The Diary: James Cauty; Jussi Adler-Olsen; Jean-Claude Gandur; James Howard; Purple Ronnie
Friday 29 April 2011
The row between Take That and Plan B started at the Brits, when the latter accused the former of stealing his thunder by bringing on backing singers dressed as riot police ("They were just trying to copy me"). Now, James Cauty, a former member of the 1980s pop group KLF has created a mischievous variation on the theme for his upcoming show at the London gallery L13 Light Industrial Workshop. His miniature scene depicts members of Take That being attacked by riot police. Both Take That and Plan B have been invited to the opening of Riot in a Jam Jar, which features, well, different riot scenes in a jam jar. Cauty, a founding member of the KLF, who lit up Top of the Pops with hits like "The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu", was also partly responsible for lighting a bonfire of £1m in an anti-consumerist act of anarchy. This idea is less costly, at least. His series includes tiny versions of the London G20 protests in 2009 and the recent attack on the Rolls-Royce carrying Prince Charles and Camilla. Squint to see it at the Clerkenwell gallery from 1 June.
Denmark is the new Sweden, as far as crime fiction goes. Following the runaway success of The Killing, there are a host of wonderful writers being published in English. First off the press is the Department Q series by the Danish superstar Jussi Adler-Olsen, a phenomenal success in his home country and an apparently terrifying read. The writer's own back-story is pretty perturbing in its own right: his father was a leading psychiatrist and the young writer grew up around mental institutions, in direct contact with patients. His publishers say that as a result "his perceptions of good and evil became confused. This was particularly the case with a murderer called Morck who Jussie befriended when he was seven." Morck had a profound impact on the writer, apparently, and appears as the protagonist in the Department Q series.
Jean-Claude Gandur, a self-made Swiss billionaire (and the seventh richest man in Switzerland) is organising a travelling exhibition that could act as a good model for other billionaires with equally extraordinary art collections to show off to the public. Gandur will show his collection – including over 200 post-war European abstract expressionist paintings, a holding second only to the Pompidou Centre in Paris, and over 800 Greek, Roman and Egyptian antiquities that rank among the world's finest – in Geneva next month. It will travel around the world after that.
James Howard, a former hacker turned artist who is beloved of Charles Saatchi (his work was shown at the Saatchi gallery show British Art Now) has shed some light on the "working process" behind his collages. They're inspired by internet spam and junk emails apparently. "It all begins in my junk email folder," he explained to the ArtInfo website. "In the place where everything has a bit of a question mark over its authenticity – pensions, Russian brides. I take images and texts from that junk email folder and from pop-up adverts and I collage them together into artworks... I gravitate towards reoccurring images: adverts for Chinese wives and images of beautiful sunsets over serene oceans seem to crop up rather a lot, as well as pictures of people with distorted bodies looking up into fisheye lenses..." If you want to see the results, you can catch his work at the Aubin Gallery, in Shoreditch, London. Or simply visit your junk mail filter.
Purple Ronnie feeling blue
The artist and greeting-card creator Giles Andreae, otherwise known as Purple Ronnie, is bringing depression to children with a new series of books, he tells me. But they'll be uplifting even when they're sad and will deliver their message through metaphor. Andreae said that the subject would make children feel more, not less secure: "I think children have the ability to understand metaphor in fiction. The books are about regaining the capacity for joy." Each of the books features a different animal and deals with a new emotion, such as love, happiness and trust.
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