Derek Jarman, Avebury Series No.4, 1973. Northampton Museums & Art Gallery.
In reality Avebury is a colourful jumble of lichens and hypotheses, half disassembled ceremonial wonderment thrust into by a hot cross bun of roads. Derek Jarman (film director, stage designer, artist and gardener) reasserts the contemplative space of that ruptured sacred circle. The compositions in his Avebury series are austere and spare – multiple horizons are overlaid here, and the stones he has selected for illustration become sculptural. Some work as groups, activating each other, some are rendered as monolithic. Shadows and solstices and startracks overlay them. Time moves through them but they are still. Not only has Jarman created new beauty after the fact of ancient truths, in these works he renews the power of the stones themselves, and the meaningful landscape in which they were placed. ■
For more about Derek Jarman seek out Niall Richardson’s book, The Queer Cinema of Derek Jarman.