Hogan, Eileen (2007) The Poetry Box. [Art/Design Item]
|Type of Research:||Art/Design Item|
‘The Poetry Box’ featured in two solo exhibitions, each consisting of 160 paintings, including preparatory work and related correspondence.
The nineteenth century poetry card game Uta Karuta whose origins united a traditional clamshell-matching game with European playing cards, provided the context for this work.
Combining Hogan’s involvement with book art, and the dynamic between portraiture and biography, this project addressed the relationship between words and images and the nature of portraiture. In an echo of the Japanese game, ‘The Poetry Box’ was created by inviting 100 participants to select a poem. the participants were from a cross-section of ages, occupations and backgrounds, and their choices provided a small-scale survey of who has been reading what and why at the beginning of the twenty-first century.
The game comprises the first and last lines of poems on cards that have related images, including portraits of the poets on the verso. The aim is to match the first and last lines.
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|Additional Information (Publicly available):||
Professor Eileen Hogan is a practising artist and researcher who has exhibited extensively in the UK and America. Her art practice includes painting, book works and printmaking. Since 1980 she has been represented by and had regular solo shows at The Fine Art Society, London. Her work is in numerous public collections, among them the British Library, the Government Art Collection, the Imperial War Museum, The Library of Congress Washington DC, the National Library of Australia, Stanford University and the Yale Center for British Art. Commissions and awards include the brief to record the Women's Royal Naval Services for the Artistic Records Committee of the Imperial War Museum, a Churchill Fellowship for research in America, Australia and Japan on new technology and the arts, and an AHRB award for The Poetry Box, investigating the relationship between words and images and the conventions of portraiture. Recent exhibitions include the Yale Center for British Art (which in addition now owns Hogan’s archive relating to The Poetry Box) and the San Francisco Center for the Book
Hogan was a founding member of the Wellcome Trust committee which inaugurated the Sci-Art Awards, and she is a trustee of the Rootstein Hopkins Foundation. Recent and ongoing projects include a series of workshops, funded under the AHRC Landscape and Environment Programme, on art and travel, for the establishment of a new research centre for the study of art and travel at the National Maritime Museum; a study of the role and practice of the artist in relation to charitable giving which, culminated in 2008 with a publication and a conference at Tate Britain, The Art of Giving: the artist in public and private funding, and a six-year project with the Baring Archive at the ING Bank which investigates the relationship between art and money and the way artists respond to and use archives.
My research is mainly located within fine art and theatre. An important strand concerns the various ways that artists, practitioners and students engage with archives, the concomitant impact that collections and archives can have on practice, and how collections and archives can enhance teaching, learning and research environments within higher education. In the text which follows, I am focusing on my activity with three aspects relating to archives and museum collections, The Poetry Box, The Jocelyn Herbert Archive, and The Baring Archive.
The Poetry Box
My interest in this area began in 2003 when I was invited to create a new work in response to a piece in the Victoria & Albert Museum’s Japanese collection. My chosen artifact was a nineteenth century poetry card game, uta karuta, whose origins united a traditional clamshell-matching game with European playing cards. In an echo of the Japanese game I created The Poetry Box by inviting 100 participants to select a poem; the selectors came from a cross-section of ages, occupations and backgrounds and their choices provided a small-scale survey of who was reading which poets at the beginning of the twenty-first century. The Poetry Box comprises cards bearing the first and last lines of the poems chosen by the selectors. On the back of the first-line cards I painted an image relating to the poems, and on the back of the last-line cards a portrait of each of the poets. (The game is to match the first and last lines.) I was able to secure sittings with the majority of living poets, and my research methods for the remainder included conducting oral history recordings with people who had first-hand memories of the recently deceased poets, as well as an examination of archival material such as photographs and, for those poets who wrote before the age of the camera, paintings and texts describing the individual.
The Jocelyn Herbert Archive
The Herbert Archive spans student drawings made at the London Theatre Studio in the late 1930s to the notebook she was using on the day she died in 2003, when working with Tony Harrison on his new play, Fram (later staged at the National’s Olivier auditorium, a space which Herbert helped to design). Herbert’s archive comprises over 6,000 set and costume drawings alongside related production photographs, notebooks, sketchbooks, diaries, contact books, three-dimensional stage models, ground plans, colour swatches for costumes, research materials, budgets, invoices, puppets, masks and mask moulds. Herbert’s career was characterised by long collaborative relationships with key directors, writers and actors, and her archive holds a significant – and as yet uninvestigated - body of correspondence with figures such as Lindsay Anderson, Samuel Beckett, Tony Harrison, John Osborne, Tony Richardson, David Storey and Arnold Wesker.
My role in relation to Herbert’s archive is both internal within the University in an exploration of how this material can be integrated with the teaching and research methodology at UAL and external in terms of using the archive to initiate public debate to deepen understanding of the often underestimated role of the scenographer. Herbert’s archive contains graphic and written evidence, for example, of her influence on Samuel Beckett. For the world premiere of Krapp’s Last Tape, Beckett initially asked that the character be played as a clown; Herbert’s drawings demonstrate the way she led him away from this concept of a red-nosed caricature to the portrayal of Krapp that Beckett went on to delineate in his stage directions of the published text, a personification which has since been handed down from production to production, most recently in Michael Gambon’s 2010 performance. Beckett was a frequent visitor to Herbert’s Hampshire home, Andrew’s Farm, and the archive includes a drawing she made of him whilst they were in discussion about the design for the world premier of his play, Footfalls. In the drawing, the writer is captured with his arms crossed and his hands gripping each shoulder, a pose suggestive of high anxiety. Beckett had been unaware of his posture, but on seeing the drawing, absorbed the gesture into his vision for the character that Billie Whitelaw was to play under his direction. Herbert’s costume drawings provide evidence of this transition which, again, has become integral to the performance of Beckett’s text.
A funded series of ten annual lectures commemorating Herbert and extending the debate about the scenographer’s role has been established at the National Theatre. The inaugural Jocelyn Herbert Lecture was given by Sir Richard Eyre in 2010 from the stage of the Olivier Theatre; the second will be given in March 2011. A publication will group the lectures together, and pod casts will enable viewers to play sections of the lectures themselves.
The Baring Archive
|Your affiliations with UAL:||Colleges > Wimbledon College of Arts|
|Date:||19 May 2007|
|Related Websites:||http://www.eileenhogan.co.uk, http://www.wimbledon.arts.ac.uk/35273.htm|
|Related Exhibitions:||‘Acts of Renewal’, Toshiba Gallery, V&A (2002)|
|Locations / Venues:||
|Material/Media:||clear perspex box with 2 drawers containing a booklet and 80 cards|
|Measurements or Duration of item:||17.5x13x10cm|
|Date Deposited:||26 Nov 2009 22:13|
|Last Modified:||15 Apr 2014 12:07|
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