To accompany our Visual Arts exhibition An Inn For Phantoms Of The Outside And In by Martin Boyce, poet Rhona Warwick Paterson has written a poem inspired by the work.
Of the process of writing Rhona has said:
Martin’s work has for me always occupied a poetic space. When we first started speaking about the outdoor work for Mount Stuart, we talked about that heightened sense of ambiguity that comes with stumbling across an abandoned space, particularly the odd dissonance with abandoned recreation areas. We spoke about Antonioni’s film Blow Up, where in the last scene a tennis match is performed in mime when the protagonist, Thomas finally succumbs to the ‘game’ by retrieving an invisible ball. This suspension of what we know to be real or unreal, is echoed in both the work and the poem where between them phantoms become memories and where places become repositories for memory. In writing DAY MOON I was interested in opening another space, somewhere between the materiality of Martin’s work and the scenario in the poem. In many ways, both forms intersect. I like that words and objects play their own game in this work – looking down to read and looking up to see.
of bounce on chalk
of bending strings
of clinking ice in crystal glass
imprinted there, a coral lip is bared.
Between one side and the other
a net separates, the breeze
and a pale day moon.
Along what’s left of the sideline, you mock-walk
on tightrope, heel-to-toe to the edge
while the fence looks on
with diamond eyes, wide open.
Down there on the other side, a phosphorous ball lies
abandoned. On your belly with elbows rooted
you push two yearning fingers through
a chain link eye, spitting bluebells from your mouth.
As the ball sits waiting (your fingers splaying
recall, that snail eyes are often mistaken for antenna).
Till out of reach and beaten, you fall in grass blades
one hand behind your head, lost
to the day
emulsion in a dented tin, it’s rim prised open with a screwdriver.
A gang of sticks mix
with plans of forty-eight right angles.
Painted lines unplug fist-sized lumps of Tarmac
you volley them with shrieks
back and forth, over the double-fitted sheet.
Your heart-sized witness (that ruin a ball of cork and hair)
remains, unblinking through the fence.
You both dream for a bit
of flying high and swimming pools, till in your hand
another ball is conjured.
You mime a throw
and watch your phantom arc
above the trees
against a lilac sky, city-lit and tender.
© RHONA WARWICK PATERSON, 2019
About the author:
Rhona Warwick Paterson studied at The Glasgow School of Art where writing emerged as her practice, particularly in response to sculpture. She has since been commissioned by many established artists to write poems in dialogue with their own creative process and practice. These include; Edmund de Waal, David Ward, Clare Woods, Tessa Lynch and Corin Sworn. She won the Scottish Book Trust award for Poetry in 2018 and is currently working on her first collection.
To find out more about our Visual Arts Programme go here.