It was 150 years ago that the French poet Arthur Rimbaud first started to write his influential poem A Season In Hell whilst living in Camden Town with fellow poet Paul Verlaine. Their time in London ended in a personal disaster, yet out of this the groundbreaking poem A Season In Hell was worked. The poem was and still is a strange form of Autobiography, from the perspective of an adolescent.
On rereading this poem three years ago Anthony Waites the curator of this exhibition was struck by its relevance to all personal forms of suffering; something most adolescents seem to relate to; along with countless generations of artists and musicians.
Pier Paolo Pasolini, The Beat poets, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Jim Morrison, Lou Reed, Patti Smith, Kurt Cobain and the current wave of street poets and rap artists have all been influenced by and have name checked the seer poet Rimbaud. Artists from the early avant – garde onwards such as Apollinaire, Picasso, Miro, Ernst, Giacometti, Braque, Arp, have all illustrated Rimbaud’s Voyant letter.
This is the power of Rimbaud; he is like an exotic narcotic for each generation of seekers of the new.