A poetic, passionate and intensely personal exploration of colour written during the final year of Derek Jarman's life -- with a new introduction by Ali Smith.
Derek Jarman's creativity spanned decades and genres - painter, theatre designer, director, film maker, writer and gardener. From his first one-man show at the Lisson Gallery in 1969; set designs and costumes for the theatre and ballet; production design for Ken Russell's films The Devils and Savage Messiah; through his own films in super-8; features such as Sebastine (1976), The Tempest (1979), Caravaggio (1986), The Last of England (1987) and Edward II (1991); to directing pop-videos and live performances for Pet Shop Boys and Suede. His paintings - for which he was a Turner Prize nominee in 1986 - have been exhibited world-wide. His publications include: Dancing Ledge, Kicking the Pricks, Modern Nature, At Your Own Risk and Derek Jarman's Garden. Jarman died in 1994 of an AIDS-related illness, aged 52. His garden surrounding the fisherman's cottage in Dungeness where he spent the last years of his life remains a site of awe and pilgrimage for fans and newcomers to Jarman's singular vision.
England's brashest independent filmmaker (Edward II, Wittgenstein), Jarman, who died of AIDS last February, draws on personal anecdote, literature and the work of Wittgenstein, Leonardo, Pliny and Kandinsky in this sketchy and highly idiosyncratic series of meditations on color. Focusing chapters on individual colors or on qualities like iridescence, Jarman moves freely from one passage, be it a quotation from Isaac Newton or a nursery rhyme, to another: a memory of his aloof father, a list of prices for brands of white oil paint. Jarman's pictorially lush films are vivid testimony to his sensitivity to the subject, but the fragments assembled here are not consistently informative or eloquent enough to reward any but the most ardent fans of the filmmaker. (Mar.)
Chroma is more than an Aids autobiography...it is a paean to
colour...Shot through with sass and moving testimony...this
complexly written, yet stylish and readable book locates most
powerfully the sublimal brilliance of one artist * Gay Times *
Chroma sparks off pieces of Jarman's poetry and prose against fragments that span Ovid, Alberti, Goethe and Wittgenstein...to form a highly personal reflection on colour, a keleidoscopic experience that throws out different facets like a prism in the light * New Statesman *
Full of anger, wit, emotion, and knowledge, this collection informs and astounds...Immensely powerful * Kirkus *
Jarman reminds us how much there is to be smelled, observed and listened to in the world if we do not walk past it * Guardian *
The context of the writing of this book inevitably turns it from an amusing bricollage to a gesture of extraordinary generosity, a tribute to the continuing need to create and communicate on the very edge of darkness * Financial Times *