Thames Hudson 1995 To Singular Tribute in Form of Album

The cabin and the garden that surrounds it are in a desert terrain near a nuclear power plant It was actually a small fishermans house before Derek Jarman moved there in 1986 after he was diagnosed with HIV On the windswept Kent coast Prospect Cottageit became his last great and probably most loved work of art

In the front garden of his Dungeness home Jarman launched into geometric shapes with fine gravel and hardy plants he erects sets of sculptures of small stones uses wood brought by the waves carnations santolinas and poppies appear

The backyard even more rugged looks more like an openair museum with anchors rusted objects old tools And more plants which serve to blur the boundaries between the world of Prospect Cottage and the terrain around it you no longer know where one begins and the other ends

James Mackay his friend the producer of Jarmans punk shorts and his feature length Caravaggio recalls Derek was a film and music video director set designer gay rights activist writer painter costume designer He enjoyed those facets but above all he felt like a gardener

Mackay is the curator of the retrospective coorganized by the Spanish Film Library and the Reina Sofía Museum that until December 28 will show the public his feature films his super 8s his video clips and his theatrical experiments

This tribute has been joined this year by the reissue of the photographic book with texts by the filmmaker and images by Howard Sooley Derek Jarmans Garden Thames Hudson 1995 and the singular tribute in the form of an album by the Italian composer and guitarist Alessandra Novaga I Should Have Been A Gardener Die Schachtel in which a recording of Jarmans own voice recognizes him I should have been a gardener

Londoner Derek Jarman who died at the age of 52 in February 1994 from complications derived from AIDS defined queer cinema as few with his work He rebelled against the predominant hetero audiovisual he fused life and work in pursuit of that achievement that of underlining the importance and defense of difference

And from there he looked at past history as an act of dissent He was a scholar and at the same time he never allowed himself to distance himself from the rest to chat about life and work with those around him

Mackay recalls by email who met Jarman in 1979 when he was presenting a session of his super 8 at a London filmmakers cooperative His work is joined by his energy which fed him and those around him writes the producer who underlines as the filmmakers greatest achievement the truth of his art Are there directors like him today All those who are true to themselves and do not get carried away by others.

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