Steve Cox Inferno: A Reinterpretation of DanteOpening: Tuesday 20 November, 6-8pm Dates: 20 November – 8 December, 2012
Steve Cox presents a body of work reinterpreting this marvelous epic poem from the thirteenth-century, which is contained in Dante’s Divine Comedy. The text describes Dante’s journey through the nine circles of Hell. Each region contains its own specific horrors and monsters.
In a series of over sixty new works Cox re-imagines these grotesqueries and updates them to give a contemporary flavour. Dante’s rich descriptions and wild invention are perfect subject matter for Cox, who is well-known for the often black humour in his work.
The exhibition extends Cox’s interest in stream-of-consciousness pictorial invention. The works showcase his expertise with watercolour, ink and collage and, in a recent development, digital imagery.
Inferno has inspired many artists over the centuries, including William Blake, Gustave Doré and Robert Rauschenberg. Artists have continually found contemporary relevance in the text and have each brought their personal observations to the task.
As an atheist, Cox’s idea of Hell is as a useful metaphor not to be taken literally. He includes references to the marginalised, the displaced, and the outcast: all of whom have been forced to travel through their own personal Hell on earth. He has made reference to the never-ending hell of war on earth. He has also been delighted by the monstrous creatures that have emerged by chance through the fluidity of ink and watercolour.
Man’s inhumanity to man is perennial and no less current today than in Dante’s time. For Cox, this subject-matter has enabled him to create an Underworld populated by creatures if the Id. This will be his first Melbourne exhibition since 2010.
Supported by the City of Melbourne through the Arts Grants Program.