'Something for the eye': an intervention by John Murphy
Seddon, Jill (2007) 'Something for the eye': an intervention by John Murphy In: Image, Power and Space: Studies in Consumption and Identity. Meyer and Meyer, pp. 67-81. ISBN 978-1-84126-244-4
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Seddon’s long-standing research project into the function and signification of visual imagery in the Regency interior, developed and published over several years, provided the opportunity to analyse the lasting impact of artist John Murphy’s exhibition, a temporary intervention at the Regency Town House, Hove, for the Brighton Festival Fringe (2004). Detailed archival information was drawn upon in the planning stages of Murphy’s piece representing a unique collaboration between an important local restoration project and a contemporary artist - the first of a series of cultural interventions within the house’s historic interiors. His installation raised questions that remain valid, concerning site specificity, history, public and private spaces and the role of vision in the creation and consumption of pleasure. These are themes addressed in Seddon’s article in relation to the complex history of the house and its interiors already established through her original research. The house itself performed a symbiotic relationship with the objects placed by Murphy within its interiors and offering up multiple readings of the event. Powerful themes of desire, sexual appetite and the commoditisation of the body were quietly insinuated into these domestic spaces, engaging their audience in a visual and verbal dialogue. Murphy’s exploration of the interaction of sight and language through the juxtaposition of text, object and image resonated with the physical traces of original functions of the house and its present restoration. Seddon examines the ways in which a particular place added new layers of meaning to Murphy’s work within the context of the history of site-specific art. At the same time it serves as a written record of a temporal work which has itself contributed to the continually evolving history of the house. Seddon’s chapter forms part of a collection of essays addressing cultural and social manifestations of image, power and space.
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