Pinkietessa's A-Z of London
PinkieThu 06 Sep 2007 - Fri 05 Oct 2007
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An artist as well as a walking work of art, Pinkie has now turned the camera on herself with her joyfully idiosyncratic A-Z of London. She has produced 27 colour images photographed within London Transport's Zone 1, one for each letter of the alphabet and a 'front page'. These tableaux feature self-portraits of Pinkie in close proximity to 'monuments' as varied as Tiffany's, the Imperial War Museum, the New Piccadilly Café and the Zoo. They reveal a slice of London that is highly personal and yet iconic.
An artist as well as a walking work of art, Pinkie has now turned the camera on herself with her joyfully idiosyncratic A-Z of London. She has produced 27 colour images photographed within London Transport's Zone 1, one for each letter of the alphabet and a 'front page'. These tableaux feature self-portraits of Pinkie in close proximity to 'monuments' as varied as Tiffany's, the Imperial War Museum, the New Piccadilly Café and the Zoo. They reveal a slice of London that is highly personal and yet iconic.

Pinkietessa (Pinkie) is one of London's most compelling personalities, once seen never forgotten. Glamorously styled in a mode reminiscent of Hollywood's Golden Era movie stars, she is perfection on legs; the coiffured hair, innovative wardrobe, doll-like figure and a fragrance that envelops you in her presence. This all ensures that she is a constant source of curiosity and wonder for the snapping tourist and paparazzi alike.



The collection of photographs is a celebration of Pinkie's own eccentricities and those of the protagonist, London Town. As London belongs to its inhabitants Pinkie took the deliberate decision not to seek permission, but found she had to contend not only with groups of mesmerised onlookers but beady-eyed security guards not adverse to throwing their weight around. The project was shot in strict alphabetic order and took a year to complete, allowing the viewer to witness the changing seasons. Pinkie's powerful blend of sexiness and girlish artifice give familiar sights an unexpected new lease of life, undercut with a dry, deadpan humour.




'I first saw the 'living work of art', otherwise known as Pinkietessa, at a book launch for Grayson Perry's autobiography a few years back. The party was full of the usual intriguing suspects and it took place in a grandiose building somewhere far too far away to ever visit again without the aid of a chariot, or at the very least, a car.



If it's part of my job to go and speak to extraordinary looking individuals, I wasn't doing very well that night because Pinkietessa Braithwaite just brought tears to my eyes and made me want to run away - (something to do with an undertow of shame at my relative dowdiness). I had never before that moment seen such a good strong blend of the unusual and the picturesque.



Pinkie's style springs from the golden days of Hollywood but also from the aesthetic gumption that places and movements like London's Blitz Club and the Neo-Naturists came to represent. It also just comes from her being her self, which makes it all so, so much better.



Thank goodness, my coyness at meeting Pinkie has now subsided. James Birch, the curator who seems to know most of the curious (and often underrated) people in London, helped on that front by introducing me to her just last week. Mr Birch is curating Pinkie's first two-dimensional show 'Pinkietessa's A to Z of London' - which opens at the Trolley Gallery on 11th September. (Her numerous three-dimensional shows in the past have involved performing, singing, and just, well, existing amongst a sea of drabness).



A Bloomsbury girl through and through, Pinkie has, for the last 12 months, journeyed all over London's Transport Zone One to her favourite monuments. The results of that expedition is her 'A to Z' - 27 colour images - one for each letter of the alphabet and a 'front page' - that document her choice things to see and do in the fair city. The images were shot in strict alphabetical order and each one of them gingers up its subject matter no end. Unquestionably not your average London postcards, these pieces of art are infused with the driest of humour.



My favourites are 'Y' for 'You are Here!' - (representing Trafalgar Square (!), from where she was moved on by a throng of nervous, confused security guards who Pinkie later discovered are the employees of Britain's favourite athlete, strongman and prize-winning budgerigar breeder, Geoff Capes), 'U' for 'Underground' and 'R' for 'River and Refreshments'.



Far too familiar, I imagine, with being photographed by inquisitive tourists and the paparazzi alike, Pinkie has included herself dressed in different outfits in each shot and has so employed a skilful tactic to eliminate the invasive middle-man. The gilt framed, frosty and delicate portraits capture her doing what she likes to do on her own terms. We see her on an early morning tube train 'talking' into her baby pink telephone from the 1950s - "that's my mobile" - or perched on a settee at the Sofitel in St. James's quaffing a very nice, very English pot of tea. "Humour should be part of art", Pinkie told me, "or there's no point doing it". Quite so.



Looking at the images I was struck by the thought that any publisher who knows his onions should turn this project into a book. Each picture is brimming over with girlish artifice, but each one is also a condensed piece of urban history showing London in all its grown-up elegance. Roll on September when we can see it all hanging on the gallery walls. Pinkietessa is a joyful innovation on legs; London Town her protagonist and perfect foil'.



Laura K Jones, Saatchi Magazine online 08/07
Artworks will be added shortly