WAYS OF SEEING, by John Berger
Selected by Roberto Mansilla
“Why should we read Ways of Seeing by John Berger? Because, like his entire artistic body of work, it challenges us to see things differently. He introduces new ideas in questions we thought were already solved, he help us understand art history and how it developed and was codified, and, on top of it all, he even raises new questions about it. All of it is written in a lovely style, clear and straight to the point. Like all his work.”
– Roberto Mansilla
About the Book
In 1972, the BBC broadcast John Berger’s television series called Ways of Seeing, directed by Mike Dibb. At the same time, the book with the same name was published as a companion text, like an introduction to the study of images. The work, originally inspired by Walter Benjamin’s essay The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, quickly became a reference and started to be often used as a university text. The book consists of seven numbered essays: four using words and images; and the remaining three essays using only images. The book has contributed to feminist readings of popular culture, through essays that focus particularly on depictions of women in advertisements and oil paintings. Today, Ways of Seeing is considered a seminal text for current studies of visual culture and art history.
About the Author
John Berger is an English art critic, novelist, painter and poet. Born in Hackney, near London, John Berger received a higher education in the Chelsea School of Art and the Central School of Art in London. He began his career as a painter. His works were exhibited in several important galleries, including the Wildenstein, Redfern and Leicester Galleries in London. In more recent essays, Berger has written about photography, art, politics, and memory. He published in The Shape of a Pocket and written short stories appeared in the Threepenny Review and The New Yorker. His sole volume called Pages of the Wound was published to celebrate John Berger’s 70th birthday and is a collection of his poems, drawings and photographs. His studies of single artists include most prominently The Success and Failure of Picasso, published in 1965, a survey of Pablo Picasso’s career. He continues to write novels, one of the last ones being From A to X, that was longlisted for the 2008 Booker Prize.