The Temptations. 2017. Screenprint. Edition of 75.
Please join us for the official opening by
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: 14 prints on the theme of a poem
at MoMA Machynlleth
Saturday 24th March at 12.00
Celebrating the collaboration between Clive Hicks-Jenkins and The Penfold Press to make a series of 14 prints inspired by the Faber & Faber 2007 edition of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight translated by Simon Armitage, who will be opening the exhibition and reading from the poem.
Included in the exhibition will be sketches, maquettes, proofs and studies for the series, alongside the 14 prints. An illustrated catalogue with a text by the art historian and curator, James Russell, has been published to celebrate the completion of the project.
I’ll be there in my heart.
Love as ever
The relationship between poetry and painting is a long and distinguished one and it is a relationship which lies at the heart of your work, Clive. The historian Plutarch, in his essay on the Glory of Athens, quoted Simonides, a Greek poet, as saying, “painting is silent poetry and poetry, painting that speaks.” I am sure that anyone fortunate enough to attend the official opening of this exhibition at MoMA Machynlleth will have a rare opportunity to truly understand the meaning of these words, as artist and poet meet to reveal the magic of this 600 year old poem and all the wonders that it has inspired.
I understand that Simon Armitage has always wanted to be a maker, but he says of his hopes of achieving this ambition, “I’m no good at drawing, or making pots, or anything like that, so what I’ve ended up doing is making things with language.” His words made me think of Marly Youmans writing about your time spent as the custodian of Tretower, as her description of your hut, with its “poor man’s Sistine ceiling of poems”, is an image that I will always associate with you on the way to becoming the artist/storyteller we know today, whose art reflects a deeply literary sensibility.
Your attraction to the transformative power of words is something you have in common with the poet who inspired this latest chapter of your fantastic journey, who says of his own discovery of poetry as a teenager, “I remember becoming alert to the idea that there are only twenty-six letters in the alphabet, just black shapes against a white background, but if you can put them in the right order, then you can make incredible things happen in somebody else’s head, in complete silence, across hundreds of miles, across thousands of years. That struck me there and then as an act of primitive magic.”
I hope that the exhibition opening will provide a well-deserved opportunity for you and Dan to celebrate the work you have created together and the important career milestones you have reached. My congratulations go to you both on all that you have achieved.
Oh man, wish I could be there! Armitage is such a brilliant translator and poet.