The politics of partnership: Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, 1912-1961

Clarke, Darren (2013) The politics of partnership: Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, 1912-1961. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

This thesis analyses the relationship of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, artists that were central to the visual culture of the Bloomsbury group. The title of this project positions ‘partnership’ as a connecting force between the two artists, a term I interpret as a series of layers, boundaries, and thresholds that are in a constant state of flux, over-lapping, layering and leaking. By mapping the artists’ presence I am able to construct a new model of partnership.
Chapter one considers the artists’ signing and marking of their work, examining the variations of the signature, tracing its evolution, its presence and its absence, its location on the work and the calligraphy of the mark. By examining the various ways that Bell and Grant had of signing and of not signing their work and the use and function of the mechanically reproduced signature, I demonstrate the uneasy relationship that can occur between objects, names and signatures.
Chapter two focuses on the pond at Charleston, the home that the artists shared for almost half a century, which is central to many of the narratives and mythologies of the household and is the subject of many paintings and decorations. I chart how the artists map this space by repeatedly recording it and how the pond acts as a layered topography for the exploration and presentation of gender, queerness and familial relationships.
Chapter three continues the process of examining boundaries and layers by exploring the artists’ often problematic relationship to clothes and to the delicate threshold between fabric and skin that often loosens and gapes. I cast the artists as agents of disguise and masquerade in which uncertain and unstable boundaries are created. I map the transference of fabric and demonstrate how this textile threshold ruptures, how the body leaks, leaving marks and traces.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of History, Art History and Philosophy > Art History
Subjects: N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR > N5300 History > N6350 Modern art > N6447 19th and 20th centuries
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR > N5300 History > N6501 Special Countries > N6766 Great Britain > N6768.5.B55 Bloomsbury Group
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 07 Oct 2013 14:38
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2015 12:01
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/46493

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