Magazine article Tate Etc.

Iain Sinclair on Ceri Richards's Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night 1965

Magazine article Tate Etc.

Iain Sinclair on Ceri Richards's Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night 1965

Article excerpt

This 1965 lithograph by Ceri Richards, theatrically stark in black and white, and derived from a late Dylan Thomas poem, was the first artwork I bought and took home. And I've lived with it ever since, through a procession of temporary London rooms to a final anchorage in Hackney.

Savage and bardic, this image of a naked, fallen man, spilled on the edge of the world under a brilliant moon, plugged through terminal darkness like a bullet hole in the skull, still feels like the perfect metaphor for the futility of a writer's life. An owl with unblinking gaze carries off shroud sheets of scribbled texts that will never be completed. 'Published in eternity,' as Allen Ginsberg said.

The detail that grabs me is the extreme elongation of prehensile digits, fingers stretched into spaghetti strings by the gravity of a black hole. The feet belong on a creature freshly emerged from the sea and not yet fit for land. …

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