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Modern Nature

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'It is a marvellous, moving book and should be at the top of the lists for the year' Sunday Telegraph

About the Author

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 (Jazz Calendar with Frederick Ashton at Covent Garden, Don Giovanni with John Gielgud at the London Coliseum, The Rake's Progress with Ken Russell at Teatro Communale, Florence); production design for Ken Russell's films The Devils and Savage Messiah; through his own films in super-8 before working on features- Sebastine (1976), Jubilee (1978), The Tempest (1979), The Angelic Conversation (1985), Caravaggio (1986), The Last of England (1987), War Requiem (1989), The Garden (1990), Edward II (1991), Wittgenstein (1993), and Blue (1993); 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 garden surrounding the fisherman's cottage in Dungeness where he spent the last years of his life remains a site of awe and pilgrimage to fans and newcomers to Jarman's singular vision.His publications include- Dancing Ledge (1984), Kicking the Pricks (1987), Modern Nature (1991), At Your Own Risk (1992), Chroma (1994), Derek Jarman's Garden (1995).


Controversial British filmmaker Jarman's third published journal more than matches the extraordinary quality of Dancing Ledge ( LJ 5/15/93) and At Your Own Risk ( LJ 12/92). This memoir covers 1989 and 1990. Diagnosed as HIV-positive four year earlier, Jarman tells of how he occupied himself with his garden at a cottage on the coast of Dungeness. Mixed with his descriptions of planting are fascinating bits of plant and flower lore. The author looks back to his childhood and the schools of the 1960s--as they actually were, instead of how the current nostalgia craze paints them. Candid, critical, and moving, Jarman uses words as skillfully as he does images in film, to evoke a scene or make a point. Though the abrupt ending leaves the reader hanging, this is a rare and marvelous book. Highly recommended.-- Marianne Cawley, Kingwood Branch Lib., Tex.

Fans of British filmmaker Jarman's Caravaggio and Wittgenstein , as well as students of gay life, may enjoy these journal excerpts; others will find them too obscure. The third of Jarman's memoirs (following At Your Own Risk and Dancing Ledge ) covers the years 1989 and 1990, during which he struggles to keep working despite his status as publicly HIV-positive, and he reflects on life, sensuality and the beauty of nature. He writes sensitive, observant prose, though the book's fragmentary style sometimes vitiates its power. Nevertheless, Jarman offers resonant passages on the tragedy of the AIDS era, how the ``heterosexuality of everyday life enveloped and asphyxiated me,'' and how, ultimately, despite being what some see as ``a `guilty victim' of the scourge, I want to bear witness how happy I am, and will be until the day I die, that I was part of the hated sexual revolution.'' He ends with parallel catalogues of the constants in his life: the flowers from his garden and the prescriptions from his pharmacy. Photos not seen by PW. (Feb.)

"The most beautiful & furious book of all time" -- Olivia Laing "An essential - urgent - book for the 21st Century" -- Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director of the Serpentine Gallery "A marvellous, moving book" * Sunday Telegraph * "Jarman gave his garden a certain narrative; perhaps he treated it a bit like a film or theatre set. His films were visionary, eccentric, romantic and rebellious, all of which could also be said about his garden" * Guardian * "It's hard not to warm to the man who, in the face of all the personal and professional hardships described in this book, can still regard himself as 'the most fortunate film-maker of my generation" * Guardian *

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