The German author WG Sebald, who made Norfolk, England his adopted homeland, is this year celebrated there by a group of seven British artists, mostly Norfolk-based: Tacita Dean, Marcus Coates, Alec Finlay, Alexander and Susan Maris, Guy Moreton and Simon Pipe. His beautifully written novels, such as Austerlitz and The Rings of Saturn, are still selling well, despite his death in a car accident some five years ago. He taught a creative writing course at the University of East Anglia and remains a living force very much in the world of contemporary artists and architects. The exhibition now explores the varied narratives of his beloved East Anglia where he lived and died.
These artists have teamed up with Sebald's friend, the famous German poet Michael Hamburger, also a devotee of East Anglia. Tacita Dean has made a film of 'One Day in the Life of Michael Hamburger', which explores the seam of creative inspiration Sebald and Hamburger both shared there, focusing on Hamburger's own role as a naturalist and obsessive grower of apples. 'Waterlog' is at various East Anglian venues across Norfolk until 24 June, close to Midsummer Day as it happens.
The high Victorian Baroque of Sir Gilbert Scott's St Pancras Station and hotel has now been restored by its proprietor to public accessibility. In the 1960s, the then Midland Railway had spent £1 million intending that their flag piece should dwarf neighbouring Kings Cross and Euston stations, no small sum of millions in today's money. State-of-the-art lifts were a 'must', plus an iron-framed central stair with the latest innovation - revolving doors. This gave the impression of modernity, but there was no central heating other than coal fires in the bedrooms fed by scurrying maids day and night.
In the spirit of mediaeval architecture, Scott could not resist raiding the past for his vocabulary of parts. The high costs entailed crippled the masterpiece which today looms over the new British Library (and its architect Sir Colin St John Wilson stoically conceded to heights and profile restrictions imposed by the planners). So, within 50 years of completion, Scott's building became obsolete. But by then his career had been made by this edifice. A lack of central heating and poor plumbing, despite the superlative finishes, finally did for it all; but it will be complete again this year for all to see ...
The Universal Addressability of Dumb Things
The exhibition’s title, The Universal Addressability of Dumb Things, comes from a concept in computing that refers to a network of everyday objects, all communicating with one another, and Leckey’s main precept for the show is his belief that the further technology evolves, the more our minds devolve back to the imaginings of our superstitious past.
Outside In: 55th Venice Biennale
In the alleyways of Venice, street vendors are touting a new product – a globule of goo, which when thrown at the pavement splatters into a seemingly irreconcilable fried egg shape, but over the course of five seconds, reforms itself into a perfect sphere. It’s something of a metaphor for the force of descent on the city of a mass of art every two years.
A festival for our time: dOCUMENTA 13
Faces press against the glass wall of a rotunda in one of the world’s oldest museums: the Neo-Classical Fridericianum. This is the heart of Documenta (13) in Kassel: outside the 'Brain', the nerve centre of this serious contemporary art festival, where its many threads of thought converge into one. It is where visitors stop, look and think about what strange historical objects and artefacts mean.
In the darkest hour, there may be light: Works from Damien Hirst's murderme collection
A range of symbols spring to mind when thinking about death: the hooded figure wielding a sickle, the faceless boatman ferrying the souls of the dead across the River Styx, the watery existence ascribed to the souls in Hades' underworld and Purgatory - the quintessential departure lounge where Christian souls gather waiting to pass into eternal bliss.
GSK Contemporary, Earth: Art of a changing world
The Royal Academy in London, joining with sponsors GlaxoSmithKline, opened this new exhibition on 3 December. The central theme relates to global warming, an issue, which has increasingly preoccupied statesmen, politicians, scientists and creative artists around this imperilled world.