David Zwirner Books, 2023. Softcover, 64pp., 4.25 x 7 inches
Originally released as a feature film in 1993, the year before the acclaimed artist and filmmaker Derek Jarman’s death due to an AIDS-related illness, Blue is a daring and powerful work of art. The film and its script, as reproduced in this volume, serve as an impassioned response to the lack of political engagement with the AIDS crisis.
Jarman’s Blue moves through myriad scenes, some banal, others fantastical. Stories of quotidian life––getting coffee, reading the newspaper, and walking down the sidewalk––escalate to visions of Marco Polo, the Taj Mahal, or blue fighting yellow. Facing death and a cascade of pills, Jarman presents his illness in delirium and metaphors. He contemplates the physicality of emotions in lyrical prose as he grounds this story in the constant return to Blue—a color, a feeling, a funk. Michael Charlesworth’s compelling introduction brings Blue into conversation with Jarman’s visual paintings.