John Berger was born in London in 1926. His many books, innovative in form and far-reaching in their historical and political insight, include the Booker Prize-winning novel G, To the Wedding and King. Amongst his outstanding studies of art and photography are Another Way of Telling, The Success and Failure of Picasso, Titian: Nymph and Shepherd (with Katya Berger) and the internationally acclaimed Ways of Seeing. He lives and works in a small village in the French Alps, the setting for his trilogy Into Their Labours (Pig Earth, Once in Europa and Lilac and Flag). His collection of essays The Shape of a Pocket was published in 2001.
This wonderfully creative Booker Prize winning novelist has produced a rich and powerful collection of linked yet seemingly disparate stories set around one man and his encounters on his travels with the spirit of his mother who died many years earlier. Very poignant.
In this classic of art criticism, one of our foremost cultural historians grapples with the life and work of one of the twentieth century's most mercurial and prodigious artists. In The Success and Failure of Picasso, John Berger places the artist in the historical, social and political contexts that made his work possible.
'It's an improbable city, Bologna - like one you might walk through after you have died.' A dreamlike meditation on memory, food, paintings, a fond uncle and the improbable beauty of Bologna, from the visionary thinker and art critic. Penguin Modern: fifty new books celebrating the pioneering spirit of the iconic Penguin Modern Classics series, with each one offering a concentrated hit of its contemporary, international flavour. Here are authors ranging from Kathy Acker to James Baldwin, Truman Capote to Stanislaw Lem and George Orwell to Shirley Jackson; essays radical and inspiring; poems moving and disturbing; stories surreal and fabulous; taking us from the deep South to modern Japan, New York's underground scene to the farthest reaches of outer space.
John Berger, one of the world's most celebrated storytellers and writers on art, takes us through centuries of drawing and painting, revealing his lifelong fascination with a diverse cast of artists. In penetrating and singular prose, Berger presents entirely new ways of thinking about artists both canonized and obscure, from Rembrandt to Henry Moore, Jackson Pollock to Picasso.
A pictoral essay by the great art critic, novelist and long-time smoker, John Berger, and Turkish writer and illustrator Sel uk Demirel. Once upon a time, men, women and (secretly) children smoked. This charming illustrated work reflects on the cultural implications of smoking, and suggests, through a series of brilliantly inventive illustrations, that society's attitude to smoke is both paradoxical and intolerant. It portrays a world in which smokers, banished from public places, must encounter one another as outlaws. Meanwhile, car exhausts and factory chimneys continue to pollute the atmosphere. Smoke is a beautifully illustrated prose poem that lingers in the mind. A cigarette is a breathing space. It makes a parenthesis. The time of a cigarette is a parenthesis, and if it is shared you are both in that parenthesis. It's like a proscenium arch for a dialogue. - John Berger (in interview)
As leading radical writer on art John Berger celebrates his ninetieth year, he brings a lifetime's engagement with the ideas, artists, and thinkers that have shaped his thinking: Walter Benjamin, Rosa Luxemburg and Bertolt Brecht among them. In Landscapes Berger allows us to see the evolution of his own way of seeing. He explores the relationship between creativity and politics and the revolutionary potential of art through a series of different forms. As always, in this book, Berger pushes at the limits of art writing, demonstrating beautifully how his painter's eyes lead him to refer to himself only as a storyteller. A landscape is, to John Berger, like a portrait, an animating, liberating metaphor rather than a rigid definition. Landscapes offers a tour of the history of art, but not as you know it. Landscapes brings together Berger's most penetrating insights into how we may engage with both art and the artist in society.
'Language is a body, a living creature ... and this creature's home is the inarticulate as well as the articulate'. John Berger's work has revolutionized the way we understand visual language. In this new book he writes about language itself, and how it relates to thought, art, song, storytelling and political discourse today. Also containing Berger's own drawings, notes, memories and reflections on everything from Albert Camus to global capitalism, Confabulations takes us to what is 'true, essential and urgent'.
From the War on Terror to resistance in Ramallah and traumatic dislocation in the Middle East, Berger explores the uses of art as an instrument of political resistance. Visceral and passionate, Hold Everything Dear is a profound meditation on the far extremes of human behaviour, and the underlying despair. Looking at Afghanistan, Palestine, and Iraq, he makes an impassioned attack on the poverty and loss of freedom at the heart of such unnecessary suffering. These essays offer reflections on the political at the core of artistic expression and even at the center of human existence itself.
In one of the most eloquent accounts of photography ever devised (originally published in 1982 and unavailable for many years), the writer John Berger and the photographer Jean Mohr set out to understand the fundamental nature of photography and how it makes its impact. Asking a range of questions - What is a photograph? What do photographs mean? How can they be used? - they give their answers in terms of a photograph as `a meeting place where the interests of the photographer, the photographed, the viewer and those who are using the photography are often contradictory'. From these beginnings they develop a theory of photography that has at its centre the form's essential ambiguity, arguing that photography is totally unlike a film and has nothing to do with reportage. Rather, it constitutes `another way of telling'. The unique combination of critic and photographer results in a work that moves beyond the landmarks established by Walter Benjamin, Roland Barthes and Susan Sontag to establish a new theory of photography. This unique combination of words and pictures includes 230 photographs by Jean Mohr.
In 1966 John Berger spent three months in the Forest of Dean shadowing an English country GP, John Sassall. Sassall is a fortunate man - his work occupies and fulfils him, he lives amongst the patients he treats, the line between his life and his work is happily blurred. In A Fortunate Man, Berger's text and the photography of Jean Mohr reveal with extraordinary intensity the life of a remarkable man. It is a portrait of one selfless individual and the rural community for which he became the hub. Drawing on psychology, biography and medicine A Fortunate Man is a portrait of sacrifice. It is also a profound exploration of what it means to be a doctor, to serve a community and to heal. With a new introduction by writer and GP, Gavin Francis.
The seventeenth-century philosopher Baruch Spinoza-generally known as Benedict (or Bento) de Spinoza-spent the most intense years of his short life writing. A keen draughtsman, he also carried with him a sketchbook. After his sudden death, his friends rescued letters, manuscripts, notes, but apparently didn't find a sketchbook. Or, if they did, it was subsequently lost. For years, John Berger has imagined Bento's sketchbook being found, not knowing what he hoped to find in it, but wanting to reread his words while being able to look at the things Bento had seen with his own eyes. When one day a friend gave John a blank sketchbook he began to draw: not like a seventeenth-century Dutch amateur, nor to try and illustrate Bento's thoughts, but drawing, in Spinoza's company, from life today, and telling stories and asking questions. A book of images and words, Bento's Sketchbook is an exploration of the practice of drawing, about where and to what it leads. It is, too, a beautiful, clear-sighted meditation on how we perceive, and seek to explain, our ever-changing relationship with the world around us.
John Berger's writings on photography are some of the most original of the twentieth century. This selection contains many groundbreaking essays and previously uncollected pieces written for exhibitions and catalogues in which Berger probes the work of photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson and W. Eugene Smith - and the lives of those photographed - with fierce engagement, intensity and tenderness. The selection is made and introduced by Geoff Dyer, author of the award-winning The Ongoing Moment. How do we see the world around us? This is one of a number of pivotal works by creative thinkers whose writings on art, design and the media have changed our vision for ever. John Berger was born in London in 1926. His acclaimed works of both fiction and non-fiction include the seminal Ways of Seeing and the novel G., which won the Booker Prize in 1972. In 1962 he left Britain permanently, and he now lives in a small village in the French Alps. Geoff Dyer is the author of four novels and several non-fiction books. Winner of the Lannan Literary Award, the International Centre of Photography's 2006 Infinity Award and the American Academy of Arts and Letters's E. M. Forster Award, Dyer is also a regular contributor to many publications in the UK and the US. He lives in London.
Honore Daumier (1808-1879) is perhaps best known for his political and social caricatures, precise and witty observations of life in nineteenth-century France. This authoritative new study provides a long-overdue assessment of his entire oeuvre, bringing together his paintings, sculptures, watercolours, drawings and lithographs, all of which were greatly admired in his lifetime. Later feted by Van Gogh and Picasso, Daumiers art continues to be appreciated by such contemporary artists as Paula Rego and Peter Doig. Lavishly illustrated with works from throughout Daumiers career, including the satirical lithographs that made his name, the book focuses on the innovative paintings and drawings that formed his more private output. These lesser-known works reveal the artists ambitious range of subject-matter, from Cervantess Don Quixote to the complete spectrum of Parisian street society, and confirm Daumiers unique place in nineteenth-century French art.
In this luminous novel about a modern Don Juan, John Berger relates the story of G., a young man forging an energetic sexual career in Europe during the early years of the last century as Europe teeters on the brink of war. With profound compassion, Berger explores the hearts and minds of both men and women, and what happens during sex, to reveal the conditions of the libertine's success: his essential loneliness, the quiet cumulation in each of his sexual experiences of all of those that precede it, the tenderness that infuses even the briefest of his encounters, and the way women experience their own extraordinariness through their liaisons with him. Set against the turbulent backdrop of Garibaldi's attempt to unite Italy, the failed revolution of Milanese workers in 1898, the Boer War and the dramatic first flight across the Alps, G. is a brilliant novel about the search for intimacy in the turmoil of history.
Environmental Restoration is the product of a ground-breaking conference on ecological restoration, held in January 1988 at the University of California, Berkeley. It offers an overview from the nation's leading experts of the mcurrtechniques of restoration, including examples of the complex and subtle biological interactions we must understand to ensure success.Chapters cover restoration of agricultural lands, barrens, coastal ecosystems, prairies, and range lands. Additional sections address temperate forests and watersheds, mined lands, soil bioengineering, urban issues including waste treatmand solid, toxic, and radioactive waste management. The book also covers restoration of aquatic systems, includes chapters on strategic planning and land acquisition, and provides examples of successful projects.
'Cataract from Greek kataraktes, meaning waterfall or portcullis, an obstruction that descends from above.' Notes and reflections by one of our great soothsayers of seeing, John Berger, on the minor miracle of cataract surgery. With drawings by the Turkish artist Selcuk Demirel. 'If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite.' - William Blake
Why does the Western world look to migrant laborers to perform the most menial tasks? What compels people to leave their homes and accept this humiliating situation? In A Seventh Man, John Berger and Jean Mohr come to grips with what it is to be a migrant worker--the material circumstances and the inner experience--and, in doing so, reveal how the migrant is not so much on the margins of modern life, but absolutely central to it. First published in 1975, this finely wrought exploration remains as urgent as ever, presenting a mode of living that pervades the countries of the West and yet is excluded from much of its culture.
Exiled in London, the Hungarian artist Janos Lavin disappears one day, into thin air. His journal offers his friend John the only clues to where he has gone, and why. John Berger's first novel is a passionate exploration of the artistic process, and a gripping detective story.
John Berger broke new ground with his penetrating writings on life, art and how we see the world around us. Here he explores how the ancient relationship between man and nature has been broken in the modern consumer age, with the animals that used to be at the centre of our existence now marginalized and reduced to spectacle. Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves - and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives - and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization and helped make us who we are.
A mother and father, estranged for years, are travelling across Europe to their daughter's wedding. Vibrant, beautiful Ninon has fallen in love with the young Italian Gino. She is twenty-three years old - and she is dying of AIDS. As their wedding approaches, the story of Ninon and Gino unfolds. On their wedding day, Ninon will take off her shoes and dance with Gino: they will dance as if they will never tire; as if their happiness is eternal; as if death will never touch them. To the Wedding is a novel of devastating heartache, soaring hope and above all, love that triumphs over death.
As a novelist, essayist, and cultural historian, John Berger is a writer of dazzling eloquence and arresting insight whose work amounts to a subtle, powerful critique of the canons of our civilization. In About Looking he explores our role as observers to reveal new layers of meaning in what we see. How do the animals we look at in zoos remind us of a relationship between man and beast all but lost in the twentieth century? What is it about looking at war photographs that doubles their already potent violence? How do the nudes of Rodin betray the threats to his authority and potency posed by clay and flesh? And how does solitude inform the art of Giacometti? In asking these and other questions, Berger alters the vision of anyone who reads his work.
In a dusty, ramshackle town lives A'ida. Her insurgent husband Xavier has been imprisoned. Resolute, sensuous and tender, A'ida's letters to the man she loves tell of daily events in the town, and of its motley collection of inhabitants whose lives flow through hers. But the town is under threat, and as a faceless power inexorably encroaches from outside, so the smallest details and acts of humanity assume for A'ida a life-affirming significance, acts of resistance against the forces that might otherwise extinguish them.
Based on the BBC television series, John Berger's Ways of Seeing is a unique look at the way we view art, published as part of the Penguin on Design series in Penguin Modern Classics. 'Seeing comes before words. The child looks and recognizes before it can speak.' 'But there is also another sense in which seeing comes before words. It is seeing which establishes our place in the surrounding world; we explain that world with words, but word can never undo the fact that we are surrounded by it. The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled.' John Berger's Ways of Seeing is one of the most stimulating and influential books on art in any language. First published in 1972, it was based on the BBC television series about which the Sunday Times critic commented: 'This is an eye-opener in more ways than one: by concentrating on how we look at paintings . . . he will almost certainly change the way you look at pictures.' By now he has. John Berger (b. 1926) is an art critic, painter and novelist.born in Hackney, London. His novel G. (1972) won both the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Booker Prize. If you enjoyed Ways of Seeing, you might like Susan Sontag's On Photography, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'Berger has the ability to cut right through the mystification of professional art critics ... he is a liberator of images: and once we have allowed the paintings to work on us directly, we are in a much better position to make a meaningful evaluation' Peter Fuller, Arts Review 'The influence of the series and the book ... was enormous ... It opened up for general attention areas of cultural study that are now commonplace' Geoff Dyer in Ways of Telling 'One of the most influential intellectuals of our time' Observer
In a dazzling fusion of Quentin Fiore's bold and inventive graphic design and Marshall McLuhan's unique insight into technology, advertising and mass-media, The Medium is the Massage is a unique study of human communication in the twentieth century, published in Penguin Modern Classics Marshall McLuhan is the man who predicted the all-pervasive rise of modern mass media. Blending text, image and photography, his 1960 classic The Medium is the Massage illustrates how the growth of technology utterly reshapes society, personal lives and sensory perceptions, so that we are effectively transformed by the means we use to communicate. His theories, many of which are illustrated in this astonishing 'inventory of effects', force us to question how modes of communication have shaped society. This concept, and his ideas such as rolling, up-to-the-minute news broadcasts and the media 'Global Village' have proved decades ahead of their time. How do we see the world around us? The 'Penguin on Design' series includes the works of creative thinkers whose writings on art, design and the media have changed our vision forever. Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980) was a Canadian educator, philosopher and scholar - a professor of English Literature, a literary critic and a communications theorist. McLuhan's work is viewed as one of the cornerstones of the study of media theory. Among his other works are The Mechanical Bride (1951), The Gutenberg Galaxy (1962) and Understanding Media (1964). Quentin Fiore (b. 1920) is a graphic designer renowned for his collaborations with writers including the academic Marshall McLuhan and the futurist and engineer Buckminster Fuller. If you enjoyed The Medium is the Massage, you might like Bruno Munari's Design as Art, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'The media prophet of the 1960s' The New York Times 'In the tumult of the digital revolution, McLuhan is relevant anew' Wired
This title is published on the 6th anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan, the beginning of the 'War on Terror', John Berger, Naomi Klein, Arundhati Roy, Joe Sacco and others examine the consequences. On October 7th 2001, US-led forces invaded Afghanistan, marking the start of George Bush and Tony Blair's War on Terror . Six years on, where have the policies of Bush and Blair left us? Bringing together some of the finest contemporary writers, this wide-ranging anthology, from reportage and faction to fiction, explores the impact of this long war throughout the world, from Palestine to Iraq, Abu Ghraib, the curtailment of civil liberties and manipulation of public opinion. Published in conjunction with Stop the War Coalition and United for Peace and Justice , it provides an urgent, necessary reflection on the causes and consequences of the ideological War on Terror.
This wonderfully creative Booker Prize winning novelist has produced a rich and powerful collection of linked yet seemingly disparate stories set around one man and his encounters on his travels with the spirit of his mother who died many years earlier. Very poignant.
'Those who read or listen to our stories see everything as though through a lens. This lens is the secret of narration, and it is ground anew in every story, ground between the temporal and the timeless ...In our brief mortal lives, we are grinders of these lenses'. When John Berger wrote this apparently unclassifiable book, it was to become a sensation, translated into nine languages and indelible from the minds of those who read it. This stunning work is a shoebox filled with delicate love letters containing poetry and thoughts on mortality, art, love and absence, capturing moments in time that hover above Berger's surprising landscapes. From his lyrical description of the works of Caravaggio and profound explorations of death and immigration to the sight of some lilac at dusk in the mountains, this is a beautiful and most intimate response to the world around us.
This book is first a dialogue between a daughter and a father about life, physical sensation, mortality. Both seem to listen to the other with great attention. Secondly it is the extraordinary vehicle for a series of insights into the everyday life and the art of the great Venetian master, following an uncanny incident at the large exhibition of his work staged in Venice in 1990. While attending the exhibition Katya meets an old man, who she becomes convinced can only be the ghost of the great painter. Her 'spiritual' visitor engages her in conversation about the minute particularities of painting some of the pictures there. She shares this experience with her father in a letter. He accepts the encounter at face value and discusses the historical background to the old man's remarks, seeking answers to a series of evidential questions about his daughter's encounter. From then on, the three of them, the old painter, the daughter, and the father discuss animals, Greece, fur, sexuality, the strangeness of drawing.
John Berger writes: 'The pocket in question is a small pocket of resistance. A pocket is formed when two or more people come together in agreement. The resistance is against the inhumanity of the new world economic order. The people coming together are the reader, me and those the essays are about - Rembrandt, Palaeolithic cave painters, a Romanian peasant, ancient Egyptians, an expert in the loneliness of certain hotel bedrooms, dogs at dusk, a man in a radio station. And unexpectedly, our exchanges strengthen each of us in our conviction that what is happening to the world today is wrong, and that what is often said about it is a lie. I've never written a book with a greater sense of urgency.'
Booker wining novelist, playwright, essayist, poet and critic - even admirers rarely know John Berger in all his literary incarnations. This collection of essays will, for the first time, take a definitive look at his extraordinary career. Far from being footnotes to the main body of work Berger's essays are absolutely central to it. Many of the ideas of the groundbreaking Ways of Seeing were presented first in essays published in New Society. Polemical, reflective, radically original, Berger's wide-ranging essays emphasise the continuities that have underpinned more than 40 years of tireless intellectual inquiry and political engagement. Viewed chronologically they add up, in fact, to a kind of vicarious autobiography and a history of our time as refracted through the prism of art. Edited by Geoff Dyer, and published on the occasion of his 75th birthday, this is an essential collection by one of the world's greatest writers.
This title offers a furious homage to the homeless and a lyrical meditation on language and experience. You will be led to a place you haven't been, from where few stories come. You will be led by King, a dog (or is he?) to a wasteland beside the motorway called Saint Valery.
This is a collection of interwoven stories, this is a portrait of two worlds - a small Alpine village bound to the earth and by tradition, and the restless, future-driven culture that will invade it - at their moment of collision. The instrument of entrapment is love. Lives are lost and hearts broken.
In the mythic city of Troy, amidst the shanty-towns, factories, opulent hotels, fading heritages and steadfast dreams, the children and grandchildren of rural peasants pursue meagre livings as best they can. And two young lovers embark upon a passionate journey of love and survival.
Set in a small village in the French Alps, Pig Earth relates the stories of sceptical, hard-working men and fiercely independent women. This book is an act of reckoning that conveys the precise wealth and weight of a world we are losing.
This volume presents a collection of Martine Francke's photographs - her own favourites - grouped within themes of childhood, the theatre, the Orient, old age, portraits, museums and landscapes. In creating her pictures, which range from portraits of Michel Foucault and Marc Chagall, Franck sees the camera as a frontier...that one is constantly breaking down so as to get closer to the subject . The foreword includes a faxed conversation between Franck and John Berger, the author and art critic.
Mark Dion (b.1961) is an American artist who, in making his art, metamorphoses into explorer, biochemist, detective and archaeologist. In his gallery installations around Europe and America since the 1980s, Dion has constructed the laboratories, experiments and museum caches of the great historical naturalists - following in their footsteps in his own adventurous, eco-inspired journeys to the tropics. His research and magical collections are presented in installational still lifes that combine taxidermic animals with lab equipment artefacts, like walk-through Wunderkammers and life-sized cabinets of curiosity. Lias Graziose Corrin, Director of the Williams College Museum of Art, surveys Dion's most significant works and his ongoing investigations into natural history's obsession with categorizing nature. Critic and theorist Miwon Kwon talks to the artist about the interface between ecology and culture and the phenomenon of site-specific art. Norman Bryson, Professor of Art History at the University of California, San Diego, makes an iconographical analysis of The Library for the Birds of Antwerp, an indoor sculpture Dion constructed for 18 live African finches in 1993. The artist has selected a text by novelist Jon Berger, one of the first post-war thinkers to analyze the position of animals in a capitalist society. The book also features Dion's own provocative, witty and often lyrical writing on nature and his role as an artist engaged in environmental issues.
This is a collection of portraits of a shepherd, a farmer, a painter and blind man, a sylph of Byzantine arrogance and a vagabond cyclist with primroses growing in her basket. The backgrounds range from Prague, Paris, Athens, Lahore and countrysides and mountainscapes. John Berger is the author of About Looking , Ways of Seeing , Art and Revolution , G - for which he won the Booker Prize, and the trilogy Into Their Labours , consisting of Pig Earth , Once in Europe and Lilac and Flag . His latest novel is To the Wedding .
Winer of a 1994 Time Out Theatre Award and TMA/Martini Award for Best UK Touring Production Lucie Cabrol is a wild, tiny woman born into a peasant family in France in 1900. Abandoned by her lover, Jean, and banished by her family, she becomes an outcast. She survives her second life by smuggling goods across the border. But it is not until her thrid life, her afterlife, that she discovers the survival of something more than bare human existence - the survival of hope and love. In Simon McBurney's exhilarating production the story becomes an unsentimental evocation of peasant life, a hymn to the tenacity of love and a Brechtian fable about the world's unfairness...Complicite's brilliant technique is used to express Berger's ideas...Complicite have matured into greatness. (Michael Billington, Guardian)