Rossetti: A Contemporary Response

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Posted 14th November 2018

Rossetti: A Contemporary Response

Russell Jakubowski, Artist in Residence

As a sculptor, my creativity is primarily expressed through making. When I reflect on the things I have made I can clearly see and understand a narrative which fuelled and propelled each piece into the physical world.

But it is difficult to know if that narrative can be properly translated into a form of words and I ask myself - Does language underpin thought? Or, is it thought that underpins language? I suggest this depends on circumstance.

Poetry is composed by the writer, a coalescing fluid of words and ideas. It is then written or printed, becoming solid and stationary. And then it is read or spoken aloud, at which point it is interpreted and is a time based activity.

In a way, then, the book, file or manuscript is the work in its dormant phase, it will do nothing on it's own. But it is vital, because without this there would be little interaction, illumination or joy from the work. And, outside of our unreliable memories, there would be nowhere for poets and writers to store their ideas.

The idea of giving physical form to poetry excites me. I freely admit to being inspired and driven by words in a song and to working to the rhythms of music.

As Artist in Residence at Watts Gallery I have a wonderful opportunity to work with the poetry of Christina Rossetti.

I hope to create new frames of reference for selected passages of her writing. Combining the meaning, rhyme and (inferred) cadence of her work with new three-dimensional rhythms and contexts in sculptural form.

These will be on display in the grounds of Watts Gallery - Artists' Village from November 2018 to March 2019. Please visit me in the studio space, it will be a pleasure to discuss and share my ideas with you.

Image: Russell Jakubowski, All Ears, 2017