Jeannette maps out new territory for Ballard research

Published: 20 September 2015 at 00:00

The Drowned World exhibition catalogue

Senior Lecturer featured in two exhibition catalogues

Over the summer, Dr Jeannette Baxter (Senior Lecturer in English and Writing) was invited to get involved with two exhibitions by Phil Goss and Fay Ballard, the youngest daughter of J.G. Ballard.

For the first of these, 'The Drowned World' at the Aldeburgh Look-Out Tower, Phil and Fay produced drawings in dialogue with Ballard's early novel, The Drowned World (1962). Their artwork explored some of the novel's key themes, such as memory, space and time, and Jeannette was invited to respond critically to the novel as well as Fay's and Phil's art. Her resulting essay 'Don't Confuse the Map With the Territory' was screen-printed by Phil and included in the (completely hand-made and screen-printed) exhibition catalogue.

The second, 'Alligators in the Hall' at the Centre for Recent Drawing, London, was a companion exhibition of drawings and critical writings in collaboration with Phil and Fay, but with a focus on domestic and urban spaces. Again, Jeannette's written response to the artwork featured in the exhibition catalogue.

The Drowned World exhibition

JG Ballard is one of Jeannette's long-standing research interests, particularly in relation to Surrealism, but his work also feeds into a new and broader area of her research: the relationship between science fiction and the visual arts.

She said: "I'm not just concerned with what art looks like in science fiction writing, but also with what it sounds like. Paintings are often thought of as silent, but they actually give form to lots of activity and noise. I'm very interested in what paintings are 'telling' us."