Géricault''s Raft stands as a statement as much as painting, a history lesson, a nightmare, a gigantic perfidy, a visual shorthand for abuse and disaster rendered in exquisite oils... In pulses of literary reference and art history and Gericault''''s own radical life story, de Freston evokes a provocative new voyage for the rotting raft - seen through his own visceral experience of the vast painting, and its uproarious terrors and visions, which hold a mortal but undying resonance for our own times... A stupendous work
To read Wreck is to observe a mind as it delves into the pentimenti of the past, moving through complexities of horror, art, solidarity, and trauma. Unforgettable
Doireann Ní Ghríofa, author of A Ghost in the Throat
Not only an extraordinary exploration of how an artwork is created but a devastating portrayal of what it means to means to struggle, to be human, to find hope. A darting, incredibly ambitious book which brings together the head and the heart. I am still ringing with the experience of reading it
Daisy Johnson, author of Sisters
From the Same Author
Tom de Freston
In 2020, artist Tom de Freston and his novelist wife Kiran Millwood Hargrave discovered they were expecting twins. But Kiran miscarried, and thus began a long journey to parenthood that saw the loss of six more pregnancies.
De Freston began exploring his experience of the losses in his artwork, searching for a way to make sense of his grief and of his wife’s. He finds representations of his feelings towards Kiran in Ovid’s myth of Orpheus, who, in turning back to gaze upon Eurydice, loses her to the Underworld; a story which captures the longing for closeness within a couple, and the intense pain in the distance between them. His search for understanding leads him to artists and artworks from Titian and Francis Bacon to Braca Ettinger and Gerhard Richter. And as the miscarriages mounted and de Freston became ever more aware of the precarious bodily experience that is pregnancy, he excavates the erotic charge of the male gaze, its yearning for connection, and the desires and boundaries that exist between lovers, and between painter and painting.
Addressed directly to De Freston’s wife Kiran, Strange Bodies is an intimate, authentic, and powerfully moving account of a loving relationship that pulses with wonder and insight.