The Blind Poet in pursuit of the Muse of Fashion

Grayson, Roy
The notion of the artist as poet is a theme that Roy Grayson has returned to throughout his career, but first addressed in 1983 with the series of works entitled ‘Against Nature, Pictures Devised for the Composers of Obscure Poetry’. Grayson sets out to demonstrate that the essence of art is cerebral, not visual, and that its expression can take almost any form. Reflecting on this proposition, he states that ‘the impulsion of the text is clearly ex-centric, moving between surfaces. It is a practice, not a theory; the writer and the painter do not begin with something to express, nor do they seek to impose form on chaos, nor do they merely receive impressions. They take up position.’ The series drew inspiration from the French writer J. K. Huysmans’ novel, Against Nature (1884), which is widely viewed as a definitive example of decadent literature. Consisting of six works completed between 1983 and 1984, including The Blind Poet in Pursuit of the Muse of Fashion, Grayson employs his highly coded approach to painting to invoke the esoteric aesthetic of Huysmans’ hero Jean des Esseintes, using a fragment of text taken from Chapter XIV of Against Nature at the bottom of each canvas.
  • Artwork Details: 134 x 258cm
  • Edition:
  • Material description: oil and collage on linen
  • Credit line: © the artist
  • Theme:
  • Medium: Collage
  • Accession number: AC 5345



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