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Marion Coutts on visual art

Marion Coutts on visual art

Marion Coutts
Samuel Johnson-Prize- non-fiction

October is a big month in the art world. Like going back to school, the new season starts. Frieze brings its tents to town and the galleries open their major Autumn shows. Recently I have been going around looking at stuff. It’s a good time to see work. There is a lot of art in The Iceberg, embedded in the language of the text. Sometimes this takes the form of works encountered on the way, like Goya’s, Vuelo de Brujas in Madrid, but more usually they are there as images or objects to think through and with, condensers of meaning - or conversely, expanders - spinning you off in a lateral direction.


I am a visual artist as well as writer. I work in sculpture and film. As I describe in The Iceberg, I wasn’t able to make anything since my husband’s diagnosis in 2008 and subsequently. Now this is changing. But since that time, writing has been my means of articulating the world. I have learned a great deal about the physicality and agency of words and one of the things I am thinking about as I go around the galleries looking at art, is writing something about the nature of this visual experience and why I am so drawn to it: its peculiar intimacy and emotive pull.


Marion Coutts is the author of The Iceberg: A Memoir (Atlantic)


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