Anathemata

There was an obvious first question raised by this densely packed show at Mostyn: ‘What is an Anathemata?’ Notes reveal it to mean a solemn blaming from the church. To be met with an anathemata results in excommunication. And this show gathers three writers who were famous outsiders and a…

Book: After Lockdown – A Metamorphosis, by Bruno Latour

After Lockdown is a slim analysis of life under covid, against the ongoing backdrop of the climate emergency. Latour offers us the possibility that this experience of remote working and super spreading could all offer a lasting change in our mentalities. It could be so radical we swap our human…

Daniel Pryde-Jarman at Sidney Nolan Trust

Sidney Nolan Trust is a bucolic arts centre, which nestles in a valley carved out by a glacier. Along with acres of green land, the late Australian artist’s Herefordshire estate comprises a calmly ramshackle residential home, a preserved studio overstocked with spray paint, and an outlying barn which has become…

Book: The White Birch: A Russian Reflection, by Tom Jeffreys

Somewhere between nature writing, cultural history and travel writing sits Tom Jeffreys’ companionable guide to Russia, The White Birch. His point of departure is a single species of tree. There are white birches in palatial gardens, botanical gardens, and protected forest; in nineteenth century landscape paintings, realist novels, dissident poetry…

Eimear Walshe, The Land Question: Where the fuck am I supposed to have sex? (2021)

History, says Eimear Walshe, with a look that could kill, is interesting. And the history of Ireland, related in her film, is a sorry one in which the poorest have always suffered the worst. So once, as landlords expanded their estates, you had the eviction of tenant farmers in Ireland’s…

Karla Black, Waiver for Shade (2021)

Taking a break from her hallmark candy-coloured sculptures, Karla Black has responded to a former warehouse at Fruitmarket with an installation comprising a ton or so of black soil. The light is low, here, in the gallery’s new space. But the minimal illumination is amplified by the introduction of gold…

Book: The Recognitions, by William Gaddis

“My dear fellow, the priest is the guardian of mysteries. The artist is driven to expose them.” At 70 shy of 1,000 pages, this difficult 1953 novel is the most exhaustive tale of fakery, art, and religion one could hope for. Through the activities of forger Wyatt Gwyon, and his…

Book: See/Saw – Looking at Photographs; by Geoff Dyer

The eye, and the mind, of author Geoff Dyer are easily sparked and perpetually active. That appears as true if he finds himself encountering a billboard shot by Dayanita Singh, at Delhi airport in 2006, or at home poring over Fred Sigman’s book Motel Vegas, or even Googling photos by…

Book: Mimesis: culture – art – society by Gunter Gebauer and Christoph Wulf

Whereas the word has its ancient Greek roots in ‘mime’ and is related to ‘mimicry’, mimesis is not mere imitation. As this book shows, there is enough meaning in the term to have kept philosophers chewing it over for the last two millennia. But the discussion remains vital because the…

Book: The Aesthetics of Mimesis: Ancient Texts and Modern Problems, by Stephen Halliwell

In my work in progress on Lascaux, Altamira and Chauvet it has not been easy to find a word with which to talk about the various representations of these painted caves. But, I was recently reminded of the word mimesis since it is one of the earliest art historical terms,…