What Makes Us Human I was on holiday in Rome in mid-April when the latest video purporting to document Islamic State’s razing of ancient Mesopotamia flooded news channels. In the film, black-robed militants topple immense alabaster panels covered with intricate reliefs – winged Assyrian deities and rows of tight cuneiform script – in the ancient city of Nimrud. Jackhammers and bulldozers pummel through walls, some of which date back to the 13th century BCE
What is the future of arts education in Baghdad? In April this year, the writer and curator Rijin Sahakian announced that she was winding down the activities of Sada, the arts organization she launched five years ago. Sada – meaning ‘echo’ in Arabic –was set up to address the damage done to Iraq’s contemporary-art infrastructure by decades of war, dictatorship and sanctions
Q: What do you like the look of? A: The everyday world: grand and microscopic. What images keep you company in the space where you work?
The complicated idea of ‘home’ I have a British accent and currently live in the US, which means that each time I speak I sound foreign. I
Why are there so few biographies of African artists? David Goldblatt, the octogenarian Johannesburg-born photographer, known for his unhurried images of South Africa and its many complications, drives a white diesel four-wheel drive. He bought the demonstration-model Isuzu pick-up in Cape Town just over ten years ago, and had a Pretoria engineer fit a custom-designed ‘caboose’ (as he refers to the campervan lodgings bolted onto the rear) for exploratory trips into the wilderness
Relating bodily sensations to virtual spaces in the photographs of Lucas Blalock Lucas Blalock belongs to a generation of artists, mostly in their 30s and from North America, which is exploring the component parts of photography in a time of dramatic technological change. The results of their investigations vary in form and genre: some work in an abstract vein; others tease apart representation through analogue and digital collage techniques; others exhibit objects that, to a conservative viewer, might only tenuously be described as ‘photographic’. Depending on how widely you wish to cast your net, artists as diverse as Walead Beshty, Talia Chetrit, Sara Cwynar, Jessica Eaton, Shannon Ebner, Sam Falls, Daniel Gordon, John Houck, Artie Vierkant and Hannah Whitaker can be brought together under this rubric of photographic experimentation.
Jennifer Higgie on the bewildered mystics, mournful minstrels and mysterious rituals of Ryan Mosley ’s paintings I’m not convinced that you need me to explain Ryan Mosley’s paintings.
Working for the man, or machine In 2012, the French artist Julien Prévieux was working an average of eleven hours, 29 minutes and 15 seconds per day. We know this because his fellow artist, Martin Le Chevallier, conducted a month-long experiment in which he asked Prévieux to record his ‘non-artistic time’, his ‘low-intensity artistic time’, his ‘creative time’ and his ‘creative peaks’ in a specially designed, fold-out notebook. Le Chevallier then displayed Prévieux’s four-colour Bic pen (used to tick the boxes) and the charted results on a trestle-table installation as 11h29’15”, mesure du temps de travail d’un artiste (11h29’15” Measure of an Artist’s Working Hours, 2012)
Q: What music are you listening to?
In recent years, abstract painting has experienced both a new popularity and a critical backlash.