click on image to return to index

"river of fire" an instalation,

"river of fire" was conceived to examine the contradiction in William Morris's life between designing for the rich and agitating for the poor. Morris was the preeminent founder of the arts and crafts movement, a designer of wallpaper, tapestries, furniture and stained glass that only the rich could afford at the same time he was a founder of the socialist movement in the UK, agitating on street corners writing pamphlets and publishing an agitational newspaper, "The Commonweal".

He believed in the emancipation of the working class and a fundamental change in society to socialism, this was inextricably linked with his attitude to art. He saw art as corrupted by capitalism and of necessity may have to disappear completely before being born anew within a socialist society.

The work consists of Morris wallpaper, a picture of the Hammersmith branch of the Socialst League, the tools of a decorator, steps, paste, brushes etc, a half drunk cup of tea, a copy of Morris's pamphlet "Useful work versus Useless Toil" and some leaflets for a current dispute or march. the title "river of fire" comes from Morris's own words when he took up the cause of socialism and rejected his bourgeois life, he referred to himself as "crossing a river of fire". The same words that Marx used in his rejection of religion and idealism after reading Feuerbach.