• Fatema-big

    Bookshelf: Fatema Ahmed

Graphic Design

Bookshelf: Fatema Ahmed

Posted by Bryony Quinn,

We first came across Fatema when the Paris Magazine issued no.4 last June. There her name was as Editor of a magazine that since issue one all of 43 years ago, counts Sartre, Duras and Ginsberg as some of its contributors. She is also a senior editor at Icon we found out, which will no doubt give her selection of five books for our Bookshelf feature another facet…

“To make the task of choosing five books harder, I’m not anywhere near the shelves in the picture. Two years ago, I moved out of the flat where I’d been living for the previous five and put most of the contents, including the books, into a friend’s flat. Part of that time was spent in Paris where I lived for a year and edited The Paris Magazine, a magazine that the bookshop Shakespeare and Company first put out in 1967. It was planned as a one-off, but there will be more to come, designed once again by the brilliant Working Format.

I’m back in London now and when I visit the flat of the friend who has my books it’s like visiting an art installation of my former home. I’m treating it as a lending library until I have a place of my own again."

Troubles J. G. Farrell (NYRB Classics)

For years I wrongly and lazily assumed that J. G. Farrell was a writer I wouldn’t like. Misled by the British covers of his work, I was confusing his Siege of Krishnapur, which is set in 1857 during the Indian mutiny, with something like the Flashman series. But when a friend I trust recommended Troubles in this new edition, I read it at once and realised my mistake. Troubles is set in Ireland in 1919, but was written in 1969. The hero is the Major, an English First World War veteran who visits his fiancée in an enormous, decaying hotel in County Wexford where her family lives. The premise is a MacGuffin. The fiancée whom the Major has met for only an afternoon dies almost as soon as he gets there. He stays on with the elderly residents and a growing colony of cats while the Irish uprising carries on around them. It’s a strange and sad novel but also one of the funniest I know. The wonderful NYRB Classics series shows how important publishers can be in creating a different, and often much-needed, context for individual books and their authors. Over the past decade I’ve given more NYRB Classics as presents than the books of any other publisher.
www.nybooks.com/classics/troubles
www.amazon.co.uk/troubles

The Transparency of Evil Jean Baudrillard (Verso)

Another work in a series although I’m not sure what I’ll do about this one when my books are reunited. Earlier sets of the Radical Thinkers series were brown, then silver, then black and in the lovely redesign by Rumors they are now white, and several writers have books in more than one set. To turn to content for a moment: like all my favourite writers (and unlike his pale imitations), Baudrillard is easy to read and quote from but difficult to pin down. With Baudrillard, there’s the added difficulty that he’s clearly enjoying himself. It’s hard not to think that he wasn’t right about what modernity is like, and hard to believe that he wrote this over 20 years ago. But even though he would disapprove of the question: what should we do about it?
www.versobooks.com/the-transparency-of-evil
www.amazon.co.uk/the-transparency-of-evil

Dance to the Music of Time Anthony Powell (University of Chicago Press)

I first read Dance to the Music of Time in a 12-volume hardback edition which I was getting out from the public library when I was at university. I was stuck behind someone who was borrowing the series just ahead of me and seemed to read very slowly; it took this other person, and therefore me, more than a year to finish. Later I bought the US edition which has the Poussin painting of the title across the spines; it seems mad that anyone would choose to illustrate the books differently… It’s a very odd book; there’s no one to like, and this is partly the point and, unlike Proust’s novel, it’s not really about time. Powell’s achievement in Dance is to create a narrator who retires from active life-duties in the novel at the end of volume 3, but still gets to tell us everything. Ten years after first reading it, I still don’t know how the trick is done, but I hope to work it out some day.
www.press.uchicago.ed/dance-to-the-music
www.amazon.co.uk/dance-to-the-music…

Cold Comfort Farm Stella Gibbons

Cold Comfort Farm along with Leave it to Psmith by P. G. Wodehouse, is one of the few novels I’ve always had to hand in the last couple of years. It is to me what the Pensées (by the Abbé Fausse-Maigre, a fictional philosopher) are to the novel’s heroine Flora Poste as she introduces order among the Starkadders, her relatives in Sussex. Unlike Leave it to Psmith, however, there isn’t an edition of the novel that I’m pleased to own. None of them are right. They’re all either maniacally jolly, or in pastels (it’s written by a woman!), or have Kate Beckinsale’s face on them (There was a BBC adaptation a few years ago). A plea to NYRB Classics?
www.amazon.co.uk/cold-comfort-farm

The Evergreen Review Barney Rosset, Editor

The best account I know of how the great literary magazines affect those who write for them, read them and edit them, is in Bill Buford’s farewell editorial in issue 50 of Granta, the magazine he founded in 1979. (I worked at Granta for seven and a half years, but many issues later and have never met him.) The Evergreen Review was one of the great literary magazines. It was founded by Barney Rosset who went on to start the Grove Press. It was the house magazine of the Beats, and the first to publish several works by Beckett in English. It appeared in a few different formats between 1957 and 1973 but the early issues are the best. It’s not on my bookshelf any more, though. I’m not too embarrassed to say here that I regret giving away the copy I bought at Shakespeare and Company (where else?) last year; it seems a little less embarrassing than asking for it back privately. From now on I will look forward to postal deliveries with a greater sense of hope than usual.
www.evergreenreview.com

Portrait9

Posted by Bryony Quinn

Bryony was It’s Nice That’s first ever intern and worked her way up to assistant online editor before moving on to pursue other interests in the summer of 2012.

Most Recent: Art View Archive

  1. List-2

    Anna Valdez is the kind of artist who makes me want to swathe myself and everything around me in layers of tropical prints and geometric patterns and embrace a new sartorial existence as a wannabe art teacher. Her mastery of textiles is so thorough that some of her pieces almost feel like studies, an effect which makes sense considering her academic interests. With a background in anthropology she paints domestic interiors as though they were portraits, with every detail contributing to the overall effect, whether it be house plants, intricately reproduced book covers, woolly jumpers or oriental rugs.

  2. List

    Australian artist Kit Webster is has long been fascinated with the emotional and psychological tricks he can play through the manipulation of sound and light. His new piece Hypercube is a concentric cubic sculpture with a 120-metre LED set-up that can be controlled using specially-created software. The pre-recorded cycles allow Kit to control the viewer’s experience, speeding the cube up to a frenzy and breaking the tension with meditative moments of calm.

  3. Main

    Apologies if this is a slightly dismayed post, but upon thinking I had stumbled across a gem via Nieves’ announcement of some new zines I was excited to be the first to write about Keegan McHargue on It’s Nice That. Alas I was not, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t shout about his brilliance once more.

  4. List

    When I was a teenager I’d have given my right arm for patches emblazoned with the lyrics of my favourite songs. It was the height of cool to be covered in brightly-coloured band paraphernalia (or at least I thought so). German artist Selma Alaçam clearly thought so too as her latest project Heartstrings combines some of her favourite song lyrics from the likes of Fiona Apple and Depeche Mode. The seven woven rugs – based on the traditional kelim, native to Turkey – have been hand-embroidered with bold typographic verses, whose personal importance is known only to the artist. To the rest of us these embroideries are like beautifully ambiguous album covers, enticing you in with their bright, bold colours.

  5. List

    It’s plain to see that Lee Marshall’s artwork is a product of the digital age; his smooth gradients, vectorised objects and figures apparently created in an early version of Corel Draw all evoke the atmosphere of an abstract digital landscape. But Lee’s creations all exist in the real world as paintings, drawings and sculptures, bringing a unique physicality to environments we’d expect to experience on a flat screen. The Norwich School of Art graduate has been perfecting this signature style since his student days, but with an ever-increasing list of group and solo shows to his name we’re expecting more great things from Lee over the coming months and years.

  6. List

    Let’s all give a big round of applause to the people behind Instagram who, in creating a convenient photo-based social media outlet, also paved the way for Instagram artists. If Instagram is the Impressionist salon of our time, then right at the forefront of this digital gallery is Kalen Hollomon, whose own brand of photo-collage is a tongue-in-cheek giggle at both the fashion industry and at commuters in general, and is hugely popular with it.

  7. List

    It’s fair to say that Interview magazine, founded by Andy Warhol in 1969, had some serious sway over popular culture throughout the 1970s and 80s. With its pop art-driven aesthetic and its constant pursuit of features with the superstars of the day it has grown to occupy seminal status. And this is due in no small part to Richard Bernstein, the artist behind the publication’s iconic cover imagery.

  8. List

    Imagine going to a party with a bunch of your favourite creatives and each picking up a paintbrush, a pot of ink, and creating the drawing equivalent of a huge, diverse orgy on a very long piece of paper. I’m sure for some people that kind of malarkey is the norm, but for most of us, we need the help of an organising body in making experimental ideas and collaborative practice come to life. Enter Sumi Ink Club, the participatory drawing project we first wrote about three years ago which was founded in 2005 by LA-based artists Sarah Rara (I know, right) and Luke Fishbeck. For 13 years now they’ve been the source behind a string of public meeting planned by anybody, anytime, which seek to mirror open social interactions with the act of putting paintbrush to paper.

  9. List

    It’s 100 years since Britain entered the First World War and to mark the centenary, the Tower of London is being surrounded by nearly 900,00 ceramic poppies. Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red is the brainchild of artist Paul Cummins and stage designer Tom Piper and will grow between now and November when there will be 888,246 flowers in the dry moat, one for every British or British Colony soldier killed during the fighting.

  10. Main7

    There was a time when we at It’s Nice That were inundated with internet art – we were having so much submitted to us on a daily basis that it was pouring out of our ears in waxy gifs. It’s pleasing to be faced with it again, a year or two after the craze has kind of died out, when it’s created by someone who actually has a passion and an eye for this stuff and isn’t just jumping on a weird bandwagon.

  11. List

    It feels like Max and Adele at Atelier bingo lead a pretty charmed life. Camped out in the middle of the countryside with their converted studio/barn, it would be easy to resent the life they lead – in fact sometimes it’s very easy indeed. But the work they’re producing – stunning screen prints and collages of abstract forms – keeps me returning to their website time after time, and I just can’t find it in my heart to resent their rural idyll. Though if they called me up tomorrow to invite me to come and live with them, I’d definitely have a hard time saying no.

  12. List

    Here at It’s Nice That we spend an awful lot of time talking about, thinking about and writing about creatives but ultimately we don’t get too many chances to really see what goes on in their day-to-day working lives…until now. Our new collaboration with super-cool eyewear brand Ace & Tate is taking us inside the studios, and inside the minds, of a host of some of our favourite creatives.

  13. List

    Some artists, immensely talented and original though they may be, simply don’t make work that fits in the grandest art galleries of the world. Fortunately for them there are super-cool concept stores created specifically to house such work, and queen of all of these is Colette. Hiro Sugiyama’s surreal, hilarious and altogether unsettling artwork is a natural fit for Paris store Colette’s carefully curated collection of the avant-grade and the offbeat.