THE ESTATE OF HERMIONE
September 15 - October 6, 2018
Opens September 15 , 6-10pm
Oil on Canvas
66 cm x 61 cm
Life does not only mean life.
‘Life’ in the ancient Greek is either bios (biological life) or zoe (divine, supernatural life) and the trouble is that one word can’t usefully mean both. There is the physical world, and there is our interior world. We can try valiantly to elide these distinct meanings but, as Hermione’s paintings remind us, there is something fundamentally irreconcilable about our internal truth and whatever real ground on which we find ourselves standing.
Switches flick on, and off.
Interiority can mean home, safety, sanctuary, or it can mean skating closer to the borders of unconscious knowledge than is strictly advisable. We’re all walking a line. In Susan Sontag’s framing, “everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick”; and Hermione’s citizenship can’t fail to inform her gaze. The prosaic and limited interiors of her sick bed (light-switches, chinoiserie motifs, husbands, doctors) become abstracted and mobilised to explain her place in the world. Illness presents as an extreme, heightened femininity.
- Extract from forthcoming text by Tessa Norton
The Estate of Hermione, the inaugural exhibition of EX-BALDESSARRE champions the work of Hermione Burton - A Bedford based painter who was born in Aylesbury in 1925 and who died circa 1990. Hermione was one of the earliest survivors of open heart surgery and painted her whole life but only exhibited twice.
Hermione’s work was discovered by chance in a charity shop by Andy Holden and the remainder of her oeuvre was steadily tracked down, acquired and restored over the course of the next year. Presented alongside texts by Tessa Norton, and mix-tapes by Jarvis Cocker and Heather Phillipson the accumulated 20, or so, paintings cover all Hermione’s periods of artistic activity and are the only remaining examples of her work.
Untitled (Still Life)
Oil on Canvas
34 cm x 28 cm