What exactly is the essence of Belgium? Far harder to pin down than French chic or English sang-froid, the nation’s uneasy mix of Walloon and Flemish, surreal and down-to-earth, all miraculously held together, is perfectly encapsulated by the Atomium – a giant, futuristic structure on the northern edge of Brussels.
Norbert Hirschhorn takes a long cool look at a new poetry & art volume from Australia
This exhibition includes examples of David Harker’s project Species of Trees and drawings, paintings and prints from his portfolio of landscape imagery.
Matisse’s Startling Late Works: The Cut-Outs. Tate Modern, 17 April – 7 September 2014 No wonder Henri Matisse is well loved. His works are sensuous, jubilant, gorgeous: they envelop and immerse the viewer in voluptuousness, in light that finds itself materialised as coloured form, coloured space.
The Future-Past: Competing Temporalities of the Ruin. Ruin Lust, Tate Britain, 4 March – 18 May 2014.
A fascination with ruins has not always been with us. It presumes, for one, a linear notion of time, in other words the idea that the past is irrevocably lost. It is also born of a forensic – or archaeological – interest in history, one that sees in broken remains the traces of past acts and endeavours.
Merryn Williams is thankful that many poets remain unconvinced about the necessity of war and find compelling ways to say so in this new anthology
One of the more unlikely joys of Brussels life is the rotating EU presidency. Every six months, a different member of the 28-strong European Union takes on the task of presiding over policy-making. For the citizens of Brussels, it’s a chance for a cultural mini break without the expense and inconvenience of braving the airport.
In Brussels, art nouveau found its most complete expression in the architecture of Victor Horta. Now the Brussels’ Musees Royaux des Beaux Arts has devoted a huge new “Fin-de-Siecle” section, a museum in itself, to the artistic context in which he thrived.
Now fully restored, with its chequered Flemish floors, semi-circular gallery and portico inspired by a Roman triumphal arch, the Rubenshuis, Ruben’s home in Antwerp, is one of the most popular attractions in a vibrant city, just under an hour’s train journey from Brussels.
I first came across the work of Delhi born artist Dayanita Singh in an exhibition and book, Myself Mona Ahmed (2001), a photo-essay about an aging eunuch transsexual (hijra) living in a graveyard in Old Delhi. In this extraordinary body of work – the book contains various different kinds of text alongside the photographs) – one sensed not only compassion, but a collaboration between the person in front of the camera, and the one looking through the lens.
It is always interesting to pinpoint the moment when one becomes conscious of a change of mood or orientation in contemporary artistic practices. Something has emerged that offers quite a different tonic. This ‘something’ might be termed ‘mindful matter’: it is materialism with a twist, or with a new twist.
The fourteen artists in this exhibition explore the nature of time and how different timescales can function simultaneously in an artwork. They operate in painting, photography, sculpture, installation, film and performance.