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.

From The Blog
9 May 2024

The first room of Zineb Sedira’s exhibition Dreams Have No Titles (at the Whitechapel Gallery until 12 May) is both inviting and confusing. 

At Wiels: Marc Camille Chaimowicz

Brian Dillon, 10 August 2023

Jade?​ Arsenic? Celadon? Eau de nil? I can’t remember ever worrying so much about the way I might describe the colours at an exhibition. A glass vase in the shape of a grasping hand, from which emerges the outline of a photographed bunch of dead blooms, and beside this a lacquer box panelled in a similar green: many such artefacts and finishes in Marc Camille Chaimowicz: Nuit...

Biographies​ of great photographers tend, as you might imagine, to include the moment their subject acquired a camera and took a first shot. We’re asked to conjure little Henri Cartier-Bresson, or Jacques Henri Lartigue, on holiday with his parents and a Box Brownie, everyone eager for images. Chris Killip, who was born in 1946 and died in 2020, had never owned a camera or taken a...

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...

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...

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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...

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