Marina Warner - Sign Languages: The Artist as Questor

Art and artists have shaped thinking about sex, death, bodies, evil. The images artists make, in different media, reflect and convey contemporary values while interrogating them and, increasingly in our time, resisting prevalent accepted views and proposing alternatives. Fairy tale and myth provide a language of images and symbols for the inquiries of contemporary artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Kiki Smith, Helen Chadwick, and Julie Mehretu. 

Marina Warner is a writer of fiction, cultural history, and criticism. Her most recent book, Forms of Enchantment: Writings on Art and Artists, is a collection spanning twenty years of thinking about art. Her award-winning study Stranger Magic: Charmed States & the Arabian Nights came out in 2011, and a book of short stories, Fly Away Home, in 2014. In 2015 she was awarded the Holberg Prize in the Arts and Humanities and was made DBE; two years later she was given a World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award and a British Academy Medal. She is currently working on a study of sanctuary, and writing a fiction-essay about her childhood in Cairo. She is Professor of English and Creative Writing at Birkbeck College, a Fellow of the British Academy, and President of the Royal Society of Literature.