Independent Art Voice

Derek Jarman: HIV Related Death Observed In Kings College Exhibition

An immersive exhibition of artwork by the filmmaker Derek Jarman titled Pandemonium will be presented by the Cultural Institute at King’s to mark the 20th anniversary of his death from an HIV-related illness in February 1994. The exhibition, which focuses on his life in the artistically vital warehouses at Bankside and Butler’s Wharf and the ways his work engaged with London, opens on 23 January and runs to 9 March 2014.
A student of humanities at King’s from 1960 to 1963, Jarman went on to become one of the most important creative practitioners of his generation and a crucial voice in gay politics in Britain. The exhibition links Jarman’s studies as an undergraduate – especially the emphasis on the literature and history of the Medieval and Renaissance periods – to his later artistic and intellectual interests, drawing a line from his formative learning in the early 1960s, before he went to art college, with his lifelong passions.
Among his most arresting work in the 70s were his now rarely seen Super 8 films, and the exhibition will be screening three films continuously. Also on display will be a selection of the astonishingly elaborate notebooks he kept for each of his feature films and writing projects, as well as personal and privately loaned material to contextualise his many collaborative relationships.
Alongside the Derek Jarman: Pandemonium exhibition, King’s will be holding a series of events, beginning with a new installation commemorating Jarman’s life and work, from theatre director Neil Bartlett:

See full schedule of events below.

The Angelic Conversation
An installation in King’s College London’s Chapel to commemorate the life and death of Derek Jarman by Neil Bartlett
Friday 31 January, 7pm – Saturday 1 February 2014, 7pm
(continuous 24-hour screening)
King’s College London Chapel, Strand, London WC2R 2LS
Free entry – no booking required
The Angelic Conversation is a new installation by author and theatre-maker Neil Bartlett, created to celebrate what would have been Derek Jarman’s 72nd birthday.
Taking over the stunning Gilbert Scott-designed chapel at King’s College London for a night and a day, the installation will feature a continuous, 24-hour-long screening of Jarman’s film The Angelic Conversation, starting at 7pm on Friday 31 January (Derek’s birthday), playing through the night and finishing at 7pm on Saturday 1 February. Mixing the religious iconography and architecture of the chapel with memories of the all-night cinema screenings that were such a feature of gay London when the film was made, it will create a unique memorial to a much-loved and much-missed man, and offer visitors the opportunity to experience one of his most haunting films in one of London’s extraordinary rooms..
“My most austere work, but also closest to my heart” Derek Jarman
The Angelic Conversation was made in 1985, a year after Imagining October and a year before Caravaggio.  78 minutes long, it is a deeply personal meditation on love, lust, memory and loss, given great power by a soundtrack that mixes Judi Dench’s unforgettable readings of fourteen Shakespeare sonnets with music by Coil and Britten. It is one of Jarman’s most personal and beautiful films, and one that has grown in power since his death.
Visitors to the exhibition will be free to stay for as little or long as they wish, and to visit at any time of day or night, either by daylight, when the chapel will be lit only by its stained-glass windows, or in the quiet of the night.  Access to the chapel is via the main entrance to King’s College London, on the Strand.
Remembering Derek
Friday 31 January 2014 at 6pm (1 hour)
King’s College London’s Chapel, Strand, London WC2R 2LS
Free entry, but booking required (coming soon)
An allocation of day tickets will be available on the door
To inaugurate his 24-hour installation of The Angelic Conversation in King’s College London’s Chapel, Neil Bartlett will speak in conversation with the distinguished art historian, activist and close friend of Jarman’s – Simon Watney. They will talk about the art of church memorials, about their own memories of Derek, and about his contributions to the art and politics of queer memory.
Neil Bartlett is an author and theatre-maker with a long and distinguished record of making innovative work. He has made work for (amongst others) Artangel, the Manchester International Festival, the Aldeburgh Festival, the Brighton Festival, the National Theatre and Duckie. He worked with Derek Jarman on his controversial installation at the Third Eye Centre in Glasgow in 1989. His own previous installation and site-specific works include A Vision of Love Revealed In Sleep (in collaboration with Robin Whitmore) at Butlers Wharf (1988), The Seven Sacraments of Nicolas Poussin (also with Whitmore) at the London Hospital and Southwark Cathedral (1998) and The Book of Numbers, a queer monologue for the pulpit of Westminster Abbey (2011).
Simon Watney is a distinguished author, activist and HIV/AIDS campaigner. He was a close friend and contemporary of Derek Jarman’s, and is a leading authority on English church-memorial sculpture.
Early Modern Jarman
Saturday 1 February 2014 from 9am – 6.30pm
Anatomy Museum, King’s College London, Strand, London WC2R 2LS
Booking will open shortly at
This symposium, held at King’s College London, where Derek Jarman studied English and History from 1960 to 1963, commemorates Jarman’s lifelong engagement with early modern drama and culture in his films, sets designs, art and writing. It is at King’s that Jarman first read Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II, the play which he returned to again and again after his HIV diagnosis in 1986. Jarman’s fascination with the early modern period as a queer precursor of his own time went beyond the drama of Marlowe, however, and informed his set designs (both at the Slade and for Ken Russell’s The Devils, 1970), his choice of subject matter for several of his films – from Jubilee (1977) and The Tempest (1978) to The Angelic Conversation (1985) via the decade he spent working on Caravaggio (1986) – his life-writing and even the design of his famous garden in Dungeness.
The symposium will include panels on Derek Jarman’s Mysticism, Estranging Early Modern Drama, Jarman Beyond Film, Visionary Jarman and Derek Jarman: History and Memory, with speakers approaching the subject from a range of disciplinary backgrounds: queer studies, film studies, early modern and medieval studies and life-writing research. Additionally, keynote lectures by Jim Ellis (University of Calgary), Pascale Aebischer (Exeter University) and Jeffrey Masten (Northwestern University), will focus on Jarman’s Caravaggio, the unpublished screenplays for Edward II and the film of Edward II.
Symposium participants will also be invited to visit Derek Jarman: Pandemonium, the immersive exhibition that forms part of the Jarman 2014 series of events and to visit the continuous screening installation of The Angelic Conversation in King’s College Chapel which is running from 7pm on 31 January to 7pm on 1 February.
 The symposium fee is £35 (waged) or £10 (unwaged); registration is via the London Shakespeare Centre website at
 This event is jointly organised by Pascale Aebischer (University of Exeter) and Gordon McMullan (King’s College London) and is supported by the London Shakespeare Centre, Shakespeare Bulletin and the Centre for Early Modern Studies, University of Exeter.
The Last of England
1987. Dir. Derek Jarman.
A screening of Jarman’s award-winning film starring Tilda Swinton.
Thursday 6 March, 7pm
Anatomy Lecture Theatre, King’s College, Strand, London WC2R 2LS
Booking required (coming soon)
This screening is part of the Iain Sinclair 70×70 season, celebrating Sinclair’s 70th birthday with 70 handpicked films that relate to his work.
“Yet another ‘last of’ item for the catalogue. Last of certain London territories. Last of a school of film-makers as poets of accumulation. The Thatcher period incubated such arias, as the first Elizabethan age cooked its swaggering playwrights (and occultists). I relate this film – by way of production stills from Silvertown, boats and flares – with the writing of Downriver. And especially that chapter ‘Art of the State’. ‘The art was thick with a viscid sweetness; inspissated droplets fell, without fear or favour, like a sheet of poisoned nostalgia.” Iain Sinclair
Coach trips to Prospect Cottage
Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 June – times tbc
Departure from King’s College London, Strand, London WC2R 2LS
Tickets will be released on Thursday 6 February 2014 at 10am via link from
A rare chance to visit Derek Jarman’s former residence, Prospect Cottage, where he lived in the latter stages of his life. Famous for the sculpture garden which Derek built on the shingle shoreline, this is an opportunity to venture inside the cottage and see Jarman’s home, library, ephemera and artworks, which are not on public display.
Journey to Dungeness by coach, take a guided tour of Prospect Cottage, have a fish and chip dinner, and some time to explore the Dungeness landscape: Britain’s only desert.
Derek Jarman: Pandemonium is part of Jarman2014, a year-long celebration of Derek Jarman’s life & work. Full listings and further information will be available soon at
Presented by the Cultural Institute at King’s
Curated by Mark Turner, Professor of English, King’s College London
Design by Martin McGrath and Sam Ashby (Little Joe)
Listings information:
Derek Jarman: Pandemonium
Inigo Rooms, Somerset House East Wing, Strand, London WC2R 2LS
Dates:  Thursday 23 January – Sunday 9 March 2014
Times: Daily, 12.00 – 18.00 (until 20.00 on Thursdays)
Admission: Free
Presented by the Cultural Institute at King’s


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