The Jolly Corner

Barjola Museum, May-August 2017
Natalia Alonso Arduengo


 (…) According to Pallasmaa, modern architecture has tried to avoid or eliminate the ‘dream-like house’ archetype explaned by Gaston Bachelard in his book ‘’Poetics of Space’’. That’s the model Monica Dixon paints in her canvases. This dwelling must have an attic and a basement. The attic would be the symbolical place where pleasant memories can be collected, while the unpleasant ones would be placed in the basement. The mental prototype for the ‘dream –like house’ becomes fundamental for the metaphysic hold of it’s inhabitant, <<The house is, more so than the landscapes, a state of the soul. Even from the outside, it reveals intimacy>>, Bachelard maintains. With all this, Dixon’s landscapes and interiors do not reveal the intimacy of a home. The absence of atmosphere and the dispassionate aesthetics lead to unstillness and thought. What kind of soul inhabits them? Perhaps no one lives there.

Transformation of society and lifestyle requires a transformation of the way we inhabit. It could be that today’s housing satisfies our physical needs but, in many cases, there is a lack of our own being as an expression of whom dwells in them. The house is not a mere construction; it is also loaded with affectivities and memories, as the ones in Spencer Byron’s ‘Jolly Corner’, the main character from the tale written by Henry James. To dwell is to leave a trace (…)

<<Tell me how you live and I’ll tell you who you are>>


Natalia Alonso Arduengo
Commissary of the exhibition


Extract text for 'The Jolly Corner' exhibition catalogue