LINES OF SIGHT

EDP Norfolk - - NORFOLK ARTS -

The story of the stolen skull of a doctor who in­vented words in­clud­ing dis­rup­tion and elec­tric­ity, pic­tures of the se­cret land­scapes of the Cold War and ex­quis­ite pat­tern books cre­ated by Nor­wich silk weavers are all part of a new Nor­folk ex­hi­bi­tion.

The col­lec­tion of cu­ri­ous ob­jects, cel­e­brated art­works and pre­vi­ously un­seen pho­to­graphs marks what would have been the 75th birth­day of writer WG Se­bald. The ex­hi­bi­tion fo­cuses on the story be­hind the cre­ation of Se­bald’s masterpiec­e The Rings of Saturn.

The vis­ual and po­etic jour­ney through East Anglia was in­spired by the life of Sir Thomas Browne and links the mys­tery of what hap­pened to his skull with sub­jects rang­ing from the gas-lit win­ter gar­dens of a Vic­to­rian man­sion to an ex­ploded moon, and wartime bomb­ing raids to the his­tory of sugar beet farm­ing.

Se­bald, or Max to his friends, moved to Nor­folk in his 20s to study and teach at the Univer­sity of East Anglia. He be­came pro­fes­sor of Euro­pean Lit­er­a­ture but in 2001 was killed in a car crash, aged 57.

Se­bald had been fas­ci­nated by over­looked peo­ple, places, ob­jects and events and the ex­hi­bi­tion in­cludes his own pho­to­graphs taken dur­ing the long walks which in­formed his writ­ing. They are shown along­side images by pho­tog­ra­pher Michael Bran­don-Jones who helped Se­bald trans­form pic­tures and ob­jects into the art that punc­tu­ates the pages.

Ex­hi­bi­tion curator Dr Nick Warr, from the UEA, said: “Se­bald’s books are an idio­syn­cratic mix­ture of text and im­age. Part fic­tion, part au­to­bi­og­ra­phy and part trav­el­ogue, they in­ter­twine global his­tory with per­sonal memory to re­count the fates of lost and for­got­ten peo­ple.”

Amanda Geit­ner, direc­tor of the East Anglia Art Fund, said: “This ex­hi­bi­tion is a timely show case of Se­bald’s unique vi­sion – one that will bring new au­di­ences to his work and his land­scapes and prompt those lit­er­ary pil­grims have al­ready fol­lowed in his foot­steps to re­turn once more.”

Lines of Sight: WG Se­bald’s East Anglia opens at Nor­wich Cas­tle on May 10 and runs un­til Jan­uary 5, 2020. mu­se­ums. nor­folk.gov.uk. Free, with nor­mal Cas­tle ad­mis­sion. The ex­hi­bi­tion is be­ing staged with the UEA and is spon­sored by the East Anglia Art Fund and the Book Hive, Nor­wich.

ABOVE: Por­trait of WG Se­bald Photo: bridge­man­im­ages.com BE­LOW: Chris Hal­ton, writer and pre­sen­ter of a new MR James documentar­y Photo: Ja­son Fig­gis

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