Monocolumn

A daily bulletin of news & opinion

10 April 2015

ART: Rare Earth at Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna

“It’s a bit of a sexy take on the concept of rare earth and how its very invisibility is infiltrating our lives”

Kimberly Bradley, Monocle’s Berlin correspondent

Rare earth elements found in the Earth’s crust are actually fairly commonplace, despite the name, and are the foundation of some of the materials used to build some of our most innovative technologies such as mobile phones and light bulbs. Vienna’s Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary gallery’s latest exhibition, Rare Earth, looks at these 17 vital elements and interprets them through 10 new pieces and seven other relevant works from artists such as China’s Ai Weiwei, Iain Ball from the UK and Mexico’s Erick Beltrán. The latter’s new piece “Hephaestus’ Dream” (pictured above) is a changing geometric form representing evolving contemporary culture that is constantly being shaped by the objects created by rare-earth elements.

MUSIC: Jane Weaver, The Silver Globe

“This is a really glorious pop album”

John Doran, editor of ‘The Quietus’

Liverpool’s Jane Weaver has been making great music in various bands and forms since the mid-1990s but her recent psychedelia-infused album The Silver Globe is perhaps her strongest work yet. The album recalls every interpreter of the genre from Jefferson Airplane to Broadcast and manages to hold its own amongst them with a collection of songs that is as melodic as it is mysterious. And they won’t reveal all their secrets on the first listen either, so best hit repeat.

FILM: Force Majeure

“Quite excruciating – in that way that a well-crafted comedy of embarrassment and denial can be”

Tim Robey, film critic for ‘The Telegraph’

Swedish film Force Majeure by director Ruben Östlund is a frosty satire concerned with the minutiae of family life, human nature, and how domestic bliss can very easily snowball into a full-on existential crisis under the slightest of tensions. While enjoying a ski trip in the French Alps, a family witnesses a slightly worryingly large yet ultimately harmless controlled avalanche. What should have been no more than an entertaining dinner anecdote takes a strange turn when it emerges – after the very light sprinkling of snow has settled – that family patriarch, Tomas fled the scene in pure panic. The resulting pressure cooker of a film delights in its awkward scenes and all-too-real guilt trips. It’s all downhill from here.

BOOK: Curationism: How Curating Took Over the Art World and Everything Else by David Balzer

“This over-ripe word ‘curator’ has emerged from the world of contemporary art and penetrated the rest of our lives”

Christopher Frey, Monocle’s Toronto correspondent

CoToronto’s David Balzar is a critic, journalist and author who has had just about enough of the word “curator” and all its loose affiliations. Well, nearly enough: he’s still managed to find space to write a whole book on the subject and Curationism is the result. Balzar traces the history of the term up to its present-day ubiquity and confirms the fear that perhaps we all should have after reading a book like this one: that your carefully curated artisanal wooden-bird collection doesn’t really mean all that much.

THEATRE: Martin Bonger, Fat Man

“A truly heartening example of why fringe theatre in the UK is thriving”

Donald Hutera, theatre critic

Martin Bonger is creating a lean and mean interpretation of Greek myth Orpheus with his one-man play Fat Man. The title character is recast as washed-up rockstar giving stand-up a go in Bonger’s version and is being slowly forced to face up to his own darkening worldview as the play progresses. What also becomes apparent is that had the original Orpheus in ancient Greece had half the talent of Bonger, perhaps he wouldn’t have found himself in this mess in the first place.

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