A brush with...

In-depth artist interviews

A brush with..., sponsored by Bloomberg Connects, is a podcast by The Art Newspaper that features in-depth conversations with leading international artists. Host Ben Luke asks the questions you've always wanted to: who a

A brush with... John Akomfrah

Season 12, Ep. 4
Ben Luke talks to John Akomfrah about his influences—including writers, musicians, film-makers and, of course, other artists—and the cultural experiences that have shaped his life and work.Akomfrah was born in Accra, Ghana, in 1957 but has been based in London since he was a child. From his early years with the Black Audio Film Collective to his recent works as a solo artist, he has explored major issues—including racial injustice, colonialist legacies, diasporic identities, migration and climate change—through a distinctive approach to memory and history. First shown on television and in the cinema, his films are increasingly made for museums and galleries, in the form of ambitious, often epic, multi-screen video installations. He is one of the great film-makers of the last few decades. He discusses discovering Jackson Pollock through Ornette Coleman’s Free Jazz album, his early experiences of the Tate Gallery and ongoing love of J.M.W. Turner’s paintings, his passion for John Milton’s Paradise Lost and Virginia Woolf’s The Waves, and his enduring engagement with music from post-punk to John Luther Adams. He also gives us insight into his studio life and answers our usual questions, including the ultimate one: what is art for?John Akomfrah: Purple, Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C., 28 October–summer 2023; The Unfinished Conversation, Tate Britain, London, until the end of 2022. A new work will be shown at the Sharjah Biennial, 7 February-11 June 2023, and The Box, Plymouth, UK, from December 2023.

A brush with... William Kentridge

Season 12, Ep. 3
Ben Luke talks to William Kentridge about his influences—from the worlds of literature, music, film and, of course, art—and the cultural experiences that have shaped his life and work. Kentridge was born in 1955 in Johannesburg, South Africa, and began his career making large-scale drawings. But his work has grown to encompass film and video installation, sculpture, tapestry, sound, performance, and puppetry. It teems with imagery and ideas, reflecting on his autobiography, on the inequities of Apartheid South Africa, but also on broader histories from colonialism to communism and beyond. He discusses being surrounded by Miró and Matisse as a child, his homages to Beckmann and Manet, the enduring power of composers like Shostakovich and early filmmakers like Georges Méliès, and the poetry of Vladimir Mayakovsky. Plus, he gives insight into life in his studio, and answers our usual questions, including the ultimate: what is art for?William Kentridge, Royal Academy of Arts, London, until 11 December; William Kentridge: Oh To Believe in Another World, Goodman Gallery, London, 1 October-12 November. William Kentridge: In Praise of Shadows, the Broad, Los Angeles, 12 November-9 April 2023. William Kentridge: That Which We Do Not Remember, M. K. Čiurlionis National Museum Of Art, Kaunas, Lithuania, until 30 November. Kentridge’s series of short films, Self Portrait as a Coffee Pot, is shown at the ICA, London, as part of the BFI London Film Festival on 7 October.