Arts observations: The still-lifes that simply won't stay still

And a taste of Honey from a debut director

A still life of a bowl of fruit? You must be joking. A new book, Nature Morte by Michael Petry, collects more than 180 contemporary artists who have given the traditional still life a makeover. Sam Taylor-Wood's video A Little Death, 2002, is a remake of the classical still life with dead hare, who now gets eaten by maggots, while Cindy Wright's large painting of a fishbowl, Nature Morte 2, (2010), contains a dead fish set on a doily.

Emerging artist Ged Quinn has rearranged the cubes of a Battenberg spongecake to look like a bunker built by German troops in his painting Myth of the Metals (2012). Mat Collishaw's photograph Martin Vegas (2013) looks like a 17th-century painting of a plate of food, but it is the last meal of an inmate on death row, who ordered steak and shrimps.

Gary Hume builds up the colour on a red rose in Pink Rent (2011), to give it a contemporary twist, while Marc Quinn freezes a sunflower in silicone in Eternal Spring (Sunflower) 11, (1998). “Historically flowers were there to remind viewers of their own mortality,” says Petry. “Now artists are dealing with it in more sophisticated ways. These works offer a new understanding of the current global upheaval and disruption.”

'Nature Morte: Contemporary Artists Reinvigorate the Still Life Tradition' by Michael Petry is published on Monday by Thames and Hudson

A taste of Honey from a debut director

Director Valeria Golino played Tom Cruise's girlfriend in Rain Man Director Valeria Golino played Tom Cruise's girlfriend in Rain Man  

By Charlotte Cripps

The Italian actress Valeria Golino is better known for playing Tom Cruise's girlfriend in Rain Man (1988) than for shooting her own movies. But her feature film Honey (Miele), which had its world premiere at Cannes this year, has been nominated for the Discovery award for best debut feature film at the 2013 European Film Awards. It stars Jasmine Trinca as Irene, aka Honey, who helps terminally ill people end their lives, and it takes “a light-hearted” look at euthanasia. Golino moved from Italy to LA in the late 1980s, and landed roles in movies including Hot Shots! (1991) and Leaving Las Vegas (1995). She says: “When Sean Penn directed me in his first film The Indian Runner (1991), it gave me much insight into directing as an actor. He pushed us to be interesting, not just believable.”

Matt Berry puts ham on Toast

By James Rampton

The actor Matt Berry admits that he didn't have to look too far to find role models for the central character in his new C4 sitcom. In Toast of London, an appealingly off-the-wall and original show co-written by Berry and Arthur Mathews, he plays Stephen Toast, a vainglorious thespian whose passport job description would read “Failed Actor.”

Sporting a badger-like streaked quiff and a luxuriant moustache not seen since the heyday of ITV sports presenter Dickie Davies, the deluded and entirely talentless Toast spends his days consumed by bitterness because virtually every other actor in the country is doing better than him. As he rails against the iniquity of his fate, he could bombast for Britain.

Berry and Mathews are chatting to me over lunch on the set of Toast of London. Thirty-nine-year-old Berry, whose distinctive deep voice has enabled him to pursue a successful sideline as a voiceover artist, explains that, “because of my job, I meet people like Toast all the time. I'm constantly taking mental notes. A while ago, I did a film with a serious actor who was very surprised to be performing in a scene with me, a mere TV comedian. 'Must I?' he asked, barely concealing his disdain. I didn't mind – I thought it was hilarious and was just so pleased that those people still exist!”

The world of the fading-yet-still grandiose thespian is an ideal setting for a sitcom. After all, Toast possesses two of the prerequisites for a successful comedy character: pomposity and self-delusion.

Mathews, 54, who made his name as the co-writer (with Graham Linehan) on the peerless Father Ted, believes that, “It's full of comic potential because Toast is fuelled by jealousy and bitterness. He thinks he should have been in films like The King's Speech. As the lead? Of course!

“He is particularly angry about other people's success and pretends never to have heard of any really popular actors. When somebody says to him, 'You must know Benedict Cumberbatch', Toast just replies, 'Who?'”

For all that, Berry, who has also appeared in The IT Crowd, Garth Marenghi's Darkplace, and The Mighty Boosh, protests that his portrayal of Toast is fundamentally affectionate. “It's done with love. I warm to these actors. Performers like Toast, who have spent years and years in rep acting VERY LOUDLY INDEED, are a dying breed. You can't dislike him because he's always the victim.”

'Toast of London' begins on Channel 4 on Sunday

The men who tinkered with Bell

By Miranda Kiek

In the 109 years since Tinker Bell fluttered into the literary landscape, she has undergone a near magical make over – from silent circle of reflected lamplight in JM Barrie's original play, to an all-singing, all-dancing lead character in her own Disney Fairy franchise. Now Tink's long history is told in a newly released book written by Mindy Johnson.

JM Barrie's Tink was temperamental, more than a little murderous, and prone to calling people “You Silly Ass”. When Walt Disney took her on in 1953, he gave her the curves of Jessica Rabbit and a knicker-flashing outfit which makes even the Little Mermaid look demure. She went on to be crowned a “Disney Princess”, and in 2008 was given her first on-screen speaking role as the anodyne star of a series of straight-to-DVD releases.

Ariel may have given up her voice in return for feet; Tinker Bell, on the other hand, seems to have gained a voice at the expense of a personality. Silly Ass!

'Tinker Bell: An Evolution' by Mindy Johnson is published by Disney Editions

One to watch: Carly Paradis, pianist/composer, 33

One to watch: Carly Paradis, pianist/composer, 33 One to watch: Carly Paradis, pianist/composer, 33  

If you don't ask, you don't get. This is what the Canadian musician Carly Paradis discovered when she MySpaced the composer Clint Mansell (Requiem For a Dream, Black Swan), who hired her after listening to her music. She played piano on his world tour and his soundtrack to Duncan Jones's Moon. Now living in London, she has funded her debut album, Hearts to Symphony, out next month, after composing the music for the BBC's Line of Duty.

Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
Arts and Entertainment
Laura Wood, winner of the Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing
books

Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search

Arts and Entertainment
Pulling the strings: Spira Mirabilis

music
Arts and Entertainment
Neville's Island at Duke of York's theatre
musicReview: The production has been cleverly cast with a quartet of comic performers best known for the work on television
Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol

art
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Minchin portrait
For a no-holds-barred performer who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, Tim Minchin is surprisingly gentle
Arts and Entertainment
Clara takes the lead in 'Flatline' while the Doctor remains in the Tardis
tvReview: The 'Impossible Girl' earns some companion stripes... but she’s still annoying in 'Dr Who, Flatline'
Arts and Entertainment
Joy Division photographed around Waterloo Road, Stockport, near Strawberry Studios. The band are Bernard Sumner (guitar and keyboards), Stephen Morris (drums and percussion), Ian Curtis (vocals and occasional guitar), Peter Hook (bass guitar and backing vocals).
books
Arts and Entertainment
Sean Harris in 'The Goob' film photocall, at the Venice International Film Festival 2014
filmThe Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Streisand is his true inspiration
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor contestant Fleur East
tvReview: Some lacklustre performances - but the usual frontrunners continue to excel
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Tuttle's installation in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern
artAs two major London galleries put textiles in the spotlight, the poor relation of the creative world is getting recognition it deserves
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman
film
Arts and Entertainment
On top of the world: Actress Cate Blanchett and author Richard Flanagan
artsRichard Flanagan's Man Booker win has put paid to the myth that antipodean artists lack culture
Arts and Entertainment
The Everyman, revamped by Haworth Tompkins
architectureIt beats strong shortlist that included the Shard, the Library of Birmingham, and the London Aquatics Centre
Arts and Entertainment
Justice is served: Robert Downey Jr, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong and Robert Duvall in ‘The Judge’

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Clive Owen (centre) in 'The Knick'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
J.K. Simmons , left, and Miles Teller in a scene from

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Team Tenacity pitch their fetching solar powered, mobile phone charging, heated, flashy jacket
tvReview: No one was safe as Lord Sugar shook things up
News
Owen said he finds films boring but Tom Hanks managed to hold his attention in Forrest Gump
arts
Arts and Entertainment
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch
Music Album is set to enter UK top 40 at lowest chart position in 30 years
Arts and Entertainment
The Michael McIntyre Chat Show airs its first episode on Monday 10 March 2014
Comedy
Arts and Entertainment

Review

These heroes in a half shell should have been left in hibernation
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Flanagan with his novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North
books'The Narrow Road to the Deep North' sees the writer become the third Australian to win the accolade
Arts and Entertainment
New diva of drama: Kristin Scott Thomas as Electra
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

    'You need me, I don’t need you'

    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
    How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

    How to Get Away with Murder

    Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
    A cup of tea is every worker's right

    Hard to swallow

    Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
    12 best children's shoes

    Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

    Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
    Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

    Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

    Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
    Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

    Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

    Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells