Dublin June 16 1904 (2011)
64″ x 49″
created from text from the novel “Ulysses” by James Joyce
music score from Benjamin Britten’s “War Requiem” and poetry by Wilfrd Owen
photo: Rob Jaffe
For some years I have had the ambition to create a sculpture from a novel. To somehow bring the words and thoughts into concrete form, to bring them out from their entombment inside the covers of the book. Ulysses seemed like a particularly good place to start, in that it is so specifically linked with a place and time, that of Dublin June 16 1904. The novel creates an interior landscape of Dublin, a landscape of thought, voice and conversation. The sculpture sites those narratives and interior monologues within the cartographic framework of the Dublin of the time. The work is built from a map of Dublin from that year. Certain key reference points are located in their precise geographic locations, the site of the home of Leopold and Molly Bloom is clearly visible as is the site of the Tyrone St Brothel. The chapter titles follow the route home towards 7 Eccles St.
The sculpture contains elements of the novel’s structure, it’s chapter titles and associated body organs that are linked to each chapter. The famous affirmation of Molly Bloom at the end of the novel can be followed along the Liffy in brown text from left to right. This text is also reconstituted in a more fragmentary fashion in grey text in the bulk of the work. The yellow text is a section from Proteus, as Stephen Dedalus contemplates the primordial and elemental world of water. The Red text in the center of the work comprises of Leopold Bloom’s interior thoughts of Molly Bloom in Nausicaa. The red text that surrounds the entire city combines the narratives of Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom relating to the circularity of life, the continuous return journey of the individual – “Think you’re escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home” The red exterior text encloses and unifies the whole form, a form that appears as though two sides of the Brain, the female text running in Brown on the center left and the male text running up the center right.
The sculpture allows for Joyce’s words and passages to be read in fragments, allowing for a continuous re-contextualization. The whole city is filled with a multitude of voices, both spoken and thought, voices filled with the exquisite poetry and poignancy of James Joyce’s writings.
Limited edition large format prints of the sculpture are available from Sumarria Lunn gallery in London, www.sumarrialunn.com