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Night Waves

24 January 2005

Monday 24 January 2005 21:30-22:15 (Radio 3)

'Painting is dead - long live painting!' Isabel Hilton deconstructs Charles Saatchi's latest medium of choice ahead of his new year-long exhibitionThe Triumph of Painting. And the Palestinian writer Suad Amiry laughs in despair at the absurdity of daily life under occupation on the West Bank in her new book Sharon and my Mother-in-Law.


45 minutes

Programme Details

The art collector Charles Saatchi has sold the shark and cleared out all the familiar artworks for which he has become known. He has now declared, "throughout a period when photography, video and installation art has been at the forefront of museum attention, painting continues to be the most relevant and vital way that artists choose to communicate." And to illustrate his point he has removed all the Hirsts, Emins and Chapman Brothers from his gallery on London's South Bank. For the next twelve months he has dedicated his space to that most traditional of media - painting - in new exhibition, The Triumph of Painting. In Night Waves, Isabel Hilton is joined by the painter Brad Lochore and critic Julian Stallabrass to assess what we should read into the nation's most famous collector's shift back to art's roots.

The West Bank alone has 370 Israeli-controlled checkpoints, and since the Israeli occupation curfews have been imposed lasting several weeks at a time. We may have seen the news reports and pictures of the grim reality of life under occupation, but a book containing one woman's emails about the day-to-day experience has become a surprise new international success. In Sharon and My Mother-in-Law: Ramallah Diaries, Suad Amiry paints a picture of daily life in turmoil. Yet it also shows many moments of great humour in the face of military aggression and social deprivation. As she explains in her Night Waves interview, "If we don't laugh, we cry. There is nothing in between. It's tragic."

Also, Jonathan Coe's novel about a family facing racial turmoil, adultery and identity crises in Birmingham in the mid '70s comes to the small screen. The critic Chris Dunkley gives his response to Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais's television adaptation of The Rotters' Club.

And the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester has revived Githa Sowerby's pre-World War I domestic drama, Rutherford and Son. It deals with the patriarch of an industrial estate who wants to hand over the reins to his son. But the son has other ideas which have devastating consequences for the unity of the family. Night Waves brings a first-night review live from Manchester.

Night Waves, live at 9.30pm, here on BBC Radio3

Presenter: Isabel Hilton
Producer: Jerome Weatherald

Additional Information:
1) The Triumph of Painting  is at the Saatchi Gallery on London's South Bank from Tuesday January 25.
2) Sharon and My Mother-in-Law: Ramallah Diaries  by Suad Amiry is published in hardback by Granta
3) The Rotters' Club  begins on BBC TWO on Wednesday January 25 at 9pm.
4) Rutherford and Son  is at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester until 19th February.

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