The Power of a Photograph

Among images charting the contours of collective struggle and protest, victory and loss, a man lies in black and white on a carpet of parched grass. I’m looking at his picture in Peter Mugabane’s photograph, ‘Dead bodies covered by newspaper filled streets of the Soweto during the June 1976 riots,’ taken that same month and … Continue reading

The Artist

1927. Life screens in silence. A cinema auditorium full of gleaming faces and clapping hands. A sombre shadow cast on a vacant film screen in an empty room. Film reels burn in an inferno of increasing self-pity. A man slumps over a flat mirror, peering at his reflection as though a stranger’s. Pours his drink … Continue reading

Vorticism and its Discontents

The Vorticists: Manifesto for a Modern World is currently on exhibition at Tate Britain until 4 September 2011. After the self-assured swings of Post-Impressionism, Cubism and Futurism in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, came a more obscure, ambiguous ism. A poetic term invented by a poet, the word Vorticism, established by Ezra Pound in 1914, … Continue reading

Alphabet Soup: Going on a Wim

Wim Crouwel at the Design Museum, until 3 July ‘Like all best designers, Wim’s work is not simply a career option, rather it is intrinsic to his way of life.’ Mason Wells. Ever wondered who created the fonts on Word? Until recently, me either. Wim Crouwel didn’t invent Times New Roman or Arial (way too … Continue reading

Treasures via Budapest

Treasures from Budapest. The very title of the Royal Academy’s grand exhibition carries with it dreams of magical art, fresh from the vaults of Hungary’s forgotten history. One thinks immediately of powerful paintings depicting the rigorous realities of Budapest, a city born from a civilisation’s political and religious disarray. Wandering through the exhibition, one expects … Continue reading

From Russia, With Love

A night at the museum is what I expected when I went to the V&A’s ‘Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballet Russes’ exhibition but, I was delighted to find, a night at the theatre is what I got. For those unfamiliar with this unlikely lord of dance, Sergei Pavlovich Diaghilev was perhaps the … Continue reading

Ways of Seeing

Our eyes register thousands of images everyday. Advertisements, photographs, still pictures and moving pictures invade our metropolitan lives. John Stezaker’s vision in his debut exhibition at Whitechapel Gallery leads the way and makes us look – and think – twice with his unique collection of re-doctored photographs that propose new readings of old images. Stezaker’s works take … Continue reading

A Fashionable Art

The art world is an exclusive, strictly members only club which one can only dream about setting heeled-foot inside. It is a closed sphere, designed by insiders for insiders. Sarah Thornton’s Seven Days in the Art World is an outsider’s saving grace. It is our name on the guest list, our means of almost unlimited … Continue reading