Massachusetts memento mori


A collection of skeletal carvings from the 17th and 18th century at LUNA Commons.

Update: Well they were there but the database seems to have been rearranged and these photos removed.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Skull cameras
Walmor Corrêa’s Memento Mori
The skull beneath the skin
Vanitas paintings
Very Hungry God
History of the skull as symbol

The art of Peter Randall-Page


Seed (2007).

It was my intention to post something about Peter Randall-Page’s sculptures earlier this year but never got round to it, so the opening of an exhibition of his work at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park this month provides the perfect opportunity. The park’s website has details of the works on view while the artist’s own site has a detailed catalogue of his career. I hadn’t realised until I looked at his list of works that he was responsible for my favourite of Manchester’s small collection of public fountains, the St Ann’s Fountain in St Ann’s Square.

Update: A photo gallery of the works on display.


Rocks in my Bed (2005).

Previously on { feuilleton }
The art of Arnaldo Pomodoro
Sculptural collage: Eduardo Paolozzi
The art of Igor Mitoraj

Stonewall forty years on


It was forty years ago, on the night of the 27th and morning of the 28th of June, 1969, that patrons of the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village rioted after one police raid too many. You can read about it in detail on an unusually thorough (caveat lector) Wikipedia page. Violence, harassment and suspicion is something gay people still have to endure today but in the 1960s things were considerably worse and the riots which began that night marked the point at which gay people in America showed they weren’t going to be pushed around any more. The exact nature of the events is still being argued over but that doesn’t negate their symbolic value. Here in Britain Parliament had grudgingly (and with ridiculous provisos) decriminalised homosexual acts two years earlier but the Stonewall riots have proved a potent enough symbol to lend their name to Britain’s leading gay rights organisation.

Things have improved immeasurably since 1969 but the struggle for basic civil rights continues, whether for marriage equality in many western countries, or for freedom from persecution and execution elsewhere. Martin Luther King said “Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.” Likewise, Oscar Wilde, given two years’ hard labour under the law which wasn’t abolished until 1967, said upon his release, “Yes, we shall win in the end; but the road will be long and red with monstrous martyrdoms.” Most of the time it can feel like we’ve reached the end of Oscar’s road but that’s only true in a handful of countries. Until the map on this page can be turned a single colour, the end of the road for many people will remain out of sight. But the arc of the moral universe is long. And it bends towards justice.

• The Times: Church ‘out of touch’ as public supports equal rights for homosexuals

Previously on { feuilleton }
Over the rainbow
Forty years of freedom after centuries of injustice

In the Shadow of the Sun by Derek Jarman


Extending the recent pagan theme, Ubuweb posts Derek Jarman’s determinedly occult and oneiric film, In the Shadow of the Sun (1980), notable for its soundtrack by Throbbing Gristle. This was the longest of Jarman’s films derived from Super-8 which he made throughout the 1970s between work as a production designer and his feature films. He never saw the low resolution, grain and scratches of Super-8 as a deficiency; on the contrary, for a painter it was a means to achieve with film stock some of the texture of painting. Michael O’Pray described the process and intent behind the film in Afterimage 12 (1985):

In 1973, Jarman shot the central sequences for his first lengthy film, and most ambitious to date, In the Shadow of the Sun, which in fact was not shown publicly until 1980, at the Berlin Film Festival. In the film he incorporated two early films, A Journey to Avebury a romantic landscape film, and The Magician (a.k.a. Tarot). The final sequences were shot on Fire Island in the following year. Fire Island survives as a separate film. In this period, Jarman had begun to express a mythology which he felt underpinned the film. He writes in Dancing Ledge of discovering “the key to the imagery that I had created quite unconsciously in the preceding months”, namely Jung’s Alchemical Studies and Seven Sermons to the Dead. He also states that these books “gave me the confidence to allow my dream-images to drift and collide at random”. The themes and ideas found in Jubilee, The Angelic Conversation, The Tempest and to some extent in Imagining October are powerfully distilled in In the Shadow of the Sun. Jarman’s obsession with the sun, fire and gold (which spilled over in the paintings he exhibited at the ICA in 1984) and an ancient mythology and poetics are compressed in In the Shadow of the Sun with its rich superimposition and painterly textures achieved through the degeneration “caused by the refilming of multiple images”. Jarman describes some of the ideas behind In the Shadow of the Sun:

“This is the way the Super-8s are structured from writing: the buried word-signs emphasize the fact that they convey a language. There is the image and the word, and the image of the word. The ‘poetry of fire’ relies on a treatment of word and object as equivalent: both are signs; both are luminous and opaque. The pleasure of Super-8 is the pleasure of seeing language put through the magic lantern.” Dancing Ledge p.129

Ubuweb also has some of the short films which were used as raw material for the longer work: Journey to Avebury (1971) (with an uncredited soundtrack by Coil), the Kenneth Anger-esque Garden of Luxor (1972), and Ashden’s Walk on Møn (1973).

Update: The Ubuweb films have been removed so I’ve taken out the links. The one for In the Shadow of the Sun now goes to a copy at YouTube.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Derek Jarman at the Serpentine
The Angelic Conversation
The life and work of Derek Jarman

The art of Sibylle Ruppert


Hommage à KS.

The web isn’t the best place to see works by this extraordinary German artist, most of what’s available tends to be tiny thumbnails which give no impression of the detail in her drawings and paintings. Ruppert is another artist who’s been brave enough to try illustrating Lautréamont’s Maldoror but I’ve yet to see anything of her interpretation. Given the nature of both book and pictures one might easily pair any number of her intense and erotic works with Lautréamont’s words.


La Décadence.

These are some of the better online samples, the last one coming from her official site (now defunct, unfortunately) which also includes some recent black and white work but little else. The curious are advised to search book dealers for print portfolios or exhibition catalogues.

See also:
Sibylle Ruppert, 1942–2011
Sibylle Ruppert revisited


Tear out (1984–87).

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The fantastic art archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Maldoror illustrated