Julia Riddiough

All images © Julia Riddiough
Website by Sam Nightingale

‘Journeys with ‘The Waste Land’
3 February - 7 May 2018
Turner Contemporary
Margate, Kent

‘Journeys with ‘The Waste Land’ is an exhibition exploring the significance of T.S. Eliot’s poem 'The Waste Land' through the visual arts; an innovative three-year project, bringing members of the community (The Waste Land Research Group) and Turner Contemporary together to develop and create this exhibition.

The starting point is T. S. Eliot’s famous poem, 'The Waste Land' (1922), parts of which were written whilst Eliot was convalescing in Margate. He arrived in a fragile state, physically and mentally, and worked on 'The Waste Land' sitting in the Nayland Rock shelter on Margate sands looking out to sea. The poem was published the following year, and proved to be a pivotal and influential modernist work, reflecting on the fractured world in the aftermath of the First World War as well as Eliot’s own personal crisis.

The Waste Land Research Group was formed through an open call by Turner Contemporary. Through weekly meetings, discussions, talks, workshops, walks, research trips, studio visits and individual inquiry, the group developed their own methods for making decisions together, deciding on content and artworks. The exhibition foregrounds the multiple perspectives of those involved. In doing so, it mirrors the form of the poem, where Eliot juxtaposes many different voices and references; discussing personal connections between art, poetry and life.

This series of artworks created in Margate for ‘Journeys with the ‘Waste Land’ at Turner Contemporary and developed during the project research period from 2015 to 2018 explores T.S. Eliot the person and The Waste Land poem from a range of different perspectives including the exhibition and performance of four works that address this complex poem and the quixotic poet.

Shelter as Refuge
‘Journeys with ‘The Waste Land’
Turner Contemporary
Photograph Black and White
594 x 891 Unframed
Cotton Photo Rag 308gsm

Seaside shelters commemorate extended stays at coastal resorts when ‘taking the cure’ or recuperating after ill health as T.S. Eliot did at the Nayland Rock Shelter in Margate in 1921. The photograph Shelter as Refuge was taken during the research phase documenting the Nayland Rock Shelter and the people who use it mainly under resourced people in Margate who also needed shelter and refuge. The place in which the greatest poem of the 20th century was partly written is now run down and on its way to dereliction; perhaps like the poem a metaphor for our troubled and turbulent times but still offering a safe haven. The vision that TS Eliot saw in this shelter while recovering himself from a mental breakdown was maybe a prophecy foretold as the themes and the form of the poem still feel appropriate today?

Toilet Humour
‘Journeys with ‘The Waste Land’
Nayland Rock Shelter
Margate Sands
Performance and Intervention

Toilet Humour comprises of two main elements, performance and intervention at the Nayland Rock Shelter that book end Margate Sands with Turner Contemporary at opposite ends of the sweeping beach where T S Eliot looked out to sea.

The Triumph of Bullshit by T.S. Eliot
‘Journeys with ‘The Waste Land’
Reading and Performance

The Triumph of Bullshit by T.S. Eliot was directed at his female critics, written at Oxford in 1910 and nearly published in BLAST by Wyndham Lewis. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the title contains the first recorded instance of the word ‘bullshit’. (The second and third belong to Ezra Pound, and Wyndham Lewis). “The T.S. Eliot of 1915 was just the sort of immigrant who today would be sent back to his home country. Having come to the end of his course of study at Oxford, he was hanging around in Soho while “of no occupation” the young immigrant poet of The Triumph of Bullshit” The Guardian

‘Journeys with ‘The Waste Land’
Hand Made Banner

A hand-made banner and anagram used at the reading of the Triumph of Bullshit
at the public toilet block, next to the Nayland Rock Shelter where T.S. Eliot wrote part
of The Waste Land poem. As T.S. Eliot said himself “My name is only an anagram of toilets.

Listen to The Triumph of Bullshit here

The Vivienne Haigh Wood Headlines
‘Journeys with ‘The Waste Land’
Walpole Bay Hotel Margate
The Waste Land Salons Crate Project Space Margate
Interactive Performance & Printed Fanzine

Vivienne Haigh-Wood Eliot (28 May 1888 - 22 January 1947) has been seen variously as a femme fatale, who enticed Eliot into marriage or his muse, without whom some of his most important work would never have been written. It was at Vivienne’s instigation that T.S. Eliot came to Margate where he wrote a part of ‘The Waste Land’.

Full project here

Shantih, Shantih, Shantih! 
‘Journeys with ‘The Waste Land’
Yoga Acts
Union Row Yoga Studio
Margate Kent

Shantih, Shantih, Shantih! is a mindful yoga community class drawing on ideas explored in the exhibition ‘Journeys with The Waste Land’ at Turner Contemporary. Some of the themes suggested by the poem The Waste Land and exhibition resonate with health, well-being and healing. Many respected yogis have referenced the poetry of T.S. Eliot in their instruction and practice.

'Shantih, Shantih, Shantih' is also a quote from the last line of The Waste Land poem, a sacred chant used to close mantras that is both mindful and empowering. The Shantih or Peace Mantra from Sanskrit are found in the Upanishads texts recited at the beginning or end of rituals written in India between c. 800 BCE and c. 500 BCE. 

Full project here