Ali Smith: Art in a Time of Lies
In each novel of Ali Smith’s Seasonal quartet, the narrative closely follows real world events. Brexit, the internment of migrants and the Coronavirus pandemic: each is woven into the fabric of Autumn, Winter, Spring and Summer, lending them a keen sense of relevance. But look again at this group of genuinely novel novels, and there are countless references – from other times and other places – to artists and thinkers.
Visual artists Barbara Hepworth and Tacita Dean; filmmaker Lorenza Mazzetti; writers Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare – why do they have such a profound influence on Smith’s characters? Is art simply a displacement activity, a diversion from the ‘real things’ happening in the world? Or could it be that Ali Smith’s achievement is to reveal – with her trademark nimbleness – just how important art can be in helping make sense of a stupid, shameful, schismatic world?
The highly-respected Scottish novelist has teamed up with artist Sarah Wood to create a new short film made uniquely for Edinburgh. Art in a Time of Lies, directed and edited by Wood; written and narrated by Smith, will be shown today only and will not be available on-demand after the live event.
After the screening, Smith talks about her writing and some of the artists who have inspired her with Festival director Nick Barley.