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Financial Times

In-progress details of Michael Rakowitz’s sculpture

April is the Cruellest Month’, to be shown in Margate

Photo by Ben Ryan

“April is the cruellest month.” A century after TS Eliot immortalised a pavilion on Margate beach by writing The Waste Land there — “on Margate Sands I can connect nothing with nothing” — another American takes the poem’s opening lines as the title of his new public sculpture for this bleakly beautiful, socially troubled stretch of coast, and teases out many difficult global connections. Unveiled next month as the inauguration of “Waterfronts”, a welcome outdoor sculpture show of new commissions along the south-east coast led by Margate’s Turner Contemporary museum, Michael Rakowitz’s April is the Cruellest Month is a life-size, strangely textured, uneasy figure cast in chalk from Margate, concrete, calcite, sand and earth from Basra, embedded with military medals. It is modelled on the artist’s friend, Daniel Taylor, a young soldier who served with the Royal Artillery in Basra during the 2003 invasion and is now a member of Veterans for Peace UK. Like Eliot in 1921, Rakowitz in 2021 responds to the aftermath of war with a demotic, multi-layered, allusive work built, as the poem declares, from “stony rubbish” and “a heap of broken images”, set in a desolate seascape — “oed’ und leer das Meer” (desolate and empty, the sea).

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