Memento Mori: Derek Jarman
Paper Type: Suminagashi: Legion Mulberry White 38
Paper Size: 9" x 9.75" X 12.5" - 12.75"
Image Size:; 5" X 7"
Edition Size: 18
Date: 26 April 2013
Inks Used: Suminagashi paper - Sumi ink with Eucalyptus oil
Linoleum Block - Van Son Rubber-Based Pantone Ink: Black
I discovered Derek Jarman's films on VHS tapes in the early 1990's. His avante garde films were always filled with gay characters at a time when homosexuality was still branded with a psychological pathology. I especially loved Wittgenstein, his film about the Austrian philosopher I had adored as an undergraduate. Jarman's last film was Blue, stark with only his voice-over as he talked about his blindness from AIDS. After 90 minutes shot entirely in blue screen, I understood the profound loss he was experiencing as an artist.
Derek Jarman died 19 February 1994 of AIDS and is buried at St Clements Church, Old Romney, Kent, England. This is near Dungeness, his beloved and often filmed home under a nuclear power station on the beach 25 miles southwest of Dover. His gravestone is steely cold slate with just his signature incised into the stone.
I made the Suminagashi paper by dropping Sumi ink carefully with a small brush onto a tray of water , followed by a drop of Eucalyptus oil, then repeating a hundred or so times until the surface is covered with lacy lines of ink and clear water. Then I gently blow on the surface, or drag a brush tip or comb through the surface until I like the pattern. I carefully lower a piece of mulberry paper from one corner onto the tray of water, and lift. A final rinse, then dry.
The ink swirls resemble smoke, reminding me of the ephemeral nature of life. The ashy gray tone makes me remember that I am made from ashes and will one day return.