“Oh help me heaven,” she prayed, “to be decorative and to do right!”—Ronald Firbank
Living Room Gallery is pleased to present: Bazvalon, a selection of Elisabeth Kley’s recent ceramics in the forms of bottles, peacocks and pavilions, glazed with Islamic and pre- Roman motifs, along with related ink and watercolor drawings.
Bazvalon is an imaginary place invented by Ronald Firbank, the early twentieth century English eccentric, author and aesthete. “Aside from Duchesses, Mr. Firbank has a predilection for water-closets and the more wayward aspects of sex- all treated with the subtlest of subtlety.” Firbank is one of Elisabeth Kley’s beloved host of dandies; Jean Cocteau, Salvador Dali, Erte, Elsie de Wolfe, Jack Smith and the drag performance artist Ethyl Eichelberger, who, like Firbanks’ character, St. Laura de Nazi-anzi, were_ “not born organically good.”_
Guardian angels and guides, whose rare volumes litter Kley’s studio floor along with well-thumbed books on Turkish embroidery, Chinese architecture and the Alhambra Palace in Granada – inspire her highly refined practice. “There was a pause- just long enough for an angel to pass, flying slowly.”
Firbank’s titles alone -Vainglory, The Flower Beneath the Foot, The Princess Zoubaroff, Concerning the Eccentricities of Cardinal Pirelli, evoke a carefree, more stylish time. As E.M. Forster said of Firbank, “It is frivolous stuff and how rare, how precious is frivolity!”