Friday, 15 February 2008

Composition in Words ("Victory")


"I'm not happy with this work and I fought hard not to have it included in this exhibition but, hey, what can you do?"

Fleydon almost slouches as he draws his rounded shoulders tight around his neck, reminding me of both James Dean and my Aunt's pet tortoise Flash. He continued with his explanation.

"It's not because of the content - a homage to very dear friend no longer with us - nor because of the intellectual basis of the work but really because of the execution. It suffers through my mistakes and like Frankenstein repelled by my own creation, I am both attracted and repelled in equal measure."

Fleydon pointed to the work with his furled umbrella, waving it over the canvas as though still engaged in the act of painting. There is a discernible sense of disappointment about him and a large sigh wracks his frame.

"They say a picture is worth a thousand words but my dear friend Guy Debord* disagreed. He believed that words can conjour up a myriad of mental images especially when the words are chosen with care - a powerful weapon against injustice in hands such as his. Would the rioting Parisian students of the '60's have found inspiration in a Banksey? I doubt it but they did find inspiration in the words of Guy and what is so wonderful to me is that what was true of the young revoloutionaries of Paris is equally true of Terry Brown. Hard to believe? Well it might be seen as a case of convergent evoloution - a similar response to circumstances. Consider the immortal phrase ... "Victory will be for those who create disorder without loving it" - I ask you, what is that other than a succinct summary of Terry's declaration of intent that 'we will win playing football, but if necessary are prepared to 'win ugly'?

Fleydon fell silent again and I tried to gather my thoughts together. It seemed to me that here we have a work that consciously rejects the image for the mentally stimulating power of the word; that then pays homage to a close personal friend and fellow revolutionary; that also echoes the ethos of a team aware that victory can sometimes only be achieved by a disruption of harmony in the opposition - however unaesthetic that may be to the viewer. What, I wondered, could Fleydon find so wrong?

"Execution dear boy. Firstly I bought a king-size canvas in error, which means that the work is inevitably obscured (as in the photo above) and secondly my 'Victory' is far too small. It should have been the word that carried the work but instead the focus is on 'Disorder' and what sort of message is that to send out? I screwed up big time on this one. Guy must be pissing himself laughing"

Composition in Words ("Victory") is currently on loan to the 'Tea Hut Wall Gallery', Kingsmeadow


*Guy Dubord - Situationalist and Marxist Revoloutionary, was a friend of Fleydon from their days together at Stowe and their membership of the Mildenhall Hunt. Dubord delivered the oration at Fleydon's marriage but their relationship became strained in the mid 80's when Dubord declared everything - including Fleydon - a product of his own imagination, a situation Fleydon naturally found intolerable.

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