Break a Small Piece of My Heart
by Charmian Savill
he recent exhibition at National Museum, Cardiff ‘Silent Explosion: Ivor Davies and Destruction in Art’, and the touring theatre production Smash It Up by Mr and Mrs Clark, both stimulate a contemplation of the past and the future. What is so distinctive is that they place the spectator in a variety of time frames in order to explore the relationship between art and the process of destruction, to experience André Stitt’s notion of ‘art as a hammer’. Both events also give distinctive and oblique angles on political action and activism.
The ‘Silent Explosion’ exhibition catalogues its contents as: ‘Preservations from the past, writings, relics, fragments, half-lost objects, personal and ancestral memory…’1 and spans the career of Ivor Davies from his childhood drawings from the second world war to the present day, and include an extensive archive of materials such as letters, newspaper clippings and images of his performances, as well as his artworks themselves. A number of his installations and performances pioneered the use of actual explosives. The objects in the exhibition (both artworks and artefacts) demonstrate a slow disintegration and mutation due to various natural processes and elements, such as ageing, water and fire, into a decayed state which allows a more imaginative assimilation for the spectator than engaging with intact material, and provokes different ideas.Buy the issue or subscribe here
Charmian Savill is a teacher and theatre director with a particular interest in radical Welsh and English theatre.
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