b. 1942, London, UK; d. 1994; lived and worked in London and Dungeness, UK.
Derek Jarman was an artist who took a multi-media approach, using filmmaking, painting, writing, gardening, set design and political activism. His films foregrounded an organic, artistic approach akin to the rich textural and affective registers of his painting. He privileged the creation of vibrant montages of images and ideas over strictly narrative-driven content. His introduction to film was as a set designer working with directors such as Ken Russell and later experimenting with super-8 film of his own. In 1976 he made his first feature film, Sebastiane. This was followed by Jubilee in 1977, The Tempest in 1979 and his best-known and most accessible work, 1986’s Caravaggio, a fictionalised account of the life of the 16th Century artist. In 1986 Jarman was diagnosed with AIDS and in the same year acquired Prospect Cottage in Dungeness. The landscape inspired several films including The Last of England, (1987) and The Garden (1989). As well as creating his famous garden he also wrote several of his diaries at Prospect Cottage including Modern Nature and made a series of works in his painting studio known as the ‘black paintings’ from 1986 – 1991. Later works include the Queer and Evil Queen series of larger paintings and the film Wittgenstein, 1992 as well as the powerful cinematic Blue (1993), first shown as a simultaneous broadcast on radio and television - lush and vivid landscape is conjured through narration alone, accompanied by only one visual component – Yves Klein blue.
Solo exhibitions include Dead Souls Whisper, LE CRÉDAC, Paris (2021), Modern Nature, John Hansard Gallery, Southampton (2021); PROTEST!, Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester (2021); My garden’s boundaries are the horizon, Garden Museum, London (2020); PROTEST! Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2019) This is my body - My body is your body - My body is the body of the word, Le Delta, New Cultural Art Center, Namur (2019); Derek Jarman: Blue, Tate Britain, London (2017); National Gallery of Art, Vilnius (2015); Derek Jarman: Curated by Isaac Julien, Serpentine Gallery, London (2008); Lightbox: Derek Jarman, Tate Britain, London (2008); Derek Jarman: A Retrospective, Barbican Centre, London (1996); Queer: Derek Jarman, Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester (1992); Luminous Darkness: Paintings by Derek Jarman, Space T33, Tokyo (1990); Derek Jarman: Peintures, Accatone, Paris (1989); Derek Jarman, Dom Kulture, Belgrade (1988); and Derek Jarman, ICA Upper Gallery, London (1984). Group exhibitions include Garden Futures: Designing With Nature, Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein (2023); Exposes, Palais De Tokyo, Paris (2023); Monochrome Multitudes, Smart Museum of Art, Chicago (2023); Radical Landscapes, Tate Liverpool, Liverpool (2022); This is Now – Film and Video After Punk, London Gallery West, London (2018); New London in New York, Hal Bromm Works of Art, New York (1975); Visual Poetries, Victoria & Albert Museum, London (1971); Young Contemporaries, Tate Gallery. London (1967).
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