Derek Jarman was one of King’s College London‘s most controversial alumni of the late 20th Century, studying humanities there in the early 1960s before becoming a cult film-maker. The college’s Cultural Institute is honouring the late artist with a retrospective exhibition marking the two decade anniversary of his death from an HIV-related illness in 1994. An important figure in gay activism as well as a director and writer, Derek Jarman: Pandemonium draws from all aspects of his life, and includes rare insights into his psyche and creative process through sketchbook diaries he kept while working on his film and writing projects.
These intimate and multifaceted sketchbooks have resided in the British Film Institute archives since Jarman gifted them in 1990 when he was made a BFI Fellow. Not just diaristic, the books were often hand-made by Jarman and their contents – including found items, sketches and poetry – document the influences he absorbed, and how they translated into his creative output. Derek Jarman’s Sketchbooks is a collation of the most interesting material from this rarely-seen archive, published by Thames and Hudson.
Derek Jarman: Pandemonium runs from 23 January to 9 March at The Inigo Rooms, Somerset House East Wing.