David Jones, artist and poet (1895-1974) begins his PREFACE TO THE ANATHEMATA :

'I have made a heap of all that I could find.' (1) So wrote Nennius, or whoever composed the introductory matter to Historia Brittonum. He speaks of an 'inward wound' which was caused by the fear that certain things dear to him 'should be like smoke dissipated'. Further, he says, 'not trusting my own learning, which is none at all, but partly from writings and monuments of the ancient inhabitants of Britain, partly from the annals of the Romans and the chronicles of the sacred fathers, Isidore, Hieronymous, Prosper, Eusebius and from the histories of the Scots and Saxons although our enemies . . . I have lispingly put together this . . . about past transactions, that [this material] might not be trodden under foot'. (2)

(1) The actual words are coacervavi omne quod inveni, and occur in Prologue 2 to the Historia.
(2) Quoted from the translation of Prologue 1. See The Works of Gildas and Nennius, J.A.Giles, London 1841.

19 December 2008

Polly want a cracker?


This image is scanned from today's THE AGE (Melbourne). Above it, the newsprint edition has the headline Gallery calls for donations to keep a 'cracker' and underneath, the caption reads Visitors admire Cornelis de Vos' Mother and Child, a painting the National Gallery of Victoria would like to own.

Visitors?_bLOGOS/HA HA wonders if this might be another farce work by The Golden Guillotine. Again, all the familiar signs are to be seen : an Actor of Looking set in appropriate pose on the INSIDE of the proscenium barrier (see detail below) and, as the formal projection-space is titled Mother and child, for a simple one-to-one the Actor of Looking is also a woman, is of similar age to the Mother depicted, and even matches her with a black dress and white collar. Aha. Oh, yes. Mmmm...

The tableau then extends into the fictional-real space OUTSIDE this No Man's Land. There, Actor of Looking with Golden Guillotine is flanked by the shadowy silhouettes of an older man with a camera, behind her , and a younger woman approaching.

Such works always have a text component:

The painting, Mother and Child by the Flemish artist Cornelis de Vos, is on loan from a London dealer while the NGV tries to raise the $1.4 million purchase price.

Director Gerard Vaughan said it was in pristine condition and described it as very well priced. "It would break my heart to have to pack it in its case and send it back," he said. "It will transform our collection and pull it all together and give it focus. This is as good as you get — it's a cracker."