Friday, December 14, 2012
My Writers' Houses in Chichester
I got back Tuesday night from England where I set up an exhibition in the cosy little Lobby Gallery in Chichester's Oxmarket Centre of Arts. The building is a 13th century former church, wonderfully weathered outside, bright and white in. Above is a (not very good) photo of the poster for the show. Below is one of me looking a bit fierce!
It's a stressful thing to put yourself through, from a practical and physical point of view (I am a migraine sufferer at the best (?) of times) but it's great to see the series (well the ones that haven't already gone to homes that is) up, present, correct and well lit. And to sort out my thoughts about it in an introduction.
Here it is:
The Writers' Houses Project
At about the time I was casting around for a way to interpret Wentworth Place (the Hampstead home of poet John Keats) following a recent inspirational visit, a fortuitous event took place when I found a pile of discarded Vogues put out for the rubbish which I promptly rescued without quite knowing what to do with them. Shortly after came a windfall of dozens of old National Geographics.
At some point as I passed these growing piles it occurred to me I had found my medium: paper, scissors and glue. And I had found myself a project: writers' houses, one which would blend art with my love of literature, buildings, research and a fascination with the past.
It has been said that houses may shape the writers dwelling in them by inspiring or conditioning them. Many of these buildings eventually become museums and places of pilgrimage. In so doing, according to one observer, the house may become a tool that transcends the personal nature of the memories it contains, and grow into a machine to evoke, through remembrance of things past, imagination of a more universal kind.
Intellectual conundrums aside, it has to be admitted that a lot of writers lived in some absolute peaches of houses which are a pleasure to portray.
The challenge I have set myself is to reflect their story.