GRANTA

The Teleportation Accident

FRANK HOLLENTERBY and the Granta Under Forty List

Exciting as it is to see so many well-deserved names on the brand-spanking-new Granta  list (of the most promising young British novelists under 40) one can’t help but feel that – as in decades gone past – the list has allowed itself to be dominated by the “traditional” novel.

Not, that is, traditional in form per se; the presence of such a diverse set of writers as Xiaolu Guo (whose A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers certainly knocked me for six), the always engaging and promising Tahmima Anam and the inestimable Jenni Fagan proves that much.

But in the sense of the requirement (implied or obliged) for a text based, “written down” novel – bound forever to floppy old pieces of paper or the softly illuminated words of the kindle – we might as well be looking at oh-so-many Victorian baggy monsters.  At its furthest reaches perhaps there is Adam Thirlwell – whose playful Kapow! so delighted and upset critics last year (it even left Steven Poole in the Guardian  “queasy”, poor fellow) – but that, alas, is about it.  It’s a sad sad missed opportunity.

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TRECARTIN

RALPH WYDES slips into the depths and shallows of Ryan Trecartin’s latest New York exhibition.

What, or who, is it in Ryan Trecartin’s movies that pulls you upside down, like a cartoon bully, and shakes the sensibilities out of your tight jeans pockets?
Surprisingly, It’s pop-culture.

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VENICE

The Art!  The Fashion!  The Money!  The girls!  The boys!  The yachts!  The parties!   SIMON CONWAY queues up for Mike Nelson at the 2011 Biennale.

There are types and sub-types for the vernissage of the Venice Biennale (the neon-kinetic pageant of art and money that surrounds and annexes the city every two years).  There’s the gallerists and curators (smartly suited, chattering quietly in corners about trends and “wall-power”).  There, descending briefly from the super-celestial sphere of the plutocracy, are the blazered and tailored oligarchs (here to make offers).  Continue reading

SANDBACK

Does Fred Sandback want us yawning about yarn? asks ARCHIE WILCOX (and is that the point?)

Detail from ‘Untitled’ (1985)

The infamous Kübler-Ross model of grief (from denial and anger, through to depression and grief) has been picked up, over-popularised, de-natured – but remains a handy metaphor; looking through the past catalogue of Fred Sandback (1943 – 2003), I would now posit the “Sandback model of artistic response”: from astonishment to delight, leading to despair and, finally, boredom. Continue reading

Ai Weiwei

SARAH HADDOW-DU PRE has some thoughts about place and Ai
Cockerel from Ai Weiwei's Circle of Heads

Cockerel from Ai Weiwei's 'Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads' (2011)

 

In New York, of course, they were by the Pulitzer Fountain.  In Paris, in Rome – we can imagine where they might be (perhaps the Louvre, the Coliseum): Ai’s breath-taking ‘Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads’ (2011) is as much about place as any installation work he has ever created – more so, far far more so than last year’s Sunflower Seeds in the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern.  We all despair at his current situation, but we must look carefully to his art if we are to understand it. Continue reading