“People are forever changing, and life is changing.” As our world continues to shift and adapt to the global pandemic, a symbiosis emerges between many parts of life. People adapt, and so too do the structures that surround them. This new project, fittingly titled ‘Symbiosis’, celebrates this newfound interconnectedness between the many facets of the world.
Through ‘Symbiosis’, the team behind this series hope to weave themes of old and new, capturing a “mutualistic relationship between organic living arts, working in harmony with inanimate artwork”. To do this, the team has created this photo series to emphasise these ideas, with each photo taken in the halls of The Andy Warhol Museum of Modern Art in Medzilaborce, Slovakia.
The project “Symbiosis” brings together photographer Zuzu Valla, creative director Katarina Benko, make up, hair and body paint artist Suzanna Forrister-Beer, designer Petra Kovacs and label Two Point Two to craft a unique combination of timeless, artistic works combined with an emphasis on global transition, transformation and environmental issues. By taking a multidisciplinary approach to their art, ‘Symbiosis’ allows its viewers the opportunity to engage with its concepts, educating themselves and challenging their perceptions.
While the concept for ‘Symbiosis’ began in early 2020, the creative interplay between Valla and Benko started back in 2017. After joining together to work on a large commercial project, the two kept in contact, continuing their shared work across several art projects. Benko originally came to Valla with the idea for ‘Symbiosis’, and soon, the two were working together to get the project organised. Once they got approval from the Andy Warhol Museum of Modern Art in Medzilaborce, Slovakia to shoot, the wheels of inspiration were set in motion, and the two set out to execute their project.
However, the duo could not complete this project alone. To fully realise their idea, they needed a larger team. To that end, they started to bring on collaborators, beginning with Slovak designer Petra Kovacs.
Kovacs is a voice in the Slovak fashion world that is without comparison. Her work meshes ethically produced, unique designs with a taste for art influenced by pop artists like Andy Warhol, blending these elements to produce skillfully balanced works the blur lines between styles. For ‘Symbiosis’, the collective selected her collection “Lobster Party”, as it is full of bright colours and references both the oceans and their destruction.
The team also brought on the brand Two Point Two, a genderless all-inclusive fashion label from India. Two Point Two has many accolades to its name; it has showcased at London Fashion Week and Milan Fashion Week and was also the winner of the “Scouting for India” award by Vogue Italia and FAD in 2019. The creative team behind ‘Symbiosis’ saw in Two Point Two a kindred spirit, both with their own stories and traditions and those of Andy Warhol. The label contributed its collection “N-R-Co-De” to ‘Symbiosis’, offering with it a delicate balance of subtlety and extravagance. By pushing past the gender binary, the brand strives to create truly one-of-a-kind garments, on display in this project.
To complete each look, the team joined forces with British hair, make up and body paint artist Suzanna Forrister-Beer. Forrister-Beer and Valla have a connection that goes back years; the two have collaborated in several creative projects in the past, and for ‘Symbiosis’, they bring their work together yet again in beautiful form. Forrister-Beer’s keen eye for colour, shape and decoration play well with Valla’s photography, and by merging them, the two create pieces that are simply entrancing.
Naturally, all of these elements are brought together by Slovak photographer Zuzana Valla. Valla’s feels drawn to Warhol as their stories have interesting parallels; Warhol was born to Slovak parents and made a name for himself around the world, while Valla was born in Slovakia, now lives and works in the U.K. and is a rising star who its making her name known globally. No matter where she goes, however, her Slovak influence makes its way into her art, a trait she brings to ‘Symbiosis’.
‘Symbiosis’ was shot in August by this international team, at a time when COVID restrictions allowed such a concept to take place. As evidenced by the photos, the shoot took place in the Andy Warhol Museum of Modern Art in Medzilaborce, Slovakia, a move facilitated by its director Martin Cubjak.
At its core, ‘Symbiosis’ is a celebration of life and the things that make it happen — so take it in and enjoy it as much as possible.
photography. Zuzu Valla
creative direction. Katarina Benko
clothing design. Petra Kovacs + Two Point Two
models. Natalie Colledani + Eva Tomanová @ Mix Model Management
hair, make up, hair accessories + mask drawings. Suzanna Forrister-Beer
backstage video montage. Alena Kozlova Zokinatif
collages. Warren Reilly
assistants. Nina Bencová, Ondrej Valla + Martin Čatloš
location + thank you for using the museum. The Andy Warhol Museum of Modern Art in Medzilaborce