A Modern Marriage
A Modern Marriage
Threaded through the work are instances of hope, humour and horror directly rooted in the vision of the artist as well as the moralities and codes of society. Little themes, running gags and asides underpin Feijoo’s version with the loyal dog, the fighting dogs, the moon (sometimes sinister, sometimes benign), and particularly the rats, which run through sewers and invade all areas of human life. Cityscapes background all scenes, some with specific geographic references (London), others universal in their topicality to modern urban life.
A Modern Marriage had a long evolution and proved more complex to interpret for a contemporary audience - even the title creating difficulties in how it would relate to ‘progress’ and to modern marriage patterns. Changes also occurred in the telling and drawing together of the Progresses with the interweaving of print and publishing through visual and textual references.
In scene one the viewer is introduced to Tara, a spoilt brat, who poses with her horse, as her father’s business empire is threatened and a luxury car is towed away.
In contrast, scene two is set in the back end of the city where Den and his son Darren exist. But while Den thrives through a range of nefarious activities, he needs money laundering contacts and friends in the higher rungs of society. Darren is a waste of space. The two fathers come up with a deal and marry the two youngsters off. Thus ‘real rich’ meets ‘nouveau riche’: the eternal devil’s knot. Set in the environment of desirable waterside apartments (despite the rank mud and the view of wrecks) Tara and Darren conceive a child, Wayne, but also fall back into their dissolute ways.
In scene four young Wayne is neglected and sees sights of crime and horror, exemplified by the illegal dog fight. Darren gets into horrendous debt and from the bottom of the pit to which he has sunk sells his wife and son into pornography. But even this deal goes bad and he is murdered. Shocked into consciousness and blaming herself Tara decides to end her own life and that of her wayward son. But their fall is caught by Tara’s older brother and sister, Crack and Charlie. There are some signs that there may be redemption for all at last.
Key patterns emerge when the series is considered as a whole, but each part is also complete in itself. A Modern Marriage finishes the trilogy with its full stop. Some scenes have layered narratives, where the actions are reflected in the fragments of the composition within the frame, in the use of mirrors, pictures and graphic novel storyboard conventions.
Bringing the three siblings together and connecting their lives to writing, teaching, art and parenthood, link the artists and the stories, and also frame the series, which is finally being blocked and boxed.
The scale of this work is necessarily large and dominant. This is no ordinary tale that can be reduced in the telling. The answers to the crises presented in the stories are not small. The questions Hogarth asked were as wide and large as human experience. Answers are not black and white. In the years between Hogarth and Feijoo, answers have not been found nor have the problems been fixed.