Friday, 5 June 2009

The Lady of Shalott

The return of the dolls!
The Lady of Shalott is the subject for my latest doll creation.
The Lady of Shalott forms part of a series of events surrounding the 200th anniversary of the birth of Alfred Lord Tennyson, who wrote the poem The Lady of Shalott. This doll and related works create a discourse with the painting by John William Waterhouse currently on loan at The Collection in Lincoln.

"I am half - sick of shadows" said The Lady of Shalott

The Lady of Shalott can only view the world through a mirror, and as such follows on from part of my fine art theory relating to Baudrillard's simulacra and simulations. She is like Neo, trapped in The Matrix, until she DOES look at Lancelot for real and the mirror shatters, bringing a mysterious "curse" upon her. The poem contains many, many levels, regarding Lancelot's many suitors, unrequited love, terminal illness, drugs, medieval aspects of feminism, sex and the possibility that it refers to deadly STDs, the Victorian mindset regarding death and mourning, Neo Platonism and what Borges says about mirrors being monstrous etc.

These mirrors were made with quotes from the Tennyson poem printed backwards (can only be seen through a mirror) and installed in appropriate locations around the city of Lincoln. The Lady of Shalott is located very much locally to Lincoln, which would historically have been an island within the fen landscape, the hill with the castle at the top providing the "four gray walls and four gray towers" inhabited perhaps by the Lady of Shalott.
The Brayford Pool with its barges reflects aspects of the poem succinctly.

"From The bank and from the river,
he flashed into the crystal mirror,
'Tirra Lirra', by the river,
Sang Sir Lancelot"

"And sometimes through the mirror blue,
The knights come riding two and two,
she hath no loyal knight and true,
The Lady of Shalott"

"And moving thro' a mirror clear,
that hangs before her all the year,
shadows of the world appear"

I am planning to continue this installation for the Summer Gala, July 18, 2009, located around Brayford Waterfront in Lincoln. I'm thinking of including the Lady of Shalott doll somehow, and to re-install these mirrors around the Brayford Waterfront and beyond, to form an art installation that hopefully will enthrall and excite visitors, especially those who are aware of the Lady of Shalott work currently exhibiting in The Collection.

I am also wishing to gain commissions for Lady of Shalott dolls at the next Lincoln Artist market, Steep Hill, 28th June 2009.

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