Exhibited artwork Flotsam and Jetsam (Portmanteau) in group exhibition Wordsworth and Basho: Walking Poets, Wordsworth Museum, 2014.

Research output: Non-textual formExhibition

Abstract

McHugh's work responds to themes of memory and the ephemerality of the human condition in the work of both Basho and Wordsworth. While Basho often revisited ruins and other sites of communal memory in his poetry, Wordsworth was concerned that human endeavour – both monuments and works of literature – were at risk of destruction through catastrophe and would be outlasted by nature. Both poets were also interested in uncovering for posterity the marginalised histories of everyday folk (the flotsam and jetsam) they met on the road.

Similarly, throughout much of his ceramic work, McHugh evokes potentially overlooked narratives and materialises that which otherwise might remain absent. 'Flotsam and Jetsam (Portmanteau)' is an installation piece consisting of hundreds of mainly slipcast and press-moulded ceramic components. By combining durable ceramic elements with an ephemeral, reworkable mode of presentation, the 'scarred' porcelain fragments in the installation occupy an ambivalent position somewhere between absence and presence, manifesting a sense of enduring loss and melancholia. Blades of grass made from soda glass grow through the ceramic assemblage, suggesting the endurance of nature over culture.

The installation title references Wordsworth’s portmanteau suitcase which is on display in Dove Cottage and alludes to Basho’s 'The Records of a Travel-Worn Satchel'. A portmanteau is also a word formed through the combination of two or more other words, resulting in a new meaning. This piece synthesises something of the essence of both poets, repackaging their words into a new object with contemporary resonances. It is inspired by verses 68-92 of Wordsworth's The Ruined Cottage and a haiku written by Basho when he visited the abandoned castle at Hiraizumi in 1689.
LanguageEnglish
Place of PublicationManchester
Edition1
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2018

Fingerprint

Poet
Artwork
William Wordsworth
Cottage
Catastrophe
Assemblages
Endurance
Ephemeral
Blade
History
Porcelain
Poetry
Mode of Presentation
Folk
Nature
Roads
Verse
Melancholia
Ruin
Essence

Keywords

  • walking poets
  • William Wordsworth
  • Matsuo Basho
  • ceramics
  • Christopher McHugh

Cite this

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title = "Exhibited artwork Flotsam and Jetsam (Portmanteau) in group exhibition Wordsworth and Basho: Walking Poets, Wordsworth Museum, 2014.",
abstract = "McHugh's work responds to themes of memory and the ephemerality of the human condition in the work of both Basho and Wordsworth. While Basho often revisited ruins and other sites of communal memory in his poetry, Wordsworth was concerned that human endeavour – both monuments and works of literature – were at risk of destruction through catastrophe and would be outlasted by nature. Both poets were also interested in uncovering for posterity the marginalised histories of everyday folk (the flotsam and jetsam) they met on the road. Similarly, throughout much of his ceramic work, McHugh evokes potentially overlooked narratives and materialises that which otherwise might remain absent. 'Flotsam and Jetsam (Portmanteau)' is an installation piece consisting of hundreds of mainly slipcast and press-moulded ceramic components. By combining durable ceramic elements with an ephemeral, reworkable mode of presentation, the 'scarred' porcelain fragments in the installation occupy an ambivalent position somewhere between absence and presence, manifesting a sense of enduring loss and melancholia. Blades of grass made from soda glass grow through the ceramic assemblage, suggesting the endurance of nature over culture. The installation title references Wordsworth’s portmanteau suitcase which is on display in Dove Cottage and alludes to Basho’s 'The Records of a Travel-Worn Satchel'. A portmanteau is also a word formed through the combination of two or more other words, resulting in a new meaning. This piece synthesises something of the essence of both poets, repackaging their words into a new object with contemporary resonances. It is inspired by verses 68-92 of Wordsworth's The Ruined Cottage and a haiku written by Basho when he visited the abandoned castle at Hiraizumi in 1689.",
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note = "Excerpt from Collier, M. 2014. Wordsworth and Basho: Walking Poets, Art Editions North, Cornerhouse Publications, pp. 106-111, 174.",
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N2 - McHugh's work responds to themes of memory and the ephemerality of the human condition in the work of both Basho and Wordsworth. While Basho often revisited ruins and other sites of communal memory in his poetry, Wordsworth was concerned that human endeavour – both monuments and works of literature – were at risk of destruction through catastrophe and would be outlasted by nature. Both poets were also interested in uncovering for posterity the marginalised histories of everyday folk (the flotsam and jetsam) they met on the road. Similarly, throughout much of his ceramic work, McHugh evokes potentially overlooked narratives and materialises that which otherwise might remain absent. 'Flotsam and Jetsam (Portmanteau)' is an installation piece consisting of hundreds of mainly slipcast and press-moulded ceramic components. By combining durable ceramic elements with an ephemeral, reworkable mode of presentation, the 'scarred' porcelain fragments in the installation occupy an ambivalent position somewhere between absence and presence, manifesting a sense of enduring loss and melancholia. Blades of grass made from soda glass grow through the ceramic assemblage, suggesting the endurance of nature over culture. The installation title references Wordsworth’s portmanteau suitcase which is on display in Dove Cottage and alludes to Basho’s 'The Records of a Travel-Worn Satchel'. A portmanteau is also a word formed through the combination of two or more other words, resulting in a new meaning. This piece synthesises something of the essence of both poets, repackaging their words into a new object with contemporary resonances. It is inspired by verses 68-92 of Wordsworth's The Ruined Cottage and a haiku written by Basho when he visited the abandoned castle at Hiraizumi in 1689.

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