Culture - Issue 13 - Magazine | Monocle

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Monocle art

Public hangings

  1. Unpopular Culture – Grayson Perry selects from Arts Council Collection
    Everyone’s favourite transvestite potter chooses pre-Britart work that is uncool, but quietly confident (above). Includes Nash, Auerbach and Hepworth, shown in an icon of seaside modernism.
    De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea, 10 May – 6 July

  2. Krazy! The delirious world of Anime + Comics + Video Games + Art
    Perhaps the biggest-ever survey of “informal visual culture”, Krazy! is a two-floor riot of sketches, cells, manga, films, games and more. Features artists such as Pierre Huyghe, Junko Mizuno and Raymond Pettibon.
    Vancouver Art Gallery, 17 May – 7 September

  3. Huang Yong Ping – Ping Pong
    Chinese-born Parisian artist Ping bridges the gap between eastern and western artistic tradition with his massive Dada-inspired sculptural installations that incorporate ready-made objects and sometimes even live animals.
    Astrup Fearnley, Oslo, to 1 June

  4. Overlapping Voices – Israeli & Palestinian artists
    For Israel’s 60th birthday, artists of both nationalities show together for the first time in Austria. Works by artists such as Israeli photographer Tal Adler and Palestinian sculptor Osama Zatar bridge divides and challenge perceptions.
    Essl Museum, Vienna, 16 May – 26 October

Monocle books

Mellow pages

  1. I Haven’t Dreamed of Flying for a While
    Taichi Yamada
    Initially this novel seems simple – a love affair between middle-aged sales director Taura and an unseen woman he shares a hospital ward with while recovering from a suicide attempt. What makes this startlingly different is that this is a romance in reverse: the woman, Mutsuko, at first revealed as elderly, grows younger on each meeting. As she regresses, the relationship becomes more passionate – and desperate as the clock ticks fatally backwards.

  2. Benny & Shrimp
    Katarina Mazetti
    Benny is a simple-souled, lonely dairy farmer; Desirée (AKA Shrimp) a pale and interesting librarian. With outwardly nothing in common save bereavement, these polar opposites observe each other irritably across a cemetery. But first impressions prove to be deceiving and an unlikely love soon sprouts. A sweetly comic collision of manure and modernism.

  3. We Are Now Beginning Our Descent
    James Meek
    The plot of Meek’s fourth novel follows tough-guy journalist-cum-man of letters Adam Kellas on an assignment in Afghanistan, set against today’s political background. Meek’s an accomplished storyteller in search of a felicitous phrase, his character in thrall to the romance and words of foreign reporting.

  4. The Great Road Climbs of the Pyrenees
    Graeme Fife
    This beautifully bound book is a fitting tribute to the majesty of the mountains, combining photography bordering on the spiritual with a practical approach to achieving your climb: experiencing the extreme highs and lows of mountain cycling are far easier when you know the French for “adjustable spanner.” Une clé anglaise, bien sûr.

  5. The Endless City
    Ed. Ricky Burdett & Deyan Sudjic
    Reflecting the findings of the LSE and Deutsche Bank’s Urban Age conferences, The Endless City examines the condition of six world cities. Concentrating on New York, Shanghai, London, Mexico City, Johannesburg and Berlin, this encyclopaedia to urbanism shows in essays, photographs and statistics how much cities are changing – some stagnating, others exploding – but also how much they are altering the way everyone on the planet has to live and work.

Monocle movies

Film (and DVD) nuts in May

  1. I’m a Cyborg (DVD/Film)
    Directed by Park Chan-wook
    The latest offering from Park Chan-wook, director of ultra-violent Oldboy makes for sunnier, stranger and more magical viewing. Cha Young-goon (right) is a patient in an asylum straight out of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – albeit with a very Asian twist. Convinced she is a cyborg, the skeletal girl refuses to eat anything but batteries until fellow inmate Il-soon, (whose sartorial inspiration seems to be the Tin Man) makes it his business to change her diet and mend her ways. Cyborg is Michel Gondry on battery acid – with a mass shooting squeezed in, of course.

  2. Terror’s Advocate (DVD/Film)
    Directed by Barbet Schroeder
    What do Pol Pot, Yasser Arafat, Ayatollah Khomeini and Gestapo officer Klaus Barbie share? Jacques Vergès – their lawyer. Iranian director Barbet Schroeder presents Vergès’ elusive but action-filled life-story in this understated documentary, tracing his career from escapades with the PFLP, Baader-Meinhof and the Khmer Rouge to defending Djamila Bouhired, the FLN activist sentenced to death for the Milk Bar bombing in Algiers in 1956 and pardoned thanks to Vergès’ global “free-Djamila” campaign. Perhaps his motivation was manifold: he later married her.

  3. Back to Normandy (DVD/Film)
    Directed by Nicolas Philibert
    Twenty eight years before Nicolas Philibert won respect for his heartwarming Être et Avoir, he was learning his trade assisting on a film based on real-life murders in Normandy, notable for its harrowing filming and use of local farmers as actors in order to gain an authentic effect.

Driven by a curiosity for what had become of these unlikely colleagues, Philibert here films his return to Normandy to find that some became preachers in Haiti while others care for mentally ill local children. Back to Normandy subtly and respectfully examines the way lives inevitably, unpredictably follow such different paths.

Monocle music

Triple pleasure

  1. Gnarls Barkley
    The Odd Couple
    When debut long-player St Elsewhere came out, everyone’s club-kid cousin and mean-hearted great-aunt loved Crazy so much they didn’t even care if it was fake soul. Cee-Lo’s mighty gospel lungs still sound like they’re performing to a smoky bordello, but this time around his co-conspirator Danger Mouse squeezes the pips out of their multifarious inspirations: Motown, Stax, shimmering blues and tribal torch songs are fattened-up fetchingly for their bigger, better close-ups.

  2. Wouter Hamel
    The Rat Pack croon, jazz production and precocious multi-instrumentalism of this young Dutchman would normally be enough to buy him a one-way ticket to the sin bin. Does The Hague really need an answer to Jamie Cullum? Luckily, thoughts of the scourge of easy-listening are banished as soon as Hamel’s doe-eyed delivery drops like musical morphine: he means it! Moving through a Bryan Ferryfied universe of bars and ballrooms via Brazilian tropicalia, Hamel’s having fun with a voice set to unclasp a million bra-straps. We doubt he’s ever been near one, however.

  3. Santogold
    As producer, writer and hyper-energised collaborator Santi White regarded easy classification with a haughty stare; she had the itchiest feet in the business – shifting from rock and soul to dub and ska-flecked power pop in the same chorus. Solo, as Santogold, the young Philly jumps up and down on her musical suitcase until she’s squeezed in crunchy electronica, space-funk and beach-pop harmonies: she’s a thrilling hurricane roaring through everything with a beat. Rescued from messiness by striking prowess, Santogold is irresistible.

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