Andy Ridley

Gerhard Richter: Panorama

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There is a major retrospective exhibition of Gerhard Richter's work now showing at the Tate Modern gallery in London. Richter's artworks pose difficult questions and are stimulating, disturbing and beautiful. They also, I think, help us frame our modern experience in surprising ways.

There is a lot of hype about Richter and his art. Some critics regard him as the greatest living painter and his artworks sell for millions at auction. There is scant regard for historical context in the Tate's presentation. Richter himself says of his paintings, "I don't even like showing them any more. The press love them. Dreadful!" However, don't let this put you off.

The Situationists and the City

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Edited by Tom McDonough, Verso, £14.99

This book is an anthology taken from Situationist International.

It ran from 1958 to 1969 and the revolutionary ideas that came from its pages played a significant role in the great events of May 1968 in France. The Situationists were predominantly artists, urban planners, architects and other intellectuals. Their influence internationally is still felt today by activists keen to make radical, political and artistic interventions in the world.

From A to X

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John Berger, Verso, £12.99

Before we read the letters that make up this book, John Berger writes, "The universe resembles a brain not a machine. Life is a story being told now. The first reality is story. This is what being a mechanic has taught me."

So from the start the words are already dripping with unidentified reference.

Who is the mechanic here? What exactly has the mechanic learnt as a mechanic? What person is this? Why make these comparisons?

California Dreamin'

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Director: Cristian Nemescu; Release date: out now

California Dreamin' was to be Cristian Nemescu's only feature film - both he and his sound editor were killed in a car crash before it was finished.

He has created a beautiful film. It often makes you smile because you are reminded of your own obsessions and yearnings and clumsy, frustrated attempts to better yourself. People are brought together by circumstance and we witness subtle and intimate conversations between them.

Meet the Neighbours

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Review of 'Küba' by Kutlug Ataman, The Sorting Office, London

With Küba, Kutlug Ataman has filmed a misrepresented or unrepresented group of people, living on the edge of Istanbul in a place called Küba. He invited these people to tell their stories and he gave them plenty of time to do it. He spent more than two years collecting the stories of this marginalised and diverse 'community'.

Coming Down to Earth

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Review of 'A Dream Play' by August Strindberg, National Theatre, London

A Dream Play is an adaptation of a play originally written by August Strindberg in 1901. Strindberg was a prolific writer and revolutionary dramatist. He pulled and pushed at the social and theatrical conventions of his day and constantly experimented with new dramatic form and technique. His later, expressionistic plays drew on the developing theories of psychoanalysis. In his words, 'drama is enacted by symbolic creatures built out of human consciousness' and this drama should be built up 'like the theme in a musical composition'.

World of Pain

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Review of 'Dirty Pretty Things', director Stephen Frears

Okwe is a Nigerian refugee trying to get by in London. He's an illegal immigrant. He was once a doctor but now has two low paid jobs, as a minicab driver and a hotel receptionist, and takes drugs to stay awake. He is a quiet, intelligent, proud man, forced to live as a hunted animal, forever on the lookout for the authorities. He lives in the tense, hidden world of the migrant worker--the world of sweatshop labour and prostitution, exploitation, misery, isolation and pain. He's resigned to this desperate situation, knowing that as an illegal, he is 'nothing'.

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