Quite a lot went on in 2003. Double-headed warmongering duo Bush and Blair dragged us into an unnecessary and unjust conflict in Iraq, Dirty Den Watts made a return to Albert Square, and over in Berlin, the first issue of Sleek hit German newsstands.
15 years and 58 issues on, the design conscious quarterly with an avant-garde approach to art and fashion has managed to outlast a Prime Minister, a POTUS, and a disgraced ex-soap star.
Talking to It’s Nice That ahead of the release of their latest issue, which features the unlikely trio of Chris Kraus, Hans-Ulrich Obrist, and the Poundland Bandit amongst other creatives, the magazine’s editor Grace Banks says the the publication’s longevity is partly down to their commitment to “take some of the stuffiness out of the way the arts are covered in magazines.”
A huge fan of magazines like The Face , Nova, and Paris Match, Grace has been editing Sleek since January of this year and says, “it was really nice to inherit a title that’s been equally divided between fashion and art,” and has sought to give it a current affairs edge.
That desire to lean in towards the political is made apparent with the current issue’s theme — Europe: a Bordered State — which Grace says is a nod to both the ever-increasing tension here in the UK over Brexit, and the challenges Germany is facing with a political shift towards the right.
With that in mind, the Sleek team got Martin Parr to lark about the Serpentine on a balmy summer’s day with the ever-serious king of the curators, Hans-Ulrich Obrist. “Being such an influential European in the global art world, I knew I wanted Hans-Ulrich Obrist as our cover star,” Grace tells us. “And Martin was the ideal photographic fit.”
She describes the experience of watching one of the UK’s best known photographers do his thing as “amazing,” and that the fact he hasn’t shot a huge amount of magazine editorial in the past only added to the inherent Sleek-iness of the shoot. “It’s about putting a photographer in a context that some people might not have expected to see him in.”
The pair had, Grace says, “a dream day out,” in 33 degree heat cavorting about in pedalos and posing with flowers. It sure does look fun.
Check out a series of spreads, and some previously unseen material shot by Martin on his afternoon out with his new best mate Hans, below.