The Dulwich Picture Gallery has announced a new contemporary art installation, Terminus Place by the artist Clive Head, as part of his project From Victoria to Arcadia at Dulwich Picture Gallery and Marlborough Fine Art.
Poussin’s painting depicts the Biblical episode of David bringing the head of Goliath into Jerusalem, having slain him, where he is triumphantly received (1 Samuel 17:54). Head’sTerminus Place features Victoria Underground Station in all its bustling chaos. Yet the forms and shapes of the paintings seem to mirror each other.
Xavier Bray, Arturo and Holly Melosi Chief Curator said: “Juxtaposing two very different worlds – the classical world of Poussin and Head’s depiction of one of London’s busiest tube stations – will provide a startling visual comparison, which I hope will inspire visitors to look at Poussin in a totally different way.”
Clive Head’s work betrays his exacting scrutiny of the urban landscape. Although widely regarded as Britain’s leading realist painter, the term realism is inadequate. Upon inspection the spectator sees that there are multiple perspectives at play, more akin to those in a cubist painting although Head’s works are seamless and without modernist fragmentation. His Terminus Place is a parallel Victoria Station in which all that the artist has seen as he has walked across the concourse and up the stairs is presented as one view. It resolves the flux and chaos of life as an eternal constant. The hustle and noise of Victoria is transcended by a modern day Arcadia which invites the viewer to lose themselves in a world which is simultaneously reminiscent of the world they have left behind.
Head finds inspiration in the pictorial invention of artists such as Poussin, whose works are based in classical mythology, in depicting not a static scene but life as narrative. Both artists share a desire for space to open up and liberate the viewer to see a more expansive universe.
Clive Head said: “Poussin has helped me to understand that art is not about the documentation of our world and that the artist is not a social commentator. Art has a far more important purpose which is to reveal a world beyond our own. I have no interest in the stories Poussin chooses at the beginning of his journey but the very means in which he redefines reality every time he picks up a paintbrush”
Dulwich Picture Gallery houses one of the finest collections of Poussins in the United Kingdom and this project follows Twombly and Poussin: Arcadian Painters as well as the recent display of Poussin’s The Sacraments in providing an opportunity to revisit and re-examine his work. Continuing his exploration of Old Masters, Clive Head’s project with the Gallery is part of his solo show that will be at Marlborough Fine Art, 14 November – 8 December 2012
Clive Head was born in 1965 in Maidstone, Kent. After completing his education, he settled in Yorkshire. He currently lives and works in Scarborough with his wife and four children. In 2010 his show Modern Perspectives drew the largest ever audience for a living artist at the National Gallery, London.
From 10 October 2012 till 13 January 2013, a major new painting by Head, Terminus Place, will be installed face-to-face with Nicholas Poussin’s prized work, The Triumph of David.