This weekend I went to the introduction course of the Writers’ Academy in Den Haag. I became very enthusiastic about their course Lifestories and Biographies. This might be just right to provide me with the tools to write an (auto)biography that has been simmering in my mind for a few years. A highly visual artists’ book inspired by Jane Morris’ lifestory as seen trough the eyes of her contemporary double.
For a few years now I have been writing down my dreams about Jane Morris and they inspired an off-the-cuff recording with composer Jolle Roelofs for my exhibition at the William Morris Gallery. In the (auto)biography these stories will be intertwined with my real travels to Jane Morris’ cultural heritage and my visual work.
Visiting Jane Morris’ former homes, musea and archives and plunging into the information on the internet I found a huge amount of information describing Jane Morris. I now created a Pinterest page as a moodboard for my (auto)biography. Feel free to connect and watch my long term project grow!
The concept of the current travelling exhibition (now at the William Morris Gallery until 4-1-2015) is perfectly in line with my own exhibition ‘A Memory Palace of Her Own’. Opposite to the room I occupied a few months earlier yet another room is filled with ‘images of Jane as herself’. Photographs, drawings and paintings are juxtaposed with Jane’s embroidery and handwriting. The exhibition offers insight in the relation between Jane as herself and Jane as a muse.
The exhibition illustrates that Jane Morris was multitalented, more than a pretty face. During the opening speech Jan Marsh surprised the William Morris Gallery by donating, on behalf of Frank Sharp, a book with a cover designed by Jane Morris. Photographer India-Roper Evans took photographs of the exhibition and noticed me while I was admiring the recently acquired Honeysuckle, designed by William Morris and embroideried by Jane and Jenny Morris.
After the private view of the exhibition Kirsty Walker accompanied me to visit Kelmscott Manor. They currently exhibit the Centenary Exhibition; photographs that were exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery earlier this year. At Jane Morris’ grave I have paid my homage to Jane even though she lives on in my mind… You can read Kirsty’s review of our trip here.
Photographs from my series ‘A Memory Palace of Her Own’ are exhibited at the William Morris Gallery from 11 January to 9 March 2014. The private view was held on 9 January and included a Q&A with the author Kirsty Walker who wrote this review.
By subtly pervading both my art and my subconscious, Jane Morris has built herself a Memory Palace. Gradually, a very personal relationship with her developed, through a series of remarkable dreams.
A limited edition CD was made especially for the private view of my exhibition ‘A Memory Palace of Her Own’ at the William Morris Gallery in 2014. I greatly enjoyed making this off-the-cuff recording with composer Jolle Roelofs, who is also responsible for the editing of the sound fragments and the improvisations on ukulele and piano.
In this fragment I will be meeting Jane and William Morris. There are no more limited edition CD’s for sale at the William Morris Gallery. If you are interested in a copy just let me know and I can send you one.
Excerpt from an email I received from the curator of the William Morris Gallery, Carien Kremer: ‘We would like to offer you a slot in our 2014 programme, showing the photographs in the Discovery Lounge…It would be great to mark the commemorative year with a contemporary take on Jane’.
What are you proposing to display?
A series of four self-portraits. I visited several of Rossetti, Jane and William Morris’ former homes and took staged photos on location with the photographer Hein van Liempd. Referring to Jane Morris’ life story I transformed her world into my own, adopting contemporary clothing and poses.
How is your work relevant to the William Morris Gallery?
The William Morris Gallery is one of William Morris’ two former homes included in my series ‘A Memory Palace of Her Own’. The other, Red House, was designed exclusively by William Morris and Philip Webb, who collaborated in the design of the ‘Green Dining Room’ which is also shown in my series.
Are there parallels with the collection?
I took photos at Rossetti’s studio, as this is the location of the famous photo series of Jane Morris which was the incentive for my own project. In the archives of the William Morris Gallery I have studied the reproductions of this series. There, I also enjoyed the privilege of reading Jane’s letters. I have incorporated her handwriting in my photo of the Red House.
Why is it of interest to our visitors?
In the course of my trips to London and Oxford I have seen many inspiring works of art and artefacts from various museums, archives and from one depot. In my work, I often refer to these objects or quote from the many works on the Pre-Raphaelites. As an artist, it is my hope that my personal viewpoint will supplement the existing works of art and artefacts in the William Morris Gallery to contribute to Jane and William Morris and Rossetti’s cultural heritage.