Monday 8 November 2021

Dante at Bristol - Libri Nuovi

The Dante exhibition and symposium at Bristol university was very different from the previous post but again my own work was based partly around the tree symbolism innate in the crucifixion story that is part of part of Dante's vision of the Harrowing of Hell in his Divine Comedy and specifically the first part of Inferno.

The lower image is of my 'altarpiece' partly opened up; as the book opens you can see that one of my themes is again Climate Crisis, justified by the extreme weather events in Inferno, and instead of Virgil and Beatrice, Dante's guides are David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg.

...and the little opening-out concertina books are arranged around the idea of The Wasteland, which so inspired T S Eliot - who uses several direct quotes from Inferno in his own poem. My 'altarpiece ' was made from re-cycled packaging cardboard, again reinforcing the ecological theme, and the political one, a continuation of my cartoneras on a larger scale - again justified by Dante's approach to the figures of his own time that he 'put in hell' , and with a very contemporary suggestion that we are ALL incriminated and responsible for these people in some way. I used the heads of current 'villains' cut from newspaper articles to populate my collaged hell. 

Of course they quickly go out of date as new ones appear...its an ongoing saga, from Dante to eternity...and I am continuing to make smaller versions.

It was fascinating to see the work of the other 7 artists  - their interests and versions of Dante's ideas and how they made them into artwork - I particularly liked the plywood cut-outs exhibited above my own work for example. I can't speak for the other artists but I think we all found it very enjoyable and stimulating to be in the heart of academia and listening to each other, and to the other very scholarly talks being given both in person and by zoom.


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