Midnight in the Kant Hotel is an absorbing account of contemporary art, composed over twenty years. The essays revisit the same artists as they develop, following them in time, changing perspectives as he, and they, develop.
Mengham is a significant curator, organising exhibitions: 'There is no more productive engagement with someone else's artworks than finding the right way to show it, since artworks are always direct statements or questions about articulations of space, and the curator's job obviously is to enhance such questions and statements.' This discipline gives the writer a series of uniquely privileged perspectives, touching, lifting, moving and re-moving the objects: 'nothing compares to living with art'.
The book opens with themes: what is domestic space? what does the atrocity exhibition tell us? what is the refugee aesthetic? Essays on particular artists follow, including Marc Atkins, Stephen Chambers, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Tony Cragg, Antony Gormley, Damien Hirst, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Anselm Kiefer, Laura Owens, Doris Salcedo, Agnes Thurnauer, Koen Vanmechelen and Alison Wilding. Always, he is in dialogue with the work, rather than with the artist.