Jarman Luminous Darkness

Derek Jarman – Fuck Me Blind, 1993

It is known that Jarman’s works later in life where large canvases of simple slogans. To promote awareness or to shock people into action? Well likely both – though at my school we had no sexual health education at all.

Jarman was diagnosed as HIV-positive in December 1986 and on medication that had no known effectiveness, he would have been sure his life was limited every morning. These days, people have PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) they can take and either have safe sex and not catch HIV or, have HIV and not transmit the disease on to others with PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis).

Derek Jarman – Aids Blood, 1992

In 1992, Jarman was working with assistants to produce a vast amount of work, as part protest and part legacy. In an interview Jarman noted that it was very hard making movies in a system that needed public funding under a homophobic tory government and a right wing press. A result of his HIV status, Jarman lost his eyesight and went blind leading him to make his movie Blue.

These images below are made up of many religious icons, such as broken icons, nails and crosses. Most of these are roofing bitumen, oil paints and found items. Whenever a mirror can be broken it is. What this all could mean is likely a many levelled response. Having HIV that was turning into AIDs, it might have been about the darkness and futility of life, but this might also be my perspective of his mind. Below are some of the most compelling works from the Luminous Darkness exhibition .