Siegfried Herz, 'Franz Kafka'

Few artists in any discipline have had their names entered into the English language as adjectives, but the Prague-born writer Franz Kafka is one of the them, and ‘Kafkaesque’ has entered the lexicon to refer to the bizarre and nightmarish omnipresence of unknown powers and the futile efforts of those who are trapped in their arbitrary labyrinths.

In the centenary year of his death, KAFKAesque at the Dox Centre for Contemporary Art (until Sep 22) features work by three dozen artists who have dealt with Kafka in some way. They include British artist Mat Collishaw’s life-size, animatronic skeleton of a deer which slips, buckles and falls in real time according to an algorithm which evaluates hateful posts on X (formerly Twitter), Belgian artist Johan Tahon’s sculpture Double Kafka or Father, which refers to Kafka’s problematic relationship with his father while exploring themes of loneliness, authority and the search for an autonomous identity, and Czech artist Pavel Büchler’s sound installation made of dozens of megaphones blaring fragments of Kafka’s The Castle in a dehumanised, robotic voice.