Violet Hudson

If Art Critics Ruled the World

On Wandsworth Bridge


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On Wandsworth Bridge is many things. It is an acerbic satire on the art world. It is a sci-fi novel in which time travel features freely. It is a love story. It is a feminist exploration of the place of women in the world, now and in the future. It is a warning against cults and demagogues. But what it is mostly is a highly original, very strange, wonderful read.

The story opens with a gathering at an art gallery in a city called Lundenwic. Hugo de Lamartine – born Hugh Fisher – has recently published an incomprehensible book on photography entitled Trapped Light. Thanks to sentences such as ‘I am pressed into combat with a differing paradigm, my incorporeal self confronting the choppy waves of another reality’, he has gained access to the inner circle of the art world. He is a monstrous egomaniac and lazy to boot. He has changed his name to sound more exotic. At one point he asks, unironically, ‘can’t we talk about something more interesting … like Art or photography or me.’ Hugo is a poseur of preposterous proportions. He could be anyone at the opening night of a Mayfair exhibition.

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