Frieze London’13… should this piece be there?

Walking the labyrinth of this year’s Frieze London was a bit like exploring a huge playground for adults… or children actually. Lots of bright colours, smiley faces, flower-power daisies, a dog seemingly made of balloons twisted together and Jeff Koons’s  vast, kitsch (hideous) sculptures surrounded by bodyguards… Image

There were also many collage-based works, which of course interested me. Paint applied over photographic and printed material, transporting the literal reality of a photograph into another, more imaginative sphere. Several fun, beautifully crafted, clever and witty pieces too – large embroidered till receipts raising everyday rubbish into a grander sphere.  And a few pieces by some of my favourites – Cornelia Parker, Francis Alys, Tacita Dean – that added a depth and authenticity that I know I can trust.

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Is there a point in still talking about Second World War Germany ?

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I found it almost impossible to write over the summer or to organise my thoughts into some sort of coherent flow while the sun shone outside producing the intrepid army of courgettes that now lies liquidized in my freezer. Instead I hung out in Nazi Germany, trying to organise 9 years of research into a 40 minute talk for schools and as yet unknown audiences. It was a process of willing black and white photographs to come to life to reveal what has been lurking in the corners of Germany’s post-war national silence for 50 years. But I also found myself wondering (with regular twangs of self-doubt) what the point is of still talking about this subject? And is it still relevant and important for today’s younger generations of English and Germans to engage with Hitler and the Holocaust, or have Bin Laden & other contemporary despots taken his place as ‘Dr Evil’?

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