sat 21/05/2022

Visual Arts Interviews

theartsdesk Q&A: Director Ken Russell, 1927-2011

Jasper Rees

In 2006 the thatched house in Lymington on the Hampshire coast which had been the home of Ken Russell (b 1927) for 30 years burned down. All of the director’s original film scripts, including Women in Love, The Devils and Tommy, were destroyed. So was the bulk of the music collection which inspired him to make his groundbreaking films about composers in the 1960s.

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Q&A/Gallery: Photographer Rich Hardcastle

ASH Smyth

From Edinburgh to London and back, via Tatooine and Port Talbot, Rich Hardcastle has photographed playwrights and magicians, burlesque dancers and rugby captains, and regularly adorned the covers of The Big Issue, FHM and The Sunday Times Culture section.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Artist/Dramatist John Byrne

graeme Thomson

"I’m very hard to categorise,” says John Byrne (b 1940), tugging at his magnificent moustache. A restless, defiant, shape-shifting polymath who was an exponent of multimedia long before computers ruled the world, Byrne's singular career is perhaps doomed to gentle underappreciation simply because he can do so much so well. “If you’re hard to categorise they don’t like that." He peers into his coffee as though looking for something. "Whoever 'they' are.”

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theartsdesk Q&A: Artist Peter Blake

Hilary Whitney

Peter Blake (b 1932) seems to have gone seamlessly from a groovy Sixties mover and shaker – he would probably dispute that but, after all, he did hang out with The Beatles – to National Treasure. His new one-man exhibition, Homage 10 x 5 – Blake’s Artists, is a tribute to 10 of the artists who have excited and interested him over the past 50 years. “These are my nod of appreciation,” he says. “A way of...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Photographer Mick Rock

Hilary Whitney

Mick Rock (b 1948) captured some of rock's most provocative and memorable images: David Bowie at the height of his Ziggy Stardust androgyny; Debbie Harry looking every inch the Marilyn Monroe of punk; Lou Reed sweating beneath his Kabuki make-up - indeed, The Faces of Rock'n'Roll, as a new book surveying four decades of his photographs is titled.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Artist Mark Wallinger

Fisun Güner Mark Wallinger is fascinated by the idea of 'mirroring' and has recently ventured into unconventional self-portraiture

For his new show at Anthony Reynolds Gallery, London, Turner Prize-winning artist Mark Wallinger will be unveiling a first: a life-sized, three-dimensional "self-portrait". But it won't be a straightforward representation of the 50-year-old conceptual artist. It will, instead, be a representation of himself as the letter "I" in Times New Roman. His Vauxhall studio, in South London, is filled with pictures of "self-portraits" of the artist as a series of letters. It is also filled with the...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Artist Maggi Hambling

Hilary Whitney Maggi Hambling: 'You’ve got to make your work your best friend'

Next week sees the opening of an exhibition at Marlborough Fine Art of new work by Maggi Hambling, one of the most innovative and prolific - not to mention flamboyant - artists working in Britain today, which neatly coincides with a show of sea paintings at the Fitzwilliam in Cambridge. You can see a selection in theartsdesk's gallery. Born in 1945,...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Psychoanalyst Adam Phillips

Fisun Güner

Born in 1954, Adam Phillips is a leading psychoanalyst, literary critic and author. For 17 years he worked as a child psychotherapist in the NHS before moving into private practice to work with adults. As well as being a self-confessed "sceptical" psychoanalyst, he is also known as something of "the literati's analyst of choice". His many, often playfully titled books have included The Art of Kissing, Tickling and Being Bored: Psychoanalytic Essays on the Unexamined Life (1993);...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Artist Douglas Gordon

Jasper Rees Douglas Gordon: Self-portrait as Kurt Cobain, as Andy Warhol, as Myra Hindley, as Marilyn Monroe, 1996

Since winning the Turner Prize in 1996 with Confessions of a Justified Sinner, Douglas Gordon (b. 1966) has lived in Germany, France, New York and Germany again. But in accent and attitude, he remains a Glaswegian. Those roots are being reaffirmed at the moment: as part of this year's Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art, one of Gordon's most celebrated works is back on display in the city where it was first shown.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Artist Anish Kapoor

Fisun Güner

The sculptor Anish Kapoor (b. 1954), RA, CBE, won the Turner Prize in 1990. His public works are characterised by their gigantic scale and ambition. In the UK he is probably best known for Marsyas (2002), the viscerally red “ear trumpet” that elegantly spanned the entire length of the Turbine Hall in Tate Modern. He is also the artist behind the world’s most expensive public sculpture.

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