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Patrick Procktor’s ‘A View From A Window’

Bologna, Italy

Gervase XI (1969)

Set in the subterranean galleries of the 16th century Palazzo Bentivoglio in Bologna, Italy, A View From A Window is a monographic exhibition dedicated to the largely forgotten works of Patrick Procktor. The British artist began painting watercolours on a summer holiday with David Hockney in 1967, and today his works conjure airs of queer eros and nostalgia against the exposed red brick of the palazzo’s walls. Procktor is no stranger to Bologna, he participated in the group exhibitions Il tempo dell’immagine (1967) and Tra rivolta e rivoluzione (1972-1973) before having his first solo exhibition there in 1972. His spiritual return to Bologna, some 50 years later, acts as an examination of the persisting themes throughout his work, documenting homosexuality from the sexual liberation of Swinging London during the 60s to the devastating mourning of the 80s.

The Palazzo Bentivoglio director and curator of A View From A Window, Tommaso Pasquali, describes the exhibition as an ‘autobiography,’ with characters that include friends, lovers and colleagues including fashion designer Ossie Clark, infamous political figure Lord Montague and film director Derek Jarman. Not quite pop art, whilst taking cues from Abstract Expressionism, Procktor’s figurative work recalls the aesthetic and social movements of a London rooted in hedonistic subversion and ideological modernity. At the entrance of the exhibition stands a portrait of the artist taken by his friend Cecil Beaton, serving as an astute introduction into the delicate melancholia that pervaded the life of Patrick Procktor.

Found throughout the exhibition are intimate portraits of a young Gervase Griffiths, an aspiring singer and Procktor’s lover, with each brushstroke revealing his unabashed, vulnerable affection for his muse. British historian Ian Massey dives deeper into this passionate relationship within A Magazine Curated By Erdem, authoring the essay The Object of His Affections complete with notes and photographs from Procktor’s sketchbook. Both the magazine and exhibition offer a glimpse into the wistful world that Patrick Procktor held dear to his heart and memorialised on canvas.

A View From A Window at the Palazzo Bentivoglio runs from December 12th, 2022 to February 5th, 2023.

Gervase, Clifden (1968), featured inside A Magazine Curated By Erdem

Pure Romance (1968), featured inside A Magazine Curated By Erdem

Gallery view of ‘A View From A Window’
Photography by Carlo Favero

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