Saturday, 26 September 2009
Ross Birrell and David Harding's Cuernavaca: A Journey in Search of Malcolm Lowry
Ross Birrell and David Harding's Cuernavaca: A Journey in Search of Malcolm Lowry chases Lowry's ghost through the Mexican town that inspired his novel. Their film and installation is in two parts. In the upstairs gallery, surrounding a lawn, a wall text is the Consul's mistranslation of a sign he encounters in a public garden next to his own. It should read 'Do you like this garden, which is yours? Make sure your children don't destroy it!' but instead it reflects Lowry's fear of being evicted, of being cast out from the Eden he had found at Dollarton.
The text in Spanish, repeated at the end of the book, provided the source for Birrell and Harding's installation, whose film, shown here in the Vide space outside the gallery entrance, revisits the final footsteps of the ex-Consul. It includes readings from Octavio Paz and Lowry, the painting of a mural/text from the novel, interviews with local people who claim to have met the author, a journey to the peaks of Popocatepetl and a ritual in which a spiritualist communicates with Lowry's tormented soul.
The artists describe how 'the mescal-infused poetic symbolism drawn from Dante to the Kabala, which informed the writing of Under the Volcano, was the inspiration for the composition of Cuernavaca - where the editing attempts to mirror Lowry's intoxicated syntax' . Bryan Biggs Artistic Director The Bluecoat Liverpool: Under The Volcano; An Exhibition for Malcolm Lowry 1909-1957