“When I thought of her it was always night.”
Room East is delighted to open its second year with … BUT THE CLOUDS …, a winter group exhibition, which takes as its starting point a television play of the same title that Samuel Beckett wrote for the BBC. The exhibition presents a diverse array of media including film, video, painting, drawing, photography and sculpture. An opening reception will take place on Sunday 13 January from 6-8pm at 41 Orchard Street.
Beckett’s “…but the clouds…” (1977) throws into stark relief many of the major themes of his life’s work such as the debilitating effects of age and the futility of memory. The play has two characters. A man recalls his encounters with a woman, who, throughout the short script is little more than an apparition that appears for a moment before the lights dissolve her image. The last lines of Beckett’s play are appropriated from the last lines of the Yeats poem “The Tower” (1928): “… but the clouds of the sky … when the horizon fades … or a bird’s sleepy cry … among the deepening shades…”
The script of “…but the clouds…” is as concerned with stage direction as it is with speech. What makes this play, and the handful of others that Beckett wrote for television, unique is that they are haunting visual experiments. In addition to the unmistakable mood conjured up by Beckett’s scene painting, the immediacy with which he depicts human frailty remains fascinating. From Jasper Johns to Bruce Nauman there is a longstanding relationship between Beckett and contemporary art, and the present exhibition aims to continue that tradition.
For downloadable exhibition material, click here.