Destruction in Art


Ifor Davies

I visited the Ifor Davies Silent Explosion exhibition at the National Museum Cardiff and I was immediately disappointed to see the sign on the gallery doors prohibiting photography. I do like to take photos of exhibitions I visit and share my experiences with my fellow students at University and on my blog. I enquired at the museum front desk as to why photography was forbidden to be told that the artist; Ifor Davies had made this stipulation. I find it very sad that an artist wishes to remain insular and not share his work and inspire other artists, or in my case, students. My Critical Studies tutor is frequently discussing ‘appropriation’ as a means of gaining inspiration, yet this artist blocks his work as a vehicle for inspiration. Davies’ biography suggests that he studied at Cardiff and Swansea colleges of art, also in Lausanne in Switzerland before teaching at the universities of Wales and Edinburgh; did he not encourage his students to seek inspiration from established artists and to consider ‘appropriation’? The image of Davies’ work used on this blog is taken from the museum website and doesn’t have a copyright reference on it.

Within the Silent Explosion exhibition there is extensive information on the Destruction in Art Symposium (DiAS), London 1966; somewhat disturbingly there is reference to ‘Artists impelled to kill animals’ as part of their expression of their art and a statement of ‘Society will ignore the manifestation of Destruction in Art at its peril’, it makes them sound like terrorists. Yoko Ono is featured on a poster and in photographs of destructive art; I find it difficult to imagine her agreeing with anyone who would kill animals in the name of art.

Did I gain inspiration from this exhibition? Yes I did. The artwork in the header photograph is of his Death and Taxes exhibit. This reminded me that I have a pile of tax documents and financial statements slowly deteriorating in my garden from a business I once ran that I am expected to retain for seven years. It’s my plan now to create a ceremonial pile in the garden and photograph it.

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  1. […] National Museum Cardiff where photography was permitted but in March at the Ifor Davies exhibition Destruction in Art, again at the National Museum, photography was not permitted. Later that same month I visited MoMA […]