ithell colquhoun magician born of nature
All texts copyright Richard Shillitoe

klingsor’s castle


Collage of colour photographs on silver card. 11½ x 7½in. (29.6 x 19cm.) Monogrammed and dated ’81 on the mount, lower right. Provenance NT. Klingsor is a devil figure from Wagner’s Parsifal. He achieved his magic power through accepting voluntary castration. His vendetta against the knights of the Holy Grail was to inflict on them the same mutilation. Colquhoun’s familiarity with the legend of Klingsor may have come from her reading of The Spear of Destiny by Trevor Ravenscroft, which she reviewed for Prediction magazine The book deals with the search for the lance of Longinus, the Centurion present at the Crucifixion. This is one of a number of photographic collages that Colquhoun executed late in her career. By releasing images from their natural context, from the laws of perspective and from other restraints, Colquhoun demands that the viewer sees the photographic images in a new and unexpected light. She questions the relationships between objects by the way in which she juxtaposes them, distorts depth cues and, in the present example, makes the image occupy a parallelogram rather than a rectangle.