HOMER –– HEPHAESTUS
Vinyl text work for corridor space at Storey Institute, Lancaster, dimensions variable, 2011. Installed 2011-2021.
This work was commissioned by an art gallery and a literary festival (Lancaster’s Storey Gallery and Litfest) for the corridor space that links the two organisations. The text work has for its starting point the idea of ekphrasis – or the translation of visual art into literature. The two large words in vinyl text, ‘HOMER –– HEPHAESTUS’, are an ‘art work’ by a fictional artist, the late Alec Masterson Forbes, and this art work is ‘explained’ by an equally fictional ‘gallery text’ next to it. This institutional text is in turn ‘notated’ by a disturbing figure called Derek Wilkinson, the fictional vinyl lettering technician who has installed the work on the corridor walls. Wilkinson seems to be using his notes to re-write the legacy of Masterson Forbes in order to aggrandise Wilkinson himself – he may even have had a role in the artist’s death. It is probable that Wilkinson has entirely invented the Masterson Forbes art work and its gallery text, and killed the artist to boot, to secure himself a place in the cultural spotlight if only for a moment. Wilkinson’s notes overrun the space, spiralling up and around the classical architecture of the Storey Institute corridor, turning the discrete conceptualism of Masterson Forbes into a display of expanded confabulation gone entirely round the bend.
Transcription of the full text is here.
The Storey G2 website. 2013 article about the work.
Suzanne Heath (Public Art Network blog). 13/4/2011 article about the work.