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Blog 9: Performance at The Walker Art Gallery by Aaron Williamson - 'CYCLODUSA' / 14 November 2012

black and white image of a face covered in eyes

The original image that inspired this drawing was called 'How to see everything in a day' and was published in Harpers Weekly, 1876 (a satire on gallery visitors trying to see everything!

Zoom in to this image and read text description

This is the last week of my residency at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool and so I’m now devising the final performance. I’ve taken yet another direction with the work but it follows on from the research I’ve done into the real-life artist’s models featured in the paintings around the Victorian Gallery (Room 8). I’ve written about them here.

I’ve decided to transpose the concept of the eavesdropper from the ears to the eyes. A common phrase concerning a painted figure is that their eyes ‘follow you around the room’. I want to echo this effect back at the paintings and so, posing on a plinth in the centre of the Gallery my head will be covered with eyes. I will pose for the public to suggest the kind of mythological figures that the Victorian Aesthetic movement was so drawn towards (Europa, Perseus, Andromeda, Mercury, Venus, Psyche et al). I’ve invented a name for my mythic invention: the ‘Cyclodusa’ is an all-seeing hero who watches over the visitors to the Gallery. Medusan snakes have morphed into the Cyclopic eyes.

To emphasise the life-modelling aspect of the work there are drawing classes to attend for which I will pose around the gallery (drawing materials provided). Other aspects of the Gallery’s everyday activities are echoed such as a guided tour that follows my text about the models in the paintings.

The performance is over three days: 10am to 4pm Thursday 15th, Friday 16th and Saturday 17th, 10am to 4pm; (with a break between 1 – 2pm).

Life drawing classes in the Gallery are on Thursday 15th 2 - 4pm and Friday 16th 11am – 1pm.

Tours by Gallery staff (30 mins): Thursday 15th - 11am; Friday 16th - 2pm; Saturday 17th - 11am and 2pm (2pm tour sign interpreted).

Audiodescriber in attendance Saturday 17th  - 10am to 1pm.

Click on this link to go to Aaron Williamson's 'Tales of Life Models in the Walker Art Gallery's 'High Victorian Art' Room 8'.

Keywords: visual arts