Born and raised in Glasgow, the only child of a Russian emigre, painter Yusef Szafki was much influenced by literature in his visual artwork. In an endlessly creative life, he published two literary works, including one on engaging with the Russian/Ukrainian writer Nikolai Gogol (60’ N (1996) ). Arguably the bold dreamlike, exaggerated style of Szafki’s work is influenced heavily by Gogol’s character, and his writing in such famous stories as ‘Diary of a Madman’ and ‘The Nose’. Johnny Rodger reviews this retrospective as the first exhibition to attempt a survey across his life’s work, and appreciates Szafki's experimentation and his ever-developing concerns with form, tone and texture.
Can climate change be discussed in isolation from racism? From slavery? Can it be discussed in isolation from anything? Johnny Rodger reviews the art work/film by Ferreira da Silva and Neuman commissioned for the Glasgow International Festival.
Ewan Gibbs' book 'Coal Country' claims to be the first full length study of deindustrialisation in the Scottish coalfields. But its scope is actually much broader and much more ambitious in its treatment of an age of massive social upheaval. Johnny Rodger reviews and appreciates that ambition.
Walter Benjamin's work is said to have much influence over contemporary thought. What has been the quality of that influence? And what could he possibly have to say about current winners and losers? Johnny Rodger looks at Benjamin in the context of some more recent work by Ahmed, Butler, Preciado and others.
How long will the patriarchy last?
-How long have you got?
The universal quality of Butler's work demands, ironically, that you find it, not as some pristine, independent, already perfected example, but as situated in the relational context of, and with all the potential of, your own local world.
Some apparent tendencies and possibilities in political thinking have already emerged in the pandemic situation –as seen by current commentators in blogs, opinion columns etc – can they be viewed a broader political and historical context yet?