Work by more than 60 artists forms an investigation into TS Eliot’s 1922 poem The Waste Land and its relationship to visual art.
TS Eliot is an important figure to Margate. In 1921, he spent a few weeks in the seaside town working on his poem The Waste Land, which was published the following year and became one of the landmark works of the 20th century, largely read as a comment on the bleak, fractured state of Europe after the First World War.
In recognition of the poem’s relationship to the area and its people, Journeys with The Waste Land is the result of months of discussion among a voluntary research group made up of local people exploring personal connections between art, poetry and life. It brings together almost 100 objects by more than 60 artists that offer insight into how The Waste Land’s techniques and images continue to resonate with literature and visual arts.
Works on show include Edward Hopper’s painting Night Windows (1928), which echoes the mood of the poem; Norwegian artist Vibeke Tandberg’s installation The Waste Land (2007), which plays with language and form; and new works made especially for the exhibition, such as John Newling’s sculpture Eliot’s Notebooks (2017), a nine-month project to transform hundreds of copies of The Waste Land into soil, then back into paper.