Wordsworth, Hardwicke and Lake District

Although it has been overshadowed by the COVID-19 crisis, 2020 is an important year for the English Lake District. It is the 250th anniversary of William Wordsworth's birth and the centenary of Hardwicke Drummond Rawnsley's death. The former is the well-known Romantic Poet Laureate, and the latter an Anglican priest and one of the founders of the National Trust. They are the ones championed the conservation of natural beauty of the Lake District and beyond. For celebrating this commemorative year, I set about the new art project "Wordsworth, Hardwicke and Lake District" awarded the Arts Council England Emergency Response Fund.

コロナウィルス危機で影が薄く感じられるものの、2020年はイギリス湖水地方にとって重要な年。ウィリアム・ワーズワース生誕250周年であり、またハードウィック・ドラモンド・ローンズリー没後100周年という記念の年だ。ワーズワースは周知の通りロマン派を代表する桂冠詩人、一方ハードウィックは英国国教会牧師であり、ナショナル・トラスト創立者の一人。二人はまさに湖水地方の自然美を護った環境保護の先駆者だった。この記念すべき年を祝して、英国芸術協議会より緊急事態対応基金の助成を得、新たなアートプロジェクト『Wordsworth, Hardwicke and Lake District』に着手した。 


  Although it has been overshadowed by the COVID-19 crisis, 2020 is another important year for the English Lake District. It is the 250th anniversary of William Wordsworth's birth and the centenary of Hardwicke Drummond Rawnsley's death. The former is the well-known Romantic Poet Laureate, and the latter an Anglican priest and one of the three founders of the National Trust, who inspired Beatrix Potter with regard to the importance of conservation. On her death, Potter bequeathed nearly all her property to the National Trust, including over 4,000 acres of land, sixteen farms, cottages and herds of cattle and Herdwick sheep. It is commonly agreed that Wordsworth was one of the earliest environmental activists working to preserve the natural beauty of the English Lake District. Hardwicke Rawnsley was born a year after the death of Wordsworth and appears to have inherited the passion of the poet. These two men championed the conservation of natural beauty in the Lake District and beyond. Their voices echo all the more in our contemporary society. 

For celebrating this commemorative year, I have launched my new art project "Wordsworth, Hardwicke and Lake District", which is again supported by Arts Council England. I am producing two portraits of each figure in the double-vision style, which proved a success during my previous art project "Conversation with Ruskin". I will portray Hardwicke Rawnsley when he first met the young Beatrix Potter at Wray in 1882 while he was working as a vicar of the St Margaret of Antioch parish church in Wray Castle, passionately talking to her about the importance of conservation. At the same time, William Wordsworth in his late 20s when he and his sister Dorothy settled at Dove Cottage. This event coincided around when Wordsworth started to write his autobiographical poem "The Prelude". 

Following the same concept of the portrait of John Ruskin entitled "Conversation with Ruskin (Ecce Homo)", which I produced for my touring solo art project "Conversation with Ruskin", I will portray these historical figures in a horizontal double-vision image. By carefully determining the distance between the two images, I will promote a visual illusion so that each portrait can be seen as a single image in another dimension, emerging from the surface of the supports. It is a paradoxical approach, achieved by stimulating a visual illusion. However, it is designed to amplify the mystery of human existence by raising questions about the distance between the visible and invisible, physical and spiritual; abstract concepts that only belong to humanity. In this way, I attempt to create a platform of conversation regarding whether our mind, soul and spirit exist, or are in fact nothing but multi-complex chemical processes in our brain, a question raised by the era of Artificial Intelligence. I will portray them as the spiritual guardians of Lakeland and beyond in a period of ecological and existential crisis. I will produce two portraits and two drawings, depicting them with contrary lighting conditions, so as to create the installation to look as if the light projects and radiates out from the centre above the artworks. 

With the assistance of the Arts Council England Emergency Response Fund, I am determined to complete these works (apart from the drawings) with my unique brush hatching technique using Japanese sumi ink and acrylic, which I created and have developed over the past 15 years. It is inspired by the concept of designo, which was established in the Florentine School during the Renaissance, combined with neurological studies, which reveal that the human visual brain perceives objects predominantly by oriented lines. I will complete all works with the gold background using acrylic gold paint inspired by the Japanese traditional painting style, such as Fusuma-e (sliding door painting) and Byōbu-e (folding screen painting) for exploring my cultural roots. Thusly I will pay homage to these important historical figures of the Lake District, in a way that is appropriate to their memory, despite, or even because of these challenging times.


この重要な年を記念して、再び英国芸術協議会より助成を得、本アートプロジェクト『Wordsworth, Hardwicke and Lake District』に乗り出した。前プロジェクト『Conversation with Ruskin』で高評を得た複視画様式を採用し、この二人の肖像画の制作に取り組んでいる。一方は、レイ・キャッスル城付き教会(アンテオケの聖マーガレット教会)の牧師として働いていた1882年当時、レイ・キャッスルに家族で避暑に来ていた若きビアトリクス・ポターに出会い、環境保護の大切さを熱く語ったハードウィック・ローンズリーを、他方は妹ドロシーとダヴ・コテージに移り住んだ頃、自伝的長編詩『序曲』の執筆を始めた時期でもある20代末のウィリアム・ワーズワースを描く。

巡回個展プロジェクト『Conversation with Ruskin』で制作したジョン・ラスキンの肖像画『Conversation with Ruskin (Ecce Homo)』のコンセプトを踏襲し、この二人の歴史人物を二つの同一肖像を平行軸にオーバーラップさせた複視画として完成させる予定だ。同一肖像間の距離を綿密に計算して丹念に描き上げることで、鑑賞者に錯視を促し、あたかも単一の肖像画像がサポートから浮上して見えるような効果を狙うものだ。脳の錯視効果を狙うという、一見逆説的な試みだが、それを通して可視・不可視、物質・霊魂といった、人間のみが持つ抽象概念の間にある隔たりについて問いただし、人間の心/魂/霊は存在するのか、あるいはそれは単なる人間の脳の電気的・化学的プロセスに過ぎないものなのかという問いかけを俎上に載せることを試みる。現代が孕む自然環境および人間の存在論的危機を前に、湖水地方からあまねく世界に呼びかける守護者として描くことに努める。作品はドローイング2点、絵画2点、光の照射方向を逆に描くことで、展示の際に肖像の頭上高く同一の光源から光が差し込むように見える展示形式を構想している。

Arts Council England


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