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.
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 Alternative Guide to the Universe, Hayward Gallery, 11 June – 26 August 2013. Souzu – Outsider Art from Japan, Wellcome Collection, 28 March – 30 June 2013.