James Merry

Accessoiriste - Photographie - Réalisation

Présenté d’abord comme assistant personnel de Björk, James Merry est devenu au fil du temps bien plus que cela : créateur des masques depuis Vulnicura, co-réalisateur de vidéo clip, co-directeur artistique, co-coordinateur des projets et également community manager, James Merry est, depuis 2009, un acteur indispensable à la création des projets artistiques.

"We’ve worked together for eight years, and he lives in Iceland, and his job title keeps changing," she explained. So, what is it at the moment ? "We decided that he would be Co-Visual Creative Director with me, and it’s just the two of us, but we’ve obviously got badges."

BBC - novembre 2017

Travail avec Björk

  • Co-Coordinateur des Applications Biophilia, dessins, storyboards et documentation
  • Co-réalisation du clip Moon
  • Directeur créatif avec Björk sur Vulnicura VR
  • Photos intérieures de l’artwork de Vulnicura Strings
  • Directeur créatif avec Björk sur le clip The Gate
  • Masque et direction artistique pour la pochette Utopia
  • Direction artistique sur la tournée Cornucopia à New-York

Masques

James Merry a créé une large collection de masques pour Björk. Ils sont à découvrir par famille sur notre page spéciale.

J’ai classé certains de mes anciens masques brodés en grandes familles, et je voulais en faire de nouvelles versions métallisées... comme si chaque famille avait lentement évolué pour trouver sa forme finale....

James Merry, novembre 2021

James Merry à propos de ses broderies

« Je confectionne presque toujours les broderies à main levée. Parfois, je fais un croquis très approximatif, dans ma tête ou sur papier, pour vérifier les proportions. Mais généralement, je prends simplement une aiguille et du fil et je vois où cela me mène. Je pense que je possède un flux inné, quelque chose qui coule dans les veines de mon bras. C’est comme si je m’imprégnais de la nature, je l’observe tout autour de moi, puis mon interprétation se traduit au bout de mes doigts. »

Gucci - Octobre 2018

James Merry à propos des masques

“I got really excited by that and started making small pieces of embroidery for her as we made the first music videos,”
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“I think the first things I made were some stockings embroidered with Icelandic ‘blóðberg’ for the Black Lake video, and an embroidered latex headpiece for her birthday present. Then it just all grew from there, eventually manifesting in all the headpieces for the tour.”
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“For me, one of the appealing aspects to work in such an ancient and traditional medium is how open that makes it to quiet subversion, particularly with the materials I am using—embroidering into latex with neon threads, and the juxtaposition between machine and hand on my embroidered sportswear series. Transformations and metamorphosis are recurring themes throughout my work, often exploring notions of contrast when things collide and co­exist : animal versus human, urban versus rural, traditional craft versus new technologies.”
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“The first pieces were predominantly hand-embroidered lace and latex, quite soft and feminine, then I began to add more beadwork and detailing in pearls. I then started using wire—in my mind, a sort of three-dimensional embroidery, bringing the threads off the face and float in mid air. And now I’m moving into translucent plastics, but still with embroidered details.”

thecreatorsproject - Septembre 2016

“The first mask I made for Björk was latex ; it looked a bit like a stingray, and it was actually a birthday present for her. We did two album covers for Vulnicura : one with Inez and Vinoodh and another with Andrew Thomas Huang. The Huang cover we shot on Björk’s birthday in Iceland, and she ended up wearing the mask in the “Family” video. Then, the first live performance was at the Governor’s Ball in New York. We had this crazy, neon moth-shaped dress by Nikoline Liv Anderson, and Björk was looking for a mask to wear with it. At the time, she was sending lots of photos of moths, so I disappeared into my room and embroidered a mask – and it snowballed from there.
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At first, I said I would make a new mask before each concert – which I did, but it was too much ! Sometimes finding a shape, structure and material that works will take months of prototyping and testing. Other times, I get to the hotel the day before a show, pull the kettle and TV off the desk, make a little studio and make a new mask in two days without sleeping. It varies to both extremes, but I see the masks as pieces of fruit ; our day-to-day work is the tree, roots and branches, but sometimes these headpieces pop up as little bonuses.”

Dazed

James Merry Merry à propos du masque porté à Rome

Je suis vraiment très honoré d’avoir réalisé, d’après une idée de Björk​, cette nouvelle pièce. Lors de la tournée actuelle, elle m’a montré un croquis qu’elle a dessiné, dont ses cordes vocales étaient l’élément central, avec des lignes qui en irradiaient... après quelques essais de broderie, voici donc le nouveau masque brodé aux cordes vocales !

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James Mery à propos des pièces en silicone

Can you tell us about the sculpted face flowers you create for Björk ?
The earlier ones took their inspiration from animal forms – like moths, jellyfish, corals – whereas these new pieces are heading into floral, anatomical territory ; something orchid-like, alien, sexual. Björk’s headpieces usually stem from a specific set of references, ideas, textures or colours that she instinctively feels for each project. Over the years we’ve developed a really beautiful, telepathic shorthand. It’s the most special creative relationship and friendship I could ever imagine.

Crack Magazine - Novembre 2017

James Merry à propos de Vulnicura VR

"Making new headpieces with Björk and then seeing how they transform and develop inside a digital world has been a really exciting and unexpected aspect of that."
"I really admire the pioneering spirit Björk has when it comes to new technologies, such as the apps and VR. It’s probably a natural reaction to be skeptical or cynical about any new medium or format, especially while they are still in the early stages. But I think she immediately saw the immersive potential with VR for intimacy and magic, both in terms of performance but also with sound and all the new ways that it can be placed spatially.
"No-one’s really figured that out yet and stepping into uncharted territory is always nerve-wracking but thrilling. I think it’s brave as an independent artist to put yourself forward and be the first to take these new toys and try to put emotion and spontaneity into them. If artists don’t do that, then who will ?!"

CNN - Septembre 2016

James Mery à propos d’Utopia

The Utopia references had quite clear-cut colours early on – this peachy colour, and this greeny turquoise-y colour – and a lot of floral stuff, a lot of orchids ; not pretty flowers, more alieny, sci-fi looking flowers. It’s all quite sexual and sensual. I saw it as a chance to make pieces that were totally different from the embroidered ones – I think I made about 20 embroidered headpieces for the previous project – which is why I started experimenting with silicon. It seemed to fit the palette that she was getting into ; it felt more sci-fi, kind of like prosthetics, and also sexual. And it was also just exciting to try and find new ways to put stuff on the face.

Dazed - Novembre 2017

Merry reflects on the delicately intricate headpieces he designed. Inspired by bones and orchids, Merry describes the white headpieces with “as if mutated skulls has grown out of everyone’s head and half-transformed into some sort of soft alien white bone-orchid.” The idea evolved after him and Björk talked about transforming her silhouette from a distance for large festival shows. One of his newest pieces, “Bjorchid,” is inspired by nature, as all of his work is. “I tried to nudge it a little more into the floral or orchid realm,” he says. “So that it could be mistaken for some sort of hybrid between an alien flower, a jellyfish, or a mushroom.”

i-d - Septembre 2018

James Merry à propos de la tournée Utopia

Le masque d’orchidée osseuse et les masques assortis pour les joueuses de flûtes proviennent d’une idée discutée avec Björk : donner aux musiciennes et à Björk une silhouette différente, avec un côté science-fiction. L’esthétique créée pour Utopia était volontairement brute et extraterrestre – on aurait facilement pu tomber dans l’excessivement floral ou joli. Ces masques ressemblaient un peu à des mutations physiques, comme de nouveaux os qui auraient poussé de la tête de quelqu’un et qui se seraient à moitié transformés en orchidées. Ils sont à mi-chemin entre le floral et l’anatomique.
(...)
Nous étions à Helsinki en même temps que Trump qui venait y rencontrer Poutine – c’était un véritable clash d’énergies utopiques et dystopiques. Quand je suis sorti le matin, je me suis retrouvé coincé pendant deux heures au milieu des barricades et de la sécurité. Cette proximité pendant une tournée dont le but est de trouver une solution matriarcale et environnementale pour l’avenir…c’était une friction mémorable.

Vogue

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