Brian Dillon

Brian Dillon is director of the creative writing programme at Queen Mary, University of London, and before that ran the critical writing programme at the Royal Academy of Art. He is the UK editor of Cabinet magazine and has written a book about essays, Essayism, and one on the pleasures of the sentence, Suppose a Sentence.

At Sadie Coles: Helen Marten

Brian Dillon, 21 October 2021

‘There is something interesting to be said for everything around us,’ Charles Schulz’s Linus says in a Peanuts-derived commercial for Weber’s bread, first broadcast in the late 1960s. But there’s interesting and there’s interesting: sometimes you just get lost. The first work I saw by the British artist Helen Marten, about eight years ago, was a sculpture...

On5 November 1982, the post-punk group Ludus played a gig at the Haçienda, the Manchester club run by Factory Records and best known today for its association with New Order and the Happy Mondays. Ludus were a more exotic proposition: jazz-schooled, scratchy and fronted by Linder, a visual artist whose songs channelled her decade-long engagement with second-wave feminism, as well as...

At the Jeu de Paume: Peter Hujar

Brian Dillon, 19 December 2019

The​ American photographer Peter Hujar once told a friend who was feeling unattractive: ‘As you’re walking along, say to yourself: I’m me.’ Hujar’s subjects seem to have heeded the same advice: they exhibit a self-possession tending to the monumental. You can see it in his 1981 portrait of the actor Madeline Kahn. Hujar posed her in an empty studio, wrapped in a...

You enter​ Mike Nelson’s installation The Asset Strippers, Tate Britain’s latest commission for its Duveen Galleries (until 6 October), through a pair of wooden swing doors salvaged from the old Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital on Bolsover Street. For several years, Nelson has been acquiring industrial machinery and related artefacts from online auctions and liquidation...

The Palais de Justice​ in Brussels is a product of civic and architectural delirium, a Circumlocution Office looming over the historically working-class Marolles district like a sinister, secular basilica. It’s bigger than St Peter’s in Rome, covering an area of 26,000 square metres, with reputedly the largest accumulation of stone blocks in Europe. Its architect, Joseph...

The essay​ can seem to be the cosy heartland of belles-lettres, a place where nothing urgent is ever said. Recently, though, publishers have seemed willing to take on and even promote this...

Read More

What is going on in there? Hypochondria

Hilary Mantel, 5 November 2009

I once knew a man, a Jamaican, who when he first came to England always answered truthfully when asked ‘How are you?’ A bit sniffly, he might reply; or he would describe his...

Read More

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences