The Easel

1st October 2019

Under the bridge with Mark Leckey

Can one be nostalgic for a motorway flyover? Leckey is. Growing up in northern England’s bleak industrial landscape, he has been shaped by its streets and working class youth culture. Using online found footage he has created films like Fiorucci, an “opus” that has “hypnotic, often arresting images of everyday stuff … a celebration of British urban subculture”. An excellent background piece is here.

24th September 2019

Damien Hirst Butterfly Genocide

Hirst has the critics riled up – again. New works riff on the religious mandala, using not paints but butterfly wings. Thousands of them. One critic is delighted though more are not. Says one of the  naysayers – “it’s not shocking, it’s not clever and it’s not good.” Staying calm, the above writer suggests a connection to Hirst’s earlier work: “the butterfly, while visually seductive, always carries the inference of death.”

Mona Hatoum interview: ‘If everything is predictable, then it’s not interesting’

Hatoum was studying in London when stranded by war in her native Lebanon. Her work is not a literal replaying of her experience of displacement. Nonetheless, a theme that pervades many works is precariousness. “I’m really interested in modern ruins … even those structures that are supposed to be solid, to contain you, they can collapse.” Last week, Hatoum was announced as a Praemium Imperiale winner.

Sir Antony Gormley’s art explores an interior realm

Gormley’s trademark work is the expressionless metal body form. Often based on molds of his own body, these figures appear in all sorts of situations, most famously his Angel of the North atop a hill in northern England. One view of a large survey show is that it is “too unfocused, and ultimately too polite”. The more positive view is that Gormley’s work is a sustained exploration of the body as a place “of memory, emotion and imagination”.