Patience (After Sebald)

This modest, immensely enjoyable documentary is about one of my favourite books, The Rings of Saturn by the German poet and critic WG Sebald, who was born in 1944, taught for much of his adult life in this country, mainly at the University of East Anglia, and was killed in a motor accident in 2001. It was first published in German in 1995, translated into English three years later and is an account of a walking tour of Suffolk, the people he meets, the places he visits, and the historical and literary reflections prompted by what he sees and senses, taking his mind around the world. Suffolk becomes a sort of palimpsest for his eloquent, precise, lugubrious, often drily witty meditations about war, death, destruction and decay, about memories and continuities and the feeling that nothing entirely disappears. Continue reading “Patience (After Sebald)”

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Anish Kapoor At Lisson Gallery

An exhibition of painting, sculpture and three great amorphous lumps of whatever. If earth was flesh these might be rocks, torn from their sockets, wrapped like joints of meat in butcher’s muslin and displayed in bloodied gallery-size bites. Look closer and they’re dripping with glistening fingerprints, evidence of man’s inhumanity to the planet. I’m almost inclined to become vegetarian. Continue reading “Anish Kapoor At Lisson Gallery”

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Sovana & Pitigliano

From Saturnia it’s a short drive to Sovana, a small village with just a single street, beautifully paved in herringbone brickwork. There’s a ruined castle at one end and a cathedral at the other, and a piazza in the middle where we ate delicious lemon pizza for lunch. Continue reading “Sovana & Pitigliano”

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Entangled: Threads & Making

The Turner Contemporary at Margate, a light box of etched glass walls lined like graph paper, its warp and weft woven with Entangled: Threads & Making, the best exhibition I’ve seen in a long while.

…sculpture, installation, tapestry, textiles, and jewellery from the mid-20th century to the present day. It features over 40 international female artists who expand the possibilities of knitting and embroidery, weaving, sewing and wood carving, often incorporating unexpected materials such as plants, clothing, hair and bird quills. Continue reading “Entangled: Threads & Making”

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A Writer’s Retreat

Tucked away in a hidden valley, garden writer and author Anna Pavord’s carefully considered patch nestles up to the surrounding Dorset countryside. “I wanted to make a handshake between the garden and the wider landscape.”

Having originally met Pavord at a Wakefield and Northern Tulip Society show, photographer and filmmaker Howard Sooley first visited Sunnyside Farm as it was being laid out some ten years ago and is still charmed by its Through the Looking Glass qualities. “It’s as if there is a series of doors leading you from one room to the next with signs telling you to drink the potion,” notes the director.

Such are the rich textures, punctuated by bursts of colour from the shifting tulip, iris, peony moments, and packed with Pavord’s botanical fixations and experimentations… “Even though there is a lot going on, there’s this incredible sense of calmness – the garden never excludes the landscape, it’s always welcoming,” says Sooley.

Great Gardens: A Writer’s Retreat | Nowness

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For John Hubbard

This short film was made for the exhibition, Littoral: John Hubbard in Context at the Luther Brady Gallery in Washington, D.C. in 2013. “People found it fascinating to learn more about where he lives and how he works. His singing was quite a revelation.” It’s a lovely portrait and a touching memorial to a deeply romantic artist. John Hubbard died on 6th January 2017. He was 85. Continue reading “For John Hubbard”

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Polka

Polka by Mark Morris. The dance uses a piece for violin and piano by contemporary composer Lou Harrison. Morris was taken by its final movement, called, strangely enough, “polka.”

I always start with a piece of music. I’m not doing, like, a musicological analysis and writing a paper or anything, but I’m figuring out in my mind what makes that particular piece work. So my intention is to say through dancing exactly what I think is being said through music.

Because I heard that “polka,” I said I must choreograph this right now. And to me, it sounds very, very ancient. And so I wanted to make up a dance that was evocative and a little mysterious and seemed like maybe people had been doing it for hundreds or thousands of years. That was my assignment.

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