Derek Jarman - The Last of England

Void is delighted to present The Last of England, an exhibition that explores the work of one of Britain’s most iconic filmmakers, painter, writer, gardener and political activist Derek Jarman. The exhibition focuses on work that was made during the 80’s and marks a shift in his focus from the personal to the political. In this exhibition Jarman’s politics and activism are at the forefront; the GBH painting series (1983-84) and his film The Last Of England (1987) reflect and resonate with our current political environment. Please see below for the events which will be running during the course of this exhibition.

This exhibition is produced in collaboration with IMMA, Whitworth Gallery, John Hansard Gallery, and Amanda Wilkinson Gallery.

Kindly supported by Euro London Films, LUMA Foundation and St Columb's Hall.

Void Gallery is supported by the Arts Council of Northern IrelandDerry City and Strabane District Council, and Northbound Brewery.


Derek Jarman Preview & After Party

Friday 15th November

Preview I 6:30-8:30pm I Void Gallery

After Party I 9-11pm (doors 8:30pm) I St Columb's Hall

with music by Michael Bradley


Introduction to Derek Jarman's Super 8 films & screening

Saturday 16th November

Introduction by film producer and moving image curator James Mackay

* Please see below for James Mackay's text on Derek Jarman's Super 8 films

Screenings 1:30-3pm

James Mackay (born 1954) is a British film producer and moving image curator. He studied at the North East London Polytechnic and worked in the London Filmmaker's Co/op as cinema programmer. He has programmed for Edinburgh International Film Festival 1978; Berlin International Film Festival (Forum) 1979 and was Film and Video curator at B2 Gallery London from 1982-3. As an Independent Film Producer, he has produced many features, shorts, documentaries and music videos from 1980 – 2000. He was won numerous awards including the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for the Best Independent Film in 1988 for The Last of England; the Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature in 1993 for Blue, Derek Jarman 1993 the Sony Awards – Best Drama Production 1994 for Blue, Derek Jarman.

In 1981, he established a production and distribution company Dark Picture, specializing in new film and video, and began his collaboration with Derek Jarman. He produced some of Derek Jarman's most important films including The Angelic Conversation (1985), The Garden (1990) and Blue.

Mackay has been a programmer for the Cambridge Film Festival – where he devised the microcinema strand – since 2001. He was a consultant to Tate Media in 2013/4 and has been consultant on moving image to the LUMA Foundation since 2010.


Modern Heart – Journal Workshop with Mhairi Sutherland

‘Modern Heart’ is the title of a Saturday afternoon programme for enthusiastic dreamers, doodlers, activists and anyone interested in curating their thoughts and ideas into a vivid, visual and personalised journal. These workshops are themed around the exhibiting artist, the late film-maker, diarist, gay rights activist and gardener Derek Jarman.

£3 plus booking fee – Book today!

Session 1: Saturday 23rd November I 2-4pm

Exhibition tour, Introductory talk, Dungeness visit and notebook/sketchbook examples
Practical book-making techniques using drawn, text and photographic methods.

Session 2: Saturday 30th November I 2-4pm

Practical making with found and own materials, collage, inserts and cut-outs.

Journal ‘sharing’ and viewing Jarman’s notebooks and approaches

Suitable for all ages. No previous experience required. £3 fee covers both days.

Participants: All journal-making materials and equipment provided, in a relaxed and supportive atmosphere, including coffee and croissant.

Bring your own notebook, either a favourite with blank pages, or a new, crisp notebook for some fresh ideas. Notebooks can also be provided, please state when booking.

For more information please visit our Facebook events page.


Void Tots – Early Years Programme

Saturday 30th November

Session 1: 10:30-11:15am

Session 2: 11:30am-12:30pm

£2 plus booking fee – book today!


Be prepared to get messy!
Our Early Years Programme continues this November with the popular Void Tots workshops. Come along and experience multi-sensory activities for early years children in Void's Process Room.Mums, dads, grandparents and carers are all welcome to come and get stuck in!
Suitable for ages 1-5.


Drawing Workshop

Thursday 12th December I 6:30-8pm

£2 plus booking fee – book today!

Drawing Workshop with Stephanie Gaumond focused on the exhibition at Void by renowned artist Derek Jarman. Drawing Workshop with Stephanie Gaumond focused on the exhibition of work by Derek Jarman. Explore Derek Jarman's exhibition The Last of England through drawing in this relaxed session with artist Stephanie Gaumond. Materials are provided but if you would like to bring your own please feel welcome do so.


Christmas Decoration-Making Family Workshop

Saturday 14th December I 1-4pm

£2 plus booking fee – book today!


Get into the festive spirit with this family workshop making your very own Christmas decorations! Ho ho ho! Come along to our annual Christmas decoration-making workshop! We'll have the Christmas songs playing and the mince pies ready.This family workshop is the perfect way to get into the festive spirit by making decorations for your home – or as gifts for friends and family!


Image credit for promotional content: Derek Jarman, The Last of England, 1987 Photo Mike Laye


Derek Jarman's Super 8 films – by James Mackay

Super 8mm film was Derek Jarman’s primary medium in the 70’s and the Derek Jarman Super 8 archive comprises of all the personal film work that Jarman made between 1970 and 1983 and contains over 80 individual titles which were filmed and edited by Jarman himself. The archive consists of original S8mm reversal films; i.e. the reel of film that passed through the camera being that which was edited and projected and stored in the archive. By the end of the 70’s Derek had almost stopped screening his S8mm films as he was acutely aware of their fragility. I inherited the archive on Jarman’s death in 1993 and over the following years did everything possible with the limited financial resources at my disposal to conserve the films whilst continuing to make them available on demand. However, after much deep consideration, I decided that the only viable way to safeguard the films future and to ensure that they will be more accessible is to find a permanent home for the archive with sufficient resources to undertake a structured programme of conservation and exhibition.

As time passed, I became increasingly worried about colour fading, particularly in relation to the early Ektachrome material, and realised that I needed to copy it to another format. There were two possibilities: one would be to copy the material to 16mm or 35mm film. Past experience with 16mm told me that a certain amount of distortion seemed to creep in to the image. I had seen some very good transfers to 35mm, but none of those were made in the UK. In any case, the cost of transferring a whole archive to 16mm or 35mm film was prohibitive. The second possibility was to digitise the images. I knew that 2K digital scanning for Super 8 was possible in London and that it would result in very high-resolution copies of the films. In order to see what could be achieved, I selected one film from the archive: Tarot, partly because of its red and black sections, as the accurate rendition of red had always been a problem in earlier transfers to analogue videotape formats. I scanned the film with Tom Russell. The results were stunning. The clarity of detail was far greater than I had been able to achieve with transfers to 16mm and professional Telecine and the red was clear and limpid.

There was also the question of “look and feel” – I did not want to change the way that the image looked on the screen. The 2K process appeared transparent with no trace of digitisation on viewing, but it was a bigger, brighter image than the one archived by projecting the original films, using one of Derek’s small Bolex projectors. I took the pragmatic approach that 2K digitisation would result in an image closer to that seen by Derek when looking through the camera viewfinder, not clouded by the relatively primitive projection system available for Super 8 at the time and, knowing Derek, I am certain that he would have preferred the larger, clearer image made possible by the scanning process.

In 2008, Isaac Julien included a selection of the Super 8 films in the exhibition of Derek’s work that he curated at London’s Serpentine Gallery under the title Brutal Beauty. It was there that Maja Hoffmann saw the films and offered to fund a conservation programme to preserve them and to make them more generally available through the auspices of the LUMA Foundation." – James Mackay

Studio Bankside
Derek Jarman, 1972, 6'47 min

Filmed in and around Derek’s studio (now demolished) on the Thames at Bankside, London SE1 and featuring various friends, this is Derek’s first film. Edited in camera it is in two parts, a colour section filmed inside the studio and a black and white section filmed in the area around the studio, the reels spliced together to make one continuous film. The soundtrack by Coil was added later in 2005.

Journey to Avebury
Derek Jarman, 1973, 10 min

Filmed through a yellow filter and edited in camera this film, an exploration of the landscape and great stone circle at Avebury, exists in a longer and a shorter version. The shortening was accomplished by cutting out a long travelling sequence that takes up the first half of the original film. This version, preferred by Derek, has a later soundtrack composed by Coil.

Tarot aka The Magician
Derek Jarman, 1973, 7’39 min

Christopher Hobbs and Gerald Incandela feature in this narrative short filmed in a bed sitting room in Islington and in the empty space next to the Butler’s Wharf warehouse on the Thames that became his “back lot” used in many of the films. Costumes and props by Christopher Hobbs. The music by Cyclobe, was composed for and originally performed at Meltdown, London, 2012.

Derek Jarman, 1973, 15’15 min

Along with In the Shadow of the Sun this film is the culmination of a series of works collectively titled Art of Mirrors. Filmed in and around Butler’s Wharf Sulphur features performances by Gerald IncandelaGraham DowieChristopher Hobbs, Derek Jarman, Luciana Martinez and Kevin Whitney. As per Tarot, the music by Cyclobe, was composed for Meltdown in 2012.

Sloane Square aka Removal PartySloane Square: A Room of One’s Own
Derek Jarman, 1974–76, 8'19 min

A film by Derek Jarman and Guy Ford recording life in Anthony Harwood’s Sloan Square apartment where Derek lived during the period that he made Sebastiane. Long sequences in stop frame pixilation animate the interior. The middle part is a “removal party” held when Derek was finally evicted. Anarchy rules. Featuring Alasdair McGaw and Graham Cracker amongst others. The soundtrack, Simon Fisher Turner’s first, was composed in 1984 for a series of screenings at the ICA in London.

Sebastian Wrap aka A Break from SebastianSebastian Mirror Film
Derek Jarman, 1975, 5’58 min

Filmed in Sardinia during a break in the shooting of Sebastiane. Derek points his camera into a sheet of Mylar, which acts as a partial mirror. Made in a single take, Sebastian Wrap is typical of the style of filming that Derek adopted in this period and marks a shift from costume and set to a more freeform hand held approach. Shown here silent.

Waiting for Waiting for Godot
Derek Jarman, 1982, 7’14min

One of the last films that Derek shot and edited as Super 8, this was filed at a rehearsal for a RADA student performance of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. Directed by Gerard McArthur, with a set by John Maybury and featuring Sean Bean and Johnny Phillips. Derek restricts his filming to a monitor screen that was part of the in house recording of the play. Although he utilises a slow filming speed and the image is somewhat obscured and blurred it is still recognisable as Beckett’s play. This hybridisation of film and video would mark Derek’s work of the period in such films as Imagining October and The Last of England.