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Perfect Harmony

“Life is beautiful. Really, it is. Full of beauty and illusions. Life is great. Without it, you’d be dead.” Solomon from ‘Gummo’, written and directed by Harmony Korine.

Words John William
Photography Jackson Bowley

The Wonderful and Frightening World of Harmony Korine… where some can only look through their fingers. On the release of Gummo in 1997 Janet Maslin of The New York Times wrote “October is early, but not too early to acknowledge Harmony Korine’s ”Gummo” as the worst film of the year. No conceivable competition will match the sourness, cynicism and pretension of Mr. Korine’s debut feature.”

Harmony Korine isn’t much about plot… or actors. He prefers to capture a person giving you a little piece of themselves.  All the world’s broken biscuits dumped out on a dirty formica table. Across his catalogue these people are always misfits and it is in the “intensive grunge” (as Maslin described it) where an intensive empathy and beauty can be found.

"I never cared so much about making perfect sense. I wanted to make perfect nonsense...

...I wanted to tell jokes, but I didn't give a fuck about the punchline."

“I never cared so much about making perfect sense. I wanted to make perfect nonsense.” For Beauty Papers Jackson Bowley and Lucy-Isobel Bonner were inspired by the artist’s output and attitude. The blue make up is a nod to ‘Blue Checker’ a painting by Harmony Korine (apparently worth 120,000 dollars) that was stolen from the Puck Building in New York, without any CCTV or trace of the burglars. At over two metres across and two and a half tall, looking at ‘Blue Checker’ feels a bit like taking a trip into a Vans checkerboard classic. I wonder if he stole it himself? “I wanted to tell jokes, but I didn’t give a fuck about the punchline.”

To me, the most beautiful film by Harmony Korine is a short called ‘Curb Dance’ (2011.) In the film Harmony tap dances (a bit of a trademark for him … when he was a kid he thought he was “going to reinvent the tap game.”) There is the trademark naïve music and narration over: “I think we invented curb dancing to the delight of god. One day it will rain down tap shoes, tap shoes all over the earth. It will never stop. It will go on forever, dancing and dancing ‘til it raises up to the sky. Miles high. And into heaven. Tap shoes around the universe. Around the caves and broadwalks of the world. I’ll start out here in this little part of town. And from there it will just grow and grow and grow and never end.”

Life is beautiful. Really, it is. Full of beauty and illusions. Life is great. Without it, you’d be dead.

"I think we invented curb dancing to the delight of god. One day it will rain down tap shoes, tap shoes all over the earth."


Photography Jackson Bowley
Styling Lucy-Isobel Bonner
Hair Hiroshi Matsushita
Beauty Lyn Weisz
Models: Hal, Troy Agency
Molly,  Street Cast
Zenobia, Anti Agency

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