The Japan News by The Yomiuri Shimbun

Home > News


"From Scavengers―Collection of 20 Sketches and Poems―" Exhibition

"From Scavengers ―Collection of 20 Sketches and Poems―" Exhibition

The "From Scavengers ―Collection of 20 Sketches and Poems―" Exhibition is being held at the Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum, Waseda University. The exhibition is being staged in the Shakespeare Room on the first floor until February 5. Continuing on from the drama lecture by artist Tom de Freston and poet Kiran Millwood Hargrave hosted by the Theatre Museum on October 19, it was decided to display exhibits related to their collection Scavengers. For this, through the kindness of the Gallery, the organization which owns the paintings, and individuals, the Theatre Museum was presented 20 sketches that were necessary to complete the paintings. Sketches related to all the paintings making up the collection are now in the possession of the Theatre Museum. In the 20 works are pieces that have been sold at auction houses such as Christie's.
(Ayami Oki Siekierczak / Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum research associate)

Scavengers originally came about when Milwood Hargrave was commissioned a work by the Shakespeare Society. Regarding the proposal to create a piece drawing inspiration from Shakespeare's works, she came to realize that rather drawing that information from a text and writing another text, it may be able to expand the possibilities by adding pictures. She proposed a joint project with de Freston to the society. When the project came together, it was decided to display their collection at the 2011 Cambridge Shakespeare Festival at the same time as holding a lecture at the main venue of the festival. As the project progressed, they received support from director Sir Trevor Nunn and Cambridge University's Dr Abigail Rokison, and Sir Nunn and Dr Rokison also prepared an essay relating to the collection at the festival. Around the time the festival was held at Cambridge University, plans began to invite the two producers to the Theatre Museum to deliver a drama lecture in the form of a workshop. With support from the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation and backing of the British Council, along with cooperation from galleries and organizations such as Breese Little, and individuals such as Sir Nunn and Dr Rokison, the decision to invite the pair was made.

For the production process of Scavengers, de Freston first drew pictures based on his own interpretation of Shakespeare's works. And then, without knowing the title of the paintings and the background interpretation, Millwood Hargrave produced texts to support the visual narrative. By placing de Freston's works in intervals, it isn't limited to an exchange from text to text, and by going from text to painting and back to text again, it transforms within in the shape of differing arts. In the essay Sir Nunn wrote about this collection, he touches upon the origin of the title of this exhibition. He says that the title comes from a Millwood Hargrave poem that was inspired by the final scene of de Freston's King Lear. The Shakespeare play, which is sometimes called a thieving magpie, where the bulk of it is interpreted as being created by other writers, "scavenged" from existing works, and what was obtained from those was transformed into the greatest theatrical piece. This joint (competing) project describes existing works and, based on those descriptions, freely creates new works.

With these donations "From Scavengers ―Collection of 20 Sketches and Poems―" Exhibition has become a reality and we have been able to put on a display where you can see sketches made from the process of interpreting Shakespearean works alongside poems inspired by the completed paintings. As Sir Nunn put it, I want people to see this collection and, even those who have experienced that world, "scavenge" that world and take home everything that you find.

Part of the pairs works

Tom de Freston

Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Tom de Freston

[Brief history]
Has been Leverhulme Artist in Residence at Cambridge University and Levy Plumb Artist in Residence Christ's College and Leys School. He has opened many individual exhibitions in London and Cambridge. In 2011, two altarpieces by de Freston were installed at Christ's College Chapel to mark its 500th anniversary. The installation was covered by the Daily Telegraph and the Financial Times, drawing widespread attention. Other activities include holding lectures at Cambridge University and giving workshops at the Saatchi Gallery in London. His works have received endorsements from many prominent figures such as Tate Gallery director Sir Nicholas Serota, and director Sir Trevor Nunn.

Kiran Millwood Hargrave

[Brief history]
Since her "Art Lover" being printed in Forest Publications Book of Bedtime Stories in 2009, she has had numerous poems and short stories appear in noted magazines. In March 2012, in association with the Scott Polar Research Institute, Last March was released by Pindrop Press. This also marked the centenary of Scott's final expedition. She is known for her smooth feminine style of writing, but in the process of writing Scavengers, not only did she use graphic and shocking language, but also attempted to bring visual effects into her writing. Even in the "From Scavengers ―Collection of 20 Sketches and Poems―" Exhibition, she attempts various experiments from abstract forms to objects with clear forms such as fish and skulls.

Related links

"Finding Shakespeare" Exhibition

Finding Shakespeare Exhibiton (article)