To mark the anniversary of the death of one of the city’s most prominent cultural figures, fans will be delighted to hear that London is hosting a programme of events at the BFI , The Cultural Institute at King's College and elsewhere (see below for more).
Jarman’s debut feature film as a director, Sebastiane (1976), eroticized the martyrdom of Saint Sebastian and featured dialogue spoken entirely in Latin. To follow was Jubilee, a dystopian vision of England made the year after the Queen’s Silver Jubilee and starring a cast of punk rockers, and Caravaggio, a visually sumptuous and transgressive account of the artist’s life.
But for all his avant-garde credentials, Jarman was just as much at home working with mainstream artists of the greatest stature, tempting Sir Laurence Olivier out of retirement to appear in War Requiem (1989), and asking Dame Judi Dench to read Shakespeare’s Sonnets in The Angelic Conversation (1985).
As well as writing poetry, memoir and criticism and campaigning vigorously for gay rights, Jarman created a garden that became famous towards the end of his life. Grown around his cottage at Dungeness, over which loomed the doom-laden shadow of a nuclear power station, the garden features driftwood, shingle and beach flora, its austere beauty somehow summing up Jarman’s oeuvre.
Jarman died of an Aids-related illness in 1994 and to mark that anniversary, London can look forward to a feast of programming at the BFI and Somerset House to celebrate the life and work of this supremely influential, loved and feted gay filmmaker, campaigner and British cultural figure.
The BFI are running a film programme, ‘Queer Pagan Punk’, devoted to his work. Kicking off on 5th February with a look at the influence of the occult and alchemical on his filmmaking, the programme continues in March with a season titled 'Jarman and New Queer Cinema'.
At Somerset House, ‘Pandemonium’ records Jarman’s life as a humanities undergraduate at nearby King’s College, a passionate Londoner and a multi-disciplinarian ‘painter, filmmaker, set designer, diarist, poet, gardener and activist’.
Visit the Tate to catch the on-going screening of Blue, the artist’s last film, inspired by Yves Klein’s all-blue painting IKB 79 and featuring poems, readings and a musical soundscape (until 6 April).
Finally, you have until 22 January to contribute to 'The Gospel According to St. Derek', a crowd-funded documentary about Jarman from independent production company 400 Blows. The project needs only £1500 to make it into post-production.
The BFI's Derek Jarman season begins on 5 Feb
The Cultural Institute at King's College's exhibition Pandemonium exhibition opens 23 Jan, in the Inigo Rooms, Somerset House East Wing
|What||Queer pagan punk: Derek Jarman remembered|
|Where||Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens, London, W2 3XA | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Acton Town (underground)|