Writer JG Ballard, the great dystopian visionary, said in an interview back in 1975, ‘I think I always was a frustrated painter.’ He went on to say: ‘They are all paintings, really, my novels and stories… I approach many of these stories of mine, like the Vermilion Sands stories – even the novels like Crash – as a sort of visual experience.’ This comment appears in Extreme Metaphors – Interviews with J.G. Ballard 1967-2008, in which he frequently declares his love affair with visual art.
And, in 2003, in an interview with art critic Hans Ulrich Obrist, Ballard said, ‘I think the surrealist painters had the biggest influence on me – De Chirico, Ernst, Dali and Delvaux. These are all painters of mysterious and disconnected landscapes, through which the few human beings drift in a state of dream-like trance, which had a direct and powerful appeal for me.’
Art’s science fictional turn
Ballard’s enchantment with art has been reciprocated over the decades as artists have taken inspiration from science fiction, and there’s no sign of abatement. Two exhibitions in London this month present solo shows by artists who specifically respond to Ballard. I rushed to both exhibitions clutching my copy of Extreme Metaphors. Read more