Catalogus Stanley Donwood | Schunck* | 2010


Stanley Donwood: Red Maze
Schunck*, Heerlen 2010
22, 5 x 28,5
160 p

From several points in the city, a red line runs in the direction of SCHUNCK. The red line culminates in a subterranean space, the former basement, which now serves as an exhibition gallery and which currently houses a disorienting red maze, constructed by Stanley Donwood. Like a present-day Theseus, the visitor is enticed into the labyrinth to confront the Minotaur, the mythological beast – half-man, half-bull – that was locked away by King Minos of Crete in a complex system of passages from which no mortal could ever escape. Except, that is, for Theseus, who thanks to the ball of string given to him by his beloved Ariadne, was able to find his way out after having slain the Minotaur. The Minotaur has an overwhelming presence in the red maze, not as a terrifying, man-eating, mythical beast, but rather as a tragic, weeping outcast, portrayed at intervals on the walls of the maze, erected from rusty scaffolding, corrugated panels, waste timber and old doors, and sloppily painted in identical shades of red. The mood is forbidding and once inside, the visitor soon feels disoriented and ‘lost’. For many years, the fascination of the Minotaur and labyrinth theme has been a leitmotif – a red line – in Donwood’s work. For example, it was a major source of inspiration in his designs for the album cover of Radiohead’s Amnesiac, released in 2001, in which the figure of a crying Minotaur intermittently appears. Some of these images can be interpreted as ‘mythological graffiti’, this being a reference to the text and drawings scrawled as an expression of desperation on the walls of the labyrinth in which the unfortunate man-beast is incarcerated. Here, the maze and the prison serve as metaphors for the city, especially London, and for the feelings of disorientation, confusion, imprisonment and alienation that can be experienced in an urban setting.