Derek Jarman’s fishermen cottage called Prospect Cottage in Dungeness

I first visited Dungeness in 2012, I felt captivated by the expressive landscape of solemnity and dignity. There, you feel you are under a perfect spherical sky. I am interested in showing how architecture appears in a landscape as part of a holistic experience. At Dungeness the modest Derek Jarman’s fisherman’s cottage sits surrounded by his garden harmoniously on a sea of shingles under a vast sky. The scarcity of services resonates with the need of being self sufficient and what is more important with the use of less resources whilst at the same time leading a fulfilling life. The perfect straight (curved) line that forms the horizon in Dungeness is a pleasing feature to the architect’s eye. 

In July 2020 I visited the Garden Museum in London. They hold an exhibition called DEREK JARMAN: MY GARDEN’S BOUNDARIES ARE THE HORIZON.

With skill and love there is a like for like replica of this now iconic cottage. The museum building is a converted church and this creates a fascinating overlap of layers of history and social enterprise. A wonderful sensorial experience by stage designer Jeremy Herbert. The exhibition supported by The Linbury Trust that focuses on Jarman’s love of gardening, and the role of the garden in his life and work.

Sketch of the exhibition at the Garden Museum

‘I have never been happier than last week. I look up and see the deep azure sea outside my window in the February sun, and today I saw my first bumble bee. Planted lavender and clumps of red hot poker.’ Derek Jarman.

The exhibition at the Garden Museum displays paintings and sculptures from throughout Jarman’s career, on loan from The Keith Collins Will Trust. The book and catalogue of the exhibition is beautifully cloth-bound and illustrated with photos of the garden at Prospect Cottage, Jarman’s childhood, film stills, artworks and garden journals, and includes reminiscences and essays by Howard Sooley, Anna Pavord, and Christopher Lloyd.

 

I find at the same time fascinating and frustrating learning about Derek Jarman and his work. Having read some of his books and visited his house in Dungeness has only given me a glimpse of his humanity and work. His book ‘At your onw risk’ is a vital fundamental description of his journey of being gay and the AIDS crisis.  Another book tittles ‘Derek Jarman’s Garden’ describes his man made paradise in the arid landscape of Dungeness when living on borrowed time with positive HIV status when the treatment was experimental and often not adequate in the early days of the global epidemic. The thought of having the end of life near it is a trigger in some of us for despair, but for others is a trigger to enjoy life at its maximum and question what is all about in order to find meaning and justice. Derek was never short to denounce injustice and in his books finds pleasure in the smallest flower that with a struggle grows in the shingle. His garden is an experiment of life and art, of creation and survival where native and foreign plants grow together, possibly mimicking the creative society he often surrounded himself with. Local sea kale, Iberian gorse, Californian poppies, valerian, lichen, that is a composite organism. Derek finds beauty in decay, beachcombing to gather old rusted irons and half rotten timbers.

Inspired by the history and the beauty of the settings, I have created two variations of a  panoramic print showcasing Prospect Cottage and the surround landscape.

Blue Dungeness Derek Jarman Prospect Cottage

New panoramic print. £180 (£295 framed).

print named Blue Dungeness Derek Jarman Prospect Cottage by artist alej ez

‘Stratus Over Dungeness Derek Jarman Prospect Cottage’

 New panoramic print. £180 (£295 framed).

print named Dungeness Derek Jarman's Prospect Cottage by artist alej ez

If you would like to discuss a purchase, enquire about framing options, or know more about this print please do not hesitate to contact me by email aljguez@gmail.com , mobile 079463811116 or in person by visiting my studio in Brighton.

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