Lucian Freud portraits: curatorial ekphrasis in contemporary British poetic practice

Foley, Laura-Jane Maria (2013) Lucian Freud portraits: curatorial ekphrasis in contemporary British poetic practice. (PhD thesis), Kingston University, .


This PhD presents a new term for contemporary ekphrastic poetry: curatorial ekphrasis. The thesis is composed of two elements, a critical essay followed by a collection of poetry that informs and is informed by the former, Entitled 'Curatorial Ekphrasis in Contemporary British Poetic Practice', the critical essay challenges established critical approaches to ekphrastic poetics by revealing a curatorial practice currently being undertaken by a number of contemporary poets writing about artworks. Chapter One identifies and evaluates key critical texts about ekphrasis and its role in the relationship between word and image and highlights how theorists have failed to account for the work of ekphrastic poets with a heightened interest or background in art- Chapter Two presents and defines the term curatorial ekphrasis. The chapter discusses the emergence of the contemporary curator in the art world and discusses how the term 'curator' can be appropriated for use in a literary context The following chapters analyse the work of contemporary poets who I argue are writing curatorial ekphrasis, Chapter Three analyses Roger Hilton's Sugar (2005), a poetic sequence by Kelvin Corcoran (b.1956). Chapter Four analyses Paul Klee's Diary (1995), a long poem by Peter Hughes (b.1956). Chapter Five analyses De Chirico's Threads (2011), a verse-drama with soundscape by Carol Rumens (b.1944). The conclusion summarizes my research and also anticipates the creative work, which follows, by highlighting elements in the analysed texts that resonate with my own poetry. The conclusion also suggests areas for future research by both critical and creative practitioners. The critical essay is followed by the creative component of the PhD, a collection of curatorial ekphrasis entitled 'Lucian Freud Portraits'. The poetry collection is sectioned into five rooms, reflecting the layout of an exhibition at an art gallery, The collection includes twenty-nine poems and a poem-libretto. The collection is precede-d by a Preface, which introduces the work, and is followed by a section of notes, The appendix of the thesis includes reproductions of the artworks referred to in the poetry collection, a chronology of Lucian Freud's life, a catalogue raisonne of his entire works and an extensive bibliography of material written about the artist and his works. This information is provided in a similar manner to the wall notes, exhibition guides and catalogues which are offered to visitors of a traditional art gallery. They are not prescribed reading material, but they may prove of interest to the reader seeking further information.

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