mercury, it comes across again; the erotic, or the body as a sculpture, but also the decay. Fear of sickness, fear of death…

Read more: Art photographer David Yarrow on his image ‘The Unusual Suspects’

“But after I did Umbra, I had this urge to do something about life and fertility, and my own motherhood. Femininity and the organic, as opposed to the more masculine and the abstract.” Looking back, she can trace the origins of these ideas to their starting points within her own story, she says. “[But] when I start working on something new, I often don’t really know what it is about. Along the way it becomes clear. I think, ‘Oh, wait a minute, this has something to do with me!’”

Abstract photograph of a person covered in jeans

‘Leïla’ (2019), by Viviane Sassen

Looking at her most recent body of work through this lens, Sassen has yet to determine the resonance of Venus and Mercury, which extracts five stories from the Palace of Versailles’ tumultuous history for examination in image form. The result is at once sensual and sinister, often profoundly poetic. But it’s vivid and experimental too; the images are punctuated with paint and pigment, multimedia studies of subjects, scenes, manuscripts from throughout the Palace’s past and grounds.

As is often the case in Sassen’s practice, the stories it tells were unlocked in part through the characters she cast to enact them. Stepping outside the Palace’s sprawling confines for lunch in a nearby Japanese restaurant, she met Leïla, a French-Senegalese teenager, who seemed an ideal candidate to disrupt the oppressive interior. “She was such a cool girl – she had these grey braids, she was wearing cool clothes, she studied psychology in Paris. So I invited her to be photographed at Versailles, and to bring her friends.”

Photograph of a letter with pink dye

‘Secret letter/pink’ (2019), by Viviane Sassen

The resulting juxtaposition: of a troupe of young women at ease in denim within the gilded walls, is irrepressible; a modern-day incarnation of the frivolity we can only imagine once took place there. “They went wild doing their own photoshoot while I was shooting them – on their phones, doing selfies, owning the place and themselves in it,” she continues.

Seen through Leïla and her friends’ eyes – and, in turn, through Sassen’s watchful lens – Versailles’ ornate monument to opulence becomes fresh, exciting and relevant once more. “It would be amazing, wouldn’t it, if they could gatecrash their predecessors’ party?” Sassen says, laughing. We can only imagine what Marie Antoinette might have thought.

Male nude classical sculpture with red dye

‘Agias, Red’ (2019), by Viviane Sassen

HIDDEN HISTORIES

In Venus and Mercury, Viviane Sassen sheds light on the history of Versailles through five stories. Here, she shares some of the tales from the palace’s heyday that still fascinate her:

Photograph of code on paper with blue ink dye

‘Code/Blue’ (2019), by Viviane Sassen.

1. “In the 17th and 18th centuries, Versailles and its gardens were full of prostitutes. There was a lot of syphilis. One of the signs that people had suffered with it was that their noses caved in to their faces, so they wore prosthetic noses. I was fascinated by the fact that all these people are long dead, but their noses are still there.”

2. “Historians still don’t know exactly what the relationship was between Marie Antoinette and her longtime friend Axel von Fersen – if it was purely platonic, romantic or sexual. They kept up a correspondence from when they met for the rest of their lives. Now those letters are in the Archives Nationales in Paris, where I photographed them. They’re written in code.”

3. “La Mauresse de Moret was a mixed-race child who was brought to an orphanage in the South of France, where she became a nun in a convent. She was supposedly the daughter of the Queen of France, Maria Theresa of Spain. The French court always denied it. Nobody knows exactly who her father was.”

4. “La Voisin was a kind of witch who lived in 17th-century Paris. She made potions. People in the upper classes went to her – she was very renowned. But later, she was convicted of poisoning people, sacrificing newborn babies to use their blood in Black Mass, and was sentenced to death.”

5. “In 1783, Marie Antoinette had herself painted by the female painter Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, who became a friend of hers. She painted her in a muslin dress, which was very modern at the time. But it became a scandal; it was too sensual.”

Viviane Sassen’s series ‘Venus & Mercury’ will be exhibited at the Deutsche Bank Wealth Management Lounges at Frieze London & Frieze Masters from October 2-6, 2019. For more information visit: deutschewealth.com

This article was originally published in the Autumn 19 Issue.

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Reading time: 8 min
Large scale artwork by Turkish artwork Refik Anadol
Installation image of a figure standing in a room with a bright green light

‘Space Odyssey’ (2019) by Etienne Rey

Space in the hands of today’s artists means not just making sculpture but also whole physical or digital environments that the spectator experiences. Clint McLean selects six explorers of these new worlds

DEUTSCHE BANK WEALTH MANAGEMENT x LUX

JULIE MEHRETU

Ethiopian-American artist Julie Mehretu’s abstract paintings compress space and time to reveal imaginary places birthed from unrecognizable but real locations. The artist layers her distinctive markings with architectural drawings, maps, drafts and plans to create the “in-between psychological spaces,” as she refers to them. The paintings are a storm of simultaneous perspectives rendered in pencil, ink and paint and are at times monumental in size.

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Abstract artwork combining black brushstrokes and peach paints

‘Hineni (E. 3:4)’ (2018) by Julie Mehretu

KLAUS PINTER

The largest installations of Austrian artist Klaus Pinter don’t just occupy space, they dominate it. The buoyant airships and ornaments are often translucent and, though enormous, have a lightness and playfulness to them. The two giant balls that constitute Rebonds, which was installed at the Paris Panthéon in 2010, turned the space into a Cubist dream by creating a warped and translucent simulacrum of the architecture it inhabited.

Large scale sculpture depicting a sphere inside a museum setting

‘Rebonds’ (2010) by Klaus Pinter

ETIENNE REY

The installations by French artist Etienne Rey confuse our sense of space through light, movement and reflection. Works like the semi- reflective, semi-translucent wall Flou No. 1 (2017), and the light sculpture Space Odyssey (2013) created with Wilfried Wendling, are like portals to another dimension. Except that we never arrive at another place. Rather, the artworks distort and erase our environment, making depth and distance disappear and leaving us forever in an in-between place.

Large scale artwork by Turkish artwork Refik Anadol

‘WDCH Dreams’ (2018) by Refik Anadol

Read more: Curator Zoe Whitley on the art of collaboration

REFIK ANADOL

Turkish artist Refik Anadol makes the digital space physical through immersive projections of light and sound that draw on data collection and artificial intelligence, among other things. In Archive Dreaming (2017), Anadol surrounds us with data from a digital archive that in turns leaves us hurtling through a vortex of information, floating in space, and inspecting a library of images. The installation is as futuristic as it is nostalgic.

Large sculptural artwork hanging on a gallery wall

‘Untitled (Pulp)’ (1999) by Rachel Whiteread

RACHEL WHITEREAD

British-born Rachel Whiteread’s sculptures make negative space positive by casting the spaces in, under and around things in rubber, resin, plaster or cement. The Turner Prize-winning artist has cast domestic items such as the space under chairs (echoing Bruce Nauman’s chair-space casts from the 1960s), as well as architectural spaces such as a room (Ghost, 1990) or an entire house (House, 1993). Her work shuffles between playful and haunting while evoking themes of absence and memory.

Large scale sculptural installation of red threads

‘Me Somewhere Else’ (2018) by Chiharu Shiota

CHIHARU SHIOTA

The ‘thread drawings’ of Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota fill spaces in dense webs of yarn as they traverse universal themes of life, death, love, relationships and memory. They adorn and claim structures, and tornadoes of her signature red, black or white threads absorb objects such as boats, books, dresses and keys. Her installations turn spaces into dramatic environments as both backdrops and vehicles for sentimental narratives.

This article was originally publishing in the Deutsche Bank Wealth Management x LUX supplement inside the Summer 19 Issue.

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An artwork on paper by artist Raqip Shaw
Facade of PalaisPopulaire at night with a dark indigo sky

The exterior of Deutsche Bank’s PalaisPopulaire, the new Berlin home for its art collection. Opposite: Lohe (1994) by NeoRauch, included in the exhibition ‘The World on Paper’

Spearheaded by the recent opening of Deutsche Bank’s ambitious PalaisPopulaire, new developments are rapidly placing Berlin at the centre of the contemporary art world. Catherine Hickley reports on an extraordinary cultural transformation including the new public home of the German bank’s celebrated art collection and the vast new Humboldt Forum
Portrait of a business man wearing glasses

Thorsten Strauß, Global Head of Art, Culture & Sports at Deutsche Bank

A vibrant, edgy subculture, a liberal reputation and an understated, dilapidated flair have all contributed to Berlin’s status as the world’s most important centre for contemporary art production after New York. The German capital is home to more than 8,000 artists, with big names such as Ai Weiwei, Olafur Eliasson and Alicja Kwade among those who have set up studios there. In fact, more than half of the city’s five million visitors a year say they come for art and culture, and there’s certainly plenty to keep them busy, with world-class art collections, three opera houses, legendary night-clubs such as Berghain, a globally renowned film festival, an orchestra many consider to be the best in the world, dozens of theatres and a lively gallery scene. And slowly, years of building work and construction are making way for a historic centre that visitors and Berliners alike can enjoy.

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Nearly 30 years after the Berlin Wall came down, the city is also shedding its reputation as a capital of the ‘alternative’ (in everything from culture to business) to become a leader in its own right. The German government’s Exzellenzstrategie, announced in 2018, will pump huge sums over decades into the city’s universities and learning institutions. Britain’s departure from the European Union will create an even more powerful political momentum directed towards the city of Alexanderplatz and the Brandenburg Gate. A new international airport, now scheduled to open in 2021 (after years of very un-German delays), will bring world-class international links to the city, and lift its position from the second division of international airline destinations.

Visitor stands in front of gallery exhibition

Deutsche Bank’s exhibition ‘The World on Paper’ at the PalaisPopulaire, 2018, with works by Ellen Gallagher and Ugo Rondinone 

The opening of the PalaisPopulaire on the prestigious Unter den Linden boulevard in the heart of the city in September 2018 is an important landmark in the cultural ascendancy of the city to the highest global level. The new museum and cultural space are owned by Deutsche Bank, which has a vast corporate collection comprising 55,000 works; a total of 133 artists from 34 countries are represented, with an emphasis on works on paper produced after 1945. Much of the collection adorns the walls of the bank’s offices – but the bank has never had space to display it all, and some of the works have never or only rarely been shown. Artists include luminaries such as Gerhard Richter, Joan Mitchell, Sigmar Polke, Andy Warhol, Bruce Nauman, James Rosenquist, Joseph Beuys, Anish Kapoor and Bridget Riley.

Portrait of business woman wearing suit and glasses

Svenja von Reichenbach, Head of PalaisPopulaire Deutsche Bank AG

These artists are all included in the debut exhibition, ‘The World on Paper’, which opened in September with works from the Deutsche Bank collection. But the PalaisPopulaire aims to be more than just a home for one of the largest corporate art collections in the world. The team behind it is hoping to add fuel to Berlin’s creative fire with a future-oriented arts and sports hub hosting talks, concerts, readings, workshops for children, young people and adults, a restaurant and a shop. “This is not a private house for a small select group, it is open to all Berliners and to guests from all over the world,” says Svenja von Reichenbach, the director of the PalaisPopulaire. “We want it to be a lively place. We don’t want to be a dusty old institution. We view ourselves as an open house that thrives on momentum from its visitors.”

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Before opening the PalaisPopulaire, the bank had the Deutsche Bank KunstHalle nearby on Unter den Linden, which it operated with the Guggenheim Museum until 2013. The PalaisPopulaire represents a threefold increase in exhibition space and will allow the corporate collection to be on permanent public display for the first time. “Deutsche Bank has a rich history of supporting and engaging with contemporary art, particularly in Berlin,” comments Victoria Siddall, the director of the Frieze art fairs. “Their collection is extraordinary and wide-ranging, so I am really happy they are opening this up to the public, alongside a fantastically diverse programme of events which will engage new audiences with art and culture.”

An artwork on paper by artist Raqip Shaw

Untitled (2003) by Raqib Shaw, included in the exhibition ‘The World on Paper’;

That intent has informed Deutsche Bank’s revamp of the historic Prinzessinnenpalais, which Reichenbach describes as “a very exciting and challenging building that incorporates the whole history of Berlin”. Originally built in the mid eighteenth century, it was originally the home of Prussian princesses – including one who married the Russian czar. The palace was seized in the November Revolution of 1918 and suffered severe damage in World War II.

After the war, it was demolished, then rebuilt by the East German authorities, according to a design by Richard Paulick, who also oversaw the reconstruction of the neighbouring Staatsoper Unter den Linden. Paulick rebuilt the original Rococo façade but combined it with a modern interior made of steel and concrete. The Prinzessinnenpalais reopened in 1963 as the Opera Café. With a bar, wine tavern, grill restaurant and occasional disco, it developed into a hub for the East German progressive arts scene, and featured as a filmset in one of East Germany’s most successful movies, The Legend of Paul and Paula, from 1973. After German reunification, it became a café in the Rococo style known as the Opernpalais – its interior complete with painted marbled columns, fake stucco and thick floral carpets. The café, renowned for its sumptuous cakes, has now given way to a modern restaurant with an emphasis on healthy eating (though the cakes are still there, and still made by the same supplier). The chintzy 1990s décor is gone – instead, the Berlin architecture firm Kuehn Malvezzi has opted for a sleek, minimalist look for the PalaisPopulaire.

Visitors attend Berlin Art Week

The PalaisPopulaire opening was timed to coincide with Berlin Art Week in September 2018

“Paulick created the Operncafe as a Berlin living room, a central space in the city with a view of the Neue Wache,” the guardhouse designed by the 19th-century Prussian architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel, says Wilfried Kuehn at Kuehn Malvezzi. “As a GDR architect, he was interested in the complexity of history. He was not a pure modernist, but one who referred heavily to history. From the outside, this architecture doesn’t betray what it is on the inside. It is a modern reinforced concrete structure in a Rococo wrapping, which provides a theatrical backdrop for the city.” From today’s perspective, “it is problematic to create a modern interior and then on the outside, give the appearance that it is a Rococo building, without making these contrasts apparent,” Kuehn adds. “We decided to make these contrasts visible by exposing the structure inside.”

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What Kuehn Malvezzi has done is return the interior to its modernist roots. The exposed concrete pillars and steel pipes, white walls and terrazzo floors lend a clean and austere aesthetic. “Nothing was left of Paulick’s décor on the inside, it was all gone,” Kuehn says. “There are few surviving photos and documents, so there is no record of the original, which meant that reconstructing Paulick’s interior would have been futile.” In fact, the palace at number five on Unter den Linden was completely gutted when Deutsche Bank took it over. “The classic Rococo façade is under heritage protection, but the interior isn’t, and that was very important to us as we wanted to put it to a completely new use,” Reichenbach says. “We wanted to be able to shape the rooms according to our needs. It was important to speak a very modern language inside, so that the visitors have the immediate feeling that they are in a modern institution, because our programme is focussed on the contemporary and the future.” An example of flexibility is an atelier on the top floor, which Kuehn says is designed to serve as an art workshop for children as well as a space for talks and lectures. Its windows offer views of the Prussian grandeur surrounding the Palais – the opera house, the Neue Wache, the rebuilt royal palace and two imposing red-brick churches.

Entrance to PalaisPopulaire Berlin art museum

The PalaisPopulaire

Reichenbach says Deutsche Bank chose Kuehn Malvezzi as its architect because of the company’s track record in designing spaces for art – the firm’s previous projects include the building that houses the Friedrich Christian Flick Collection at the Hamburger Bahnhof museum of contemporary art in Berlin, and the privately owned Julia Stoschek Collection in Düsseldorf. Designing space for art comes with challenges – especially if a client’s emphasis is on openness and accessibility, Kuehn says.

“In a museum, art is unfortunately very hermetic, for several reasons,” he says. “Firstly because of security. Then the climate – it has to be protected. Third, you have to have a ticket area so you can’t give access from all sides of the building. Fourth, you have to give a pathway through the exhibition halls. If you were to have an open, permeable building, you wouldn’t meet these requirements. That’s why you need to generate permeability in the other spaces around the exhibition proper and create strong relations between these two contrasting spaces of a museum.” The firm achieved this sense of ‘permeability’ by creating access to the building from two sides and closing off the former entrance onto Unter den Linden to make a safe, enclosed space for art. A ramp leading up to the Palais from Bebelplatz gives a modern accent to the Rococo façade.

Katharina Grosse colourful artwork

Works shown in ‘The World of Paper’ exhibition, included ‘Untitled’ (1995) by Katharina Grosse

In addition to its exhibition schedule – a permanent show of its own collection that will change every 11 months and a temporary show that will change three times a year – the Palais will also host DJ sets, concerts, and discussions with athletes, actors, writers and musicians. Yanna Schneider, a former taekwondo world champion, will give coaching to school children. One of PalaisPopulaire’s partners is Ben Scheffler, a 30-year-old expert in parkour, or freerunning, an athletic discipline that originated in gritty Parisian suburbs and entails leaping and climbing through an urban landscape. Scheffler will offer workshops for young people.

In the German cultural landscape, which is 90% funded by the state, the PalaisPopulaire stands out as a private arts venture, while the construction projects surrounding show how much public investment is currently being funnelled into Berlin’s cultural life and infrastructure. The State Opera house next door reopened in 2017 after a seven-year revamp; on Museum Island, the vast Humboldt Forum is to open in the Berlin Palace in 2019 and the Pergamon Museum is undergoing a major revamp. In addition, a new underground line connecting the main station to Alexanderplatz is set to open in 2020 – one of its stations will be just by the opera house and PalaisPopulaire. It’s an exciting time to be in Berlin.

For more information visit: db-palais-populaire.com

Humboldt Forum

One of the jewels in the crown of Berlin’s central urban redevelopment is the gigantic Humboldt Forum, just a stone’s throw from the new PalaisPopulaire. At a cost of €595 million (483 million of which is funded by the German government, with the rest from the city of Berlin and private donations) it has been described as “the visiting card of the nation” and “Germany’s most ambitious cultural project” by German culture minister Monika Grütters. Scheduled to open in 2019, like the Palais, the project involves the reconstruction and regeneration of an iconic Berlin landmark (in this case, a former Prussian royal palace) by the Italian architect Franco Stella.

Named after the Prussian naturalist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt and his polymath brother Wilhelm, when complete, it will offer a staggering 40,000 square metres of exhibition space, including Berlin’s non-European ethnological collections and Asian art collections, a permanent city history exhibition, several spaces for temporary exhibitions and the Humboldt Laboratory run by the university. With the aim of staging approximately 1,000 events annually for an audience of about three million visitors a year, it also promises to be free to the public.

This article was originally published in the Winter 19 Issue.

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Digital art installation of multiple screens by Victoria Fu
Digital art piece by California based artist Victoria Fu

‘Double Curtain 1’ (2017). Victoria Fu.

California-based artist Victoria Fu, the official artist of 2019’s Deutsche Bank Wealth Management Lounge at Frieze Los Angeles, is at the forefront of exploring the realm between the digital and the analog, as she explains to Anna Wallace-Thompson

DEUTSCHE BANK WEALTH MANAGEMENT x LUX

Portrait of digital installation artist Victoria Fu

Victoria Fu

Hazy circles of red, blue and aqua overlap, a Venn diagram of mingling new colors emerging from textured surfaces. Elsewhere, scratches like the snags on celluloid skip across the faded screen of a computer desktop. They exist amongst a procession of lights and shadows, but – like the most famous shadows of all, on Plato’s cave wall – which are real, and which are not?

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It’s a good question, and one that Californian artist Victoria Fu finds immensely intriguing. In an ever more digitized world, Fu is interested in the space between the real and the virtual, the analog and the digital. This duality leads to lush, textured works and installations comprising layers of shapes and forms, blurring the boundaries between what is physically there and what is digitally inserted (or even projected) onto a surface.

Image of an artwork by Victoria Fu featuring a digital green square bent in one corner

‘Medium Square 4’ (2018). Victoria Fu.

Born in Santa Monica, and a Stanford and CalArts alumna (she is also the co-founder of The Moving Index, an online database of all things video art), Fu’s artistic practice explores how we navigate time and the body within this evolving area. “When I began working with moving image installations (film and video), I found myself migrating into the digital and virtual world, away from the materiality of film and its processes,” she explains. “I started to feel what can only be described as a sort of existential loss of the ‘real’ – whatever ‘real’ is. The loss of a connection, of situating my body in time and space. I addressed this loss through combining both analog and digital elements in a variety of installation formats and configurations.” With works such as Double Curtain 1 (2017), part of her solo show ‘Télévoix’ at New York’s Simon Preston Gallery in 2017, for example, she literally divided the room to create a double-sided installation that played with contrasts such as dark/light and physical/virtual, and showed her fascination with what the normally unseen rear of an image might be like. Meanwhile, in ‘Velvet Peel’, her solo show at LA gallery Honor Fraser in 2015, her interest in how we interact with our world was evident in Pinch-Zoom (2015), a large, Las Vegas-style neon sign in which fingers pinch in and out, as when manipulating the touchscreen of a smartphone.

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LUX: You probe what lies behind an image. Can a digital image really have a ‘back’? Can you turn it over?
Victoria Fu: While working on Belle Captive 1 (2013) for the Whitney Biennial, I was making installations with faux walls. You could see a projected image on the ‘face’ of the wall, but if you went around the back, it was the unfinished raw wood frame of the structure, revealing the image as nothing more than an empty façade. I started thinking about how an image is, for lack of a better word, so ‘flat’ and one-directional. It begged the question: what’s on the other side? How would one conceive of an image ‘in the round’, or sculpturally, in installation?

Digital art installation of multiple screens by Victoria Fu

‘Belle Captive I’ (2013). Victoria Fu

LUX: How are you exploring this other side?
Victoria Fu: Part of what appeals to me is the unknown, and the spookiness of it as well. What is the dimension of a pixel – does it have space? What is behind it? Let’s flip it over! So much of what we see on TV, in films and advertisements, is all done in post-production. There are all these layers of things that don’t really have a root in the ‘real’ world. In most films, you can sort of imagine what the air smells like in a room between a figure and the background, you have that sense of dimension and place. But with enough computer-generated elements, there are so many disparate layers all spliced together to form a coherent image reality. There’s no texture. There’s no ‘smell’. I’m fascinated by that glassy emptiness.

LUX: Wait, what do you mean ‘the smell’ of an image?
Victoria Fu: How do we make sense of our relationship to images through our bodily senses? How does the act of touching the screen and the new haptic dimension of images influence how we understand where we are in the world, and to some degree who we are? There’s an ontological element to these acts, how we make sense of our being – obviously we use our eyes in this image-saturated world, but now we’re ‘touching’ images too. It makes sense then that we might try to make use of our sense of smell. What does an image smell like? Textures in certain images can conjure up an abstracted sense of smell. With some digital images there’s a void, like when you have a cold and you can’t taste or smell anything. It’s that absence that I find so interesting, as a texture in itself.

Neon yellow arrow wired onto a yellow wall

‘Scoop’ (2015). Victoria Fu.

LUX: There’s a lot of this duality in your work – the landscape that exists between the ‘there’ and the ‘not there’.
Victoria Fu: I identify with a generation that grew up in an analog world but is perfectly fluent and comfortable in the digital. I’m interested in mixing things together in a way that one can’t extract what part is digital and what is analog, and in showing how these things are inextricably connected to each other as images.

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LUX: How so?
Victoria Fu: Double Curtain 1 from ‘Télévoix’ is a single film frame that contains the glitches and by-products of hand-processing film. The shapes on the curtain are scratches on film emulsion, and the particular way in which the different color layers of emulsion flake off. I then took this film image to somebody in Hollywood who works with 3D post-production, and they extruded 3D shapes out of the 2D ones, almost like creating a topological map of a landscape, and printed it on the back of the curtain. The double-sided curtain expresses these dual worlds – it’s the same world, it’s one curtain, yet that reality can be expressed in more than one way (depending on which side you’re standing). There is a video projection on the wall behind the curtain that imagines what kind of shadows that 3D-extruded shape would cast. This is the game of telephone, where each translation distorts the next iteration of the original – hence the name of the exhibit, ‘Télévoix’.

LUX: How important to you is the viewer’s body in the space itself?
Victoria Fu: Very – it’s one of my primary interests. A work can be viewed as documentation, as a video file, and still engage somebody, but it really is a different experience in person. I think a lot about how we spectate, how we situate ourselves in time and space in relationship to the moving image, and how that is changing. When you view one of my moving-image works there are moments when you can get quite comfortable and immersed in the narrative, and then there are moments where you are yanked into another space – and sometimes it’s the very gallery space you’re sitting in. This back and forth is what I find interesting, where you never quite sit comfortably.

Neon light artwork depicting a hand pinching by Victoria Fu

‘Small Pinch-Zoom (white)’ (2015). Victoria Fu.

LUX: Have you thought about working in virtual reality?
Victoria Fu: I’m curious about VR but I draw the line at interactivity and an actual touchscreen. I enjoy the buffer between spectator and image, and that’s kind of where I live. VR still emphasizes a kind of cinematic looking in a way that might be in keeping with my interests.

LUX: Speaking of the moving image, the Frieze LA venue is Paramount Studios, a real film lot. Does that relate to your work in any way?
Victoria Fu: With Frieze opening in LA there’s a very conscious coming together of Hollywood and the art world, and I think there are a lot of commonalities between the two that I embrace, as it’s very relevant to the content of my work. The language and tools of film production are central subjects for me. I think the context of Hollywood will help underline how I am thinking through the processes and tools of how we create a visual reality through the moving image, and how we are changing as spectators, from viewers to users in a melding of the two.

Victoria Fu has been invited to create a site-based installation in the Deutsche Bank Wealth Management Lounge at the Paramount Theater, Los Angeles, presented in collaboration with Deutsche Bank’s Art, Culture & Sports division. Deutsche Bank has been supporting cutting-edge artists globally for more than 35 years – building a substantial collection of works on paper, recognizing young artists with awards and commissions and organizing numerous exhibitions and museum partnerships. For more information visit: art.db.com

This article was first published in the Winter 2019 issue

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Black and white portrait of Ai Weiwei
Colourful wall mural painted up the stairs

Eamon Ore-Giron’s monumental mural ‘Angelitos Negros’ (2018), shown at the 2018 biennial ‘Made in L.A.’ at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles

No longer an outlier from the busy Europe– New York art corridor, Los Angeles is rapidly becoming a serious contender as a thriving hub on the world art scene. Janelle Zara looks at the people and places that are making the City of Angels hot, hot, hot

This autumn in LA, Ai Weiwei season is in full swing. The Berlin-based Chinese conceptual artist and political activist has not one but three major, concurrent exhibitions across the city – one at Jeffrey Deitch’s new Hollywood gallery, one at the Marciano Art Foundation and one at the new UTA Artist Space in Beverly Hills. With his LA debut coming three decades into his career, it prompts the question: all this time, has Ai been saving the best city for last?

The delay in Ai’s arrival to the City of Angels may lie closer to the fact that none of these venues existed before 2017: the Marciano Art Foundation opened in a defunct Masonic temple in May last year; the new UTA Artist Space, redesigned in part by Ai, opened in July; and his show with Deitch is the space’s very first. They’re part of the LA art scene expansion that is taking place at warp speed, one powered by a booming artist population and a corresponding wave of new galleries and museums.

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For all of its recent history, Los Angeles has been anchored by powerhouse institutions: the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA); UCLA (where you could once take classes with the ground-breaking conceptual artist John Baldessari); and CalArts, where you can still take classes with the famous African-American abstractionist Charles Gaines (who is likely to come out and attend your exhibition opening). And yet, as far as the art world was concerned, history took place between New York and Europe. Like the rest of the world, Los Angeles was an afterthought, a home for surfers and movie stars.

Gallery space of animal artworks

Installation view of John Baldessari’s 2017 show at Sprüth Magers gallery, Los Angeles

Seemingly overnight, however, it has become a world-class art capital. Recent years have seen major milestones that have put Los Angeles on the global stage: mega-collectors such as Eli and Edythe Broad as well as Maurice and Paul Marciano have opened destinations at which to showcase their holdings, courting the likes of Olafur Eliasson and Ai Weiwei to do their first major projects in LA. Major galleries, too, have opened LA outposts to be closer to their blue-chip artists. For Hauser & Wirth, that was Mark Bradford and Larry Bell; for Sprüth Magers, Baldessari and Sterling Ruby. And, of course, the inaugural Frieze LA, sponsored by Deutsche Bank, will take place in February 2019.

Read more: 5 exhibitions to see in London this month + 1 to miss

In September 2017, ‘Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA’ embraced the West Coast’s exclusion from the New York/European canon by emphasizing its connection to Latin America. ‘Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA’ was a blockbuster moment with its thematic syncing of more than 70 institutions. Curators, funded by The Getty, had the opportunity to travel to Latin America and relay the art narratives seldom told, some amassing as much as seven years’ worth of research. The results were powerhouse exhibitions such as MOCA Pacific Design Center’s ‘Axis Mundo: Queer Networks in Chicano LA’, a survey of art that emerged in the Gay Liberation movement of the 1970s, or the Hammer Museum’s staggering feminist 260-piece ‘Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960–1985’. It’s one of the few shows to originate in Los Angeles and then travel to New York, rather than the other way around.

Where ‘Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA’ took place inside more than 70 institutions at once, the new biennial Desert X took place in none. The first edition last February took art-goers on an epic scavenger hunt across the Coachella Valley, where artists including Richard Prince, Tavares Strachan and Will Boone took over derelict buildings and made massive incisions in the sandy earth. Doug Aitken, who built a mirrored hilltop kaleidoscope the size and shape of a small suburban house, described the event as “a vast sprawling parkour… where suburbia ends and the landscape begins”.

Endless Creative Space

In the 1960s, the Light and Space movement, with artists such as Doug Wheeler, James Turrell and Robert Irwin, was making experimental inquiries into sensory deprivation, visual perception, and the glossiness of automotive paint. In 2018, light and space are highly prized amenities that in cities such as New York and London are increasingly hard to come by. In Los Angeles, land of eternal sunshine, studio spaces are large, as is the distance between them (although lately rents have risen at an alarming rate). LA’s art scene is as vast as its geography, stretching from the shoreline into the mountains and out into the desert. See, for example, Doug Aitken in Venice Beach, Charles Long in Mount Baldy, and Andrea Zittel in the arid plains of Joshua Tree, where her collective practice revolves around survival in the desert.

Read more: Deutsche Bank’s PalaisPopulaire is changing Berlin’s art scene

It’s the kind of landscape that breeds autonomy, as exemplified by designer David Wiseman and his brother, former Guggenheim Deputy Director Ari Wiseman. After several years of David being represented by Tribeca-based gallery R & Company, he and Ari purchased and refurbished a 30,000-square-foot factory complex in LA’s Frogtown neighborhood where David could both produce and exhibit his work himself on site. Elsewhere along the LA River, French painter Claire Tabouret relishes the kind of solitude she could never enjoy at home. Inside her former industrial space-turned-studio, she spends “eight or nine hours inside not talking”, a real luxury in France, where you’re bound to bump into someone. For true peace and quiet, Tabouret also makes work in a small house she purchased in Pioneertown, a tiny Wild West city out in the desert with “no phone, no internet, no nothing”.

Facade of a red building with a public installation in a courtyard

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Los Angeles

Solitude, on the other hand, is optional. Geographical barriers also breed tribes. There’s a conviviality rather than a competition among LA artists, particularly artists on the East Side who run spaces for other artists to show. From the Ruberta gallery in Glendale to the artist-run platform BBQLA downtown, openings are no formal affairs. Rather than white wine and polite conversation, you’re greeted by tacos and a cooler full of beer.

“I was surprised by just how small it feels compared with New York, but that also makes for a communitarian vibe,” says gallerist Kibum Kim, who moved to LA in early 2016. He’s a partner at artist Young Chung’s Commonwealth & Council (CwC), a Koreatown space Chung founded in 2010 and initially ran in his living room. Their work is less driven by the market than the desire to build communities, evidenced by the fact that Chung “didn’t make a sale for years”.

Read more: Gallerist Angela Westwater on inspiring women in the art world

“Many artists we work with have practices that eschew the Western notion of the individual artist genius and bring in their peers and make work that is collaborative,” adds Kim, citing partnerships between Rafa Esparza and Beatriz Cortez, or Candice Lin and Patrick Staff, all four of whom have now shown in the Hammer Museum’s prestigious biennial survey of the city’s mid-career and emerging artists, ‘Made in L.A.’. The institutional recognition affirms Chung’s diligence, Kim says. “I have to believe something like CwC can thrive in the art world, even in this hyper-accelerated, market-dominant environment.”

Nothing is Too Weird

“Los Angeles, as a subject of art history, has a few chapters to celebrate,” says Hamza Walker, director of non-profit art space LAXART, citing the Ferus Gallery days of the 1960s (the gallery closed in 1966) and ‘The Pictures Generation’ of the 1980s (a seminal exhibition curated by writer and historian Douglas Crimp at New York-based Artists Space, which explored artistic communities in New York, Buffalo and LA). Those days have passed, however, and LAXART’s focus is very much on the art of the present. Founded in 2005 as a platform for emerging artists with nowhere to show, LAXART, in light of all the young galleries that have emerged to pick up on those duties, pivoted its mission this year to respond to urgent cultural and political matters. Over the summer, Walker presented ‘Remote Castration’, a group exhibition responding to the #MeToo movement. Over the course of the show, the façade of the Santa Monica Boulevard building featured a portrait of Hollywood by Barbara Kruger – not the Hollywood of movie stars, but a sector of the city where pawn shops, dollar stores and sex work reign. Words such as “BREAK IT→OWN IT→STEAL IT→LOAN IT” were painted across the top, with the palette of black, white and green hitting the standard aesthetics of the surrounding marijuana dispensaries.

Black and white portrait of Ai Weiwei

The artist Ai Weiwei

As an OG enfant terrible, Kruger’s work has questioned the authorship of the status quo since the 1970s. The artists of this year’s ‘Made in L.A.’ at the Hammer seem to have picked up the torch, serving narratives excluded from the textbook art historical canon. Megan Whitmarsh and Jade Gordon built a collaborative parody of a typical LA New Age wellness institute with the very real intention of reframing the female life cycle as cause for empowerment. Lauren Halsey erected a monument to her native South Central LA and its residents in the shape of an Egyptian tomb, and it was Eamon Ore-Giron’s monumental Angelitos Negros (2018), a mural stretching the height of the museum’s grand staircase, that greeted visitors and set the tone of the show. Ore- Giron has arranged the circular motifs inherent to his work in a composition resembling the movements of the sun and moon. While his strong geometries typically evoke comparisons to the work of European modernists, he explains, they’re based on Peruvian abstraction of the 1200 and 1300s.

Ore-Giron’s mural is emblematic of the forward-facing art that defines LA now. It asks audiences to re-evaluate their understanding of the past, particularly concepts of Western art history. The appeal of LA lies in its cultural diversity, an atmosphere that, like his mural, “both elevates and alters the way we read the past,” says Ore-Giron. And from the past, into a bright, shining future.

This article first appeared in the Autumn 2018 Issue in partnership with Deutsche Bank. Browse more content here: The Beauty Issue

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Neon pink lights spelling Another World in Italics
Neon pink lights spelling Another World in Italics

‘Another World’, Tracey Emin

Artist Tracey Emin and Deutsche Bank are marking 100 years of women’s suffrage with a show of work by female artists from the bank’s collection at Frieze London and Frieze Masters, as well as a secret postcard sale for women’s charities. Anny Shaw reports from the Deutsche Bank Wealth Management Lounges
Portrait of artist Tracey Emin wearing a black blazer and top

Tracey Emin. Image by Richard Young

To mark this year’s centenary of voting rights for women in the UK and Germany (and the fact there are still places in the world where women can’t or find it difficult to vote), the British artist Tracey Emin and her studio have curated an exhibition of around 60 works by female artists drawn from the Deutsche Bank Collection. Over the course of 35 years, the firm has accrued one of the world’s largest collections of works on paper.

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Entitled ‘Another World’, the exhibition spans both Deutsche Bank Wealth Management Lounges in Frieze Masters and Frieze London, featuring 34 artists working from the late 19th century to the present day. Emin’s selection includes titans such as Käthe Kollwitz (1867–1945), whose depictions of women and the working class countered the dominant male rhetoric of the time, and Louise Bourgeois (1911–2010), whom Emin admired greatly and collaborated with shortly before the French-born American artist died.

Painting of red hands reaching with the words ‘10am is when you come to me’ by Louise Bourgeois

‘10am is when you come to me’ (2006) by Louise Bourgeois

 

For the show, Emin has chosen Bourgeois’s 10am is when you come to me (2006), a work with 20 etchings including depictions of the hands of the artist and those of her assistant Jerry Gorovoy, painted with watercolor and gouache in various shades of red and pink. Contemporary artists featured in Emin’s selection include Maggi Hambling (b. 1945), whose 1993 aquatint of a heron “appears somewhat comical”, in Hambling’s words, and Marlene Dumas (b. 1953), whose work entitled Girl from a Dutch Painting (1991) represents a state of mind rather than being a portrait of a particular person.

A Show for Everyone

Although the show is dedicated to women (Emin and her studio reviewed all of the 670 female artists in the collection), Emin says she wants the theme “to relate to everybody”. The title could refer to a liminal or dream-like state, she points out. “Another world can be the twilight time when we are half asleep and half awake. Or literally another world, another universe, the animal kingdom, or for me personally, another world represents the afterlife,” Emin says. The artist has created a new neon work, Another World, especially for the show.

“We always look to provide a stimulating and relaxing environment for our guests in our VIP lounges, whether they want to take in our exclusive exhibitions or simply take a break during their visit,” says Nicola West, Global Head of Events, Partnerships & Sponsorships at Deutsche Bank Wealth Management. “This year, Tracey and her team have created something truly spectacular.”

Charcoal drawing of a woman seated on a bench by Käthe Kollwitz

Käthe Kollwitz’s charcoal drawing ‘Frau, auf einer Bank sitzend’ (Woman, sitting on a bench) (1905)

A quarter of the 2,694 artists in the Deutsche Bank Collection are women – higher than the 4% at the National Gallery of Scotland and 20% at the Whitworth in Manchester, though less than the 35% at Tate Modern. However, Mary Findlay, International Curator in the Bank’s Art, Culture & Sports division, acknowledges there is still work to be done. “We are always looking to buy more works by women,” she says. “Diversity and promoting women is something that Deutsche Bank is vocal about. This exhibition is a good way to continue that conversation.”

With the advent of the #MeToo movement and the centenary of women’s suffrage, the art world certainly appears to be changing. So what advice would Emin give to young female artists trying to forge a career today? “Use really good contraceptives,” she quips. “Don’t sleep with gallerists or anybody who could enhance your career. Try to be logical in all your arguments and if that doesn’t work scream the house down. Work every hour God sends.” But most important of all? “Do not compare yourself to anybody.”

‘Another World’ Postcard Project and Sale

Inspired by the annual secret postcard sale held by the Royal College of Art (where Emin studied) and by historical suffragette postcards, which were produced by campaigners for women’s rights as well as by those who opposed them, Emin has approached women artists in the Deutsche Bank Collection and asked them to contribute unique postcard works to the charity exhibition and sale. The result is in excess of 800 works. The project is in aid of organizations, yet to be chosen, that support vulnerable women in London and in Margate, where Emin grew up and now has a studio.

The postcards, priced at £200 each, will be sold anonymously, with around three-quarters on view in the Deutsche Bank Wealth Management Lounge and a quarter available online. “What’s really interesting about selling works anonymously is that suddenly the name of the artist, and all that entails, isn’t important. You’re using your eye and your intuition to respond to what you see,” says Findlay. “That reflects the ethos of the Deutsche Bank Collection – we’re not about big names. Supporting creativity is at the heart of what we do.”

The long-term aim, Findlay continues, is to “create a legacy, and to do something concrete to actually help women who are the victims of abuse and change things for the future.” She expects the financial benefit of the project to continue into next year and beyond for the selected charities. “We have set up the Tracey Emin and Deutsche Bank Centenary Fund, which, with the large number of unique artworks we have to sell, will become a multi-year legacy,” she says.

Watercolour painting of a girl's face by Marlene Dumas

‘Girl from a Dutch Painting’ (1991) by Marlene Dumas

Maggi Hambling

The Suffolk-born painter and sculptor Maggi Hambling, chosen by the campaigners Mary on the Green to create a public sculpture in London to celebrate the feminist writer and thinker Mary Wollstonecraft, was quick to respond when Emin wrote asking for the women artists represented in the collection to submit postcards for charity. “Almost every day a case of domestic abuse is revealed. It takes a lot of bravery to come forward and talk about it,” she says. “If the sale of these postcards helps those who help the victims of abuse, then it’s a great idea.” Hambling says she opted to paint something “rather jolly”. She adds: “I haven’t tried to paint victims. I hope I have done something quite joyous.”

Hambling has sent in postcards to RCA Secret, the Royal College of Art’s annual fundraising secret postcard exhibition, every year since it began in 1994. She is a keen advocate of raising money for emerging artists who are struggling financially; the scheme has raised £1m so far. The anonymous postcard sale is a format that has gained popularity, particularly among charities, but that doesn’t diminish their power, the artist says. “The more attention that is drawn to the victims of abuse the better, and I hope people will spend lots of money on these [Deutsche Bank] postcards. There will be something for everyone; all artists are different.”

Elizabeth Magill

The Irish painter Elizabeth Magill, who has a conference room named after her at the Deutsche Bank headquarters in London, is no stranger to philanthropy. This year she has produced work for no fewer than four charities, including a project with the Imperial Charity marking the National Health Service’s 70th anniversary.

A decade ago, Deutsche Bank acquired a set of 10 lithographs of landscapes by Magill, which have inspired the artist’s postcards. “I wanted to do something that directly relates to that series of prints,” she says. The artist is represented in ‘Another World’ by the painting Bonn 2 (2003), which she describes as “not a landscape as such, but more like a suggested backdrop to how I feel, think and interpret the world”.

A washed out landscape painting with small black figures of people walking by artist Elizabeth Magill

‘Bonn 2’ (2003) by Elizabeth Magill

For Magill, an exhibition of women artists, coupled with the postcard project, could not be more timely. “Because of the #MeToo movement and the highlighting of the gender pay gap, I think we are entering into another world for women. At least I hope we are entering another world, although it remains to be seen; we thought the same in the 1960s,” she ponders. Despite the hurdles, Magill says she has never been preoccupied with her position as a woman. “I have always been concerned first and foremost with my work. My advice to a young woman today would be: just focus on your work, don’t be dissuaded.”

Emel Geris

“To begin with, I did not realize that the postcards would be shown – and sold – anonymously. I saw them as a natural progression of my paintings and just started working,” says the Berlin-based Turkish artist Emel Geris, before wondering: “I hope they won’t be too easily recognized!”

The only difference between the postcards and Geris’s typical work is the scale. “I adjusted the series I am currently working on to the card format, nothing more,” she says.

Tracey Emin has selected Geris’s painting, Dahinter (behind) (2017) for ‘Another World’. The work is part of a series that “deals with dreams, impermanence, trauma and other similar themes”, Geris says. “I created these pictures spontaneously, one after another, like a diary. I still work with these sorts of themes today, but in a completely different way. To see them after so many years seems like another world.” Geris says the #MeToo debate is part of a long-running narrative that is likely to continue for some time. “As long as this strange world keeps rotating, it will probably always be important,” she says. “We have to keep striving to make things better.”

Rosemarie Trockel display

Twenty-one watercolor sketches by the German artist Rosemarie Trockel, many of which depict heads in various guises, have been selected by Tracey Emin to hang in the wide corridor of the Deutsche Bank Wealth Management Lounge that leads to the fair itself.

Most striking among them are a group of drawings that show what appears to be a man’s head, in profile, with a wildly protruding nose, often painted bright red. “Trockel’s ‘Nose’ or ‘Pinocchio’ drawings exist in various versions in both black and white and color, and are mainly from the 1990s,” says Monika Sprüth, the co-founder of the Sprüth Magers gallery, which represents the artist. Trockel has also employed this motif in her sculptures. “They alternate between the figure of Pinocchio, the liar, and a phallic representation,” Sprüth says. “But interestingly the portrait has no clear female or male characteristics. Like many of her works, it deals with gender-specific assignments in a humorous way.”

Watercolour painting of a face with a pinocchio nose

Rosemarie Trockel, ‘Untitled’ (1994)

Other works on display reflect recurring themes in Trockel’s work, such as portraits of monkeys, people sleeping and domestic objects such as vases and pots. Trockel rose to fame by shifting the way traditionally feminine materials were used – and perceived – by the male-dominated art world, shunning painting in favor of drawing and crafts.

“We’re delighted that such outstanding artists are represented in both the exhibition and the sale,” says Nicola West. “The result is an environment that will not only engage our guests but also give them a chance to participate in a memorable event for a very worthy cause.”

About Art, Culture & Sports at Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank has been enabling access to contemporary art worldwide for more than 30 years with its substantial collection, in exhibitions and through collaborations around the world. Art works: it inspires people to engage with the present and helps them develop creative ideas for the future. Culture transcends borders. It is always an encounter and an exchange. Sports connect people and motivate them to perform and show fairness.

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Exhibition of Historical Suffragette Postcards

Suffragette postcard depicting a man and woman fighting in a garden with the woman holding a frying pan as a weapon annotated with an anti-suffrage message

This comic postcard has been annotated with an anti-suffrage message, an example of anti-suffragette ‘hate mail’

A 1907 photograph of “a Lancashire lass in clogs & shawl” being escorted by police from a demonstration outside the House of Commons in Westminster and a cartoon of a stern-looking woman in a meeting hall full of men being asked if she will “go quietly” or be thrown out “by force” are just two examples of some 60 suffragette postcards that will go on show as part of the project.

Deutsche Bank will reproduce postcards from the Museum of London, which holds the world’s largest collection of material related to the militant wing of the suffragette campaign. In 1926, former members of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) and the Women’s Freedom League (WFL) came together as the Suffragette Fellowship “to perpetuate the memory of the pioneers”. In 1950, they offered their collection of memoirs and archives to the then London Museum.

Historical suffragette photograph in black and white of women's parade holding signs with the suffrage message

Poster parade organized by the Women’s Freedom League to promote the suffrage message

The Deutsche Bank Wealth Management Lounges will offer a unique opportunity to view postcards promoting both sides of the struggle. Many of the works for the pro-suffrage campaign were produced by two artist groups, Suffrage Atelier and the Artists’ Suffrage League.

“For the suffrage campaigners, it was all about getting the message into the home,” says Beverley Cook, curator of social and working history at the Museum of London. “They wanted to raise the profile of the campaign and present it not just as something concerning politicians, but integrating the fight into every part of life.”

the signage for historical suffragetto board game

Suffragetto, a board game produced by the Women’s Social and Political Union, from the exhibition ‘Sappho to Suffrage: Women who Dared’, at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, 2018

On the other side of the political fence, satirical postcards mocked suffragettes, often depicting them as harridans or as wives and mothers who had abandoned their duties. “They were less formal ‘anti-suffrage’ and more like comic postcards. They were incredibly popular,” Cook says.
With up to seven postal deliveries a day in some parts of Britain, postcards were an effective form of communication. “They were cheap and would often carry very short messages, like ‘See you tomorrow at 2pm’. The telephone was not widely used at the time,” Cook explains. The WSPU and the WFL, which had suffrage shops in nearly every high street, with 19 branches in London alone, were popular outlets.

comical post card of a man fallen over with stars from his head with a satirical suffragette message

Commercially produced postcard satirising the suffragette movement

So just how effective were the postcards? Financially, they “added to the suffragettes’ war chest”, Cook says, noting that the sheer number in the museum’s collection (several hundred) indicates their success. “The fact that they have found their way into museum and gallery collections is proof of their currency.” Not only that, but they have also inspired a new generation of contemporary artists to produce postcards. As Cook points out: “The campaign is still as relevant today; it’s just a different battle. In essence, it’s all about women working together to become a force for change.”

Suffragette exhibitions in 2018

Sappho to Suffrage: Women who Dared
(Bodleian Library, Oxford, until February 2019)

Votes for Women
(Museum of London, until 6 January 2019)

Voice & Vote: Women’s Place in Parliament
(Houses of Parliament, until 6 October 2018)

A Woman’s Place
(Abbey House Museum, Leeds, until 31 December 2018)

Ladies of Quality & Distinction
(The Foundling Museum, London, until 20 January 2019)

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Reading time: 13 min