‘Medusa’s Ankles,’ an exhibition of E.A. Byatt’s wildly imagined stories across three decades
‘Medusa’s Ankles,’ a selection of five stories across three decades by Elizabeth Day and Evelyn Craig, will be on display at Arts Council England’s Reading in Berkshire gallery from 17-23 May. Now part of the Sheffield Museum & Art Gallery permanent collection, the stories range in title from ‘Medusa’s Ankles’ from 1954 and ‘Geography at Rest’ from 1974, through to ‘Before and After’ in 2001 and ‘Once and Far Away’ from 2015.
The stories are an exploration of image, imagination and personhood. They are one of the most remarkable art collections in the UK. They incorporate Atwood-inspired monsters and puppets, graveyards and love poems, fairy tales and fairy tales re-imagined as political science essays.
Medusa’s Ankles exhibit thematically from the ‘Top Dog’ stories to the ‘Hint’ stories to ‘Bees in the Basket’. The stories show how fragments of time, place and shape affect the stories. It also shows the evolution of the format of each story as the stories are coloured and linked by stories in a series.
As we celebrate 10 years of the arts council, ‘Medusa’s Ankles’ offers an intriguing ‘look back’. I am particularly interested in the stories’ development and growth, as there are some stories that are very layered.