Ivor Abrahams, R.A. 1935 - 2015
A Dream within a Dream
Photo: R.A.
© Royal Academy of Arts, London
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A Dream within a Dream
Screenprint, 495 X 365 mm
Printed by Advanced Graphics Published by Bernard Jacobson Ltd, 1976.
From: E. A. Poe Tales and Poems: 20 Images by Ivor Abrahams, 1976
Given by Ivor Abrahams, R.A., 5 July 2009
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Abrahams is just as oblique in his approach to Poe's poetry, his concern being to create an enigmatical object that might match the mood and tone of a particular poem - that captures its music as well as its sense - rather than in any way impose a meaning. Thus the artist avoids the central image of Poe's 'A Dream within a Dream' - a hand attempting to clasp grains of sand - and only suggests the poem's 'surf-tormented shore' and 'pitiless wave' through the use of marine colours and by giving his 'abacus' of hourglasses a coral-like frame.work. In a touch wholly his own, Abrahams finds an equivalent for the poet's sense of implacable fate by making his hourglasses mirror each other, so that the sand in the bottom row rises rather than falls, marking the impossibility of our ever 'starting over again'.